DAY 6 – DAY 10
The flight to Bangkok takes an hour and we checked into Hotel Uma Residences. It is a tastefully done up place - with free coffee and cookies all the time. Our kids were thrilled to see the pool and over the next five days were most often seen either in or lounging around the pool. Tanay was able to manage a whole length of swim by the fifth day – some achievement he keeps boasting now.
We have some of our Indian acquaintances living in Bangkok and had already planned to joining them for the day. We caught up with them over an Indian lunch at Mrs. Balbir's, which is in the Sukhomvit area. It felt really gratifying to have a solid India-based meal of naans and butter chicken after the many days of Thai fare.
From there, our two families proceeded to see the 3D Worldwhich is also known as Art in Paradise - an interactive attraction at the Esplanade Shopping Mall on Ratchada road. Locals also call it the Trickeye Museum. Visitors are invited to be part of dozens of scenes ranging from ‘stairway to hell’, 'ride a flying carpet' to the ‘Coronation of the Emperor’.
You can even walk around the rooms of Art in Paradise and strike the right pose to get a picture taken of yourself in the best or silliest poses - maybe on a surfboard, or above a fictional abyss. Our kids wanted to be clicked in all the pictures … haha!!
The space utilized in rendering the scenes using floor and walls, allows you to literally step into a frame. Happy clicking and capturing some of the most awesome moments of your life!
Another historic place to visit - The Grand Palace. Itis a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam but is only used for official events by the current monarch. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year.
The palace complex is roughly rectangular and is situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River at the heart of the Rattanakosin Island, today in the Phra Nakhon District.
Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. It is divided into several quarters: the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; the Outer Court, etc. The Grand Palace is currently partially open to the public as a museum, but it remains a working palace, with several royal offices still situated inside.
Next door to the Grand Palace you’ll find the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho). It’s the largest and oldest wat (temple) in Bangkok and, as the name suggests, is home to the enormous reclining Buddha. You’ll also find many more Buddha images at Wat Pho, which is said to have more statues of the Buddha than any other Bangkok temple.
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha) is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and a must-do for any first-time visitor in Bangkok. It’s an easy ten minute walk between here and the Grand Palace, and we recommend coming to Wat Pho second, because even though the golden Buddha here is just as popular many people don’t take the time to wander around the rest of the complex so the experience tends to be far more relaxing. This is also a great place to get a traditional Thai massage.
Wat Pho was the first public university in Thailand, specializing in religion, science and literature. It is also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage and in 1962 a traditional medicine and massage school was established here. The school is still going strong and you can book massage appointments or apply to study at the school. If you've never tried a traditional Thai massage, Wat Pho is a good place to experience this popular leisure activity. It's quite different to most other forms of therapeutic massage and tends to be invigorating rather than relaxing, incorporating yoga style postures to relieve stress and improve blood circulation.
You’ll need to take your shoes off to enter, and if you would like a little good luck, we recommend purchasing a bowl of coins at the entrance of the hall which you can drop in the 108 bronze bowls which line the length of the walls. Dropping the small pennies in makes a nice ringing sound and even if your wishes don’t come true, the money goes towards helping the monks renovate and preserve Wat Pho. As this is a revered image, all visitors must wear appropriate clothing; this means no exposed shoulders or skin above the knee.
We returned to our hotel and the kids headed straight to the pool for some night swimming before a sumptuous Thai dinner.
We were up early the next day to visit the Safari World, which consists of two parks named Marine Park and Safari Park. A drive through the park takes about 45 minutes. The ultimate safari experience features hundreds of animals from all over the world. There are a lot of wild animals, including tigers and lions. There are daily tiger and lion feeding shows.
The Marine Park houses a vast spectrum of animals of land, sea and air. The attractions are Jungle Cruise river ride, a water flume ride through the jungles of Africa and Asia, 7 exciting shows daily, spectacular Spy War action stunts, water skiing, dolphins, Hollywood cowboy stunts, birds, orang-utan boxing, and sea lions, hundreds of exhibits featuring white tigers, fantasy carp garden, tapir kingdom, crocodile garden and many more.
We also took a tour of the Ocean World - kids loved it very much with a few shows there too.
