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PLANNING A HOLIDAY IN BALI? MAKE YOUR OWN ITINERARY

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Everything you need to Know about Bali

Bali is a mainstream travel destination amongst the sightseers. Good reason for same is that the place offers Tropical beaches, great surf spots for surfers. There is no shortage of islands, beaches & family friendly stay options. From Luxury vacays, honeymoon delights, island exploration to spiritual tourism Bali has it all.

I was invited on a fam trip to this island of gods by Indo DMC and I must confess this, unprejudiced that I was smitten away by the serenity of this place.  Personally speaking, I prefer places that offer stillness of nature, virgin beauty of surroundings, warm hospitality and amazing food.

After all isn’t all that we look for on a vacay. I mean who wants to run back into the noisy lives and overcrowded places that most of us live in. Vacay’s are meant to bring you in close proximity with your five senses and cherish the moments that are unruffled.

So here’s a sneak peek into everything you need to know about Bali. Pick your favourites & make your own itinerary.

                                                VOUK HOTELS & SUITES, NUSA DUA, BALI, INDONESIA

1. WHERE CAN ONE STAY IN BALI?- BEST HOTEL LOCATIONS

a. Kuta- This is an ideal location to enjoy surfing & beaches. Closer to International Airport. From Budget hotels to resort; Kuta offers it all. The place is in close proximity to waterparks, 3 D Art experience, Museums & theatre.

b. Seminyak- Hotels in Seminyak offer luxurious private pool villas, beachfront resorts and boutique hotels. Ideal location for night clubbers and shopaholics. The place is also known for Art Galleries, and the famous la Laguna- 30 m log bridge over a lagoon.

c. Legian- It has 4 to 5 star hotel options, elegant boutique resorts. One of the key areas for shopping, dinning & nightlife. Also known for Art Markets, Ground Zero Memorial and School of Surf.

d. Ubud- Most Relaxing retreats in Bali owing to its upland location, scenic views and mountains. One can find hotels promoting wellbeing through their winning spa facilities. The place is haven to temples, natural beauty of waterfalls, ridge walks, Rice terraces, Wild life retreats and the famous Monkey Forest all in nearby vicinity.

e. Jimbaran- Beachfront Hotels overlooking the bay, well-manicured gardens. The ones near Bukit peninsula are fringed by limestone cliffs that offer stunning oceans views, beautiful sunsets and world class surf spots. Other attractions in this locations is the famous Jenggana Gallery of Ceramic arts; Garuda Vishnu Kencana cultural park and the famous Uluwatu temple.

f. Nusa Dua- A series of superlative international chain of hotels facing lily white beaches. Nusa Dua is one such up market stretch in Bali developed by the tourism complex. With high end shopping complex, manicured gardens and landscaping. Amalgamation of recreation facilities & luxurious 18 hole golf course.

From range of temples, museum of housing arts, artefacts from Indonesia & Pacific, Unique natural landmarks around scenic peninsula.

Nusa Dua is an ideal location for honeymooners & Luxury family vacationers.

2. BEST TO DO THINGS IN BALI

a. 5 Must see Temples

                  TANAH LOT, WEST BALI

One should arrive at Tanah Lot latest by afternoon to explore the place. There is Surya mandala cultural Park and a grand open stage near BatuBolong to see Kecak fire dance. Don’t forget to try dinner at Sunset Terrace. One can relish western & asian selections and Bali’s favoured spicy sauced grills & seafood and 15 m high views over the temple.

The most picturesque temple in Bali, from Instagramm posts to postcards. It features the most scenic offshore setting. 45 minutes’ drive from Kuta. An ancient Hindu shrine on top constantly standing firm against the crashing tides. The onshore site has restaurants, cultural park which holds regular dance performances and shops selling local artefacts & fashion.

Opening Hours: 07:00- 19:00

Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban Village, Kediri, Tabanan

                                                                          ULUWATU TEMPLE, JIMBARAN

Uluwatu temple is often described as a picture postcard temple. The temple is famous among surfers for it’s encircles a surf spot. The temple is situated at southwest cliff top, about 70 metres above the rushing waves.

The temple is known for its sea views and splendid sunrise & sun set backgrounds.

Ramayana ballet performances are held in amphitheatre nearby around the sunset hours and is worth a watch. The place is an exotic display of culture, architecture.

Opening Hours: 09:00- 18:00

Location: PuruUluwatu in Pecatu Village, Kuta district about 25 kms south of Kuta.

                                               ULUN DANU BERATAN TEMPLE, TABANAN

Ulun Danu Bertan Temple is located on the western side of the Bertanlake in Bedugul, Central Bali. It is one of the refreshing weekend spots amongst localers and island visitors from southern and urban areas.

Ulun Danu Beratantemple is an architectural jewel of Balinese features and tiered shrines. Inside the temple the three main shrines are dedicated to worship  god Vishnu which boasts 11 tiers, god Brahma with 7 tiers and Shiva with 3 tiers.

Perfect setting to capture some interesting photo memories. The scenic views of lake are mesmerising and also offer motorized boats for a ride, water sports such as parasailing and jet skis is also available.

The temple also hosts various cultural festivities like Art Festival. I was glad to have witnessed the grandeur of various cultural acts put up by youth, kids and artists from all around the island.

                                                                  TIRTA EMPUL TEMPLE

One of the important temple & holy mountain spring, located in the village of Manukaya in Central Bali. The temple is popular for its traditional tale of good versus evil. Known as National Cultural Heritage site.

