Category Archives: Thailand

Merry Christmas from Kathmandu

I always wished for a white Christmas. Even though it is not snowing in Kathmandu, I am having a cold Christmas here in Kathmandu unlike in Australia where it is hot and muggy during Christmas.

So from a far far land called Kathmandu, Merry Christmas everyone. May the Christmas spirit keep you warm and full of joy this holiday season.

Kathmandu has changed a lot in the past decade. When I was growing up here, there was hardly any sign of Christmas seen in Kathmandu but these days every shopping mall is decorated with Christmas decorations and every shop has a Santa or mannequin dressed in a red. From the only Hindu country in the world Nepal has changed to be a multi religious secular country.

xmas in kathmandu

My Facebook is full of photos of people from Nepal celebrating Christmas eve and Christmas, It is nice to see globalisation (in every aspect) happening in Nepal as well.

utc xmas lights

I also got this picture from my boss; it is of my desk at work full of gifts for Christmas. It was really nice of her. I am eagerly waiting to go back and open them 🙂

Xmas

Talking about Christmas I couldn’t help but notice that Bangkok is adorned in fairy lights and Christmas decorations.

According to Wikipedia, 94.6% of Thais are Buddhists followed by 4.6%  Muslims which leave less than 1 percentage of Thai to be Christian. But if you are in Thailand, especially Bangkok, you will be forgiven if you think Thailand is a 100% Christian country. It looks like Thais love Christmas.  As soon as early November rolls around, every year, up go the Christmas trees, the Christmas lights and the Christmas decorations all over Bangkok. We saw Christmas decoration in every shopping mall, every department store, every shop and even many schools and offices decorated for Christmas. It’s actually quite wonderful if you’re a Christian living in Bangkok, as it’s hard to be depressed and miss your family when there’s Christmas cheer everywhere in Bangkok.

Here are some decoration from Siam Paragon, Central World Plaza, Amarin Plaza and other malls and walkway around Bangkok.

Christmas in Bangkok DSC09557 DSC09560 DSC09562 DSC09564 DSC09565 DSC09570 DSC09571 DSC09573 DSC09615-tile DSC09620 DSC09638 DSC09649 DSC09653 DSC09658 DSC09659 DSC09663 IMG_1089

From Sydney to Bangkok

The trip is going good so far. The flight to Sydney was 8 hours and 30 minutes and I rested well during the flight.

We got a window seat and the one next to it for our journey. When we checked in online the day before, we realised that the flight was quite full and we had someone next to us. We always wish to have a seat next to us empty so we can move freely but it had not happened for a while. So when the captain announced for the door to be closed, me and AS both were looking at each other delighted as there was no one next to us which meant that we got 3 seats to ourselves.

Sydney to Bangkok  (3)

As soon as we took off, we were served lunch. Most people complain about air plane food but I am OK with it. I know it is not great but they are not bad either. We choose to eat Thai chicken curry with rice.

Sydney to Bangkok  (4)

While having lunch, I watched the movie Bourne Legacy, which I had been thinking to watch for the while. Without Matt Demon, Bourne seems a bit weird but it was not bad.

When I finished the first movie, we still had almost 6 hours before landing. Even though we flew in the morning I was feeling very tired so I decided to sleep. Sometimes being small is an advantage as I could easily sleep on AS’s lap with my leg stretched over 2 seats. I couldn’t believe that I slept for almost 2 hours without waking up in between as it was really comfortable.

AS couldn’t sleep in the plane so he was still watching some movie when I woke up. After that I watched one more movie called Hope Spring. It was a bit slow but very educational for married people. I am glad it is too early for me and AS to be in that situation but I really hope we will be in better place in our relationship when we will be at that age married for more than 30 years. Do watch it when you get some time.

After the second movie it was only few hours before we were to land. We were served a light meal and it was noodles with prawn and some dessert. I really didn’t want to do anything else so I watched Just for Laughs for a while. I really love that show. Look at some of the great gags they have when you have time and I am sure it will make you laugh too.

Just behind our seats, there were 3 people travelling separately becoming fast friends. I know it is bad to eavesdrop but they were talking loudly so I could hear everything. One of the guy was 25, a woman 34 who is travelling international for the first time and an older man. It was nice to hear their conversation about each other and their travel plans :). They exchanged mobile numbers as well so they can hang out in Bangkok.

