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Old 29th October 2011, 15:16   #1
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Default Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.

I had posted on 21st July 2011 that I’ll be starting this travelogue just after this trip is completed in the last week of August.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...bangalore.html (West coast route query Bangalore-mangalore-Kanyakumari-Bangalore)
Because of my work at office and sometimes because of my laziness, I’m able to write it now. Here it goes…

Prelude:

After our Leh plan got cancelled for this year, I hadn’t been to any trips for 3 months.
My wedding anniversary was fast approaching…my wife and I wanted to plan a vacation.
This time we thought if one more couple can come along with us, it would be more enjoyable.
My friend also wanted to take his wife for a trip as a birthday gift for her.
So we decided that we will go for a long drive along the coastline of Kerala.

I started planning and also started a route query thread on TBHP as in the above link.
After all the suggestions I got from bhpians we were ready with the route.
One Saturday in July, we four sat together to make the hotel bookings.
We called up the shortlisted hotels and noted down the availability and the prices.
The lodging cost came up to 37k per couple for 6 nights (thanks to the Rainforest resort in Athirapally which was 10k per night).
The rainforest was the choice (read order) of my wife and I had no option
The fuel cost would come to approximately 7k per couple mine being a petrol car.
On makemytrip.com home page, my friend’s eye caught an ad showing Thailand trip for 21k per person
He showed it to me and we then showed it to both the ladies. Their eyes were gleaming already
After that we enquired in makemytrip and two more travel agents who had arranged some of our previous trips.

After calling the makemytrip executive, what we realized was that the 21k was ex-Kolkata price and ex-Bangalore price will be 32k per person (both excluding visa).
And it was a group tour with the dates fixed.
For the same Itinerary, one of our travel agents gave us a rate of 30k per person including visa.
This was a customized tour for we four and dates were flexible to our needs.
Although Thailand issues on-arrival visa, we didn’t want to waste time at the airport for the same.
So we decided to get it done before our journey. So the 4nights-5day package was finalized.

Thailand, here we come…

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Our luggage before check-in

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The twin-V of a Harley at the BIAL

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Scale model of the HD

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The disc

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I can keep looking at it...

Day1: 27 Aug 2011 00:30 hrs
“Thai airways flight TG326 is ready for takeoff. The journey will take approximately 3:30 mins…”
As the captain announced these words, I could see the happiness on my wife’s face, this being her maiden flight out of the country.
Of the four of us, only I had boarded an international flight before this.

We landed at Bangkok Suvarnabhoomi airport at around 5:45am Thai time.
As soon as we landed there, we headed to the meeting point as instructed by our travel agent.
Enroute we met Kannada film star Shiva Rajkumar.
We had a small chat and a snap with him and reached the meeting point.
A designated person was holding a placard with our name on it and received us.

We were immediately transferred to a Toyota UV which would take us to Pattaya.
By the time we walked to the vehicle which was parked at a fair distance, I had already seen 250 toyota vehicles.
By the time we reached Pattaya which is around 300kms in 3 hrs. I had understood the true meaning of the word DOMINATION.
Roughly 7/10 cars were Toyotas with 2/10 being Hondas.
I realized that the Maruti Suzuki domination in India is nothing.

We reached the hotel (Golden beach hotel Pattaya) around 10am.

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Our hotel in Pattaya

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Double Decker tourist buses...the bottom deck of this bus was used as a home by the bus driver's family

The hotel was bang in the city centre which later helped us a lot.
The check-in time in Pattaya is usually 2PM so we were told to wait.
We tried to convince him to give the room earlier, but no luck.
After some time, our travel agent came in search of us.
She explained our day’s program which was a choice between a visit to a village called Nong Nooch and a tiger zoo.
We left the decision to our wives and they opted for the tiger zoo.

We told our travel agent that we will not be getting the rooms till 2PM to which she told us not to worry.
She went to the reception and spoke some alien language and finally we were given the keys to our rooms.
We got fresh and went out for a stroll to have our lunch at McDonald’s close to our hotel.

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The jet ski...

On the way we also bought a Guava. They were the biggest of Guavas I had ever seen.

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Look at the size...

The vehicle to take us to the zoo came on time and in 45mins of time, we were at the zoo.

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Sriracha Tiger Zoo

The taxi driver bought the tickets for us and told that he would be waiting outside by 4:30PM and he left.

The main attractions of the tiger zoo were an Elephant show, A crocodile show and a tiger show

The elephant show: this was a nice show with elephants of different ages performed many tricks and was a nice 30mins.
In this show, I got the meaning of the word domination in a different sense.
50% of the people there were tourists from India. India is truly shining.
Some pictures…

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Rope Walk

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That cute lady was lucky...