Tirta Empul means Holy water spring is the name of water source located within the temple. The spring feeds various purification baths, pools and fish ponds.

To enter the temple one needs to wear traditional Kamen wrap around the lower body plus a sash around the waist.

The place is sacramental and it is better first to check about rituals of the place if you decide to try out few local rituals. Best to check with a local guide.

Opening Hours 9:00-17:00

Location: Manukaya Village, district of Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Central Bali.

                                                                Pura Taman Saraswati Temple Ubud

The Pura Taman Saraswati is a beautiful temple in central Ubud. The temple offers a great on road journey through the Ubud town with sightseeing and photo opportunities and classical Balinese temple architecture.

Entry to temple is free but as with most temple visit in Bali, a sash and sarong around a waist is important.

 Location: Jalan Raya, Ubud

SIGHTSEEING ATTRACTIONS FOR FAMILY VACAY

1.WATER BOM BALI is an ideal family recreational spot. With numerous waterslides and playful games. This is island’s unbeaten water park near Kuta. The park has tropical gardens, 17 exciting water slides, other water games and pools and loads of eateries to enjoy various delicacies. A Must do when on a family vacay in Bali.

Pic Courtesy:@Discovery hotels& Resorts.

To know more about the place-click the link below

https://www.waterbom-bali.com/ticket

2. RIP CURL SCHOOL OF SURF

Its’ so often said you can’t stop a wave but you can learn to surf. Like life’s reality I think one should definitely learn how to surf in life; the sooner the better.

When in Bali, one think that for sure should not be missed is Rip Curl School of Surf. Different courses offered for different age groups and needs. Bali has various places offering surfing lessons especially along the way on the beaches even for kids. However it’s always a better option to learn from dedicated school and team of experts. Rip Curl School of Surf is one of the popular school in Legian.

Pic Courtesy:@Rip Curl school of Surf.

To know more about the place-click the link below

https://ripcurlschoolofsurf.com/courses-reservation/reservation/

3. Bali Safari & Marine Park: Established by Taman Safari Indonesia. Spread over 40 hectares of land in GianyarRegency. 80 species of wild life which roam freely in their most natural habitat. One can spot Deers, Himalayan bears, Nilgai, Black bucks, African Hippos, Zebra, Camels, baboons and Indian White tigers.

Guests can enjoy the safari buses to roam through the different animal arenas. The highlight of the park is the Ranthambore, a replica of ancient Indian fort in Rajasthan.

Pic Courtsey@ Trip Advisor

To know more about the place-click the link below

https://booking.balisafarimarinepark.com/BSM?&setcurrency=IDR

4. Bounce Bali Trampoline

Bounce Bali Trampoline Centre in Canggu is popular for fun sporting & leisure facilities. The indoor warehouse facility is laid with 65 square & rectangular Olympic grade trampolines set in tight array with foam padding to ensure safe landing. Not just popular with kids but with adults too.

Pic Courtsey@ Travel with Bender

To know more about the place-click the link below

https://www.bouncebali.com/pricing/

5. Kitamani Volcanic Crators: Kitamani area is a blessed with a panaromic view of plateau & mountains around it. Carpet of Batur lake surrounding highlands with fresh breeze. The land is fertile for lemon trees, coffee and chocolate plantation.  The lake and the volcano, Kintamani is home to Pura Ulun Danu Batur, one of Bali’s key nine directional temples.

DANCE, WINE & DINE

DANCE

Sky Garden Lounge is one of the most sort after legian’s night outs. With electrifying music and dance sessions on rooftop, this venue is a great place to hang out, drink & dine. Great value buffets, happy hours and foot tapping live DJ sessions. This is a must visit place. Opens  from 18:00 hours until late.

Engine Room is three story night club that bewitches the younger crowd on the main legian street. The club open in afternoon earlier than most night clubs. The club steams up in mid night with resident Dj’s playing a variety of hip-hop, dub and trap. Engine Room is concoction of beats, vivid laser, disco balls & LED. Must Visit.

Lattes & Wine

SegaraWindhu Luwak Coffee Plantation is one of the biggest plantation in Tampaksiring regency. The place promotes agro tourism so one can learn about Bali Coffee Plantation, coffee varieties like Arabica, Robusta and most interesting Luwak coffee. One can buy Luwak coffee cheaper than any other place as they produce themselves.

About Luwak Coffee: Kopi Luwak or civet coffee is coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet , once eaten it then passes through their digestive tract.

A Civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, prototypic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet’s intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape intact. Post that the defecated beans are thoroughly washed, sundried, light roasting and brewing is done. These beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness and hence commands to be most expensive coffee in the world.’

Hatten Wines is a typical Balinese company owned by a Balinese family and managed by Balinese people. The company is known to have nearly touched 250 families in Bali from grape growers to employees, suppliers to distributors. The company embraces Bali’s public spirited projects promoting culture, arts, sports and environment. Living up to their slogan “Proudly Balinese”; the company brings in the true flavour of Bali with their Wines Product line. Totally Recommended. 

DINE

                                                              Restaurant Raja in Nusa Dua Bali

Raja restaurant in Bali is a grandiose of Classical Bali Cuisine. Adjoined to Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, the restaurant embarks the majestic and nature friendly ambience for its guests.

