Tag Archives: Thailand

Our Story : Visa process and long wait – Part 22

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

I was really sad when our holiday to Thailand came to an end. We had had an amazing time together and it was so much fun spending every second together doing things we loved.

The last day, at the hotel, we were busy packing. I couldn’t believe that I had come with an empty suitcase and now there were so many stuffs that AS was having a hard time trying to fit all of them in. It was probably a good we were busy otherwise I would have become too emotional and the impending separation would have been harder.

We took a cab to the airport and checked in. Luckily, we didn’t have any problems with my luggage even though it was 8 kg over the limit. My flight was departing first so we went to the gate where my flight was.

I tried my best not to cry and make him feel sad. We just talked and he promised that we will keep in touch like before and finally he would be with me in Sydney soon. I knew it is not too long in the future but at the same time those few months before he would be in Sydney were going to be hard ones.

With a heavy heart I bid good-bye to AS and went through the gate to board my plane. That last hug lasted longer than intended and both of us were wordless for a while. I really didn’t want to let him go but they were announcing the last call so I had to board the plane.

I looked at him for the last time before entering the plane. It was really hard. Harder than before, because now I had a taste of our life together and thinking it may not happen again soon was killing me. Nevertheless, I had to go back to Sydney and him to his job.

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I really can’t remember the first half of the flight because I had millions of things in my mind. As soon as it was allowed, I opened my laptop and looked at the lovely photos we had taken in Thailand. It felt like a dream and I had woken up all alone again.

Back in Sydney, life resumed as normal. I missed him a lot and we talked or sent messages every day and Skyped as much as possible. We spent several hours talking about our lovely holiday in Thailand and planned more holidays for the future.

All I wanted at that stage was for him to be next to me.

At his end, he was preparing papers for the visa. Some of the documents were taking longer than expected delaying the whole process. Eventually everything was done, visa lodged, and everything was out of our hands. We had heard some people had their visa in weeks and some had gone for months and even years. Therefore, we didn’t know what to expect for ours.

I knew in my heart it was not going to be years but at the same time I knew he wouldn’t be in Australia tomorrow. AS used to make light of our situation asking me to enjoy my single life as much as possible before he arrives and controls my life. I definitely preferred that option than what I was in at that time.

I was back at my job and it was good because that kept me busy and gave me less alone time. Otherwise, I might have gone crazy thinking about our situation. I really don’t know how people handle long distance relationships for long periods of time. For us it was not so long and still I was losing my mind. I especially salute the family of soldiers who are posted away from them months on end; on top that they are always worried about their loved getting hurt or worse.

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I kept reminding myself that we were lucky and things had worked out so well for us so far. Rest of the things would be OK as well.

But then I had the days when I was down and I feel bad thinking now that I had unreasonable fights with AS during that period. I knew in my heart he didn’t have any control and he was doing his best but still I had to take my frustration out on someone and he ended up being at the receiving end. Poor AS.

I have to give most of the credit to AS for our long distance relationship’s survival. He was so patient and listened to me no matter what mood I was in. On my bad days, he just tried to show me the light at the end of the tunnel and on good days, he laughed with me. No wonder I love him so much and I feel blessed to know he is in my life. He is one of the greatest blessings from God, and his love is a gift that I open every day anew.

A few months went by just like that. There were definitely some difficulties at that time but we were still surviving with a big hope of being together soon.

Then one evening he called me. I was surprise that he called me as we didn’t have a plan to Skype that day. I was still at work and he had some other things planned but I was so happy to receive a call.

Me: Hello, baby. How are you?

AS: I am good. Are you Ok?

Me: Of course why? I am at work and will be finishing in a few hours. Can’t wait to go home and talk to you.

AS: I know baby. I was thinking of you so decided to call you.

Me: Ohoo so sweet and thank you baby.

AS: By the way I got an email from the immigration department.

Me: AND???!!!

AS: And that’s it.

Me: Come on. That it WHAT???

AS: And they said that I can go to you whenever I want.

I screamed when he told me that forgetting there were people around. I was so happy.

Me: Ohoo that’s such a good news and I am so happy. Did you call home?

AS: I will soon. Just wanted to tell you first.

Me: I am so, so happy baby. Now no more late night Skype and phone calls. Can’t wait for you to be here and hold me.