The flight was on time so we landed at 3pm Bangkok time. As soon as we came out of the gate, I could feel the Bangkok humidity. I was wearing my leggings and I was feeling really hot. I almost forgot how hot it was when we came here last time. Seriously even at that time, it was so hot that I had to run for the shade.

A bus took all of us to the terminal from the plane. From there we cleared immigration and took our bags were off to a taxi stand.

While waiting for our bags, I saw this sign at the Suvarnabhumi Airport which was very confusing for me. Would anyone voluntarily go via the red channel? Would you? 🙂

Sydney to Bangkok  (1)

It took almost an hour due to traffic for us to reach our hotel. We were booked at Chateau de Bangkok. We stayed at the same hotel last time and we loved it so we booked it again.

Once in the hotel, we checked in and were happy to rest for a few minutes before changing and going out to discover Bangkok all over again.

The room was nice and clean as I remembered from last time.

Sydney to Bangkok  (2)

I will post more from Bangkok and Kathmandu soon.

Loy Krathong in Parramatta

Sydney is so multicultural that every weekend there is some traditional celebration going on in different parks across the city. Two weeks ago we went to Parramasala and last weekend we were able to attend another amazing cultural event called Loy Krathong.

Loy Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. It is also called Thailand’s “festival of lights” and it is the time of year when the waters around the country come alive with candlelight and look not unlike a massive fairy ballrooms.

The history behind the festival is complex, and Thais celebrate for many reasons.  The main rice harvest season has ended and it’s time to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her abundant supply, as well as an apology for polluting the waters. Some believe that this is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the anger and grudges you have been holding onto, and including a fingernail or a lock of hair is seen as a way of letting go of the dark side of yourself, to start anew free of negative feelings. If your candle stays alight until your Krathong disappears out of sight, it means a year of good luck.

To celebrate this occasion, Sydney’s largest water festival, the Loy Krathong Festival, was held in Parramatta at the banks of the river by the same name. The festival attracted more than 12,000 people from Parramatta, Greater Western Sydney and Asian communities from all around Sydney.

The festival started at 5pm but we were there by 7 pm. By then, there were lots of people on both sides of the river.

We started our journey from the main stage where there was some dancing going on. We watched a few shows and then started to look around to find out what else was going on.

I was really drawn to the crowd where there were tables and chairs set up to make your own Krathong that you could put in the river later in the night.

There is no equivalent word in English for ‘krathong’. You may hear people referring to it as a small boat, vessel, receptacle or container. In the run up to the festival, many shops and market stalls will display ready-made Krathongs, or in parts so you can assemble and decorate as you wish. In the past, krathongs were made from natural materials – usually a section from a banana tree trunk, crafted into a lotus shape by using folded banana leaves, and these can still be found for sale around the main festival sites. More recently, Thais have become more creative in their craft and design the krathongs from coconut shells, flowers, baked bread, potato slices, some breaking with the conventional lotus leaf shape in favour of turtles and other sea creatures.

It was really fascinating to see kids and adults trying to make the Krathong. I joined the crowd and here are some of my photos AS took during the process. I really didn’t know what to do but I was happy to watch people and learn. It was fun and it took around 10 minutes to finish it.

I guess at the end it turned out great. What do you think? 🙂

From there we looked at the stalls and check out lots of traditional jewellery making, umbrella making, the art of painting umbrellas and masks, weaving, making a lotus lantern, as well as other stuffs where there were beautiful ladies in traditional dresses explaining what they were doing.

Then we moved on to the food stalls where there was a long queue. We did manage to get some curry puffs, spring rolls, taro spring rolls as well as duck salad and Thai green curry with rice.

With all this food we took a seat on the grass by the river and enjoyed the food and waited for the launching of Krathongs.

Once the official Krathongs were launched , I joined the queue and put mine into the water as well.

The river looked really beautiful with so many different designs and sizes of Krathongs floating on the water.

After that we went to the main stage where we watched Golden Lantern Dance, Candle Dance, Fighting Cock Dance as well as a Thai Puppet Show.  All of them were really interesting and fun.