The menu showcases Balinese favourites & heritages like “Bebekbetutu”; a slow cooked duck infused with Balinese spices. The décor of the place speaks richly about the heavily adorned & carved furnishings. One can choose to dine indoors or outdoors.

Pic Courtsey@Raja Bali Restaurant

                                                          Bangle Indian Restaurant in Nusa Dua, Bali

Bangle serves North Indian, Chinese & Western Cuisine in contemporary style ambience. The food is less on oil and yet offers authenticity in taste & flavour. Bangle can cater to upto 400 seatings with indoor & outdoor layout. The main attraction of the place is the fusion of Balinese & Bollywood stage performances put up by local artists.

Beachy affair at Bali- Must visit Beaches

Kuta Beach: 2.5 kms stretch of cream coloured sand borders with legian and tuban. One of the most popular beaches amongst international visitors. Offers Sun-sand & surf. Best waves in Kuta beach are in dry season from April-August. Great variety of snacks bar along the way. Adjoining is the Kuta Art Market for shopping.

Legian Beach

Legian is home to islands best 5 star luxury resorts. Known for its surfing schools , eminent one being Rip Curl School of Surf and laid back sun loungers. Best time to visit April-August. The broadwalk of Legian beach is crowded with small art shops, Dinning & Nightlife hotspots just a hop over the braodwalk. One of popular activities is impromptu beach soccer or volley ball tournament.

Seminyak Beach

Unlike Kuta & Legian Beach, this beach attracts vagabond surfers for its dramatic waves. Offers coast of gold to dark sand and splendid sunset views. One can enjoy a fashionable chic and sassy scene with rows of designer boutiques on side streets. Amazing dining options and great entertainment spots.

Nusa Dua Beach

Incredible world class beach resorts along the coastline. All thanks to Nusa Dua tourism complex and upmarket shopping complex. Dreamy beachfront settings overlooking clean white sand beaches making an ideal place for honeymooners and family vacay’s.

Uluwatu Beach

Most popular in Bali Bukit peninsula, also known for cliff top temple. The coastline has some hidden beaches and world class surf breaks. Named as Mecca of surfing for wave riders around the world.

Shopping in Bali

Bali is hub to shopping potpourri, right from flea markets, to shopping streets, to Art markets and various Malls. There is something unique for everyone here. Here are few of my personal favourites.

UC SILVER & GOLD JEWELRY DENPASAR

UC Silver Jewellery started as a small silver workshop known for its unique styles & designs. The name UC silver stands for Ubud Corner Silver & Gold, Bali, Indonesia. The place is known for its legendary sterling silver company started in 1989. Specialised in Dragonfly & other luxury designs. The jewellery is handcrafted by expert’s craftsman and designers to produce world class quality products. Sterling jewellery items include necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings & earrings.

Krishna Yuna Gallery

Krishna Yuna Gallery established in 1989 offers modern & traditional Gold & silver jewellery from best local craftsman. The procedure of making silver jewellery is done directly in workshops. One can enjoy watching the craftsmanship that goes behind making each and every piece from this household.

Bali Batik Centre

Bali batik Centre is located only about 12 kms from Kuta in Tohpati Village. Batik is traditional form of painting fabric. They use dots and lines from wax to display stories on fabrics. This is one of the most developed art form in Indonesia. Batik home Industry is an experience for your creative sensibilities. – It throws colours, patterns, stories, and the smell of batik nourishes your soul and mind. It is Island of Java, where batik has achieved great scales.

Tirta Empul Temple Shopping Complex: Temple has large parking complex with its eastern side lined with art markets and rows of shops selling various curios, artefacts, souvenirs, apparels. There are several warungs or food stalls selling local food, snacks and refreshments.

Legian Shopping Streets

Shopping in Legian is an unforgetful experience with streets like MertaNadi art market offering handicrafts, souvenirs and leisure friendly pedestrian walk.

Another popular street is Garlic Lane named after a restaurant of the same name on JalanSahadewa one of the out of the way and narrow streets off legian main roads. This lane is popular for regular shopping walks, art shops, DVD stores, fashion boutiques, woodcarving galleries.

The main JalanLegian street is full of fashion boutiques, art shops. There are small alleys selling clothes to artistic pieces.

Ulun danu Beratan Temple shopping centre

The temple holds long stretch with small shopping deli’s. From food to ice cream parlour, cafes and boutique fashion. One can shop to one’s heart full.

Balinese signature items are an attraction at this place.

Post Courtsey: Indo DMC, Bali, Indonesia (Bali Tourism)

Looking for customised trips (Solo, family or group), competitive rates & local information; write to us at info@gypsyescapade.com  In association with Indo DMC, Bali, Indonesia.

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Bangkok World’s Top Tourist Destination

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Bangkok indeed is a tourist’s paradise. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or not there is one big question that we all face while choosing a destination for a holiday. And that big question often is “Does the place offer me a complete Touristy package”?

Have you wondered after all what is this Touristy Package?

I have been travelling for past 19 years and in my all escapades to various destinations, mingling with fellow travelers across the world. I can confidently state that while people do holiday for different reasons there is one thing that is common and that is “Big Expectation” from destination to offer Good Food, Shopping, Entertainment, Nightlife, Adventure and Scenic beauty and most important all of this at an affordable price. Sounds Good! Well good or not but it definitely is an overlong list of expectation.

