Thailand : Phuket - Divine Serenity on Earth
Located about 100 kilometers south of Bangkok, Phuket is the largest island of Thailand. Swanked by the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean region, the island is famed for its natural beauty, relaxed way of life, calmness, and distant hustle. It has today become the most popular tourist destination in South-east Asia. Besides the rich natural heritage that Phuket enjoys, there is equally bustling nightlife that abounds here. The city is prominently a night city and wakes only post noon and stays awake until post-midnight. Shops and tourist areas are open until late at night as are the restaurants and shopping malls. The city overall is a perfect destination for a relaxed vacation amidst nature and fun.
As we exited the airport, we found the MakeMyTrip representative waiting with our name tag waiting to receive us. We were moved into our hotel transfer and we started our journey towards the hotel which was some distance from the airport. After about an hour and a half’s drive, we entered the driveway of Holiday Inn Express – our abode for next three day. The outlook of the facility was impressive as it stood tall on a wide road leading up to the beach, hardly a few yards away from it. The hotel was located in an ideal location amidst the local fanfare, besides the lane of tourist shops and near other spots of tourist interest. The hotel itself was a limited service facility with no bell boys or room service. The in-house restaurant only serves breakfast – complimentary with the room. We checked into the hotel and moved to our room – 7408. The building housing our room was located towards the rear end of the premises and had other resorts in the view. We settled in the room and freshened up to shed the tiredness of the journey.
After some snacks and coffee, we left the hotel for a stroll across the beach. The reception provided us with a detailed map of the island and marked key locations on the map for us. We walked across the road to the beach and saw the corn vendor baking fresh corns. The temptation could not have been overlooked, and we headed straight to the vendor counter. The hot corn with cool sea breeze was a wonderful combination. We walked by the sea water and covered a couple of kilometers of the Phuket’s Patong Beach absorbing the rich natural beauty and long views of the sea. On our stroll back we chose a relatively silent spot to settle down and spend some moments amidst the evening view of setting the sun. After about an hour in the perfect setting, we headed back to the hotel. On our way back, we picked some snacks, coke and bakery from the grocery store so that we are stocked for late night fun. After dinner, we took another walk by the touristic spots to experience the nightlife of the effervescent town.
|Calmness of Evening|
Next point of attraction where we stopped was the activity center which provided numerous options to tourists for experiencing nature. The center offered elephant rides through the forest, animal shows and ATV riding thrill. We chose the ATV option as it was something we had not tried earlier. We had a chance to take the sturdy ride through rough terrains, designed for the safety of tourists. The thrill of speed, bumpy turns, and dusty air – all combined to give us a never before fun experience. By the end of half an hour ride, we were content, gushing with adrenaline and longing for more. However, one has to realize that there is a point when one needs to move on and so did we, to our next point of interest.
We passed through the Sino Village, a local Thai traditional community, which showcased the life of rural part of the country. While the bigger cities have adopted the modern style of life with worldly luxuries, the traditional life is to be seen in such villages. Next, we saw the Muay Thai Boxing Camp. Muay Thai is a traditional martial arts form of Thailand and is a popular sport. The furious punches, crushing elbow strikes, lethal kicks and artful feints have gained acknowledgment across the world. This particular camp was especially important because of its history in locality and importance in providing a platform to local budding artists. After about half an hour of the drive across the roads on this island city, we finally stopped at a religious center – Wat Chalong.
The Grand Pagoda dominating the temple contains a splinter of Lord Buddha's bone and is officially named Phramahathatchedi-Jomthaibarameepragat. The pagoda is decorated with wall paintings depicting the Buddha's life story and also features various Buddha images. Take your time in the pagoda; it is a breezy, cool location and one which is very popular with visitors to the temple. The top of the four-floor building providing mesmerizing views of the town along with a clear view of the Big Buddha, which is another popular location amongst tourists. One must be careful of the traditions and beliefs while visiting such places of religious interests and local devotees hold them very close to themselves. One may be required to remove shoes at some places or may need to wear a sarong or scarf to enter some places. It is important to take such requirements sportingly as a respect to local beliefs and not take them as an offense. We also bought some refreshments at this place and refilled our water stocks as the sun was attempting its best with scorching heat waves.
|Friendly Cats of Thailand|
Next day on 13th of May, we had planned a Phi Phi Island day long excursion. The tour took us through 4 islands in Krabi region providing glimpses of the aquatic life and clean beaches. The speedboat ride through the Indian Ocean region and snorkeling in deep seas was definitely a high point of the visit. The day long trip was exhausting yet fun. I would cover the details of the tour as a separate post. After returning, we went to a good Thai restaurant attached to Araya Resorts where we had awesome noodles and spring rolls over live music and great views. Post the dinner we spent leisure moments by the hotel pool and enjoyed our time together.
|Beauty of Setting Sun|