As: I know and I feel the same. Anyway, go back to work and I will talk to you tonight.

Me: OK love.

When you receive a good news that you have been waiting for, for a while you are thankful and relieved. That was exactly what my reaction was when he told me, relived and thankful. I was so happy thinking he would get here soon and then I would actually see him at the airport–in real life 3D and not Skype; that would be one of the best days of our life. Finally my prayers had been answered and he was going to be here.

Of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy. Otherwise, our life would have been boring.

Stay tuned for the next post.

Take care ,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Go to Part 23

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Our Story : Enjoying holiday – Part 21

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

We took a few more tours while we were in Bangkok and they were quite interesting.

Floating Market

I had heard a lot about the floating markets in Thailand so we planned to see it. Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets is a prime tourist attraction that not too far from Bangkok.

We were picked up from the hotel in a van and driven 100 km southwest of Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak. 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.

The floating markets of Thailand is a great place to view colourful boats with vendors selling fruits, vegetables and other delicious goods. It’s a great place to also see a traditional way of buying and selling goods of the Thais.

The best things about these markets are the food stalls. There is no Thai dish you cannot find here. The hardest decision is narrowing down your choice to one or two. Squashed in amongst the food and tables lining the canals are handicrafts, plants and clothing stores too.

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We were asked to hop into one of the boats and we had a guide who took us around the 32 km canal. Sitting on a wooden long tail boat, we ventured out to the floating market. It was fun passing through narrow canal lanes and underneath bridges. It was a really fun way of seeing the market.

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Once we were back where we had started, we had some time to look around by ourselves. I ended up buying lots of souvenirs like a floating boat, a tuk tuk, a hat and a beaded earring.

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River Kwai and The Jeath War Museum

The next stop for us was in Kanchanaburi province where we went and visited the war museum and the river Kwai.

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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.

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The JEATH War Museum is situated on the junction of the Rivers Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi, right on top of the old rail tracks. The name is an acronym recognising the primary nationalities of those involved in the construction of the Death Railway; Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland. To the locals it is known simply as the Wat Tai War Museum.

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The museum is divided into several sections. While the main path through the exhibitions charts Thailand’s involvement in the Pacific War (from the first invasion through to the destruction of the bridge, and finally Japan’s retreat accompanied by the release of prisoners), other areas offer a range of different perspectives on the region.

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One room focuses on the prehistoric evolution of the area, while another charts the annual winners of the Miss Thailand competition. There seem to be Buddhist shrines tucked away into every empty corner, and there isn’t an inch of wall space that hasn’t been written on. Some of it in Thai, other passages in French, English or German, and these verses range from military history through to religious philosophy. To read them all would have taken a day at least.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the museum however, are the wooden effigies used to depict the suffering of Allied POWs. Carved in a similar style to those that appear in Thailand’s numerous Buddhist Hell Gardens, these often crude figures show naked men engaged in hard labour, being tortured, or lying dead and bloody at the bottom of rivers.

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The intention is to shock… but also to bring home the very real pain and suffering which prisoners were subjected to. Towards the end of the museum, a courtyard is walled in with mounted figures of WWII’s military leaders: Churchill and De Gaulle; Mussolini and Hitler; Japanese Generals Tōjō and Yamashita; Joseph Stalin and General Douglas MacArthur. On an adjacent wall, written in both Thai and English, hangs a sign which reads, “War is sinful behaviour”.

Perhaps the most poignant feature at the JEATH War Museum however, is the broken wooden structure which protrudes from the riverbank beneath an observation platform. This is all that now remains of the former bridge, and is a stark reminder of the tragedy that befell here; in 1945 both the Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Force mounted bombing raids on the bridge, but after both attacks it was repaired using prisoner labour.

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Finally, on 24th June 1945, an RAF squadron was ordered to halt the Japanese movement into Burma at any cost. Fearing defeat, the Japanese filled the bridge with as many Allied prisoners as they could fit, in a hope to deter the bombers. It failed however, and when the bridge was finally put out of action, its destruction came at a cost of many Allied lives.

Kanchanaburi’s ‘Tiger Temple’

The last stop of the day was the 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.