So here comes Bangkok; a complete Touristy Package Destination. The city is high on tourism as it is also a convenient transit point to explore rest of Thailand. Travel Stats states that Bangkok is the most booked Asian destination of year 2018. Pattaya takes 10th position in the charts. Other popular Thai destinations are Hua Hin-Cha am, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Chiang Rai, Krabi. You can read about these spots in my other blog stories.

But for now, let’s have a look at what makes Bangkok a Avant Garde Destination.

Girls Group Tour organized by Travel Tummy.

Accommodations

From Airbnb to hostels to hotels to resorts. Bangkok fits in everyone’s budget and that’s the best thing about the place. Best locations from accessibility, food and entertainment purpose are Sukhumvit, Silom, Siam, Pratunam and Riverside.

 I prefer Hotels in around Sukhumvit Soi 11; for its proximity to various destinations, good spread of Restaurants offering Asian food and BTS Skytrain station just around the corner.

Personally, experienced hotels that I recommend are Grand Swiss Sukhumvit 11 Hotel Bangkok by Compass Hospitality and Citrus Sukhumvit 11 by Compass Hospitality. These two properties in Sukhmvit Soi 11 are best known for rates, proximity to eateries, clubs, BTS Skytrain station and massage parlors.

Bangkok for you.

Mahanakhon Skywalk

  1. Mahanakhon Skywalk

Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in our minds. Dare to challenge it? Try exploring Thailand’s highest observation deck at 314 meters offering 360-degree panoramic views of the city. One can experience world’s largest glass trays at height of 310 meters from 78th Floor. Best views of the city. One is permitted photography from official photo taking area only.

 Pic Courtesy Bangkok.com

  • Siam Niramit Show

A spectacular show offering a grand feast of sight, sound and taste. The show presents legendary stories of Thai Mythology and Culture. The entry starts at about 5.30 Pm in evening and one can enjoy early Dinner Buffet, Thai Massage, Elephant rides and Souvenir shops.

The show starts at about 8:00 PM. Performed on a huge stage listed in Guinness World Records. About 100 performers in more than 500 costumes. The show displays special effects using cutting edge technology. Must do for those who love to appreciate art and take a glimpse into Thailand’s art and culture.

                             Floating Market Bangkok

Pic Courtesy Bangkok.com

  • Floating Market

Floating Markets are quite popular amongst the visitors and tourists to Thailand. For first timers this seems to be a must do in their bucket list.

There are quite a few floating markets in around Bangkok. While most of the markets have boats piled with tropical fruits, vegetables, coconut juices and local cooked food. It’s the ambience that makes a difference in the experience. Some are crowded with locals while some have mix of locals and tourists. Some Floating Markets are in Bangkok while others are in radius of 20-50 kms outside the city.

The one that’s ringing the bell is Damnoen Saduak Floating market. Hollywood friendly this market has featured in James Bond Classic “The Man with the Golden Gun with Roger Moore as James Bond.

In 2008 the film Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicolas Cage shot a scene in the market place and thus making this market quite popular amongst tourists.

The market exhibits aquatic culture well blended with Thai architecture around the place. One can shop traditional puppets, noodle soup, bamboo hats and more.

                                      Grand Palace Bangkok

  • Grand Palace- Emerald Buddha-Reclining Buddha

Grand Palace is one of the spectacular spots of Bangkok. A must do in your first visit. Built in 1782 its been home to generations of Thai Monarchy for 150 years. The Palace also held Thai war ministry, state departments.

Within the Palace there are impressive shrines of Buddha popularly and locally known as Wat Phra Kaew or the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha (Phra Putta Maha Mani Ratana Patimakron) is a Buddha image in meditating pose in the style of the Lanna School of the North way back from 15th century AD. The robes of Buddha are changed by the HM The king of Thailand and is considered an important ritual of Buddhist calendar. Though the King doesn’t reside here but most ceremonial and auspicious ceremonies are held in the Palace.

Wat Pho -Golden Reclining Buddha

The picture of Golden Reclining Buddha is the most iconic image used to promote Bangkok. Hence making it a must do spot. The Buddha figure is about 15 meters tall, 46 meters long; feet are about 5 meters long decorated in Mother of Pearl illustrations of auspicious laksanas of the Buddha. 108 is a significant number referring to 108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection.

One needs to be appropriately dressed which is no exposed shoulders or skin above the knee. Wat Pho also is known for therapeutic massages. Post temple visit if you wish to relax your feet or try various massages to relieve your stress and improve blood circulation.

Pic Courtesy- Bangkok.com

  • Wat Arun

Envisioned by King Taksin in 1768, it is believed that after fighting his way out of Ayutthaya which was taken over by Burmese army at that time, he arrived at this temple. He named it as Temple of Dawn. Emerald Buddha was earlier stationed here before moving to Grand Palace. Rama 111 further added spires of porcelain to add to grandeur of this temple. One of iconic sites of Bangkok. The night views of temple are simply mesmerizing.

  • Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise

Be it a honeymoon or a new year’s night cruise ride on the Chao Phraya River is one of most intoxicating experience. One can enjoy views of some of the most iconic buildings, light music on the boat, riverside scenery, watch live performances, World class Thai cuisine buffet. In short simply splendid. One should definitely do this to carry back timeless memories. Ideal for private parties, wedding receptions or incentive groups.

Pic Courtesy -Blue Elephant School

  • Blue Elephant Half Day Cooking Tour: Love to explore the world gastronomy or are simply foodies; then this is the tour for you.

