An Unusual Trip Highlight
I set off for my 4th trip to Thailand. I have always flown Thai Airways as other carriers do not have direct flights from Sydney to Bangkok. You can fly Jet Star cheaper but you have to fly to Melbourne, hang about and then fly direct into Bangkok. It is also possible to fly Virgin Airways but that is worse as you fly Sydney, Brisbane, hang about, then Phuket and hang about, then Bangkok. You may save money but you are going to be pretty tired on arrival. If I was travelling to Thailand for two weeks or longer I would probably take the cheaper fare but for a week I prefer the direct flight with Thai Airways at 25650 baht ($AU950) return. I book my flight on Expedia.com.au and on this occasion I checked the cost of booking the same flight one week prior and the price had almost doubled to 47250 baht ($AU1750) return. So it pays to book ahead with Thai Airways.
My destination was Pattaya for this trip. Normally I base myself in Bangkok and move about from there. I organised a private car to pick me up from exit 4 and take me straight down to Pattaya 1600 baht ($AU60).
I had used wikitravel.com to find a few activities to do whilst in Pattaya. My sister is in Bangkok in November representing Australia in a Ten Pin Bowling tournament so she asked me to check out the bowling alleys. I went up to the Bowling Centre at P.S Plaza on the corner of Central Pattaya Road and Second Road. You can’t miss it. There is a giant bowling pin on the street. It was good fun and a really nice bowling facility. The one thing I liked was you had an assistant close by at ALL times to assist with anything you needed.
One activity that was on top of my list was shooting a hand gun. I had never done it before and was really keen to have a try. I went up to the shooting range at Tiffany’s building. It is opposite Big C shopping centre on Second Road at the north end of Pattaya. I shot a Glock 9mm and a Smith & Wesson 38. It is not as easy as I thought. The target did take a few fatal shots. However, provided you stay completely still and give me time to take careful aim and squeeze the trigger you’re pretty safe.
I was invited to go to an ‘Isaan’ nightclub in Pattaya. They had live acts come on stage one after the other and Thai people danced and generally enjoyed themselves. I think there were three Farangs in the place including myself. Everyone was pretty friendly and I really enjoyed the live music. I like popular Thai music and I also like the way Thai people dance. It’s quite cool I thought. AND DRINK!!! When in party mood Thai people sure can down a drink or two. Good on 'em. Of course I made time to enjoy a foot massage. I haven’t worked up the courage to have a full body massage yet. Maybe next trip.
Up to Bangkok for a business meeting. I spoiled myself a little and booked a double room suite on the executive floor. This was my 4th stay at this particular hotel and I was surprised to find as I got out of the taxi from Pattaya (900 baht -$AU33) that the staff remembered me this time and all said hello and welcome back. That was really good.
Whilst in Bangkok I was really fortunate to be invited to meet some Thai people and have dinner at their place at Bang Na. I arrived at what I can only describe as a truck repair yard. I sat around ‘chatting’ to a number of men. Language was a problem but I enjoyed meeting them and they seemed genuinely interested in meeting me and were all polite. As the night went on the numbers seemed to swell and many people joined our evening. Of course normally I would sit on a chair at a table however everyone, including myself, sat ON a LARGE table outside and enjoyed various Thai dishes. I had bought a flask of Chivas Regal, Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker Scotch. I have never seen three flasks empty so fast. Man Thai people can REALLY drink alcohol. Then the Rice Whisky came out. I don’t drink these days but I wanted to have a taste and found it not too bad at all. I understand I was seeing the ‘polite’ side of Thai people and underneath they more than likely considered me an idiot rich Farang but I felt they were quite nice people. I enjoyed the night. Getting totally smashed on whisky worried me though. I got the feeling it was a normal working weeknight activity.
After some shopping and visit to my Temple Wat Trimit near China Town I headed back to Pattaya.
One night about midnight I heard a noise and realised it was rain. I opened the balcony door and it felt like a hurricane had hit Pattaya. The lightening lit up the room as bright as day and the rain absolutely pelted down and the wind blew in all directions. This went on for an hour. Seriously, there was one clap of thunder that almost knocked me out of bed. It was so loud that the entire hotel shook. Awesome!!
I frequent the Segafrida coffee shop at Central Festival, Beach Road entrance. When I walk in I don’t even have to tell them what I want – they just start making my coffee for me. After I enjoy my morning espresso I walk through Central Festival Mall to Second road and I had noticed on a number of occasions what I thought were fish tanks at the Second Road entrance/exit. This one morning I was a little shocked to see a man sitting above one of the large fish tanks with his feet IN!! the fish tank. After some investigation I learned the tanks had a hundred little sucker fish in them that specialised in eating dead skin. I signed up for that in a second. It was quite an unusual feeling to have a hundred little sucker fish go into a frenzy and chomp on your skin. I can assure you after 20 minutes your feet have been meticulously cleaned and your skin looks perfect. It was quite amazing.
The highlight of my trip was when I was having dinner at a restaurant on Second Road. A young Thai mother came in with a little Thai baby. I smiled at the baby. I just find them so cute. The mother saw me smile and offered me to hold the little baby. For the next half hour I entertained the little one. She was such a quiet, cute little thing. She was 5 months old and so content to suck on her hand and dribble all over my shoulder. At one point I went to return her to her mother and she started to cry. I had a wonderful time in Thailand but that was without a doubt the highlight of my trip. It has been so long since I had a little baby in my arms.
On returning from Thailand this trip I felt Australian Customs would have a bit of a look at me as I had travelled to Thailand on 4 occasions in 9 months. I had seen an image of a Buddha which was split in three pieces but made of wood. I decided to purchase it and tick ‘wood products’ on my entry card. It cost me 600 baht ($AU22) and thought if Customs take it I am not out of pocket too much. On reflection I would have been forced to pay whatever price for treatment. Although I am not a Buddhist, but I do respect that an image of Buddha is sacred and I could not allow the image to be destroyed if confiscated by customs. That was a bit of an oversight on my part. Customs was REALLY cool about the whole thing. Not wanting to open the bubble wrap she just cut open one end and gave the package a slight bump to see if any sawdust came out. She said that it was all fine and offered me some advice on buying wooden products. Don’t purchase anything that has bark on it and check for any insect activity. If there are any small holes in the wood give it a little tap on some paper and ensure no sawdust comes out. The wood isn’t the problem it seems it is critters in the wood that is the major problem.
I had another wonderful and fun trip to Thailand. I can’t wait to get back.
Nice report and sweet comments about holding the baby.