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Almost a decade ago, monks started to look after tiger cubs whose mothers had allegedly been killed by poachers. With the outbreak of tiger-euphoria, tourists reported enthusiastically how the monks of this remote temple devotedly cared for the animals. Initially there were just a few young tigers – joined by freely roaming deer and other small mammal species. Therefore, it all started as a neat little temple zoo with lovely deer, orphaned tiger cubs and monks as keepers.

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For around fifty dollars each, we were allowed to be up-close and personal with the tigers. This was 600 Bhat admissions and 1000 Bhat for photo with the tigers. It was a 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 🙂

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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.

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

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Also if you are going there make sure you wear a covered dress as they will not allow you in otherwise as they have a dress code for both men and women.

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

For the next few days in Bangkok, we met AS’s cousin and went shopping. I was feeling sad already as I knew we were going to different places once the holiday was over.

More on that in the next post. Till then take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Go to Part 22

Our Story – Sawadeeka Bangkok – Part 20

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

As you can read from my post, we had a great time while were in Phuket. It was all about enjoying ourselves and enjoying each other’s company. We loved the place, the people and the food. The massages and shopping made our holiday even better. But as every other good thing in the world, it was time for us to bid farewell to Phuket so we caught a plane to Bangkok.

When we arrived in Bangkok and I could feel that it was so hot and humid. It was a quick dash to pick up our luggage and then a cab to our hotel.

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The hotel, Chateau de Bangkok seemed like a nice big hotel. We always research a lot about the hotel before we book it and so far we have been happy with the result.

We were greeted with fresh orange juice when we arrived. Lucky for us, they upgraded our room to a suite so it offered a master bedroom with king-sized bed, plus a large lounge, fully fitted kitchen and spacious marble-clad bathroom with Jacuzzi. We felt happy and it was really a great start to our Bangkok trip.

That evening we were very tired so staying in seemed liked a great idea so we decided to order in and rest for our big trips ahead.

We ordered Thai style fried rice and a prawn dish. I loved the way they had our fried rice in a pineapple. Then we enjoyed some movies and also planned what we wanted to do for rest of our days in Bangkok.

The next morning, we woke up, showered and finished our breakfast before 8am. We had booked a Bangkok City and Temple tour so the guy came to pick us with a van and when we got on the van he informed us that we were only two people taking the tour that day. We both smiled as it was going to be a private tour for us and we loved it.

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 an entry fee but ours was paid by the tour guide. He explained the history behind the temple.

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The Buddha status is made from pure gold and the statue is said to be worth millions of dollars at today’s gold prices. The Golden Buddha was cast sometime in the 13th century, and it survived until now because it was covered in plaster to hide it from thieves. It was discovered by accident when it was accidentally dropped as it was being moved, revealing, under a casing of plaster, a beautiful solid gold Sukhothai style Buddha. Pieces of the plaster are still kept on display at the museum.

On the way to the next stop we went around Chinatown and I was so amazed to see that Chinatown looked similar everywhere in the world. The place looked so much like the one I had seen in Malaysia.

Wat Pho

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 photo 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, 3 meters high and 4.5 meters long with mother-of-pearl soles.

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The Reclining Buddha was built during the mid-19th-century and is brick covered with layers of plaster and gold.

On our way out to walk around the complex, we passed a long line of bowls into which people were dropping coins.

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The guide explained to us that there are 108 bronze bowls (symbolizing the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha) and people drop coins in the bowls for good fortune and to help the monk maintain the wat. We also did our bit and it was fun 🙂

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By the time we finished this tour me and AS both were exhausted because of the humidity. The guide gave us a bottle of water to drink.

Live snake experience

While we were coming out from the King’s palace, there was a guy with a live snake around his neck offering photo opportunity with the snake for small amount. We both were excited and decided to give it a go.

Loving the snake

Loving the snake

I had done something similar in Malaysia before so I was not scared at all so we had our photo taken with the snake around our neck.

Wat Benchamabophit 

From, Wat Phra Kaew, we went to Wat Benchamabophit (marble temple). Wat Benchamabophit is a royal monastery belonging to the first class ranking of Rajavaravihara made out of Italian marbles. Our guide told us that the main statue of Lord Buddha sitting in the main hall was a copy of the famous “Phra Buddha Chinarat” in Pitsanulok province, north of Thailand.