Upon enrolling you can expect a century old mansion opening its doors to you. One can learn about rich history of recipes and taste culinary delights of royal Thai Cuisine. You shall have a mentor chef greeting you with welcome drink. Then would be a discussion round together for you to curate your 4-course meal. One needs to head to market to get ingredients that chef has listed and then get back to school.Now comes the action time so get set into your aprons and start following instructions from the chef for your menu and after you put in all the hard work; its time to lay the food presentation and taste it.

  • Muay Thai Boxing

If you are high on your adrenalin rush and possess martial art instincts then this is a must for you. You may choose to witness live action or may chose to learn the art but let me warn you this is no joke its real sweat in the ring.

Muay Thai in Bangkok is neon lights flood ring with two men’s spiritual thanksgiving to their teachers, spirits and sport in a ceremony called Wai Khru.

The stadium witnesses loud Thai classical instruments playing music with boxers performing a Ram Muay-dance demonstrating their skills and styles. These pre match ceremonies are believed to bring in luck and protection to boxers. Post that match starts, stay tight as it does gets bloody and gore some to watch.

Most famous of Thai Boxing academy is Master Toddy’s Muay Academy named after master himself. He is considered as “The father of Muay Thai Boxing”; one can learn Muay Boran, Krabi Krabong, Western Boxing, Women’s self-defense and MMA.

2. Thailand Flower Market-Chao Phraya Pier

Thailand Flower Market is not a typical bucket list spot but I would definitely suggest visiting this place. Be it with your family or a solo trip there is so much to learn from flowers. I personally believe in “Flower Sermons”. Wanna try? Here you go take Lotus flower for instance it teaches-Trust in the Light; grow in the dirt and believe in new beginnings. Another One- look at Jasmine flower- smiles at darkness of night.

One can grace flowers like Jasmine, Chrysanthemum, Orchids, Lillies, roses, tulips and many more. It’s nature’s feast to one’s sight.

Vacations are best way to detox your mind body and soul, one should often look at visiting places that are not necessarily must do’s but do teach you life sermons unknowingly.

And don’t forget to buy yourself a bunch because you are worth it.

  • Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine: There are many phallic shrines in the world with various beliefs and facts. This shrine in Bangkok believes in worshipping phallus to encourage fertility and marital bliss amongst couples. Women looking forward to pregnancy, young girls for wishing marital bliss or for general marital contentment offer beauty products, phallus in the shrine as offerings.
  • Massages

Bangkok is a hub for spa’s and massages. There are innumerable massage centers offering beauty spa’s, therapeutic massages to general massages for daily lifestyle requirements. One cannot imagine Bangkok without a massage so whether its your first time or fifth, leaving Bangkok without a massage is simply not a good idea.

One can chose to opt for a massage parlor outside your hotel or call masseur in hotel room via hotel. There are massage parlors inside hotels too or chose a parlor in any of the malls. There are many choices suiting your pocket and preference.

  • Bangkok in New Years

New Year is one time of the year that rocks indeed and witnessing this rocking moment is a lifetime opportunity one shouldn’t miss at all. One such work trip to Bangkok during New Year’s just made my day. The only low down is that the places are jammed packed with no space to breathe; at times becomes too claustrophobic but whose complaining with that kind of titillating backdrop. Children and those suffering from breathing ailments should be avoided.

Bangkok puts up a great show on New Year’s; while there are many spots celebrating the New year’s frenzy one such public event is held at Centre World Mega Shopping Complex. The mall is home to branded clothing, gourmet eateries, ice skating ring-though most of them shuts down early in the evening as the place turns into one mega venue to witness New Year’s countdown.

Pre countdown festivity starts with live music bands playing popular nos. of Western and Thai Music. One can watch popular Thai TV & Cinema Stars coming and performing on musical nos. before the countdown onset starts. There are street food hawkers, people selling neon lit hair bands, new year body accessories to add to the season flavor.

Watch the Pre & Countdown video to decide if this event is for you?

 
  • Shopping

-Pratunam: This is one of the most famous street markets of Bangkok selling clothes, shoes, accessories at wholesale prices. Popular with small local & international shopkeepers who buy in bulk. Prices are cheap at times unbelievable. The market operates on cash payments only. The area is huge spread across tiny by lanes and stalls sometimes get difficult to find your way out. It’s quite a maze but who is complaining for the deals one gets to find here. If shopping is in your mind then carry lot of money and bags because you are definitely coming out with empty pockets.

-Malls

Terminal 21 is a whole world in one place. The Mall is haven to shopaholics laid out in market street style inspired from 8 world class shopping cities. The Place is spread out on different levels with escalators flying you from one city to another. So Welcome to Caribbean, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul, San Francisco and Hollywood. What’s your pick?

 Accessible with BTS and MRT Routes.

MBK Center

Bangkok’s most legendary shopping mall amongst tourists and locals. There are 8 floors with 2000 shops that sell almost everything from clothes, make up, fashion accessories, handbags, food eateries with level full dedicated to electronics. One can sell and buy electronic items here. It’s not as upmarket or plush as Siam Paragon but it offers great products and considerably less prices. Easy access via sky train or TukTuk or cabs.

Products are value for money and bargains do work here. Try your luck.