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Target Practice...

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"Look ma, No hands"...

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Cha cha cha...

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We are twins

Then we headed to the Crocodile show, the one which I had seen on discovery channel and also I had seen a mishap video from the same show. I was looking forward to this.
I must say that my mouth was open in awe throughout the 30 min show.
The boy and girl were playing with these dangerous creatures like they were toys.
Check out these pictures to get an idea of what I’m talking about…

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"Can you please come this side?"

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"Say hello to the viewers"

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"Hello...anybody there?"

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"what have you got in there?"

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"Let me see if you have teeth"...

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The bed is so soft...

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The first kiss...

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Good night...

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Sweet dreams...

I thought that we were in the tiger zoo to see tigers…at last time had come for it…a Tiger show.
Even here, a boy and a girl were playing with tigers like we do with our domestic cats.
It was a nice show and it brought back my childhood memories of Jumbo circus at Mysore during Dasara

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Hello everybody...

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Long jump...

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Ring of fire...

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"Lucky we are outside the tiger cage"

We were then taken to a place where we could feed baby tigers.
It was very nice to hold a baby tiger in your hands, but I felt sorry that the cubs were kept starving so that they come to us when we hold the feeding bottle :(

It was time to go..we bought some souvenirs and came out of the zoo and the taxi was waiting for us.

Although the crocodile show was good, you’ll not repent if you miss this Sriracha tiger zoo.

Day 1 to be continued...

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 29th October 2011 at 15:24. Reason: Attachments not uploaded correctly.
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Old 29th October 2011, 15:30   #2
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Default Re: Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.

The shows are awesome but the animals look poor. Your travellogue seems interesting. Keep it flowing with more writeup and pictures.
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Old 29th October 2011, 15:42   #3
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...Day 1 continued

Next stop, the taxi driver dropped us at the Pattaya gem factory much to the delight of the females.
For an hour they shopped but then we dragged them out citing the next attraction as a reason.

Luckily for us the next attraction was very good…THE ALCAZAR SHOW.

I didn’t have much idea of this show, but friends who had visited Thailand had told me that it was good.
Oh man!! It was really a spectacle. What costumes, what dance and what stage.
They performed to songs from all countries. India was just mandatory.
They had chosen “nach le” song from Madhuri dixit’s “Aaja nach le” movie.
The whistles it received were just like in any movie theater in India when a hero makes his entry
Time for the pictures…

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The roof...

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Lights...

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Alcazar...

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Ostrich lady

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Shy...

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Princess1

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Princess2

After you have seen the pictures, Let me tell you a secret if you don’t know.
All the performers are boys…Yes, you read it right…BOYS…I know you have scrolled back to check but still can’t believe.
Google for Alcazar show if you want. I too was surprised when I came to know about this.
Of course they would have undergone many surgeries to get that look.
After this good show we were dropped to our hotel by 8PM.

The travel agent later asked us if we boys wanted to go to some “Men only” shows but we were two newlywed guys and we opted out of it

We got fresh and headed out to roam on the streets. After looking at what all people can eat(see pictures please)...

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Snack1

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Snack2

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Snack3

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Snack4

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Snack5

...We entered the Walking Street. Yes, we were in the world famous WALKING STREET of Pattaya with our wives.

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Walking street...

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Remember the SLS AMG ad?...

While our wives held our hands afraid that we might escape somewhere, we were just looking around in surprise.
Our mouths were closed if anyone of you is in doubt
Sorry I can’t post pictures of walking street…

We dined at KFC and started walking towards our hotel.

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KFC

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Play area in KFC

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Play area...

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Yummy Ice creams...

But after a few steps, It started raining cats and dogs and we were stuck in a roadside shop.
The shop guy gave chairs to us and asked to sit. A lady with a push-cart with a Thai snack also came and stood beside us.
It was something transparent and my wife asked me what they were...two three of those transparent things started jumping.
They were some kind of insects. My wife closed her eyes till the rain stopped and the cart was gone

After the rain stopped, we went back to our hotel by tuk tuk.
Our first in the Thai version of our very own Indian patpati.

Since we didn’t have good sleep the previous day because of the flight, it was a tiring day.

Once we reached our hotel, we just threw our bags and threw ourselves on the bed and within no time, an eventful day had come to an end.

Day 2 coming soon…

Last edited by GTO : 31st October 2011 at 14:35. Reason: STRICTLY no more than 2 smilies per post please
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Old 29th October 2011, 17:46   #4
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Default Re: Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.