After the show we went and crossed the bridge to go to the other side of the river where they had set up a Thai village as well as amusement rides for children.

At one corner there were fire dancers performing and there was also some free face painting going on. We also heard people singing Loy Karthongs songs in the competition.

Finally we finished the tour of all the stuffs and decided to sit at the top of a slotp on one side of the river and waited for the fireworks to start.

At 9.55, they started the fireworks and it went for more than 5 minutes. It was a really beautiful display. Finally we headed home after a good evening out.

Our Trip to Thailand Part II

This post is a continuation of my previous post Our Trip to Thailand Part I.

Krabi

Beautiful Krabi

We decided that we also need to do a trip to Krabi since AS’s cousin highly recommended it. As it was more remote that Phi Phi, she said it had even better view.

So we booked our trip through the hotel again. This trip cost us around AUD$80 p/p which also included island visit, snorkelling, lunch, afternoon tea and pick up/ drop off to our hotel.

 As on our previous tours, a van came to pick us up and then picked up a few other people on the way to the port. We were given a sticker and we introduced ourselves. This group was smaller than the one we went to Phi Phi with.

Karbi and Us

It took us more than an hour in the speed boat to reach Krabi but it was all worth it when I saw the magnificent view once we reached there. It was really quiet; only one other tour boat was there with us so I felt like we were in some remote part of the world, far away from civilization.

 We had time to relax and see the place while the lunch was getting ready. We went for a long walk .It was really nice to be with AS after being apart for so long. I got carried away and made a big heart in the sand and wrote A+ M. We had lunch and were off for snorkelling. It was great fun to swim so close to so many beautiful coloured fish.

After that it was a long ride back to the port and then to the hotel. Once we had shower and rested for a while we went for our pampering session. We had massage and I also had manicure and pedicure.  It was great to be able to relax at the end of the day.

 Bangkok

After our splendid stay in Pukhet we took a plane back to Bangkok. In Bangkok we were booked at Chateau de Bangkok. Once we were in the hotel, we were informed that they had upgraded us so we had 1 Bedroom Apartment which had a king-size bed and bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. It was really a great start on our

Our room service

Bangkok trip. That evening we were very tired so decided to order in and rest for our big trips ahead.

We ordered Thai style fried rice and Prawn dish. I loved the way they had our fried rice in pineapple then we enjoyed some movies.

The next morning we had booked a Bangkok City and Temple tour. It is a must if you are in Bangkok as it covers lots of sightseeing and is worth it. Luckily enough , we were alone on this trip so we had the guide to ourselves all the time.

Wat Traimit

First stop was visit to Wat Traimit, the temple with world’s largest solid gold Buddha, 5 1/2 tons of solid gold 3 meters  high Buddha . They charge entry fee but ours was paid by the tour guide. He explained the history behind the temple and took some photos for us. The Golden Buddha was cast sometime in the 13th century. On the way to the next stop we went around Chinatown.

Next stop was Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). This Buddha was 46 meters long and 15 meters high and it was almost impossible to take a shot of the whole statue in one shot. This Buddha holds the dual honour of having both Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha image and the most number of Buddha images in Thailand. It also had giant feet with mother-of-pearl soles.

Wat Pho

The guide explained to us there if we want to donate the money, we can buy the coins and put in the bowl around the Buddha. It will bring good luck to us so we did.

While we were leaving for our next stop, on the way we saw many colourful taxis. You can’t believe the colours like pink, purple, yellow, red, etc. The guide explained to us that the colour is company coordinated so people know which cab they are in.

Bangkok

The next stop was Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) which is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It had lots of holy buildings, statues, and pagodas. The Buddha itself was green in colour made out of a single piece of jade.

Then we went to Grand Palace which was built by King Rama VI. It has impressive interiors and big halls with lots of antique furniture.

While we were coming out from the palace, there was a guy with live snake around his neck offering photo opportunity with snake for small amount. AS and both were excited so we had our photo taken with the snake around our neck.

Bangkok Standing Buddha

Our next stop was Wat Benchamabophit (marble temple). It was really nice temple made out of Italian marbles. Our guide told us that the main statue of Lord Buddha sitting in the main hall was the copy of the famous “Phra Buddha Chinarat” in Pitsanulok province, north of Thailand.

