5:57 PM

Nostalgia of the 90's songs,boutique shops and the celebration of x-mas 
@ Asiatic Riverfront Bangkok

Happy New Year Everyone! This New Year 2014 is special to me,I pray that I get to travel more countries as culturally rich as my latest trip to Thailand and UAE. As in the last blog post I highlighted very subtly that Thailand is very similar to India.But I intentionally diluted the post so you can tell me how?Watch my 30 seconds trailer on Thailand created with much love and enthusiasm for you to be spell bound in the land of smiling faces,walk with the tigers and exploring the unknown.

It's interesting how perceptions change when you go deeper.This is me(below picture),in Thailand way back in 2009.

                                         I thought Thailand is all about beaches and Thai Curry until now 

While I envy the blue seas Thailand has to offer,this trip of mine was an year end cleanse of my heart with stories and folktales of Thailand even you would love to hear and definitely would love to explore.Interestingly I was lucky to be in Thailand and Dubai when the weather was pleasant(November to February is the best time to visit)

Thailand Currency

1 Thai Baht = 1.88 INR(Current Rate as of 2nd Jan 2014)

How To Get Thailand Visa

Most of us know that we can obtain Thailand Visa on arrival.However,that is not the only way.We can also obtain Thailand visa when in India,and skip the document submission at the airport altogether.Let me discuss the various ways on how can we get the Thai visa,lets begin with how I got it.

Thailand Visa on Arrival

If you are a tourist and would want to enter Thailand,the normal Tourist visa would cost 1000 Baht.If you are in hurry like I was,and to avoid the queue which was there when my flight arrived,opt for a fast track visa for 1200 Baht.The passengers terminal complex has 7 levels including 2 under ground. Level 2 is for arriving and level 4 is for departing passengers. There are 3 exits (A, B, and C) on level 2 - A for domestic and B & C for international passengers.The counter for Visa on Arrival is right there,and you have to first collect form which is there on the counter,fill it up and submit.

The process was very simple,you need to carry
•             5 passport sized photographs with white background(However for me only one was required)
•             Photocopies of Return ticket.
•             20,000 THB, equivalent to approximately 40,000 INR or valid bank statements for the past 3 months(just in case required)
•             Confirmed Hotel voucher

Thailand Tourist Visa via VFS

This is a 60-day Tourist Visa to Thailand that can either be a multiple or single entry and can be extended for up to another 30 days by means of a visa run and in India it would cost INR 2000 for a single entry visa.
I preferred to go for Visa on Arrival,because for me it was more simpler :)

Wat Pho:Bangkok(Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

                                                                       The complex of Wat Pho

Wat Pho , or Wat Phra Chetuphon as it is generally known to the Thais, is mainly famous for the huge Reclining Buddha statue it houses. Wat Pho is named after a monastery in India where Buddha is believed to have lived.Adjacent to the building housing the Reclining Buddha is in a small raised garden, the centerpiece being a Bodhi tree which is propagated from the original tree in India where Buddha sat while awaiting enlightenment.Did I say we share epics?

The Magic of Broken Porcelain

Next time when you break a porcelain plate in your home,please don't be sorry.After visiting Wat Pho, you may be inspired to take those broken pieces,and build them up into the most creative decor in your home.King Rama IV of Thailand was an artist and for some sections for Wat Pho,broken pieces of Porcelain has been used in the premises.That is so stunning that you wouldn't even recognize that the broken Porcelain can create such magic.Until I was told so,I thought its a stunning architecture with use of colors.So break a pile of plates and use it everywhere in your home,on your doors on your windows,and let this secret be our secret ;)

Buddha and The Ballast

The Ballast and The Buddha

Another Charm of Wat Pho are the various Chinese Rock giants guarding the temple,called Ballast.With the Ballast,we have different Buddha to pray for all days(Monday to Sunday) and each symbolize different Meaning.One that is found at every Buddhist home is Subduing Mara,a Buddha who doesn't belong to any particular day.According to Thai belief,Subduing Mara means stop evil.Not the ghost or a spirit but the evil in your thoughts.Because they believe if you think bad all the time,it becomes an unconscious habit so think good.

The depiction of medical including herbs and acupressure is engraved also on one of the walls in the temple premises.