Very interesting narration. Awesome pictures. what camera was used for shooting these pics.

Would you mind sharing the Thailand package price and the inclusions and exclusions. It will be of immense help to people planning Thailang trip
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Old 29th October 2011, 18:05   #5
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Default Re: Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.

amazing pictures! If the pictures look this interesting, I can imagine how interesting it actually would have been.

Really tempted to take this trip.

Can you reveal details of the travel agent and the itinerary you had. If you don't want to share it in public, please send me a private message.
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Old 29th October 2011, 18:57   #6
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Default Re: Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
For the same Itinerary, one of our travel agents gave us a rate of 30k per person including visa.
Thanks, hemanth.anand, for this nice travelogue. Rs 30 k per person with visa was a good VFM package. Now, Thailand including Bangkok is suffering from the worst flood of the decade.
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Old 29th October 2011, 23:06   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Night_Hawk View Post
Very interesting narration. Awesome pictures. what camera was used for shooting these pics.

Would you mind sharing the Thailand package price and the inclusions and exclusions. It will be of immense help to people planning Thailang trip
Attached is the package details sent by the travel agent. I have hidden his name and details.
he charged 2000 over and above this for Visa. the actual visa fees at that time was 1400Rs

Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
amazing pictures! If the pictures look this interesting, I can imagine how interesting it actually would have been.

Really tempted to take this trip.

Can you reveal details of the travel agent and the itinerary you had. If you don't want to share it in public, please send me a private message.
I don't know if I can post it those details publicly, I'll give the details of the agent through a PM. You can tell my name and he will know.

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Old 31st October 2011, 14:41   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
I don't know if I can post it those details publicly, I'll give the details of the agent through a PM.
Since the information is of obvious value, and you don't have any commercial affiliations, please do post the name of the agent. It will greatly help others.

Nicely written travelogue. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 31st October 2011, 16:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Since the information is of obvious value, and you don't have any commercial affiliations, please do post the name of the agent. It will greatly help others.

Nicely written travelogue. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you very much GTO

So, below is the travel agent's details..
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This is the top portion of his letter head which I had cut in my last post.
People calling can either talk to Sanjay(proprietor) or Rohit(manager)

Though he not a very big player, I was satisfied with his arrangements.
Just for info we got some basic complimentary gifts like a travel bag, a passport folder and a cap before going

I'm in the process of writing the day 2 experiences...Tomorrow being a holiday in Karnataka, I expect to complete it.

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 31st October 2011 at 16:49.
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Old 31st October 2011, 23:51   #10
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Default Re: Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.

I have heard from the guide who took us around that the women featured in the Alcazar Cabaret are actually "eunuchs"; is it true?
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Old 1st November 2011, 00:36   #11
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Great pics! But personally I was pained to see the animals trained to behave so unnaturally against their nature. It must have taken a lot of torture and cruelty to make them behave that way.

The croc show was risky as hell for the performers.

--Ragul
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Old 1st November 2011, 00:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durango Dude View Post
I have heard from the guide who took us around that the women featured in the Alcazar Cabaret are actually "eunuchs"; is it true?
They are boys by birth and everyone are in various stages of conversion is what I heard and read. I don't know how better to put these in words.
The photo that you have put, In the background has a person with a "half man and half woman" costume. Pictures explain better than words you see
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Old 1st November 2011, 01:19   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragul View Post
Great pics! But personally I was pained to see the animals trained to behave so unnaturally against their nature. It must have taken a lot of torture and cruelty to make them behave that way.


--Ragul
It can't be worse than what we undergo throughout our lives!
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Old 1st November 2011, 01:56   #14
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…Day 2

After a good night’s sleep, we got up at 7AM and went to the Indian restaurant in our hotel.
It was a buffet Breakfast and everybody had their fill of Indian food.

On this day, We had planned to go to the Ko lan Island.
Our taxi had come but we had to keep him waiting for 15 minutes.
We were taken to the nearby beach road and dropped there.

Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.-img_2347.jpg
Sunbathing

A lady explained us the program of the day.

Later we were taken in a speed boat along with 10 Indian tourists.
by speed I really mean SPEED…it was just wonderful to hear 2 V6 Yamaha 200 motors roaring and in 15 minutes we had left the coast way behind us and we were in the midst of the gulf of Thailand.

Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.-dsc_1424.jpg
twin V6 200 Yamaha motors

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SPEED 2...Cruise control.

