Trip to Thailandia
Like all my travels, the trip to Thailanda was totally unexpected. On November 12th I left from Fiumicino to Bangkok with a stopover in Istanbul. Broken from Turkey, I slept until just before landing in Bangkok. After landing, and after immigration I tried to understand how much I had to negotiate the price for a taxi that would take me to the hotel. Decided the price with a taximan, I left for Bangkok. For me it was the first time in a city like that, I left my nose stuck to the window all the way, curious to see the skyscrapers and buildings marked by small little windows colored clothes hanging out to dry.
Entered the city I could not but admire those Asian faces that passed near the car. The traffic was intense and the taxi took us half an hour to arrive at the hotel. I arrived, I checked in, and they accompanied me to the room, told me that if I wanted I could change it, curious I decided to see the other and when I entered I was amazed at least 100sqm, laughing between me and me of course I decided to go back to the previous one. I went into the elevator and not being used to all those floors, I did not remember what floor was the first room, so I made all the plans without finding it, I gave up and went back to the lobby. Not believing what was happening I explained the incident to the receptionist and told me to wait. I waited half an hour and a gentleman arrived who retrieved my suitcase and told me to follow him, arrived I believe on the 15th floor and arrived in front of the door, the key did not fit in the slot, the room was occupied! Needless to say that I laughed again, the mortified gentleman brought me to the end at the nth fortunately free room. Finally I sat on the bed tired, I relaxed a bit ‘and looked out the window, a vastness of skyscrapers surrounded me, I was absolutely not used to it. I decided to throw myself in the shower; I made to undress but the bathroom was in the windows and the bathtub overlooked the other skyscrapers, uncertain about who would see those small windows. He could understand that to close the curtains I would have to use a remote control and finally took a shower, I changed and decided to go out for dinner, but my organic timetable was still in Italy, I was not hungry so I decided to go to the top floor of the hotel to get a cocktail.
The view was beautiful, clear, clear, from there on finally you could avoid breathing smog mixed with the smells of what the Thai cook in the street. I relaxed and drank a fresh cocktail to recover from the heat, and after about half an hour I went in search of a restaurant. It was very late and to orient myself I took a while, I was absolutely not used to a city like Bangkok, where to take the metro you have to go up the stairs, and where you have to cross an iron bridge to cross. After 10 minutes I found a beautiful Thai restaurant, which however was full. Instead of waiting, I left and while I was walking I asked for information for another restaurant in the area, and so I arrived at an open-air restaurant with beautiful palm trees in the center and live music. They made me sit down, I ordered a cold beer and the padthai, a dish of Thai cuisine based on stir-fried rice paste with various foods, the most common dish in Thailand and includes elements characteristic of both Thai and Chinese cuisine. I chose it with fish and I liked it a lot. The evening was very pleasant, but I started to feel tired and after listening to some live music I started to move towards the hotel. The humidity forced me to take another shower and as soon as I touched the bed I collapsed.
The next morning, after breakfast, I decided to look for a sim, to have a data connection; they pointed to a minimarket and took the sim. I went out from there to walk, but I lost all the points of reference I had taken and I lost, as usual. I found myself wandering around the streets full of Thai men and women who were cooking in the street, and beautiful children who, as soon as they saw me, stopped to look at me with a veil of shyness and a pinch of curiosity. I stayed for about an hour walking without knowing where I was, but at one point, in a corner of the street, a gentleman greeted me who asked me if I had lost, I answered yes but that I was not really not worried, she understood that I was European and seeing a little tired she told me that there were starbuks behind her and that I could sit down and have a coffee and some water because it was very hot, and so I did.
He came out of the bar and that gentleman made me find a tuc tuc ready to roam around the city, something inside me made me think he wanted to cheat me asking for more money and instead for an hour and a half he asked me only 30 bht. You say that there in Bangkok, there are tailors with beautiful fabrics that make clothes in a day or two, so I asked the driver to take me to one of these stores, as soon as I entered this store staff was very kind and they told me to follow them to take the measures, not knowing what I wanted, the tailor pulled out of the magazines and opted for a shirt that the next day they delivered to the hotel.
The tour went on to a spa, I was curious to try the Thai massage which is called “nuad phaen borarn” and in Thai, it literally means to heal, I pay and follow a very nice Thai girl who took my shoes off and started making a foot massage, after 15 minutes he followed her into another room, made me change and began the massage from the legs, unfortunately he could not relax first because it is not allowed the use of oils and then because in the execution of the massage the masseur uses different parts of his body (hands, thumbs and remaining fingers, palms, elbows, forearms, feet, heels, knees, …) and performs various “manipulations” (compressions, extensions, twists, stretching, kneading, hand taps) joints on the back, shaking, snapping, lifting, blocking the body and limbs of the massaged with the hands, with the feet and the knees of the masseur, “cammi born “with the heels and the hollow of the feet on the back of the massage), needless to say that my bones crackled for the whole hour and a half of session. He left the center that felt more tired than before, but before returning to the hotel the driver took me to a ‘tourist office to book an excursion that I would have done the following Thursday, I returned to the hotel around 15 pm and decided to take advantage the hotel pool to cool off and rest.