The Huge Reclining Buddha and Your Wishes

                                                  ....And may your wish come true this New Year

You enter the hall and you get to see a huge reclining Buddha which starts and ends after 10 or more sections of divided wall.The image of reclining Buddha is 15 m high and 43 m long and the 3 m high and 4.5 m long foot of Buddha displays are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. They are divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories.There are also different forms of life depicted on the long foot and being human is considered the topmost avatar.It is a belief that if you do a lot of sin,you will eventually be someone in your next life which has a lower chance to upgrade your life,i.e an animal who can't always do what it wishes to do.But nevertheless,to wash your sin and do good,do not forget to drop a coin at 108 bronze bowls in the corridor indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha as that is said to bring good fortune,and help monks maintain the wot.

Wat Pho Massage

Associated with the nearby Temple with the same name is the Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School.There are various treatments and massages you can be treated with like body massage,foot massage,spa or professional Thai message for health.Since this is a popular site,the place is always having admirers of message ready to de-stress waiting there.We too had our chance.And since all of us had opted for a relaxing body massage for an hour and a half,it was the one of the best massage I have had ever done.Wait till I take you to tomorrow's journey where we have Hot Stone Massage. Didn't I at the the end of New Year needed some time to de-stress ;)

Pak Klong Talad: Bangkok Flower Market

Situated South of Wat Pho, Pak Klong Talad(Bangkok Flower Market) is the biggest wholesale and fresh flower market in Bangkok.The prices are amazingly cheap and it is open 24 hours.Pak Klong Talad is most lively after midnight. If you want to see the market in full action, though, the best time to go is pre-dawn or at 3:00-4:00.The colors just sparkle,and one of the best Photo opportunities if you love flowers in town.

ChinaTown,Bangkok:The Dragon and The Goldsmith

Where in the world we do not have Chinatown?Difficult to guess,isn't it?Chinatown is the largest community of Chinese in Bangkok.In 1782 the royal Thai king,decided to move the capital city "Thonburi" across the chao phyra river to the present site "Bangkok" because Thonburi supposedly were full of houses and the king had plans to expand.The current site of Royal Grand Palace in Thailand now was Chinatown before.130 years ago their king Rama IV would wanted to build the road Chinatown which is the 1st road of Bangkok but they could not cut the road straight down because of housings everywhere and hence Chinatown roads are curved.

People say the curve of the roads of China Town is like a curve of the dragon and represents how the dragon moves.Dragon is the king of snake.Dragon is a Chinese belief,Serpent is a Thai belief.The road we were passing through was the stomach of the dragon.Because they believe when the body of the dragon lays down Stomach should be the part which contains lot of wealth,that section of the Chinatown is full of shops specially Gold Smith shops.only 100 meters along the road are around 100 shops of Goldsmith.People in Thailand consider Gold as an investment as we do and the Gold Bar at the Gold Smith shops in Chinatown are only the price of Gold,no making charge and no tax.So in future when the price increases a lot they just return it back to the market and that is better than interest.What Thai people say is returning Gold is like selling coconut to the owner of plantations.

Chinatown Bangkok:What To Do

                                                       Juicy Crispy Roasted Duck,hmmm..

Buy gold if you are rich ;) and give me some if you have a large heart.Jokes aside,Chinatown isn't only for 
affluent.The highly congested Roads in Bangkok reminded me of the traffic Jams in India(Bangalore,Bombay and everywhere else).So the best way to explore Chinatown is by foot.You will pass through some interesting joints i.e Wholesale Markets selling toys,gifts,stationary,accessories;some extremely popular Food Joints(Shark's fin and Bird's Nest Soup anyone?),lots of seafood,shops selling Chinese herbs,night market,fabrics and a Thief Market.

The last year was a genuinely unique year.I love non-veg food,and luckily I got a chance to taste some of the deliciously rich food which was just not Chicken and Fish.I had Oysters,to Octopus to Crabs,to anything which was yummy.Yes,I do not think before I eat,and as long as it is tasty,my stomach smiles at every chance I get.If you are seafood lover and hate the smell,Thailand would surprise with deliciously cooked(and no not overcooked) Seafood.For example Bird's Nest Soup in Chinatown is considered a desert as they cook it in Syrup.If you cherish to have some with a small hint of Bird's Nest that would cost you 60 - 80 Baht.But if you would love to have a chunk of Bird's Nest to really enjoy the flavor,200 Baht is what it is you will have to pay.Shark's fin are costlier costing about 1200 Baht.

