Tag Archives: Thailand

Creating Happy Travelers – in South Africa

9 Sep

Yatra.com has asked a question on Indiblogger.in – If you could take your family or friends to any place on the planet, where would that be and how would you make your trip the happiest one ever?

For me the answer is quite simple, I will take my parents on a trip that they have always wanted i.e. to visit South Africa. I have traveled extensively to international destinations with my sister, my friends, my colleagues but somehow we have never traveled abroad for a family vacation. I think its time for me to remedy this!

Giraffes in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Giraffes in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Pic courtesy – wikipedia

My parents love game reserves and watching animals live their daily lives in their own territories and Africa has always been the favored destination. But after  a family friend moved to South Africa for work and regularly started posting pictures online, we discovered the destination – South Africa. Through their pictures we saw the sheer variety available for any traveler’s dream vacation in a single country – stunning landscapes, amazing game reserves, various adventure sports, rich history and their own struggle for freedom, amazing people, to just name a few. Hence South Africa was the destination decided for our very own dream family vacation.

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2012, the year that went by and 2013, the year to come

13 Dec

December, for some inexplicable reason, always ends up becoming a month of stock taking (of how the year went by) and planning for the brand new coming year (which is exciting). While I have long ago given up the whole resolution business (couldn’t keep any single one anyways) , I still like the chance to prepare for things to done in the new year, holidays to be taken and personal goals to be achieved. I guess this gives the control freak in me another chance to plan for things and be prepared in my own ways. 🙂

So when I has planned for the year 2012, I had decided to set up something for writing on my travels / sharing travel stories (though I hadn’t decided on a blog then), visit at least 2 new places in India and 2 new places internationally in and improve my photography skills.

So how did 2012 finally turn out? Well, 2012 was not a good year personally but it was otherwise a great year and I ended up doing a lot of new things. After reading an article on blogging, I set up this travel blog in late January 2012. I am super happy with it as in less than a year I have 92 posts, support of 950+ followers, 1200 comments, learnt of so many new places (through other blogs) and I have discovered a whole new world of blogging friends. On the travel front – for a long time it seemed I will not be able to visit the 4 new places, as all plans kept getting cancelled for various reasons. But luckily a few plans did work out and I am happy to say that in the end I managed to achieve these travel targets. I ended up travelling internationally to Thailand, Cambodia and Dubai and in India to Delhi, Pushkar and Bundi. Is this enough? Definitely not but I learnt a lot about better planning of holidays, managing more in limited time, improving my photohgraphy skills and discovering the joy in visiting those off beat simple places.

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Places to shop in Bangkok

8 Dec

Apart from all other attractions that Bangkok is famous for, there is one particular thing that a lot of Indians swear by. And that’s shopping in this city. It is said that shopping in this city is very cheap and you get loads of amazing stuff. Well, my views differ slightly.

Shopping in Bangkok is relatively cheap (not “very” and the current exchange rate is not helping) for certain stuff such as T-shirts, bags, casual clothes, accessories, TVs etc but if you want to buy the branded stuff, then it is pretty much the same as in India. Though there are benefits – like shopping for brands that are not available in India or their local designers, etc. We shopped quite a bit here and I have listed below my recommendations on this topic –

Malls – 

  • Platinum Mall – This is one of the best places to shop for bargain stuff in Bangkok. This is one huge mall with 3 zones and a couple of floors filled with clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, etc etc. This is more of a wholesale market and  the way to shop is – there is a certain price for buying 1 item and there is a discount if you buy 3 items of the same kind.
    • Good Things – Good stuff at good bargains. We bought shoes, accessories, clothes etc which were good quality and at a good bargain.
    • Not So Good Things – This is a huge place and very crowded and chaotic. You have to hunt through a lot of stuff to get what you like.
    • How to reach here – Take a BTS Skytrain to Chidlom station and then it is a 15 – 20 minute walk.
Platinum Mall. Photo courtesy -mithunonthe.net

Platinum Mall. Photo courtesy -mithunonthe.net

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Flying in the Air like a Gibbon

25 Nov

Whenever I travel to any new place, I always like to do a few hidden / not as known things / or things that you normally don’t associate with that place. So in Bangkok, apart from all the shopping and temples, a trip to the Khao San road and other touristy stuff we went for a flying fox eco adventure atop the rainforest.

