In this Blog, I have put forward my dreams, desires, fears, secrets, learning, failures, skills, ramblings, stupidities, and what not. This post is also a bit special to me as it marks the first anniversary of the blog. So to make it memorable, I am sharing my latest adventure.
As previously mentioned, I have a great phobia of flight and I thought the best way to overcome it was to fly more, more and more. So, this time I decided to push myself a little further from Goa and my new destination was “The amazing Thailand”.
It was my first international trip and I started planning in December. I will recommend few things which might be helpful to others too.
- Check the passport expiry and VISA requirement for the destination.
- Economic flight options-We broke our journey and took flight from Kolkata which helped us in saving money.
- A capped budget for the trip- For this we fixed a budget of Rs 1.5 Lacs
- Decide where to go- As Thailand has some 20-30 beaches and all claiming to be the best. I preferred Phuket and Krabi. Though I was confused between Krabi and Ko Samui. But that was easily sorted out because Koh Samui meant taking one more flight.
- A lot of reading to plan your type of vacation (I read many blogs, mostly mommy blogs, searched information of resorts in Trip Advisor, critically reviewed them and after a month of hard work I was able to narrow down the 4560 resorts to 6 resorts of my own liking.
- Stay- Finalizing the resort was the toughest task and it almost drove me insane. Finally, I booked Aonang Orchid Resort in Krabi for its beautiful pool and Ramada Deevana in Phuket because one of my friend has stayed there in the past. I made all the booking through Make My Trip.
- Itinerary- For this part you should only have a rough sketch in your mind. You cannot finalize it beforehand because while travelling with a toddler you don’t have much of a say.
- Currency: -It is better to carry strong currency rather than carrying INR or THB as it fetches much better rates and can be exchanged anywhere. We bought some forex from Thomas Cooks which was costlier so I will advise, for better rates prefer banks.
- SIM card:- It is better to buy the local SIM in Thailand only. The counters are available in airport and rates are very competitive. We bought one connection with 100THB talk time and unlimited 4G data which sufficed the complete trip. All hotels, spa and restaurants are Wi-Fi equipped so connectivity and WhatsApp calls were never any issue.
From here on my hubby pitched in. He took my “Get over Flight Phobia” project so seriously that he booked the flights with maximum stoppages and hops. My first international trip ended up with a total of 8 takeoffs and landings, and two night outs with one sleeping toddler on an aching arm .
He also arranged FOREX, necessary “VOA” documents, SIM details, taxi booking etc. We carried only 10K THB and rest in USD. We paid for our hotel bookings online.
After the planning phase, usually the time starts when you endlessly dream about your upcoming vacation. Unfortunately in my case it was filled with continuous nightmares of taking flights, Tsunamis and speed boat crashes. I realized I am a person with serious issues.
However this stage soon got over when the time came to pack. Goa had taught us ‘what not to pack’ so we were all prepared to pack light as each kilo could have become heavy on our pockets. Air Asia charges you for each and every thing including your baggage.
I referred many blogs and you tube videos for packing hacks and finally ordered an organizer which had set of 6 bags (three for clothes and three for laundry). The size was so apt that all of our clothes well fitted into these bags and I was sane throughout the tour.
Phew!! we were now all set to go.
About the flight, I would just mention that now I am going to memorize Vishnu Shahastranaam as Hanuman Chalisa gets over before the “Fasten your seat belt” sign goes off.
So after 24 hours, we landed in Krabi and a cool drizzle welcomed us in the Airport. I had read that Taxi scams are very common in Thailand, so we had searched the most reliable taxi services in Thailand and found- Krabi Shuttle and Phuket Shuttle .We booked all our rides online in advance and smiled when our driver was waiting at arrival lounge with a placard in his hand.
I was apprehensive about my Thailand trip because April first week was expected to be rainy. It was raining cats and dogs by the time we reached the hotel.
I could clearly see my holiday plans being washed down with rain and my gallant act of taking 4 flights to reach here seemed to go in drains. Tears rolled down my cheek. My daughter was jumping with joy at the sight of rain, and I wished I could be a child once again. My husband was busy setting the wifi password and my vision went hazy.
After half an hour, I was awakened by my daughter. My husband was standing before me with his mobile, pointing out at the weather forecast site. He was smiling like a wizard. I looked outside, the rain had stopped.
