de(xei)mber part v ; Bangkok + Pattaya.
For de(xei)mber part iv, I wrote a little about our trip to Hong Kong and got lazy towards the end, leaving the details out. Perhaps today isn’t the day to fill the details in, hence the details may never make its way into the blog post given that I’ll be equally lazy for this Thailand post. But that’s alright; I’ll remember the main points and that’d suffice. Redundant words and unreasonable requests were entirely insignificant, but unfortunately they made their way into our days too often. There was a great amount of excitement before the trip though, because our flight was about to be on SQ, which we hadn’t had the chance to take for a few years. It was a relatively pleasant flight, consisting of sleep and more sleep.
On the whole, Bangkok was beautiful in its own way. The fleeting views which I took notice of mostly reminded me of driving through Malaysia, ranging from the low-rise houses to the tall and extremely large advertisement boards. We joined a group packaged tour which signified being stuck in enclosed spaces with unfamiliar souls and being transported about in a bus together with a tour guide standing in front trying to keep her balance while droning away with her monotonous voice as most of us slept – beautiful isn’t it. In her justice, she did her job satisfactorily. It wasn’t all that bad, it was just her discomfort in speaking in a second language I guess, though it’s odd since we don’t face such issues. (Cue the hash tag Singaporean education) Long road trips were aplenty, and a large amount of time was spent on traveling as a result of the heavy traffic and the huge distances between our destinations but above all it wasn’t that much of a bore. She fed us with interesting facts drilled into our heads thanks to her repeated sentences, mostly speaking of prices of property in Bangkok and how it was expensive to locals, and cheap to us thanks to our exchange rates. The weather in Bangkok was pleasant, and it was slightly cooler than Singapore. Pattaya was even better. Our trip to Bangkok encompassed things like trips to Dream World, Asiatique, the Snake Farm, shopping areas, and the Erawan Four-Faced Buddha. Our two days in Pattaya brought us to another island and to 7-eleven before dinner. 7-eleven became our saving grace in Thailand mostly because of the availability of magnum and milk for low prices.
Dream World was interesting because it was in some sense different from the amusement parks, which I had been to so far. To begin with, the amusement parks I had been to were always visited in cold weather because they were in countries with winter and all- and Genting is cold, yes. I mean I visited USS in Singapore before but that isn’t really overseas- I’m drifting away from my point- But Dream World was different in the sense that they had several stalls with games such as shooting, fishing, or darts where we could win stuffed toys. These weren’t always present in amusement parks and thanks to that, it made Dream World feel genuine and somewhat warm, its something I can’t really pinpoint thoroughly with a word or two, but it was a great touch. Another interesting fact was the presence of an indoor roller coaster named Space Mountain. Now this was amusing to us because when we visited Hong Kong Disneyland earlier this month, we took a similar ride there with the exact same name. Hence we were pretty excited and gave it a go and they were both rather similar in their interior and concept but I guess the twists and turns were different and the interior design and everything emanated a different vibe. There were some rides which were definitely too intense for me and all I could do was stand there and watch others scream their lungs out. Another nice touch to the entire festive vibe was that on some rides, the controllers (is that the right word) would play music and speak through a mic to bring out the excitement and festive feeling. Once again this adds points to the place becoming warm and genuine, and being on the ride with enthusiastic locals made it better, besides the fact that our ears went through a lot that day. The outdoor roller coaster was a little disappointing though. It felt like their strengths were the intense rides which involved throwing a container filled with people about (that’s a little crude) and not the roller coasters, but nonetheless it was fun. They had a 4D show too which was great, and they had a section for people to take photos with miniature versions of the 7 wonders of the world, and things from fairy tales. This was a great addition because it felt like Dream World caters to all age groups. For adults and the daring group they could hop onto the intense rides, for the younger ones they could try the roller coasters, and for those who have no interest in these rides, they could always wander into the beautiful sections to take pictures. It was a very family-like amusement park and it was a day well spent.
Asiatique was too, a pretty place. Though our tour guide called it a night market it seemed different in the sense that the phrase night market makes me think of the night markets in Taiwan but Asiatique was more of a mall than a market. It was huge, and had several retail and food & beverage outlets. An interesting fact about the place was that while a stall could sell a souvenir item for 450, another could sell it for 150 so we spent half of the time looking for the best prices. It was a pity though, that we were only give 1.5 hours. We got a bunch of souvenirs and had some conversations with the locals, gaining insight in several areas.