Now the story of how we found out about this place is also very interesting. A friend of ours had researched quite a bit for her trip to Bangkok but for some reason had not been able to make it. So she had forgotten a lot of details but asked us to do the walk in the trees in Bangkok. I hunted all over the internet but was just not able to find any reference to any walk on the trees. Then by sheer luck / chance I was chatting just with a colleague who had just returned from Bangkok and happened to mention this and he told me that it’s called the “Flight of the Gibbon” and its super fun.

The Flight of the Gibbon, Bangkok

The Flight of the Gibbon, Bangkok

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Swensen’s Ice Cream

14 Nov

Ice cream is my major weakness and I just can’t resist it whenever I travel. There is just some kind of an in built mechanism in me that just has to try coffee and ice creams in all new places that I travel to. So when we were going to Bangkok, my friend who had recently returned from there asked us to try the Swensen’s ice cream.

Swensen’s is actually an American ice cream chain that started in Thailand about 24 years ago and this has been a major success here.

Swensen Ice Cream Parlor. Photo courtesy -http://youdefineyou.blogspot.in/2012/10/hello-thailand-2-swensens-ice-cream.html

Swensen Ice Cream Parlor. Photo courtesy -http://youdefineyou.blogspot.in/2012/10/hello-thailand-2-swensens-ice-cream.html

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Spirit Houses in South East Asia

14 Nov

Travel has numerous advantages but a really big one is that it’s the most fun way to study and remember the history and culture of new places. The amount that I have learnt on this during my travels in the last 1 year is far more than what I have ever read till date. So in my endeavor to share these stories on different cultures and practices, this is one small piece on Spirit Houses in South East Asia.

During our trip to Thailand and Cambodia this year, we kept coming across numerous small / miniature houses or temples built in traditional Thai style and kept prominently outside all commercial and residential establishments i.e. houses, hotels, discs, offices, markets, shops – basically everywhere. At first we didn’t understand what they were and what was the purpose was it a temple for worship? a bird house? a piece of decoration? the possibilities were endless. But then in Cambodia we asked someone and they told us that these are Spirit Houses. Well, of all possible answers, this had never struck us.

Spirit Houses, Bangkok

Spirit Houses, Bangkok

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Finding your way around Bangkok

6 Jul

My personal travel style is to walk all over a city and explore all the “touristy” nooks and the “non-touristy” corners but we have come to realize that a majority of Asian cities, due to their size and weather, don’t give you that flexibility.

Now Bangkok is a big and a spread out city with quite a few things to see and do that are strewn all over the place. So while traveling here, we had to rely a lot on public transport – some was easy to figure out, while some was quite painful. So I decided to put together this post as a quick introduction / short intro guide to help anyone get a basic sense of public transport and find their way around and about this city. Continue reading

Thailand & Cambodia – A Broad Trip Outline

1 Jul

After a long time (and after numerous unsuccessful attempts) we finally went on a holiday and that too to on a 11 day trip to Thailand (5 days) and Cambodia (6 days). This trip was essentially for visiting Cambodia but we figured that the cheapest way to do it was via Bangkok and hence we routed it through Bangkok and spent some time here. This post is just a small teaser with details of our travel itinerary and some quick pictures whereas I will cover each place in further detail through several additional posts.

For the trip we booked return tickets via Indigo Airlines to Bangkok (though didn’t like the flight much but more on that later).

Day 1 – We reached Bangkok by late afternoon and generally did a small walking tour  of our neighbourhood.

Day 2 – 4 – Left Bangkok by road and entered Cambodia through the Aran – Poipet border. Then drove to Siem Reap and did a cruise / boat tour of the floating village of Tonle Sap.  2 days we visited the famous temples of Siem Reap i.e Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prom, Banteay Srei and many others. Also visited the Pub Street and shopped at the Night markets, Old Markets etc.

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