Before dinner he managed and I could hardly find a taxi, but after many negotiations he managed to find a driver who took me to Lebua at State Tower, I was very curious to see Sirocco, or the place where a hangover scene took place, which until some time ago it was the highest bar in the world. I arrived but to take the elevator I had to line up there were at least 30 people ahead of me, we divided into 2 groups and after about 5 minutes they also let my group go up; I was amazed by the number of floors present and at one point felt a pressure to the ears, I turned and arrived at the 64 floor, the last. The doors opened and beautiful girls with traditional Thai clothes bowed and welcomed us; I was amazed by the elegance of the place, they made their way to the most beautiful terrace I had ever seen in my life. On the left, up there was a group that played live lounge music, and ahead of me I had a staircase to reach the skybar, circular, I stood a little in line to hang a cocktail, and I tried with a little ‘ I had difficulty in looking out to see the sight, fortunately 3 gentlemen were kind and made room for me; I looked ready to capture the spectacular panorama. (I immediately got acquainted with the other visitors, who kindly gave me the place speaking in English, but after some comments on the view, the classic question came: “Where are you from?” And we discovered that we were all Italians, obviously the situation made us smile .)
Temples of bangkok
The following morning, after breakfast, I reached the BTS line of the Sky Train and headed to the Saphan Taksin stop on the BTS Silom line (this is the stop on the BTS map that also has water in the drawing). Get off at the Saphan Taksin stop, go out in the direction of the river (where everyone comes down, you will not be alone) and go to the dock, do not stop at the first quay, which is where tourists rub for him to buy the 150 ba touristic boat ticket, but take the first boat (orange flag on the ship) that goes to the right, which will cost 20 baht. They pass every 20 minutes or so. I arrived at pier number 8 and immediately just off the dock there will be a row of people to buy the ticket (3 baht) for the boat that takes you to the opposite side of the river, where there is Wat Arun. I went so early that there was only me on the boat and you have no idea how much I enjoyed it. Every temple in Thailand has something that makes it unique and unmissable, that’s why when you pass in front of an entrance you feel the strong attraction to come and visit it, even just to find for a few moments that inner peace that these places are able to transmit you, and that’s why you should not miss visiting the Wat Arun in Bangkok. Majestically erected on the right bank of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is one of the most sensational religious buildings that I have visited, its location in the populous district of Thonburi also makes it a popular place for worshipers.
Moreover, as in all of Siam, the admission price is very low and therefore allows even the tourist with a smaller budget to be able to visit it, even if honestly the thrill of walking among its tall spiers is something that is priceless. The most striking structures of the Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahavihara, this is its original full name, they are absolutely the prangs, or the high Khmer-style spiers that soar towards the sky.The central spire, the most imposing, has undergone numerous enlargements throughout history, its original version measuring 16 meters and was expanded during the reign of Rama and completed during the reign of Rama III reaching today’s height of 81 meters.On the four sides there are as many steep stairways that allow you to climb and reach the three levels of balconies, during the climb the white stucco of Wat Arun will transport you on a cloud, turning your gaze you will be amazed by the multicolored reflections of the Chinese ceramics that are embedded.
At the first balcony you will find a series of caryatids depicting the protective gods Yaksa while, above them, are depicted scenes of the life of the Buddha interspersed with the always photographed statues of the Kinnara, statues from the body half of man and matà of bird.In the second terrace you will notice instead that the caryatids are monkeys, frequent in Thai culture these animals are present in the epic Ramakien, and they are combined with other Kinnara.The third terrace, actually very small, houses four niches containing four statues of the god Indra, a warrior deity of the Hindu religion, straddling the mythological three-headed Erawan elephant.From this level you can enjoy a 360 ° view on Thonburi on one side and on Chao Phraya and the rest of Bangkok on the other, we are in fact higher than the minor prangs that become characteristic accessories to the city landscape.The central pinnacle, entirely decorated with ceramics, ends with a nine-pointed trident on top which seems to represent a Siamese version of the weapon of Shiva.
