Where do I start from?
The salty, howling ocean winds that can whisk your cameras away? The wonderfully fresh and sweet fruits that were available virtually everywhere? The marvellously serene canoe rides? The water sports? The bajillion times that a shopaholic referred to Bangkok as ‘heaven’?
Maybe you’ve heard that you must go to Thailand, at least once in your lifetime.
About the weather
Phuket: Owing to the comfortable temperatures and cool breezes, the peak season starts in November and ends in March. This also means that all tourist areas are flocked, and hotel prices reach record highs. We visited Phuket in late May, when the weather was warm-ish and the occasional raindrop spattering against clothes was nothing unusual. However, this didn’t hinder the fun we had there in any way. From mid-September to mid-October, monsoon is at its peak.
Bangkok: The winter season, from December to February, is again the best time to visit Bangkok. In the evening, the temperature can drop below 20°C. Hotel prices soar dramatically during this time. March, April and May are the hot months, when the Thai New Year is celebrated vigorously. Sudden rainfall is not unexpected. From May through October, Bangkok isn’t as crowded. This is the monsoon season.
In Bangkok: I’m beginning with the obvious. Here’s a prediction: you will end up buying something in Bangkok, even if your bucket list does not include a spree in the famed Shoppers’ Paradise. At the Platinum Fashion Mall (a stone’s throw from the Amari Watergate hotel), you’d be able to locate anything trendy or funky or wacky or solely comfortable that you wish to own, from tank tops to ball gowns. Perhaps calling it a “market under a roof” would suit it best, because every floor is lined with stalls that vaguely resemble regular shops. You’re going to find some good eateries in here.
Yet another one of the zillion shopping malls in Bangkok, the MBK Centre has its entrances adorned with stalls that sell souvenirs and accessories. It has a great supermarket, another place that exchanges currency, awesome restaurants, and stalls (and shops) from where you can purchase every thinkable type of apparel.
I need to admit, although the Asiatic market has a horribly sluggish giant wheel, it’s got majestic shops/stalls and eateries. It was positively crowded, even though we visited this part of the city at 10:00 p.m.
In Phuket: Phuket doesn’t lag behind in this race to become the preferred shopping destination for people from all over the globe. Malls like Jungceylon (the very father of all the luxurious, high-end, brand-packed malls in the world), Banana Walk (it has a golf course) and Premium Outlet (it has a frightfully unique concept: the shops sell discontinued items) and the markets that pop up close to the Patong Beach constitute my list of the best places to buy stuff from.
About the food
Non-vegetarians, it might excite you to learn that you’re going to find your food everywhere– surviving in this country would be no biggie for you. Ovo-lacto vegetarians- you’re squashed between non-vegetarians and regular vegetarians in terms of superiority. You’ll be able to manage pancakes and dessert, because you’re okay with eggs. The vegetarians are in for mediocre luck. Yes, the fruits are wonderful, and you will find edibles like juice and French fries and yoghurt in hotels for breakfast, but you’ll need to carry those packs of instant food- you know, the sort you add boiling water to? We, for example, used to buy milkshakes and chocolates and chips and whatever else vegetarian you can find in a Thai supermarket, and then devour those in our hotel rooms. If you’re fond of spicy food, you’d be able to grab some sublime Indian dishes at restaurants like Bavarchi in Bangkok. Handy tip: we found out that the McDonald’s outlets there serve only non-vegetarian food
About the tourist attractions
Being an island and less bustling, Phuket obviously has more natural beauty.
My memories of Phang Nga bay will forever serve as the chief triggers of all of the nostalgia associated with this trip of ours to Thailand. Its limestone-shaped rocks, howling winds, bustling villages, crystal-clear water, serene canoe rides, electrifying water sports and uniquely named islands (I mean, am I ever going to find another place named after a fictional character like James Bond?) would be the obvious reasons why anyone would want to go there over and over again.
For the party-goers: the nightclubs down in Bangla Road in Patong may give you some evenings to look forward to. While you walk down that street, it’s probable that you’ll feel as if EDM music is blasting out of every inch of your skin, because most bars have no doors, and even if they do, they’re left open.
Although Phuket FantaSea might cost you an arm and a leg, it’s certainly worth a visit, owing to the world-class entertainment that you get in there. It’s a culture-themed park, and the village and the buffet aren’t too bad, either.
Wat Chalong (it’s a temple) is as much of an architectural marvel as any other mall that I mentioned earlier.
Let’s get to Bangkok now.
I’ve already talked about the shopping complexes, so maybe I should jump to whatever else the tourists that go there need to see.
The thick blanket of greenery that theLumphini Park is wrapped in would be ideal for those wishing to breathe some fresh air in a crowded metropolis like Bangkok. You can stroll the paths, taste the great street fruit available near Rama VI’s statue, hire a yoga mat, hit the outdoor gym, take a paddle boat ride across the lake, hope to catch a glimpse of the crocodile-like monitor lizard, and enjoy the weekly outdoor concert (which, by the way, is free of cost).
Wat Arun (another Buddhist temple), with a 70-meter high spine, has exteriors that nearly qualify as star-studded. One of the most beautifulsites in Thailand, its riverside location makes it accessible from both land and water.
Siam Niramit’s epic plays based on Thai history would make this subject less mind-numbing for those who don’t like it much. Punctuated by a classic Thai village and game stalls (is that the phrase?), you ought to go there while you’re in Bangkok.