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The temple is a prime example of modern Thai architecture. It is a four-sided structure with four-tiered roof and a corridor in the back.

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Wat Intharawihan 

Our last stop for the day was Wat Intharawihan (temple of Standing Buddha). The main features of this temple is a 32-metre high, 10-meter wide standing Buddha referred to as Luang Pho To or “Phra Si Ariyamettrai” (Maitreya).

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It took over 60 years to complete and is decorated in glass mosaics and 24-carat gold. The topknot of the Buddha image contains a relic of Lord Buddha brought from Sri Lanka.

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This temple also has a statue of the Hindu god Brahma.

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I was really fascinated by our tour of the temple that day. I can imagine now what tourists who visit Kathmandu feel like. They say Kathmandu is a city of temples and each temple is different from others.

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That was one of the many days we spent in Bangkok. Then there was my favourite thing to do in Bangkok and yap you guess it right, it is shopping.

Shopping

We caught a taxi to go to different shopping malls and markets every day. There are so many colourful taxis in Bangkok, you can easily have fun in traffic as well. You can’t believe some of the colours like baby pink, purple, yellow, red, bright green, bright yellow etc. They told to us that the colour is company coordinated so people know which cab they are in.

I knew by that time AS was shocked by the way I shopped in Phuket. So I decided that I would slow down a bit. We were still in the stage where we were getting to know each other better and definitely, I did not want to scare him 😉

Bangkok  is sometimes referred to as a “shopaholic’s paradise” so there was so little I could do to hide my excitement. There are variety of malls, markets, and everything in between and some of the best deals are even found late into the evening at trendy night-bazaars.

Just for this reason I took an empty suitcase from Sydney. We went to MBK Shopping Center, Siam Paragon, Pratunaum Market and many more. Every evening we came home with heaps of bags full of dresses shoes, bags, accessories. I used to weigh my suitcase every night to make sure I hadn’t gone over the limit. By the last day I was over 10kg of my allowed limit. This whole time AS did some shopping but was really happy for me to buy stuffs and he was getting used to my habit. 🙂

Spending time with AS was so much fun but our holiday was almost coming to the end. I will write what happened next in my next post. Till then take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Go to part 21

Our Story : Phi Phi and Krabi – Part 19

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

Every moment I spent with AS was so precious and both of us were so happy together. I didn’t want to think about anything else but us at that point. I felt blessed that AS was in my life and couldn’t wait for him to come to Sydney to spend the rest of our life together.

I felt a sense of stability with him and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. That amazing bliss we felt when together was like sunshine, happiness, and chocolate cake all rolled up in one. I felt our relationship was made in heaven and he was the man that was going to be my husband.

Phi Phi

To visit Phi Phi Island, we booked the tour and arranged to be picked up from the hotel at 7.45 am. The tour included island visit, snorkeling, lunch, afternoon tea and pick up/ drop off to the hotel.

We slept late the night before 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.

The van picked up a few more people on the way to Karon beach where we were briefed on our day. We all were given a sticker so the guide would know that we belong to his group. Everyone introduced themselves and we found out that there were three friends from Poland, a couple 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 have ever seen. After almost an hour’s ride the boat stopped for our first stop in Maya Bay Island.

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Ever since seeing the movie, The Beach, I have been interested in the island. The view was really breath-taking and the water was crystal clear and the sand amazingly white. The guide told us we had an hour there.

At one end of the beach, there were boats lined up against it. There were so many people on the island, so many boats in the water, and so much going on. Everyone seemed relaxed, taking photos or swimming or lying on the beach getting a tan.

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We decided to snorkeled for a while. It was just beautiful and after a few minutes’ walk on the beach our time was up. So we hopped on the boat again.

After half an hour on the boat, they stopped at a new area for snorkeling.  It is on the other side of Maya bay. The place looked stunning and when we snorkeled, we saw lots of beautiful and healthy coral.

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We stayed about 20 minutes as they fed bread to the fish so they would swarm around us. We saw some great fish, a lot were the same but the colours were bright and they ranged in all sizes. We saw a big bright blue one that shimmered in the turquoise water and with the sunlight shining through. I wish we had more time there but we were back on boat and off to the next stop, Monkey Beach.

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 would have our lunch there and then we could go out and explore the place.