For more details and timings, visit: http://www.sightseeingbangkok.com/Safari_world.html
We did have an option of doing Chao Phraya river cruise and dinner, but dropped the idea based on some of the feedbacks we had received.
The Chao Phraya River reflects the long origin of Thai legacy and civilization. Capable of welcoming up to 290 persons, the Chao Phraya Cruise offers one of the most memorable dinner cruise experiences down the spectacular Chao Phraya River, taking in the riverside scenery, where historic temples and landmarks slowly unfold on your left and right. Dinner is served in buffet style, as a live band and professional singers string along in the background. Enjoy an array of choices from authentic Thai to international cuisine. Whipping up fresh sashimi and hand-rolled sushis, the sushi bar completes the delectable experience.
But we opted for a relaxed evening, soaking in the swimming pool and getting some takeaway food from 7-11 in the vicinity of our hotel.
And the day finally arrived when I could go shopping! A lady needs stuff, right?
We went to the Central World Plaza, Siam Paragon and also saw this theme mall called Terminal 21.
Central World mega-shopping complex offers one of the most exciting shopping experiences in Bangkok. Touted as the sixth largest shopping complex in the world, it has everything from brand name clothing boutiques, beauty salons, gourmet eateries and even an ice-skating rink. With so many tantalizing options to explore, you could easily spend half a day here without realizing it. This is the largest mall in Thailand, and if you are looking for a shopping fix in Bangkok or looking to get a good old-fashioned dose of retail therapy, this place will deliver.
The department store Zen spans seven floors, while Zen World on 13 floors offer a fitness centre, spa, yoga, beauty centre, as well as an educational and tourist promotion centre. And for food there is Indian food and, of course McDonalds.
Siam Paragon is an immensely popular shopping mall housing a host of international high-end fashion brands, Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium, a 16-screen Cineplex, and a comprehensive selection of world cuisine. It is also considered by many to be the centre of Bangkok. This mall provides mainly luxury items for well-heeled Thais and international visitors with cash to splurge. If you are looking for something extra-special then Siam Paragon is definitely the place to find it.
The emphasis of Siam Paragon is fashionable, luxury living. Remember to take your credit card along as some items come with a large price tag. You can apply for a Tourist Discount Card at the information desk on the ground level. Paragon is larger than life and no Bangkok shopping experience is complete without a trip here.
Terminal 21 brings the dream of traveling the world to downtown Bangkok. You could easily find yourself wandering around a maze of shops in Tokyo City, sauntering down London’s Carnaby Street, bagging a bargain in an Istanbul zouk, or shopping for something to fill your growling stomach at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
If you like a food court experience, head up to Pier 21 on the 5th floor. This is perhaps the best food court in town in terms of price, taste and variety. Don’t forget to leave some room for desserts, as there’s mango sticky rice, shaved ice dessert, ice creams, and more.
All in all, Terminal 21 is a delightful shopping and dining experience. It has particular appeal for the younger generation of shoppers, specifically university students to young executives. Terminal 21 definitely has its own edge and is definitely worth visiting.
People also pay a visit to the Gems gallery, but we were not too interested in gems.
For those who would still like to check it out, here’s some information:
Gems Gallery is the world’s biggest jewellery and gems centre. It was inspired by Thailand's position as a major global gems and jewellery dealer, as well as cutting centre, having a vast selection of gems and jewellery. It is the first and only establishment in Thailand to issue a price and quality life-time guarantee certificate for every piece of jewellery purchased in its stores. Certainly worth a visit for people who are keen to buy some genuine gems and jewellery.
We engaged a taxi to take us to the Phaya Thai station and then connected with an Airport link metro to Suvarnabhumi airport.
And we already began to miss the last 10 days. Really did not feel like going back after the awesome holiday we had.
Some do’s and don’ts:
We found the tap water safe enough to use to clean our teeth and wash vegetables but most people don’t drink it. To save money and plastic use the water filtration machines that are found on streets all over the city. You can take bottles to fill up for just 1 baht for 1.5 litres.
Renting bicycles is also popular with those who don’t want to drive a scooter, and you can walk to many places.
And in the end…
Sometimes some roads take us to places unknown
We discover deep within us, a traveler, alone
A part of our destiny, a path newly discovered
Within ourselves, a child is wondrously recovered.