If you come to a section of Chinatown where they sell cheap Seafood at night,you will get different atmosphere,different feeling at all.The tables are all set up,the whole road disappears with happily congested moving public grooving on Seafood.Every pharmacy in Chinatown has two sections - One with medicines and another with herbs.Herbs are popular to ward off diseases in China and now in Thailand too.Chinatown is the only place in Thailand where you can buy the authentic grandfather clock or great grand father clock.Thief market is where you can get a great deal,like for example a Chandelier for 4000 baht when it originally costs around 100,000 bahts.

Asiatic RiverFront: Bangkok

                                                            Boutique Shops in Asiatic Riverfront

Enjoy the Skywheel,Explore more than 1500 boutique shops,dine with the view of river or just enjoy the activities in the hustle and bustle of Asiatic Riverfront. Asiatique The Riverfront is the newest Bangkok Night Market, opened in May 2012 and also houses 10 warehouses kept intact as it was.We,dined,shopped and just was enamored with the lively yet retro music playing in the background with x-mas celebrations.Watch out for some great deal of 200 baht dress in some of the boutique shops.We,also had great food which will be discussed in food section of the coming blog post.

The easiest and fastest way to get there is via boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle at the end of the pier. It only takes ten minutes, and the boat runs until 23:00. 

Let me end this post with my travel companions without who my trip would have been just another trip.Believe me,a girly gang of 7 beats no other adventure.However,it was the destination we all fell in love with.With insightful and fun loving description of our tour guide Poom from Absolute Fantastic Holidays in association with Suladda from Tourism Authority of Thailand along with Pooja,we had the best of everything.Yes,that doesn't complete 7,so we have 4 lovely gals who were part of the trip Ekta from Shadows Galore,Prachi from Deliciously Directionless,Priya from Red Scarab and me me me all the way :).

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  1. Great post! I am bookmarking it right away!

    Best Wedding Photographer in India - Akhil Khatri. Visit or to book the best photographer for your Wedding/Event. Anywhere in the world.

  2. Wish you and yours a brilliant 2014!

  3. That is a wonderful coverage of Bangkok. May you travel far and wide in 2014!

  4. Thanks for the info! Thailand is amazing!

  5. @Renuka: Isn't it and very affordable too? An all time vacation when you don't plan to save,and you can definitely have a ball dere :)

  6. @R Niranjan Das:Keeping fingers crossed! How I wish your blessings come true for me ;)

  7. @MagicEye:Same to you,may you have a rocking New Year

  8. @Akhil Khatri:Thanks Akhil.Hope it was helpful :)

  9. Amazing photos and post.
    Happy New Year 2014

  10. Lovely pictures. I am also so impressed by Wat Pho.

  11. The first word that escaped my mouth as soon as I came across your blog was 'WOW' I love the information you presented in this site of yours, varied and beautiful. And the blog design ... wow. You inspire me Ankita :-)

  12. Bangkok is amazing...i can never get tired of visiting bangkok ,hope you had awesome time there :) :) Wishing you a very happy new year :)

  13. @Rupam Sharma:Thanks Rupam,a very Happy New Year To You too

  14. @Mridula:Then you must visit this place :) It is impressive.

  15. @Amrit Sinha:Thanks Amrit for such nice and kind words.Some places are so beautiful you can't escape talking about them.I think Thailand is gifted :)

  16. @Amrit Sinha:Thanks Amrit for such nice and kind words.Some places are so beautiful you can't escape talking about them.I think Thailand is gifted :)

  17. @The Tales Of A Traveler:Same here,first time when I was there,I thought that's so similar to Mumbai/Delhi especially the traffic jams.But as we explore,it is such a diverse and different place :).Which all places have you been to,any place not listed here?

  18. wow.. all pictures are very nice.. Bangkok is very famous country.. thanks for giving a good information about this.. i get a knowledge.. so i really impressed and enjoyed this site.. i really like this site and information also.. so thanks for sharing this site.. carry on..

  19. @Kavita:Thanks Kavita,I am really happy that you loved the site,and I hope that I give you more & more interesting content so that you can't stop reading/Yes,Bankok is awesome,you should definitely visit :)

  20. awesome blog.. great story.. this blog is very unique.. i really like this.. thanks for sharing..


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