Siam Paragon

One of the high-end shopping destinations in Bangkok. The mall houses a host of international brands, South East Asia’s largest aquarium, 16 screen cineplex and a comprehensive world cuisine.

Located conveniently in front of Siam BTS sky train station. The mall has a collection of over 250 international brands so if something exclusive is on your mind then this is the place for you.

Asiatique

Asiatique is one of my favorites shopping spots in Bangkok, a night bazaar and a vintage mall. One can ride a ferry from Saphan Taksin BTS station. With over 1500 boutiques and 40 restaurants this place is splendid. What I like most about this place are the views down river with ferries doing rounds, the big Ferris wheel and the buzz that’s so much fun. The place for sure gives a great shopping orgasm.

Pic Courtesy- Safari World

Bangkok for Kids

Bangkok has some great spots for Kids to enjoy too such as homeland’s famous KidZania situated in popular Siam Paragon Mall on 5th Floor;

Bounce Inc. is an action-packed trampoline park and Climbing Centre.

Most popular amongst kids is the Safari World Park offering fun at Animal Kingdom and Marine Park both. One can feed animals and also watch great shows put up by these animals.

I have always said that while they put a great show for us; we too should be compassionate and treat them with love and care. Never hurt animals.

Gypsyescapade does not promote nor encourages any sort of recommended fun activities that involves or promotes cruelty against animals.

Pic Courtesy- La Presse.ca

Nightlife

PatPong

World’s most glorified red-light district. Patpong is where Thailand’s Go-Go Culture started. The same came in spotlight and was immortalized in James Bond Chase sequence. Patpong is spread between two parallel side streets between Silom and Surawongse road. With neon lit strips bars, pole dancing; go go bars and naughty shows openly offered to visitors and tourists. This street is indeed having some electrifying pleasure waiting to be consumed.

Patpong undoubtedly is the King of the scene compared to Soi Cowboy its counterpart in Sukhmvit area. The place also sells street junkies to tourists and visitors. Dull and dumb in the day and in the night its completely opposite -unrecognizable.

Need we say more as to why Bangkok is rated as Top Tourist destination?

Value Packages for Bangkok City and islands available at www.thetraveltummy.com

For customized itineraries write to us at info@thetraveltummy.com

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Calmer & Quieter Cha am; Thailand

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Slow, Still, Serene, Speechless….

Life today is turbulent, rowdy and boisterous. Living each day is a challenge in cities. Taking a break is no more a luxury it’s rather a necessity to disconnect with the world and find peace. Though holidays are planned to rejuvenate our mind, body and soul but we still get stuck up at noisy beaches; crowded amusements parks; hitting up must do’s on our travel bucket list in urban city’s or popular countryside locations. And finally, realize that are holidays were as busy as our daily lives.

So, here is Cha am one of the quieter and calmer beach islands located just 200 kms south of Bangkok; good enough for a day trip too. Popular with Bangkok locals who want to rewind themselves away from the daily chaos and for travelers in search of laid-back holidays. One can combine Cha am with Hua Hin Island in close proximity.

Cha am comes out to be a perfect place to simply disconnect with the world, enjoy reading a book on the beach with just sound of lapping waves , cool breeze and  turtle or sea gull for company. Popular with couples looking for more private space, senior citizens who prefer peace over noise and families with kids who want less crowded spaces for kids to enjoy outdoors.

Exploring Cha am.

Sometimes its important that we detox our lives and one such place to do that is Cha am a district in Phetchaburi province.

It’s a white sand beach that stretches for kilometers. What’s best about this place

is the proximity of beaches with the places it offers to stay. There are quite a mix of places one can pick up on.

  1. Cha am Beach

Cha am’s long stretch sandy beaches are known for stillness of time. Best to have self-sessions; picnic with family, pony rides or just enjoy watching sunrise and sunset with your loved one.

Though it does offer beach activities such as jet skiing and banana boat riding and seafood is readily available in restaurants as well as street side kiosks.

Pic Courtesy- Coaching Golf

2. Golf  

Cha am & Hua Hin are best known for Golf. Especially Cha am with spectacular scenery, embraced by forested mountains and poetic sea; golf is best enjoyed in this place. The place offers some of the best golf courses including the Jack Nicklaus designed course and 6 international standard courses inciting you to keep coming back and qualifying them. There are extensive Championship golf courses are available for you to enroll in them.

3. Maruekhathaiyawan Palace

Period Splendour When approached from afar, the sight of the palace against the backdrop of white sands and cerulean-blue sea conjures up an image of a place suspended in time. You can almost imagine court servants scurrying down the corridors, going about their daily business, while the king and royal consorts take residence in the royal chambers. Back in those days, each of the three buildings had clearly defined functions.

A series of halls located in the south wing served as the residence of the king and royal consorts. These consisted of royal sitting and relaxing rooms, the royal chamber of the princess consort and a reading room. The north wing served as accommodation for court servants, and the two-story open pavilion or ‘Samoson Sewakamat Hall’ served as the official venue for royal functions as well as for theatre and entertainment.

4. PlearnWan

Plearnwan in Thai means joy of yesteryear. This is Vintage rustic ground selling unique souvenirs, toys, apparels, fashion accessories, artifacts and variety of nam pirik (chilipaste). The ground has a Ferris wheel, game counters and an outdoor cinema where shows happen on weekend evenings.

Food is the focal point of this place. One can savor grilled meat and various local delicacies. There is a humongous spread of Thai desserts to relish. In all a place that truly depicts the culture of locals.

