Sun, sand and Shopping!

Thailand is a popular vacation destination known for its pristine beaches and clear, blue waters. Neha Kakkar of “Indian Idol” fame recently travelled to the island nation, one of her favourite places, for a short family vacation. Read on to learn what keeps bringing her back to this beautiful paradise.

I frequently visit Thailand; many of my events take place in Bangkok. In fact, I go there so often that my friends tease me by calling it my second home. I don’t have the heart to refuse any shows there, either; it’s my all-time favourite place to shop – and I have shopped abroad quite a bit!

Recently, I made a trip to there with my family. I love travelling with them, so my parents, sister, brother and I took off for Thailand. We could only manage a few days there, so we divided our time equally between Pattaya and Bangkok (where else?). Though we were all very keen on going to Phuket as well, fate didn’t allow us the chance.

Pattaya was gorgeous! We stayed at the lovely, luxurious Holiday Inn which (as luck would have it) was right by the beautiful beach! I found Pattaya to be extremely laidback, a place where you can switch your phone off, disconnect from technology and just forget the world! The weather there was just perfect – very pleasant and not the least bit humid. There was even a light breeze that followed wherever we went. The evenings in Pattaya are particularly breathtaking.
We visited the local spas. In fact, there are two reasons I love going to Thailand – the incomparable shopping and the oh-so-relaxing massages! And just a ferry ride from the main city of Pattaya is Coral Island, where the water and adventure sports are both wonderful. Though I wasn’t feeling keen on sports, my siblings went snorkelling and skydiving – both of which they thoroughly enjoyed! The beaches of Coral Island were like right out of a painting. The sand was white and clean, and the water was crystal-clear and so very beautiful! What I enjoyed most was the ferry ride to the island; it was so peaceful and stunning, and I felt like I was in heaven.

In Bangkok, we stayed at the fabulous Centara Grand. Our room was up on the 32nd floor, with the Red Sky Lounge higher up on the 55th. The panoramic view from our room was indescribable. We saw the whole of Bangkok, lit up in the evening – and what a sight it was!  
We also went to the famous Buddha temple while we were in Bangkok. It’s called the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, or Wat Pho. We saw all kinds – some standing, some lying down. The temple contains idols of the famous philosopher in various positions, the main attraction being the beautiful, golden sleeping Buddha. It was the most enormous one I’ve ever seen.

One of the main reasons I keep going back to Bangkok is I find the shopping there to be out of this world. For me, the best place to indulge in retail therapy is Platinum Mall. The place has everything you could ask for, and since it doesn’t sell branded merchandise, prices are quite reasonable. Whether you’re looking for cosmetics or fashionable apparel, Platinum Mall is the place to visit!
Though Thailand doesn’t have much to offer vegetarian foodies, I found one such restaurant in one of the markets; I lived off that food. What I really enjoyed in Thailand was the coconut water – chilled and sweet on the beaches – just perfect for a seaside vacation!

Something that struck me about Thailand was the religious culture. Much like us in India, the Thai are very religious. One finds temples on many street corners, and even in the middle of the road, just like in India. I even saw a Ganesh temple there! Because I travel to Pattaya so much, I have managed to forge a connection with the city. There’s a juice corner owned by Moomoo; I go back to see her time and again. The first time I met Moomoo, she was very kind. Every time I go back, I make it a point to visit and have one of her delicious banana milkshakes. Though she doesn’t know much English, we have managed to form a bond. She’s even found me on Facebook!

I definitely recommend the Thai experience to everyone, especially those who enjoy beaches and shopping. You won’t want to leave the place. The only thing I missed out on this trip was a visit to Phuket, but I’m sure that I’ll keep going back to Thailand. The chance to fulfill that wish is not far away!     – Neha