We stepped outside with our umbrellas, not because it was raining but because the toddler wanted to play sword- sword with it. Ao-Nang was a very beautiful place. The lanes were filled with colorful shops, cheerful tourists and tempting food stalls. The breeze was cool and music was floating in the air. There were indian restaurants like Maharaja, Noori, Guru, Tandoori Nights etc. at every 200 mtr. As we were starving since forever, we chose to have a good indian meal before I started off with the ‘Must Eats in Thailand’. To cheer myself up I chose to have an entire fried fish.
Day- 1 : As predicted by the wizard, the day was completely sunny. We booked a speed boat for a Ko Phi Phi island tour which included visit to Bamboo Island, Maya Bay, Viking Cave, Monkey Beach, and lunch in Phi Phi Don. The boat had Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Philippines, Russians, Thai and a jocular tour guide who promised crocodile/monkey/anaconda/shark meat to everyone as a special lunch from his side.
The first stop “Bamboo Island” was a 40 minutes ride from Ao-Nang. The beach was pristine and it had crystal clear shining blue green color water. I had seen such view only in pictures. I was amazed and awestruck. We got only an hour to enjoy the place. We moved further to Maya-bay, where we spent another 20-25 minutes as the area was very small. The bay area is famous because of the shooting of Hollywood movie “The Beach”. Later our speed boat went into deeper water to let the water enthusiasts to take a dive and do snorkeling to enjoy rich marine life of the coast. As I know swimming only in a four feet deep pool, so i didn’t dare to join the party.
Next, we went past viking caves which was once the adobe of pirates and has a vivid display of murals and other arts created by vikings. Unfortunately we could not visit them. Viking Caves are inhabited by birds called swifts and their nests are harvested and hunted by the locals. These nests are used in making the famous Chinese bird nest soups.
Our destination was the Phi Phi Don which was a commercial hub and our buffet lunch was arranged in a restaurants run by local Thai muslim ladies. Food had local touch and was very tasty indeed. We got almost an hour after lunch and we enjoyed a lot except for the part where my daughter refused to eat anything but cucumber.
We reached the hotel room at 4 pm and concluded the day with a stroll in the nearby market.
Day-2: We booked another tour to Emerald pool and Hot springs. It was half a day tour and this time we preferred to take a tourist van.
Hot springs were an hour drive from Aonang and further 15 minutes walk from the main gate. The place had natural bath tubs where you could sit and take a hot water jacuzzi. Our daughter was scared of entering into hot water so she chose to dip only her feet while we immersed ourselves to enjoy the sauna. We felt very relaxed and fresh after taking the bath.
Our next stop was the emerald pool. it is a nature made swimming pool and was very beautiful. The pool could be reached by two paths from the main gate, we chose the shorter one as the time allotted to us was only an hour.
Though the pool was very beautiful but it was too slippery to go in with a toddler. I and my husband took the dive in turns and didn’t do any adventure because it was very difficult to keep a toddler still.
After two variety of baths in a day, it was time for some food. We had local Thai crunchy chicken on the stick, boiled corn and watermelon ice-cream.
When we returned to Ao-Nang, we were starving and time was right to attack in an Indian restaurant. We found a hotel named “Tandoori Nights” though we visited it in broad sunlight. The hotel had a photo of Gandhi and a map of India and one Sardarji was having beer just under the nose of Mahatma.
After lunch we rushed to the Aonang beach to take a “I was here” photo in front of the giant fish. The click for photo and the downpour both took place simultaneously and we wrapped up and rushed to our hotel room.
In evening, We explored the remaining streets of Ao-Nang and did some shopping. At dinner time, I had a husband who wanted to have Pizzza and a daughter who wanted to have “non-Sticky, non-Thai rice” and this weird combination gave me a headache so all I wanted to take was a nice cup of ginger tea.
After a km walk, we finally found an italian restaurant called “Spaghetti House” with a sign board of “No Thai Food” and ordered garlic bread as starters. but our daughter had planned something else for us which required an immediate diaper change.
So we had to walk all the way back to our resort. As my tolerance limit had already been reached, I quickly searched for pizza serving indian restaurant near our resort and found out a restaurant called ‘Zaikai” within 100 mtr. We ordered Pizza, Daal-Chawal and a cup of tea which was the weirdest combination I have ever ordered. The food was delicious and to my relief my daughter ate the daal chawal whole heartedly.
Day- 4 : We spent the next morning in swimming pool and at 12 checked out of the hotel. We were off to Phuket on a SUV booked through phuketshuttle.com.
To be Continued…