We all dream of traveling abroad, don’t we?
And I am no exception either. The thought of traveling to some other country and exploring its places and understanding its culture excites me a lot.
And I believe we must do more of what excites us.
So following the belief of mine, I called up two of my best friends and tried to convince them to plan a trip to Thailand.
Surprisingly, they were already ready. I think it’s because they did know what a trip to Thailand is famous for 😛
Anyhow, I got the much-needed company and finally, it was time to get my passport stamped for the first time.
But still, it was not the first time when I traveled outside of India. I did travel to Nepal in 2016 but trust me Indians don’t consider Nepal as a foreign country.
So officially, this was my first foreign trip, A trip to Thailand.
Delhi to Bangkok
It was 30th of Jan 2019, Since I needed to catch the flight in the evening, I hardly spent 3 hours in the office. Thank god IT jobs have that flexibility.
I came back, picked up my backpack and booked the cab to the airport.
The flight was to depart from IGI terminal 1D but unknowingly, I booked the cab to IGI T3.
Luckily we had some extra time in our hand otherwise, Thailand is something we would have visited in our dreams.
We collected our ticket from the ticket counter, boarded the flight and finally reached Thailand after 9 hours.
It took that much of time because there was a layover of 5 hours in Kolkata.
Arrived with a bang in Bangkok
Thailand is 1 hour and 30 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time. By the time we reached Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. It was already 4:30 in the morning.
Thailand tourism often waives off the visa fee for the tourists coming from India. And if it is not waived off then you have to pay 2000 Thai Baht which will be almost 4400 INR (62 $).
You can apply here, Thailand Online Visa. It’s an official website.
They also provide visa on arrival for Indian tourists so you don’t have the compulsion to apply in advance. You can complete all the process at Bangkok airport itself.
One quick tip, the moment you land at Bangkok airport, try to step out as quickly from the plane as possible. That way you can avoid a long queue at the immigration counter at the airport.
But we didn’t know that so it took us more than 2 hours to complete the immigration process.
Things you need during the immigration process
You have to fill up the forms they provide.
Return air ticket.
Booking receipt of the hotel for the first day.
10000 Thai Baht in cash ( they verify sometimes).
2 passport size photo.
There is an anecdote related to passport size photo which happened at the Bangkok airport.
We did know that we need passport size pictures for the immigration process so we had few of it. But few people there told us that we need pictures of some specific size if we want to use it while immigration.
Now we were worried as without clearing immigration we can’t even step outside the airport.
So reluctantly, we enquired at a photo studio counter at the airport and asked for the price of clicking and printing a few passport size pictures.
He told us 200 Thai Baht for 6 pictures. That was an insane price. But we didn’t have an option so we decided to print it anyway.
We paid 600 Baht just for the pictures of three people.
But the worst was yet to come as the picture we just printed was of no use as they were accepting any size of a passport size photo.
We did feel bad for this but we did a learn a lesson that we have to be extra cautious with everything on this foreign land.
Bangkok To Pattaya
Bangkok to Pattaya buses depart from the gate no. 8 of Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The distance from the airport is around 120 km and it will take around 3 hours to reach Pattaya city.
The fare would be around 120 Thai Baht ( 300 INR) (5 $) for AC buses.
Fast forward three hours, since we had booked a hotel in the south Pattaya which happened to be 5 km before the Pattaya city.
So we got down and opened the most useful app for travelers traveling to another country, Google Maps.
The hotel was just 1.5 km away from there but we were quite oblivious about the transportation system of Thailand. We enthusiastically opened Uber but unenthusiastically it showed there are no cabs available.
Now we had no option other than walking.
The only thing I disliked about Thailand is its humidity. We had planned our trip in January so we can avoid the unbearable heat but in Thailand, even January seemed like April of India.
At last, we reached the hotel premise and checked into our room. B2 was the name of the hotel we had booked in Pattaya for 1500 INR (22 $) per night for three people.
Quick tip, In Pattaya you will find SONGTHAEW ( A local 13 seater rickshaw) going from one corner of the road to another. Their fare usually starts from 10 Baht. By using this SONGTHAEW to commute, you can save a lot of bucks and eventually reduce the cost or budget of your Thailand Trip.
A walk to remember at the walking street
Judge me, but I always had this fantasy of visiting a strip club. Maybe It’s because I was over-exposed to western movies or maybe we all have a demon inside us which only comes out at a place miles away from any acquaintance.
Whatever the reason was, the walking street of Pattaya is full of strip clubs. Right from Russian to Thai to Ukrainian, you will find everything.
Since it was our first experience of this dimension, we were a bit skeptical.
What if they would rob us or harass us? But we decided to give it a shot anyway.
After a lot of inquiry and caution, we decided to enter in a Russian strip club.
The ambiance was the same as what we see in movies. Big chairs and sofas all around the corner. girls dancing with poles at the center and some more girls roaming here and there asking people what they want to have.
We nervously and silently sat on a sofa in the left-most corner and started questioning ourselves if we did the right thing by entering this club.
Anyhow, within a matter of a few minutes, plenty of girls surrounded us and started asking about the various services they offer.
Since we only went there to just see how a strip club looks like and didn’t have any intention to try anything else. So we refused politely.
But still, they were asking profusely. This made me uncomfortable. But I pretended to be cool with it.
It was all going great when we observed the face of one of our friends. He seemed very very nervous and apprehensive and by looking at his face you can say that he doesn’t want to stay here any more second.
I talked to another friend and asked him to get up and leave this place.
He obliged. And now we were out of that place.
The rest of the time, we just walked one corner to another corner of the street, observing what this place is famous for.
Things to do in Pattaya
Apart from clubbing and partying, Pattaya is also famous for beaches.
Jomtien Beach is the most famous beach there followed by Pattaya Beach.
You can also visit Sanctuary of Truth, A massive temple carved out of wood.
Underwater World Pattaya is an underwater aquarium you can visit after paying 500 Thai Baht as an entry fee.
No matter how much you try, not everything can go perfect when you plan a trip. You will miss some must-visit places may be due to time constraint or insane entry charges.
Sometimes you will be duped by some locals there but this doesn’t make a place any bad. It happens everywhere no matter where you visit.
We too got duped or missed out some must-visit places in Pattaya but this was not the end of our Thailand trip. The best was yet to come.
We were on the way to get a much-needed vitamin sea in Phuket.