Our last stop for the day was Wat Intharawihan (temple of Standing Buddha). The temple has tall standing buddha which is 32 metres tall. This temple also has a statue of Hindu god Brahma.

It was really long and informative day. We again ordered room service and enjoyed some movie.

Floating Market, River Koi and Kanchanaburi

Floating market

Next morning we had a trip book to Floating Market, River Koi and Kanchanaburi. We waited for our van to pick us up to go there early in the morning.

The van took us out of the city and we were in Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi Province, about 105 kms from Bangkok. As soon as we were in the canal area, I saw lots of floating boats some with tourists and some selling colourful souvenirs, fruits and other items. It is a traditional way of selling and buying in Thailand and really nice.

Loving the snake

We were asked to hop on to one of the boats and we had a guide who took us around the 32 km canal. We had some time to look around by our selves once we finished our boat journey. I ended up buying lots of souvenirs like floating boat, a tuk tuk, a hat and a beaded earring.

Then we were back in the van to our next stop River Koi. We headed to Kanchanaburi province. Once there we went to the war museum and there were lots of information about World War II.  Then we went to the bridge over the River Kwai which was built-in World War II.

There we had lunch and visited a few shops. I ended buying a few beautiful brooches.

Up close with the tiger

The last stop was Tiger Temple and it was the highlight of our trip. It is a Buddhist temple where there were many monks, lots of tigers and few other creatures.

For around a few hundred dollars, we were allowed to be up-close and personal with the tigers. It was really unique experience and I was a bit scared but then it was all good as there was a guide with us all the time. I patted the tiger and he didn’t eat me 🙂

Bangkok Taxi

We also saw a cub on the way back and we were allowed to take pictures and pat it. It was a really nice experience.

After coming back from holiday, I did some research about the place and I found lots of negative things . I am still confused on what to believe.

Also if you are going there make sure you wear a covered dress as they will not allow you in otherwise.

By the time we got back to Bangkok both of us were tired and ready for bed.

The next day we went shopping. There were so many shopping malls in Bangkok that you will be overwhelmed with choices. I end up buying a few shoes and so many dresses. AS also bought a few shorts, t-shirts and some other items. We also bought gifts for our family and friends.

I really wanted to shop more but we were meeting AS’s cousin that evening so we went to the hotel to pack up and check out from our hotel.

We met his cousin and his Thai wife. They were really nice and we spent the  last few days with them exploring the local markets and eating traditional Thai food. We also had opportunity to go to AIT (Asian Institute of Technology).

For more photos on Thailand please click here.

Our Trip to Thailand Part I

I had meant to write about my travel experience for a while so I am starting with the first one now. One of our first holidays together after our engagement was to Thailand. That time AS was working in India and I was in Sydney.We hadn’t seen each other for over 2 months so it was one of the best holidays we had.

Both of us flew to Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok and it was so good to see him after what seemed like forever. When I saw him at the airport, I screamed and ran toward him, I am sure onlookers thought I was a crazy chick.

There was a long queue for our flight to Pukhet . It looked like everyone was going there but I didn’t care less. I was just happy to be in AS’s arms again.

Pukhet

Yummy food

It was quite humid when we landed in Phuket. The cab driver told us, it had been raining for the last few weeks but had stopped that morning. I prayed there would be no rain during our stay there. We reached our hotel, The Sea Patong. I did a lot of research online for the hotel and found this with good reviews. It was a few minutes’ walk to the beach and perfect for the evening as there is no noise when you are trying to sleep.

When we reached the hotel, we were welcomed with complementary drinks and fruit platter.

Phuket was amazing. I had heard so much about this places that I felt I kind of knew it well even when it was my first visit there. My good friend SL is from Thailand so she had given us lots of tips on what to do and where to go while we were there.

We just walked along the beach and had lots of amazing food. Imagine you pay only $5 to have a lobster. Food was really cheap and they tasted great.

Sunset in Phuket

We went shopping and I was really surprised to find a Nepali speaking person almost in every shop. They were Burmese whose ancestors had gone there from Nepal and they wanted to be known as Gorkhali. That was one fact about Thailand that no one had told me about before. We were communicating in Nepali in many shops. We met lots of these Burmese Gorkhali and got discount as they said “Because you are Nepali I will give you at this price”. It was funny to hear that in Patong. We bought gifts for friends and family and many bags for me and some T-shirt for AS.