We went to this small restaurant where the table was set for our lunch. It was Thai lunch with chicken curry, seafood, vegetables and rice. We love Thai food so I and AS were happy with the food while some of the other people were complaining about the food.

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The lunch was actually quite nicely presented and delicious with a wide array of choices. They also served tropical fruits platter. 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 always think having an open mind and enjoying the local cuisine is the best way to explore a new place. That is how you learn more about the food, the place and the people. I have always found Thai people to be friendly and very helpful. The whole time we were there we never had any problem with people or food.

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After the lunch we walked around and took some photos. As we were informed earlier that there would be another snorkeling session in the middle of the ocean so we decided to just walk on the beach and play with the water until we went on the boat again.

The place was really beautiful and I know I could live there forever. I even suggested to AS that maybe we should move to Thailand to live there one day 🙂

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Then it was time for us to go back to our boat. After a short ride, we stopped again and it was another beautiful spot. The water was crystal clear, shiny, with marvellous turquoise colour tones and very clean. It’s a true luxury to take a swim when the water temperature is just perfect so you can cool off from the summer heat. 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.

By the time we were done and were escorted back to the both, both of us were very tired. They gave us some juice and fruits and we were on our way back to the mainland. It felt like a very long time to reach the mainland and we just cuddled and enjoyed the view.

It was great to be in AS’s arms and enjoy the magnificent view of the lovely beaches and surroundings. The van was waiting for us to drop us off at our hotel and a warn shower in the hotel felt beautiful on my skin after the wonderful trip.

Late that night we went for massage and dinner and came back straight to sleep as we had another trip booked for the following day to go to Karbi.

Krabi

We had decided that we also needed to do a trip to Krabi since AS’s cousin highly recommended it. As it was more remote than Phi Phi, she said it had even better views, less people and amazing atmosphere. So we booked our trip through the hotel again. This trip cost us around AUD$80 p/p which also included island visit, snorkeling, lunch, afternoon tea and pick up/ drop off to our hotel.

I was so exhausted from the trip the previous day that I was too tired to wake up and get ready for the trip. AS made sure that I was awake and ready for breakfast before the van comes to pick us up. I took my own time waking up so I had to quickly get ready and rushed through breakfast to catch the van.

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.

We were doing the trip to three islands of Ko Poda, Ko Gai (Chicken Island) and Ko Tub, with its sweeping three-pronged sandbar, plus the beautiful Phra Nang Cave Beach on the Railay peninsula.

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It took us more than an hour in the speed boat to reach our first stop in Krabi Koh Poda but it was all worth it when I saw the magnificent view once we reached there. It was a real quiet island and there was one another boat only so I felt like we were in some remote part of the world, far away from civilization.

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When we arrived it was a sunny day with blue sky. For the holiday we were blessed with perfect weather on every trip we had taken thus far. We had time to relax and see the place while the lunch was getting ready. One of our favourite things to do is to take long walks on the beach.

The remote island meant we had the beach all to ourselves and we enjoyed every minute. I was having so much fun on the beach that I got carried away and made a big heart in the sand and wrote A+ M.

The beach is famous for its white beaches and turquoise water and we were not disappointed. It was great to swim and relax before the lunch was served.

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After that we went to Chicken Island, with the odd rocky outcrop that earned it its name makes a good photo op. Chicken Island is really called “Axe Island” or Koh Hua Gwan; it was dubbed “that chicken island” by Krabi’s first tourists and the nickname stuck.

After a few photos we were taken to snorkeling sites near Ko Yawasam and Ko See, rocky outcrops with abundant coral reefs and marine life. The backdrop for swimming was stunning with the huge limestone cliffs towering in the background. The sunset over the water was the best I’ve seen.  So beautiful and romantic 🙂

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For afternoon refreshment fruits were served and I was tired but happy to get back to our warm bed. It was a long ride back to the port and then to the hotel.

We changed, got ready and went for dinner which was followed by an hour long aromatherapy massage and I also had manicure and pedicure.  It was great to be able to relax at the end of the day.

Next stop, Bangkok 🙂

Till then, take care.

M from nepaliaustralia

XOXO

Go to Part 20

You may also like:

*Our Story – Apart again : Part 16 *Our Story – We meet again : Part 18 *Our Story – Meeting the Parents – Part 13

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