When speaking of Thailand, most people think about “ladyboys”, but actually this tropical wonderland has so many more things to explore, and your choices are so broad that it all just depends on what you want to see. Friendly and fun-loving, exotic and tropical, cultured and historic, this “Land of Smiles” radiates a golden hue from its glittering temples and tropical beaches to its ever-comforting Thai smiles and massages.
There are a thousand versions of Thailand in a thousand different people’s eyes, and in my eyes this tropical country proved charming enough to persuade me to make more trips there in the future. Unlike the bumper-to-bumper traffic jams and crowded tourist flows of the scenic spots in our country during the Golden Week holiday, which runs from October 1st to 7th annually in China, Thailand is a pleasing and inviting place for real relaxation for residents of Xiamen. October is among the least crowded months (as well as April to June, and September) in Thailand and it is only about a 3-hour flight from Xiamen to Bangkok.
Leaving Xiamen for a 6-day trip in Thailand with 6 other companions on September 27th, we had a smooth flight from Xiamen on a Thai Airways plane, and finally landed in Bangkok at around 6:45pm local time. The local tour guide introduced us to our first taste of Thailand with an exotic feast of colorful and flavorful dishes at a popular restaurant before driving us to the Arnoma Hotel Bangkok, which is surrounded by big shopping complexes and is very near to the famous Four Face Buddha. During the six-day trip, we spent four days actually discovering Thailand and the first and final days mostly on flights and in cars.
A Taste of Thailand
From L to R: Tourists bought limes at Maeklong Railway Market and the drink made with limes at Chatuchak Weekend Market
Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market
After arriving in Bangkok, we had a field day of shuttling back and forth among different markets in the "City of Angels”, with the first stop being the Chatuchak Weekend Market, the undisputed king of all markets in Thailand, then the interesting Maeklong Railway Market and the last stop being the Amphawa Floating Market. I found my favorite drink, lime juice, after eating many sweet and succulent fruits in the markets. Limes are also one of the cornerstones of Thai cooking. The fruits there can sweeten your heart with their superb taste and their tempting appearance. The sour and sweet freshness of the limes reminded me of my first love.
The Beauty of Thailand
Ko Phi Phi Don in Krabi
We were stunned by the natural landscape in Krabi, and our desire to get close to nature was definitely enlivened. I can’t swim, but I still chose to put on a life jacket and get close to the emerald sea and the lovely undersea creatures while snorkeling. Though I got mouthful of salty water several times, I finally managed to float smoothly on the sea and began to discover the beauty of the undersea world.
A speedboat then took us to Ko Phi Phi Leh and Ko Phi Phi Don, two famous islands in Krabi, known as the most beautiful province in Thailand. We spent two days in Krabi, and it turned out to be the most memorable part of our trip to Thailand. The picturesque landscape and the laid-back lifestyle in Krabi make it a heaven for holidaymakers.
Snorkeling in Krabi
We finished our one-day sea exploration in Krabi with the melody of “Welcome to Thailand” by the Thai rock band Carabao, who sang “Welcome to Thailand, welcome to the land of fun; Welcome to Thailand, welcome to the land of smiles.”
Historic glamour of Thailand
A day ahead of our departure from Thailand, we went back to Bangkok for a one-day tour to the Grand Palace, the Jade Buddha Temple and the WatPho. From the architectural design of their buildings, to the murals, religious symbols and images they house, the temples had a visually dazzling array of colours and textures coupled with exotic smells and mystical imagery. The glittering temples shed a light on the religion and faith of the Thai people.
The Grand Palace
The Jade Buddha Temple
Before leaving for a fantastic night cruise on the Chao Phraya River, we had a massage in WatPho, which is known as the birthplace of the traditional Thai massage. The Thai massage is believed to have been developed by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, the Buddha’s physician, more than 2,500 years ago in India. For centuries, monks performed Thai massages as one component of traditional Thai medicine.
Modern pulse of Thailand
The buffet dinner on Chaophraya River
The night view along the Chaophraya River
The superb dining experience on Chaophraya River drew a wonderful ending to our visit to this tropical wonderland. The stylish and romantic dinner cruise along the Chaophraya River shows the brilliance of the Chao Phraya River with grace and luxury.
The best things from the Grand Pearl Cruise were the food, the environment and the live music performance. We enjoyed our dinner while sailing and watching the temples and many interesting places in Bangkok pass by. Though it rained a little that night, we still had a great time on the two-and-a-half hour dinner cruise.
It is a great idea to see many Bangkok attractions in one go if you don't have much time in Bangkok or if you don't want to have to worry about traveling to all the different attractions and fighting the Bangkok traffic for days in a row.
Two main tips for first time visitors to Thailand:
1. Bring a full pack of bathroom supplies, especially toothpaste, a toothbrush and slippers.
2. Buy a local SIM card in Thailand, which is usually available for around 229 baht (around 50 yuan or US $8) as many hotels do not provide free Wi-Fi service.