Walking through the Wat Arun After enjoying the beauty of the Wat Arun from above, because I am sure it is impossible not to get up immediately, it is time to take a stroll to its base, in the courtyard on which arise the other four minor prangs located at the four corners of the main one.These pinnacles are decorated in a similar way to the central one, embellished with mosaics of ceramics and shells, ‘cineserie’ gaudy much in vogue at the time of Rama III, in the niche of the four prang stands the statue of the god of winds Phra Phai on horseback.To the north is the main hall of the temple, the Hall of Ordination, which dates back to the reign of Rama II and contains the statue of the Buddha that tradition has been built by the king himself.As always, the frescoes of these places manage to steal my heart, the walls depict scenes of the lives of the Buddha and I would spend hours observing the numerous seated statues of the Buddha, which follow each other in the cloister around this pavilion.High and strict Yak, guardian spirits, guard the entrance, bewitching in the beauty of their decorations of stuccos and pottery painted in china, these mythological figures have always attracted my attention, in their grandeur and in their often monstrous expressions shines the greatness of the culture and tradition of this people.
Several other buildings are located along the perimeter of the courtyard, minor temples dating back to different eras where you can admire objects from the kingdoms of the past, what you certainly can not avoid will look up every time you cross the courtyard to observe the shining orange and green ceramic tiles covering the roofs.Practical adviceThe first advice I can give you is absolutely to reach Wat Arun using the canals, water transport simplifies the connections in this part of Bangkok and for those visiting the city for the first time the same transfer between a stop and the other offers landscapes and emotions that make the visit unique.The side of the temple that turns to the river has many pavilions that serve as berths and allow you to easily reach the site, the cost of the ticket to surf is also very cheap, being a public transport this on the river costs more or less as the Metro .
Premising that, in my opinion, the Wat Arun is so beautiful that it can be visited at any time of day, if you really want to see it shine you could go and visit it in the morning, the Temple of Dawn, as it is called, is cloaked in splendor with the colors that the first lights of the morning can give him.Regardless of when and how you decide to go to Wat Arun you are sure that you will be fascinated, its history and its optimal position make it one of the most evocative monuments in all of Bangkok. (wat phraa)
The day after the alarm rang at 5 because at 6 came to get the driver, along with other tourists like me who decided that day to go to the Floating Market in Damnoen Saduak. It is not for me, to book a typically tourist excursion, but having only another day available I would not have had enough time to organize myself; I was also very lucky because that day, I made friends with a very nice American couple. During the trip, my curiosity made me keep my nose stuck to the window without ever detaching me, I tried to capture with my eyes all I could, typical corners of the city and faces of children, women and men during their daily life. After about 2 hours we arrived at the district of Damnoen Saduak in the province of Ratchaburi about 100 km southeast of Bangkok, in central Thailand. Arrived at the destination my eyes immediately settled on the many wooden boats that distinguish the floating market. The canal, of 32 km, was built in 1866 by King Rama IV with the purpose of connecting the rivers Mae Klong and Tha Chin, thus creating many floating markets along its course and in the new secondary canals excavated by the population. The main market was inaugurated in the early twentieth century and called Lad Plee.
The Tourism Organization of Thailand (TAT) transformed the Lad Plee market into a tourist attraction with vendors both in the boats and in the shops on the banks of the canals. In 1981 a new link to the Ton Khem channel was built, and new retailers created the modern market along this new channel. They made us wait to start the excursion, so I took the opportunity to see what was around us, shortly after the guide called me and beckoned me to join them because the boats were ready; we went up and in front of me the American couple sat down. The boat began to move away and took speed so as to explore the fascinating Thai atmosphere to learn about the traditional way in which you sell and buy fruit, vegetables and other goods, in a series of succession of narrow and winding canals. The sellers normally wear traditional Thai costumes, with the blue mo hom shirt and the ngob straw hat to protect themselves from the sun’s rays. They roam the canals on small wooden boats called sampan to sell their products that come directly from the neighboring farms.
Being a solitary traveler, I took information, happy to share it with my colleagues and solitary colleagues. this excursion is possible to do without paying an agency but arriving directly to Damnoen from Bangkok by bus, once you arrive at the entrance, you contract the price with a boatman and with about 100bht you can visit the channels less off the usual paths . After the tour, they left us at the market to take a break, and buy souvenirs, which I do not recommend because the prices are very high, in fact we decided to leave the market to venture among the stilt houses, obviously losing ourselves in the vegetation, walking on wooden shovels not very stable. On that occasion the American couple and I took the opportunity to get to know each other better and immediately linked, we walked for the whole time we had available, so that the girl and I bought an equal bracelet to remind us of that wonderful day together. After our break, we returned to the bus, each heading to our hotel.