Pic Courtesy: Klook

5. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Breathtaking views of limestone peaks in backdrop and lush green surroundings; this place is nothing but green paradise. The name of the Park means “the mountains with three hundred peaks”. An area of 100 sqkm. Along the coast the place is closer to Hua Hin in south and Krabi province too. The beauty of this Park lies in wildlife, Crab eating macaques, Asian Goat Antelope. And that not all the pristine white beaches, offshore island caves, forest trails; bird watcher’s paradise as its home to more than 300 species.

 Best seasons for park is between Sept- November when a flock of migratory birds from Serbia, China and Northern Europe arrive to halt and feed and then continue their journey to South of Australia. One can explores Caves or opt for hiking. About 400 meters from the Park Centre hike up the hill to view most scenic sunrise viewpoint called Khao Daeng.

Pic Courtesy: Klook

 Phraya Nakhon Cave: What can I say about this Cave; nature’s marvel is at display with a hole in its roof that allows stream of light to fall upon a dome constructed in conventional Thai Architecture for King Rama V. Surrounded by limestone mountains on three sides.

Pic Courtesy: Thai National Parks

The dome looks exquisite when the beam of sunrays falls upon it making it the most picturesque views. To visit this cave, one needs to take 20 minutes long tail boat ride to Laem Sala Beach and hike another 30 minutes uphill forested trail.

6. Family Vacationers: for those travelling with kids there are quite few places to explore and enjoy such as Swiss Sheep Farm, Santorini Park. To  know more about these places read story by #littlegypsytraveller “ Best Kids Friendly places in Cha am & Hua Hin on the link below.

https://bit.ly/2YTimpN

Check out our value packages for frequent travelers to Thailand on www.thetraveltummy.com

For customized tours for Thailand, write to us at info@thetraveltummy.com

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Pattaya is not just the sin city of South East Asia

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If Las Vegas is the sin city, Pattaya is a bearhug from Lucifier himself. How many of us have heard this anecdote on Pattaya? I am sure most of us. Well when we spell Pattaya what comes to our minds most is it is the “Sin City of South East Asia”.

Not that you are wrong but do you know Pattaya is not just that. Sharing close proximity with Bangkok about 147 kms and offering value for money tourism; it’s one of the favorite destinations for Corporates for Mice events.

Pattaya is on verge of becoming new world class MICE City for Thailand and the whole world. Authorities are working on their ambitious project of making ”New Pattaya, the World Class Greenovative Tourism City” with a ”green and clean” environment for tourists and locals.

Let’s take a look at what makes Pattaya a perfect concoction of Leisure, Lust, Luxury, Lackadaisical…. I can keep adding more L’s to my list. In short, the takeaways are endless and all this for a pocket friendly budget.


The Leela Resort & Spa, Pattaya- Recommended for Family & Group Stays.

Stays’

From Beach Side Resorts, Apartments, Family Hotels, City Centers, Romantic Hotels & Luxury Hotels, Pattaya has it all. Ideal areas to choose your holiday haven are Jomtien, Central Pattaya, Pattaya Beach Road, South Pattaya.

Islands Near Pattaya (Day Trips from Pattaya)

While there are quite few islands to explore from Pattaya such as Koh Samet, Monkey Island, Koh Si Chang, Koh Khram, Koh Rin, Koh Phai, Koh Krok, Koh Sak, Koh Larn; the most popular one being Koh Samet and Coral island (Koh Larn).

Koh Samet

This is a small island off Rayong (south of Pattaya). One can find tall cliffs along west coast and pleasing beaches along the east coast. This beach is quite popular among st locals of Bangkok & Pattaya especially the youth as it holds there an annual Thai Pop & rock music festival . Koh Samet has good line of hotels and resorts. The sea’s favorite thrills are scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling etc.

Koh Larn (Coral Island)

Coral Island is the largest island near Pattaya. One can access it from Bali Hai Pier. The island has around 6 main beaches. One can opt for a long tail boat or a speed boat for accessing this island. Island has got white sand and warm turquoise waters. Plenty of water sports like banana boat, jet ski, speed boat thrills and others. And for those who love to turn hermit for some time, this is a beautiful place to be in that state of mind. I love going in and out of hermit zone and rejuvenating my five senses at those beautiful abandoned spots in the island. The other leeway of enjoying this solidarity is that you get to spot some extraordinary Instagram able spots.

Pattaya Attractions

1)Pattaya for Kids

Upside Down Museum

Upside Down Museum Pattaya is like any other trick museums though what’s unique about this place is huge compound dedicated to this perplexed structure that leaves you completely disoriented once inside the premises. The structure offers various unbalanced interiors that can sway off your feet and offer amazing bewildered trick photography pictures. I would suggest scan and take a look at few trick photography pics before visiting this place so you can make most of it.

Photography services are available inside too. To add more to this topsy-turvy world the place is open for couple and newlywed photo sessions. Now this definitely is an amazing and quite eye drop experience to enjoy some comic and intelligent wedding photography at this place.

Recommended for those who find normal boring.

 Underworld World Pattaya

Underwater World Pattaya, the only aquarium in Pattaya City. The place is much more than an aquarium as it offers interactive activities with aquatic creatures. One can feed Koi Fish, Turtles and enjoy the Touch Zone pools where one can actually experience marine animals by touching them.

