‘Look, the ocean’s lit up’, said the guide in the boat. I was flabbergasted to see bioluminescence light up the water on a night boat ride. Thailand, as a country has been a favourite for Indian tourists over the years. It offers a mix of being a budget destination with pristine beaches, stunning temples, other cultural and historical delights, markets for shopping, and festivals. Couple that with cheap direct flights and you have a winner. Indian vacationers never seem to tire of Thailand; be it the nightlife of Bangkok, the mountains of Chiang Mai, the beaches of Krabi and Phuket, the full moon parties of Koh Phangan; interspersed with the temples of Kanchanaburi and the sleepy town vibe of Chiang Rai.
Here is a pick of my :
‘Top Travel Memories from Thailand’
Watch the insects create sand art on the beach
At first I didn’t believe it; while walking on a secluded beach in Krabi I observed the sand had beautiful patterns. As I kept watching, I realised that the sand patterns were being created while I was walking. Upon closer inspection it was understood that the insects were at work; basically they were scampering across the sand and into their burrow. While the insects may not have realised that their scampering was creating designs on the sand; I had a memorable time observing nature’s magic.
Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
Wat Pho is set in a compound that has the largest collection of Buddha statues in entire Thailand and the star attraction is the humongous Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho). The structures in the Wat Pho complex are a classic example of Thai architecture. Although Wat Pho can get very crowded; it is well worth coming here for a sight of the stunning golden reclining Buddha (Also called Wat Phra Chetuphon). It is open on all days from 8 am to 630 pm.
Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)
In the same complex as the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew is a temple with a statue of the Emerald Buddha. It is considered to be Thailand’s holiest image and is also steeped in a feeling of monarchy since it is located so close to the Grand Palace. Wat Phra Kaew is a visual extravaganza and architecture wise is counted among Bangkok’s finest temples. The ornamentation on display in the main temple is astonishing and the colour used is predominantly golden. The Emerald Buddha statue is tiny (only 66cms high) and is said to have originated in the 13th or 14th Century. The Ramakian Murals (just outside the main temple chamber are not to be missed as they depict the Thai version of the Indian epic Ramayana.
Sunset watching on Ao Nang Beach
During my time at Krabi, on one of the days I wandered over to Ao Nang and was advised by the locals to stay back at least till sunset. And they were right, the spectacle of watching sunset at Ao Nang is impeccable! The sky is bathed in myriad hues of yellow, pink and orange as the sunset show plays across Ao Nang. There’s a promenade at Ao Nang; and a beach is nearby. I thanked the locals wholeheartedly and couldn’t quite believe what I had just witnessed!
Impeccable shades of green and blue in Krabi on the boat
It is one thing to come across those perfect beach photographs and an entirely different experience to see multiple shades of green and blue on a boat ride. In Krabi and Koh Samui, I went on different Long Tail Boat Rides and Speedboat rides. One of the long tail boat rides was a 4 island boat ride that covered the islands of Phra Nang Beach, Poda Island, Tup Island and Chicken Island. A long tail boat ride is a traditional boat used in these regions. We left in the morning and came back by evening after spending time on all four islands. As the sun moved from east to west the colours of the water changed from light green to dark blue. That was the day when I saw different shades of teal, blue, light blue, aquamarine and many more with my own eyes!
Bioluminescence on a night boat ride
For me, experiencing bioluminescence was a totally unexpected discovery. Originally I was supposed to be only on a day cruise but the boat company made some mistake and put me on an evening boat ride. It was a speedboat ride and after watching a memorable sunset when it became totally dark; one of the boat guys jumped in the water and brought the water to life in the darkness. I couldn’t quite believe it; especially because I hadn’t even heard about the phenomena of bioluminescence at that time. It was a New Moon day and in the absence of any artificial light, the bioluminescence felt simply surreal.
Traipsing on the Monkey Trail
When I was staying in Krabi; it was connected to the bigger town of Ao Nang through a staircase quirkily named the ‘Monkey Trail!’ It was so called as the trail passes through a dense green jungle inhabited by a lot of monkeys. I was initially a bit worried since the monkeys seemed very used to humans and tourists passing by. However there are signboards on the trail that instructed to not give them any food and that helped. The stairs continued well into the jungle and after climbing high, stunning views of a pristine beach were visible. After the initial skepticism of the monkey trail, I made it a point to cross it once more during my time in Krabi and Ao Nang.
It seems that now is a golden time to visit Thailand; with the Thailand Government announcing zero visa fees for Thai Visa on Arrival for Indian tourists till October 2019. Here are more details on the same : Thailand eVisa Indian citizens
Note : This post has been written in collaboration with ThailandVisa. However the content, photographs and words are all mine.