I went back to the hotel very tired, but after I got back I decided to buy a ticket the next day for Phuket. The following day, having booked the flight in the afternoon, in the morning I decided to go, in one of the most important covered markets in the whole of Asia. As a good lover of traditional markets, I could not wait to visit the place where you sell everything you can buy, from sneakers to fried fish to pets. Between big and small stores are almost 10,000 (!!!) and it seems that every weekend the Chatuchak market attracts almost 200,000 shoppers. I arrived in front of the main entrance to the labyrinthine market and it took a moment to lose the sense of orientation and no longer understand where we are, and it is obviously what happened to me. Finally before my departure, negotiating the price, I found all the little thoughts for my friends. (I went back to the hotel just in time to have my lunch closed, and the taxi picked me up at about 15 to take me to the airport; He left with an internal flight of Air Asia to Phuket, and even 2 hours later I arrived on the largest island of Thailand, located on the Andaman Sea, near the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. The ancient name with which Phuket was known is the Malay Ujang Salang, in which ujang means head (previously it was a peninsula) and Salang could refer to the name that Malaysians gave to the moken, the so-called sea gypsies present in Phuket from antiquities. The Portuguese who arrived in the 16th century crippled this name in Junk Ceylon. I arrived in Phuket, which was almost dinner time, got on the first taxi and headed for Patong, which I simply used as a base for organizing day trips.After I changed, went out and found a lady who organized excursions, despite the time he managed to organize me for the morning after the excursion to Similand Island I chose these because, are now famous in the world, nine inhabited islands make up one of the most beautiful scenery Thailand. The Similan Islands can be visited from the end of October to the beginning of May, after which the park closes to visitors. The color of the sea in these parts is real emotion, sand, seabed and sky merge to give a truly wild and unique environment.
The Similan Islands are very easy to visit. Located just 50 kilometers from the coast of Khao Lak and just over 100 from Phuket – the Similan Islands lend themselves to be visited with day trips or two. There are no roads or shops in the Similan, except a bar, the ranger stations and, for overnight tourists, some tents and some rented bungalows and two boats in the harbor where to sleep.Later, quiet for organizing everything, I rented a scooter () and went looking for a place to eat; I arrived along the road that skirts the sea to the left and to the right different kinds of places and I stopped intrigued by a pub, because in the middle of it I saw boys who surfed, I stopped I took only a beer, because to eat it was too late and I I enjoyed the spectacle of these slightly shining young men who were trying to challenge each other, about who was left behind on the artificial wave.
I did not stay there, I took the scooter and started looking for a place to eat, it was full of people and moving with speed was not easy. Eventually I found a small typical Thai restaurant and ate my usual padthai.The next day the alarm was at 5 and the guide arrived to pick me up at 6, after about 2 hours we arrived at the port, waiting for a rich breakfast and several guides who equipped about ten boats to reach the Similans. We climbed on the boat, we took a seat, (I obviously put myself forward to enjoy the show) and to each of us, who were 12, gave us a mask, fins and snorkel to snorkel.
We arrived at the first island after almost an hour and the view was absolutely enchanting, a landscape characterized by scenic and imposing limestone cliffs surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, the water was transparent, the islet was nothing short of amazing, not as soon as we stopped, I threw myself without wasting time, and what I found on the bottom was amazing.
The spectacular diving at the Similan Islands. From Fantasy Rocks, to Ko Payu and Hin Pousar, sea anemones, soft and colorful corals and incredible marine fauna ranging from tiny multiform creatures to whale sharks. Each of the nine islands in the archipelago has excellent diving spots. Snorkel experiences can be done at many points of Ko Miang. We stopped in all the islands for snorkelling, up to the Known, and unquestionably appreciated by divers all over the world for its magnificent coral reef, the Similan Islands National Marine Park, an exhilarating set of granite islands bathed by an incredibly crystalline sea, surmounted by bright rain forests and surrounded by a frame of soft white sand. Located about seventy kilometers off the coast in the Andaman Sea, Khao Lak is the ideal base for this fantastic destination.
Two of the nine islands that make up this small archipelago, Ko Miang and Ko Similan, are home to exotic beach resorts, two rangersthailandian stations and a base for the main island excursions. The Similan offer excellent diving experiences at every level, from a relaxing snorkeling only two meters deep to more challenging and exciting diving in depths of thirty meters. In the rainforest that surrounds the Park’s headquarters on the island of Ko Miang, it is also possible to venture on some trekking routes to admire the glorious wild life of the terrestrial fauna. From the 39 flamboyant species of birds to the extravagant crabs and squirrels known as flying foxes, it will not be hard for the traveler to feel around him that energy, that atmosphere and that stupor, which only a pristine and wonderfully exotic place is in. able to let us try.
At Ko Miang we stopped a lot more to have lunch and to enjoy the beach, finally I could walk barefoot and take all the energy that the nature of that place could offer. On the way back he could not rest and the only one I did was enjoy the sight of those beautiful islands again.I went back to the hotel, I rested and the more I went around Patong, I had dinner and ended up watching the Rome game until 3 am. The next morning was the last there in Patong, and the only thing I wanted to do was to go around the surrounding areas, getting lost in Thai everyday life and so I did.