It seems like people awaken when the sun sets in Pukhet and the most happening place for nightlife is Bangla road in Patong. It is a long strip of road with nightclubs on both side of road. I am sure everyone who goes to Phuket goes there. We saw lots of tourists in the bars and nightclubs.

Patong

It is famous for its raunchy nightlife. I had heard lots of horror stories of people who picked girls in these clubs to realise they were transvestite or as Thai called them, Lady Boys. I think everyone will be confused because they are so beautiful and dressed in sexy outfits (Ooops).

Another good thing I discovered is Patong was the massages. For around AUD$25 you can choose from different types of massages like Thai massage or aromatherapy massage. We had it almost every night while we were there. It was great to lie down for these massages after a long day out.

Phi Phi

Our hotel organise a day trip for us to go to PhiPhi Island. The trip started at 7.45 am and included an island visit, snorkelling, lunch, afternoon tea and pick up/ drop off to the hotel.

We slept late the previous night so I was struggling to wake up in the morning. AS was already awake and had his shower. I quickly ran to the shower and got ready. Then we rushed to the rooftop of the hotel for our breakfast. We waited for the van to pick us up to go to the port where the boat was waiting for us to take us to Phi Phi.

Phi Phi

The van picked up a few more people on the way to Karon beach where we were briefed us on our day. We all were given a sticker so the guide knows that we belong to his group. Everyone introduced themselves and told from which country they were. There were three friends from Poland, a couple of from Perth, a couple from India on their honeymoon and a few other people.

We took a speedboat and were on our way. I sat next to AS and held his hand and looked one of the best views I’ve ever seen. At one point, my hat was almost blown away by the wind. After almost an hour’s ride the boat stopped for our first stop in Maya Bay Island.

Phi phi island

The view was really breath-taking and the water was crystal clear. The guide told us we had an hour there so we took a few photos and snorkeled for a while. It was just beautiful. The beach was full of tourists but the environment was very happy. Everyone was relaxed and taking photos or swimming or lying on the beach getting tanned.

It was time for us to get on the boat again and this time it was a short trip to Koh Phi Phi. This is the island where the famous movie The Beach was filmed.

As soon as I got to the beach, I saw lots of monkeys around. I am really scared of monkeys so I didn’t dare to go close but AS was running behind the monkeys taking their photos.

The place was just divine and the day was perfect. The guide informed us that we will have our lunch there and then we can go out and explore the place.

Loving the beach

We went to this small restaurant where the table was set for our lunch. It was Thai lunch with chicken curry, seafood, vegetable and rice. We love Thai food so I and AS were happy with the food. Some of the other people were complaining about the food. The last serve was a platter of tropical fruits. There were some girls selling ice-cream so I ordered vanilla ice-cream with mango topping and AS ordered chocolate ice-cream with chocolate topping.

I feel when you travel you need to have an open mind and enjoy the local cuisine. That is how you learn more about the food, the place and the people. I have always found Thai people to be friend and very helpful. The whole time we were there we never had any problem with people or food.

After the lunch we walked around and took some more photos. As we were informed earlier, they would take us to the middle of the ocean to snorkel again, we decided to just walk on the beach and play with the water. I could live there forever. It was just natural beauty will clear water; I couldn’t get enough.

snorkel

Then it was time for us to go back to our boat.. We had another short trip in the boat to the next stop where the boat stopped in the middle of the ocean. Both of us thought it was wise to wear life jackets before going into the water. The water was perfect and the guide threw some food on the water and we could see so many colourful fish swimming towards us. We were near the reef so the floor of the ocean was just below us. We loved what we could see there. Just the wonder of nature in the sea.

By the time we were ready to go back we were very tired. They gave us some juice and fruits and we were on our way back to the shore. It felt like a very long time to reach the shore but we just cuddled and enjoyed the view.

The van was waiting for us to drop us off at our hotel and hot shower there was felt beautiful on my skin after a wonderful trip.

 The post seems like it is going too long so I will make this Part I and leave rest for Part II