Thailand

Pattaya Thailand | Top things to do with kids

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Pattaya in Thailand is famous for adult fun and is not usually considered for family travel. However, it offers great experience to all kinds of travellers.

Come visit Pattaya with Vrinda (Kuhu). Vrinda is 8 years old. In this video she shares with you her top 5 tips on Pattaya, Thailand .

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Biking across Northern Thailand- Part 1

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What was supposed to be a 400km ride turned out to be a late night biking expedition covering 530kms, as we rode 60+kms in wrong direction. All was well till noon, when we stopped for lunch at Mae Sariang. Post lunch, we should have taken Route 105, instead we continued on Route 108. A few display said this road heads to Chiang Mai and that didn’t ring a bell to any of us. Only later, our pilot Sumon pulled over, cross checked his map, consulted our support team (who had take right turn) and decided that we need to go back. Without a whim we rode back all the way to  the city where we had lunch. We should have added another 200 curves to our count by then,  because of this extra ride.

It was evening by now and we still had another 230kms to cover. We fuelled up and began riding, this time in the right direction.
Soon it became darker and suddenly, we found ourselves on dirt track. This feels like India- we told ourselves. Our speed dropped to single digit and we negotiated the bad road slowly, maintaining gap between bikes to let the dust settle. We were very close to Burma border, with our road running parallel to it. There were hardly any vehicles other than hours and there were no lights or shops or anything else. Pitch dark, deep forest and 100 more kms to go.

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Thailand & Cambodia – Summer of 17 part-1

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Nothing much has changed since; the lovely people continue to offer charming smiles and warmth. Mouth watering food scene remains intact. Ah! One not-so-good change has been the (ex)change value of our Bhartiya Rupaye – it is 1.9 INR to a Thai Bhat /THB (almost double or half, depending on which end you are on – the selfie or the main!). And it pinches alright either way.   

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Biking across Thailand – Bridge over the river kwai

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After our brief encounter with wild cats concluded, we headed to River Kwai bridge. River Kwai bridge was constructed under Japanese command during world war 2, to enable Japanese troops to cross across Thailand to Burma and eventually India. Thousands of PoW (Prisoners of wars) were deployed for construction work, without adequate food, rest or medical care. This resulted in deaths in thousands and being alive for one more day was a luxury at that time. Our generation isn’t really exposed to such life and death hardships and all we complain about is traffic, high fuel prices and slow internet. But life back then was very different. A visit to the museum and war memorial will remind us of harsh realities of life in the times of war. River Kwai bridge stands as a testimony to the fact that thousands had to die to satisfy greed of few emperors. The movie by its name, which was pictured in Srilanka has made this bridge immortal.

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Self-Drive trip across Thailand (7 days, 2000 kms) : Part 6 – Chiang Mai

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We also spend some time in a fantastic session called ‘Chat with Monks’. This particular wat, which is also a training facility for the young monks, offers tourists an opportunity to interact informally with the monks. There is a common area where the tourist group is met by one of the waiting monks. You can sit with him and discuss anything related to Monks/ Buddhism/ Thailand or any other topic of interest. Well, to answer the ‘why’ of it – such interactions enable the monks to practise spoken English as also widening their knowledge base and the tourists, of course gather valuable insight.

A good & handy source of drinking water is the vending machines placed at common areas. Though bottled water is available across Thailand costing B15 – B30 or more depending on when and where you buy them; these vending machines (working on coin system) offer you potable water @ B1 (one bhat) for a litre.

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Self-Drive trip across Thailand (7 days, 2000 kms) : Part 5 – Bang Saen to Kampaeng Phet

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We had plans of visiting heritage sites and local night market, but lassitude takes over as soon as we arrive. After strolling around the neighbourhood, spying on local shops and outlets, we are back to the guest house.
There are number of cosy sit-outs within the house. In the evening, guests have gathered here to relax and chat-up. Soon I connect up with Bill, an Austrian from Vienna and Shoo, a Thai traveller. Yes, they tell, they are also travelling across Thailand. While exchanging notes I discover that both of them (though travelling separately) are very special Ghumakkars. Bill (actually Bills, a couple) has arrived here Cycling all the way from AUSTRIA! Well, the story goes like this. They are avid cyclists. They have covered large parts of the globe cycling. Bill roughly cycles for an year in one go! By end of the year long loop, he is back in Vienna to earn his livelihood. After earning for about 6-8 months, he is again out for the next trip. He tells us that he does not own a car and has a very small house in Vienna. He works just to make enough money for the next trip. Same is the story of his partner. She is from the same place and they share the same passion. They are 6 months into the current trip and plan to cycle north to China and then through Kazakhstan and Eastern Europe to Vienna. Their belongings, typical for cyclists, comprise of two rucksacks (strapped to either side of the carrier) and a sleeping bag cum tenting equipment.

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Self Drive Trip across Thailand (7 days, 2000 kms) : Part 4 (Bang Saen)

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Next day we walk down to the beach. Beach has its own share of food stalls and other knick-knacks counters. We come across a lady vending ripe jackfruit flesh. This is an exotic dish in Bengal (Bongs famously say that you either love it or hate it – immensely; primarily because of its strong odour and quaint taste). Sharmi tries the fruit and it tastes good. Jackfruits look quite different here. They are larger in size and pricklier in appearance. We saw them yesterday while entering Bang Saen but did not recognise them for what they are. It’s only today, on coming across the peeled version, does the realisation dawn.

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Self-Drive trip across Thailand (7 days, 2000 kms): Part-2 Preparing for the trip

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Thailand packages are tediously limited to Bangkok and Pattaya (that’s how they are bundled up by travel agents here); and for the more desirous ones, add-ons are Phuket or Krabi. Ditto, while discussing Thailand with colleagues who have visited it, all they had on offer were superficials limited to these destination. And here is what we observed – Bangkok, where we spent maximum time was the most uninspiring despite all its glitzy malls, tourist spots, shopping centers, et al and Pattaya, which we drove across, did not appear much different. Actually, both the places had ‘TOURISTY – NOT AUTHENTIC’ tag imprinted bolder than the fonts here for any discerning traveler to see. Our best memories of the country extend beyond (and almost exclude) these two places.

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