Traveling

Back in business

12:59 PM

Those following me on Facebook already know not only where I went on holiday but that I came back last Friday with promises of blog entries, and photos. All I needed was a stretch of quiet time, and to get that I needed Ishita back to school. A thing that just happened this morning.

So to all of you who didn’t check Facebook (or don’t know I have a page there), here is where I went:


khai island

This is Khai Island, and that is in Thailand. No we didn’t stay on that specific Island as this is a tiny little speck in the sea that is essentially a day trip destination…but it’s fairly representative of what we’ve done on that one week trip to tropical bliss.
We headed to Phuket first, were we stayed in Karon (giving the much too hyped about Patong a big fat miss). There we stayed in a cute little hotel called Manhora Cozy Resort, which is one address I can totally recommend to anybody planning to visit Phuket, and I will probably give them a Blog entry-review.
For 5 days we enjoyed the beach, the swimming pool, some sun, went on a boat trip to the mentioned above island, went on an elephant ride, learned about the sad fate of gibbons poached as babies in the jungle that are then used for the amusement of night clubbers and tourists before being abandoned or harmed as they grow older…there is a gibbon rehabilitation center in Phuket that is dedicated to give these poor animal a chance at living in the wild again. We saw some waterfalls, and went canoeing in stunning mangrove bordered backwaters. Then we headed to Bangkok for the last two days of our trip, mostly to shop but managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing as well…sightseeing with a 4 years old is NOT easy, and I can tell you that this will be the topic of another blog entry.
We went without a packaged tour, meaning we looked for hotels on our own, made our own bookings, and chose which excursions we wanted to do, as well as were we wanted to eat and what. This is an option that worked for us because DH and I have no diet restrictions, but Thailand is not a destination that is easy on the vegetarians, and many Indians will opt for packaged tours that takes care of their meal. Fish sauce is used a lot in Thai cooking, and while we haven’t tried any vegetable dishes (they are not common occurences) I suspect they might contain the fish sauce in them. Seafood is a significant staple in the diet of many, beef and pork quite common, and the non-veg Indian will have no problem finding chicken based dish either. Again I will blog about the food a bit more in another entry, I wouldn’t want this one to be too long.

Bangkok is a city I would not mind visiting again and explore (once aforementioned 4 years old grow up and let us do it). It looks familiar in some way, with a hint of Mumbai, though much cleaner, far more organized and with a super modern and efficient metro system that is very simple to use to get around.
In fact even Phuket reminded us a bit of India, with houses of an architecture similar to the one you would find in residential areas all over India, the dead giveaway of actually not being in India is the cleanliness. That is the one thing DH and I noticed right away, there is almost no dirt or garbage in sight anywhere, and it’s quiet, even if busy Bangkok at peak hour you will not hear any honking, you will not see people breaking rules on the road, and no road rage. It’s not that there is less traffic in the city, we saw some jam from the metro, it’s just that is seems people in Thailand have mastered the art of patience and just bear with it. People have a much higher sense of civism as well there, keeping things clean is anybody’s business, being polite too, helping tourists getting around without them having to ask a must, giving your seat in the metro to a child or an elder person is done spontaneously even in a fairly empty train. Another thing both DH and I appreciated greatly is the fact that shopkeepers and hawkers alike will not pounce and you and harass you until you buy something or leave the store, they let you breathe, they understand that people will if they are interested in something come to you without having to push yourself on them. A thing that I realised I lost being used to in all these years in India. I now find myself stressing out shopping at a department store, and while in Bangkok I adopted the same quick furtive shopping method to repel shop assistant, only to realise that there were none to keep at bay to begin with, which of course was delightful, but something I completely forgot even existed in the first place.
In many ways, DH and I saw Thailand as what India could be if people in the country simply cared a bit more, and made an effort to be cleaner, and saw community as a whole, not as a hierarchy where the rich can litter and be crass simply because they see themselves as above others. After all, queuing without pushing is not something impossible to achieve, neither is keeping your empty plastic bottle in your hand until you can dispose of it in a proper way. And from there stopping to see the horn in ones vehicle as a stress relief or even deluding oneself into thinking it has magical properties that will make the lights turn green should not be a too unattainable goal. I will not speak of corruption here, we all know India is corrupt and that needs to change, but having been just a 1 week tourist in Thailand I have zero grasp on what the corruption level might be there, so I can’t put it in the equation here.
And last but certainly not least, women are not harassed, stared at, cat called at the way they are in India. In one week in the country, I have faced a single awkward stare, even in my swimsuit. The Lonely Planet mentions that occurrences or rape in Thailand are very low and that it is a country in which women have less to fear for their safety. And what I felt is that in Thailand I am a normal human being, while in India I am an object of some kind in the eye of a bit too many and my very existence or at least point of being out in public questioned. This I will not shy away from mentioning it, was one of the reason we opted for Thailand as our holiday destination. We wanted to be in a relaxing place, give Ishita a chance to experience some clean beaches, and not have people in our face the whole time trying to sell us things we don’t want or snapping pictures of the “gori” without as much as her permission. We wanted peace and quiet, and a fun relaxing time, Thailand delivered it all.

On these words I leave you with a picture of Bangkok at sunset, and will head to Facebook to upload some more.

bangkok sunset

2 comments

  1. Beatrix8:37 PM

    Bangkok has an IKEA!!!!!

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  2. Boo!!!! I didn't stay there long enough to figure it out. I found an H&M and bought lots of t-shirts there. I love H&M for their European sizes, in India I am lucky if I fit in a XL t-shirt, forget about the length and cut of said t-shirts. in H&M I fit nicely in a medium size and the length and shape of the tops is fitting perfectly. I would have shopped for pants but they only had the Winter wear in store, which is as puzzling as seeing it in Mumbai as I have doubt Bangkok gets cold enough to wear thick jeans and wool sweaters and jackets.

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