We were transferred onto a big boat where paragliding was arranged.
They used to tie a harness around us and another speed boat would pull us.
We stood in the queue which was already quite big and very soon we were in the skies.
There were two types:
One, where while gliding, they used to drop us in the sea and other where we would only glide.
We opted to soak ourselves in the sea water. They were identifying our option by writing something on our hands

When my wife was about to land, the speed boat driver made a miscalculation and because of that, she got another free round in the sky. nobody complained.

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Our choice...

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Off you go...

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Pattaya city...

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wooohooo!!

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Manmade Rainbow

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The free round

After everyone finished their turn, we were transferred back to our speedboat from where we were taken to the Ko lan island and transferred to another boat.

This boat had all the arrangements needed for undersea diving.
Our entire luggage was kept in a locker and we were given oxygen masks and they dropped us into the sea which was filled with corals and fishes.
Before diving, A lady instructor gave us instructions and the signs to follow underwater just like in the movie Zindagi na milegi dobara (No, she was not like Katrina ).
We were also told to chew gum underwater to avoid air blockage (like when an aircraft takes off)

Although the underwater corals were nice and the feeling of touching some rare fishes was good, sitting in the boat, we saw a net around that boat.
This net was actually used to contain many fishes in a defined area.

At extra cost, they had option of taking our photos and a video of us walking on the seafloor.
The undersea photos were saved in a CD and given to us.
Photo quality was strictly average they were using some small digital camera with a waterproof case.

Then we were transferred to another motorboat with glass bottom to show us the top view of the corals.

Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.-dsc_1416.jpg
Our oxygen mask

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Under water camera case

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The underwater shot...(in picture is BHPian avinashsg)

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Ko lan island

All this took some 30 minutes, after which we were taken to the beach where they had arranged Indian buffet lunch...I must narrate an incident here.

A big guy in our boat went to the serving counter and in a loud voice asked for the chef.
A lady wearing a saree at the serving counter slowly asked” Kya hua bhai saab?” (What happened Sir?)
This guy asked ”Who is the cook? Call him here. I want to talk to him”
A thin man came out from inside. He was the chef, from Gujarat which he told later, and asked “Boliye sir” (tell me sir)
There was silence in the hall when all of us were looking at them and expecting something to happen.
This guy went towards the chef, held his hand and pulled him towards himself and almost hugged him, shook his hands and said “Very good dishes, very tasty. I loved the taste of the chicken”.
The chef took a few seconds to realize what had happened but was relieved and happy in the end
All dishes were tasty I must say.

So after a sumptuous lunch we were allowed some free time.

My wife and my friend (BHPian avinashsg)’s wife went to play in the beautiful green transparent beach. My friend went for a small swim.

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Some fruit

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First steps in sea...

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My companion

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We were in Pattaya alright

Since I don’t know swimming, I opted to go around the island clicking and looking at all the shacks with their open kitchens.
They had numerous tanks with oxygen supplies to each of them with all kinds of sea animals.
All a customer has to do is, choose any fresh one and then sit inside.
The cook takes out “the chosen one” from the tank, put it into hot boiling water and serve with some vegetable salad.
This was the general recipe for any dish/animal with some minor changes in the presentation
“Who said cooking is difficult after all”

Once everyone were done, we boarded our speed boat and returned to our hotel by 4PM after which we had a long nap of 3 hours.
It was free time for us as there were no activities planned. So we got ready and headed out for a stroll.

Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.-dsc_1466.jpg
Off we go for the evening stroll...

Went inside a mall and enquired about TV prices which my friend wanted.
While the ladies shopped some small items and we were busy calling up India and comparing the prices.
One of my colleagues who had worked in Thailand later told us to buy it in Bangkok than Pattaya.

On the road, we found an Indian restaurant run by a Malayali-Thai couple and we dined there.
It was a decent dinner with nothing special to mention about.

We were supposed to go to Bangkok the next day after breakfast.
So we went back to the hotel early at 23:30 to pack our bags...
...which for Pattaya standards is just the start of all the nice things it can offer

We went to bed at around 00:30hrs after our bodies pleaded us to, after an action packed day

Day 3 to be continued...
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Old 1st November 2011, 02:08   #15
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Default Re: Amazing Thailand...True in every sense.

Hemanth.Anand,
It is an awesome travelogue. You have covered A to Z of a great tour. Really you have enjoyed the trip. What else is left ? You enjoyed Tiger, Elephant, Crocodiles and the great giant Guava too. In travel you did travel on sky, on road, in sea and also in Balloon.You did a real worthy trip.Thanks for sharing here with nice images.
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