The second and third day was spent in Pattaya where we went for another 1.5 hours of shopping and proceeded to the other island a little off Pattaya. It was enriching because we had to take a jet boat and it was the first time I had such an experience? And it would’ve been better if my slipper didn’t keep getting washed away by the water when I tried to board, it happened twice – and also, if I didn’t hit my head every time I got on or off, yes four times in total. It was shaky but somewhat therapeutic because its really possible to fall asleep on the way and the waves got me thinking and writing and I came up with a piece in my head then only to forget it once we got off the boat. The island was nice, but it was funny how we could easily see the difference in the cleanliness of the two ends of the island. Both ends were beaches but one end was full of rubbish while the other end was clearly beautiful and clean. The sand was extremely fine and nice to walk on barefooted. We tried this activity called water motorbike or something (the name was directly translated from Chinese so) and it was fun, besides the water spraying into our mouths and the taste. The highlight of the trip to the beach was i. the adorable puppies and their adorable shirts because. ii. the embarrassing things that people do. Extra emphasis on the second one because at the beach we saw all sorts of funny things ranging from people doing jump shots in long dresses and falling into the water to people running about throwing sand at each other and of course not to forget, people drawing hearts and triangles and odd things all over their chest and arms and walking around jiggling their fats proudly. It was admirable that many people have a really strong self-esteem and feel really confident with how they are – let’s leave it at that. We missed out on the massage after that though, this is really complaint-worthy because our tour guide didn’t give us clear instructions. But its alright, we made a trip to 7-eleven again. Oh, and the area around the beach at Pattaya kind of reminded me of Gurney in Penang.
We left Pattaya the next day and went over to Bangkok again, spending the day with paying a visit to the downtown area, which was packed with shopping areas. We also made our way to the tallest building in Bangkok that was a hotel named Baiyoke or Paiyoke, I don’t remember- and we had a rather disappointing but alright buffet lunch there. The rotating observation deck was great because of the wind and the view. The rest of the day was spent with some shopping and being stuck in a traffic jam, and squealing because we finally got a satisfactory hotel. We later decided to venture out on our own and behold, we went for more shopping and dinner at starbucks.
The last day was a free and easy day where we could choose what we wanted to do and hence, shopping. We took a taxi out with a really jovial and hyper taxi driver giving us instructions on how to move from shopping centre to shopping centre. Shopping was fun and tiring as usual, and that was about it. The best part though was taking their train system called BTS. This sounded a little funny to me though because BTS reminds me of Bangtan. Cues awkward cricket chirping. But nonetheless, another trip made on an overseas train system was made! And I still haven’t had a really long and proper trip on the MRT in Singapore. # Proud Singaporean. And that was about it. And one more thing, we paid a visit to Kinokuniya in Bangkok and I managed to find a book which I had been searching for for a year but we let it go, due to the presence of three books waiting for me to finish.
I’m really going into details for Thailand because it was a great trip despite our choruses of complaints. I’m only holding it this close because it gave me a reason to write again and I’m in some sense, cured partially from my writing draught and it was only during this period of five days that I regained my ability to over think and dig deep into things – these habits aren’t always bad and even though it caused a little dip in my mood curve I actually do appreciate this. It brought back the uncertainty and it made me witness how bad my anxiety could get. I thoroughly remember sitting at the table when we went to the Dragon restaurant (the one which is famous for having the waiters on rollerblades) and my hands were practically shaking, it wasn’t even because of the air-conditioning. And when the other family’s mother spoke to me my voice shook subtly, and my lips trembled badly when I tried to smile which led to me turning to my bowl of rice quickly- and yes, I ate with trembling hands. It was particularly bad during that meal for some odd reason. I found myself unable to control the trembling and the sweaty palms and perhaps that was when I noticed that I really had to do something about my issues and awkwardness. On a whole, as much as I complained earlier about how being in a group tour brought such anxiety and awkward issues, it was like they always say – the more the merrier. There were of course, moments where the parents cracked jokes together or came up with funny ways to diss the tour guide or her arrangements, or the food served on the dinner table; especially on the night where all thirteen of us squeezed into one dinner table to have a rather cold meal. It was delectable, but the others found several faults in it, often harping on the poor quality even days after – but that’s understandable. I still maintained with my principle that how food looks or tastes isn’t the most important because everything’s the same once you swallow it – disgusting balls of food that’ll stink and become shit eventually so why bother? It’s crude and rather disgusting but its worth a thought. And after touching down in Singapore I found that perhaps I had grown used to the presence of differing auras and in some sense I missed being surrounded by the hustle and bustle, and found it a little odd adapting to our usual living schedules but after a day, I’m much better.
All in all, this trip to Bangkok & Pattaya was enriching, and despite the little details and the several slip-ups in terms of the arrangement and timings on the tour guide’s part, it was great.
i. dream world.
ii. shots of bangkok.