And that’s not all the highlight of the place is the Sleep Over with Sharks and Rays Camp designed especially for the School Kids. This program me is one of its kind.

The place as a lot of marine creatures and colorful corals. There are beautiful acrylic tunnels about 105 meters long with 180 degrees coverage that gives it a real underwater experience.

Not a regular aquarium. Must Do.

Sriracha Tiger Zoo

Great Place for Kids to explore wildlife in such close proximity. Activities offered are Crocodile feeding; Big Tiger feeding- food scumble, Nang Phong Scorpio- Trained lady with 100 scorpions on her dress-dare to do the same; Play with scouts (baby tiger cubs), feeding Koi fish, Park -Zoo has plenty of beautiful landscaping that offers amazing photo backdrops;

One can click pictures feeding baby tiger cubs or big size tigers. While we do all of this it would be nice if we show compassion and love towards animals while we interact with them and they put up at some amazing shows for us.

Ramayana Water Park

Biggest Water Park in Thailand. Rated 1st in Thailand, 2nd in Asia & 12th in the world by Trip advisor. With more than 50 attractions, 350 trained staff and 100 lifeguards. This place should definitely on your bucket list. Need I say more.  Speaking about what different at this Water park, crystal clear water used in the rides are safe enough to drink sourced from the underground wells. More than 20 rides are unique and have no comparison in Asia.

Art in Paradise

Watch the video to decide if this one is for you.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not

“Believe it or not” is a choice to open up to unknown. USA’s most popular tourist attraction. Be it amazing facts, darker side of life or thrills that give you shaking chills. This place for sure keeps you on toes.

Check the link below to see if this is for you.

2) Attractions

Sanctuary of Truth

History is tale of wonders and marvels. If you too are fascinated with history and love to explore cultural heritages then this is one place you shouldn’t miss. One of most iconic sites in Pattaya. Intricately carved in teak wood this is an outstanding example of Thai Craftsmanship. Elaborated and marvelous carvings of elephants, people and picture stories of Thai Mythology. The piece of cultural art depicted on the walls is a tribute to Ancient vision of Earth, Knowledge & philosophy.

Pic Courtesy-Reddit.

It’s interesting to know that the construction that began in 1981, is an ongoing and never ending one. One should definitely visit the tall hall to its north alongside the beach. It’s not only offers picturesque views of the temple but is simply breathtaking.

Pattaya Floating Market

Spread across an area of about 100,000 sqm, the market is forked into 4 sections displaying and selling items from North, south, central and northeast part of Thailand. One can savor eateries, fruits kiosks, art galleries. There is a cultural display every afternoon put up by the local folk artists. For floating experience one can opt for boat ride and witness the serene ambience around the riverside with a scoop of Thai culture.

Pattaya View Point

Pattaya Viewpoint on Pratumnak Hill is a striking viewpoint of crescent shaped bay. The view is peaceful and tranquil. Simply qualifies to be one of the Instagram able sites.

Nong Nooch Tropical Garden

Bewitching Tropical Garden is set in 2.4 sq.km; well-manicured landscape; this botanical garden is an inspiration from 17th century French gardens, Stonehenge and European Renaissance era. Plants like cactus, succulents, orchid nurseries, tropical palms, bonsai and topiary garden is what makes this place a nature’s paradise.

To explore the garden fully one should hire a bicycle and take a nature troll at leisure. Orchid nursery is one of my favorites. Garden also features spectacular Thai Dance -Music shows in Thai Cultural Hall. There are Paddle boats and cycling available too. I would recommend this for sure, smitten away by the nature at its best.

Love Art Park

Love-lust is in this park for sure. Located in south of Pattaya close to Ocean Marina Yacht club, this 49,000 sq.mts park is a display of erotic human -animal sculptures. With artistic display of sex be it fairy winged woman, chicken -hen family, Male genitals displayed by vegetables.

This place is high on erotic drama. Not recommended for families the sex humor quotient is definitely high here. Evenings are illuminated, sunsets views are striking. If looking for illuminated displays- that’s not put up every evening it is advised to check with Park officials before visiting.

Mountain Buddha

This is one of my preferred places to visit in Pattaya. The very sight of artistically carved Buddha sitting cross legged with one hand resting on his knee and other in lap engraved in the northern face of Khao Chi Chan hill is alluring.


Serenity that encompasses this place is so infectious; it awakens your eyes to a beautiful life and your heart to natural serenity that lies within you. Talking about the mountain imagery it was carved in gold on this solitary limestone hill in 1996 to commemorate the Supreme patriarch.

Beaches in Pattaya

Jomtien Beach

6 km straight stretch of sand much of quieter place as compared to livewire north. Sandy shore, cleaner sea, mouthwatering seafood snacks across the shore.   

Pattaya Beach

Pattaya Beach is a 4 Km crescent coastline than just sea and sand. With huge no. of speedboats, parasails, Jet Skis, diving boats and floating restaurants.  Pattaya Beach Road is a line of Palm Trees away from the shore.  Between Pattaya North and Pattaya South there are large gamut of activities to keep you engaged and thrilled.

NIGHT LIFE

Girls Trip #Walking Street

Walking Street is one of the busiest spots in Pattaya. A Kilometer stretch of high live entertainment. From Night Clubs, to Go Go bars, Beer Bar Restaurants, eateries and shopping. The street is a high voltage erotic entertainment catering to various preferences.

What makes this street electrifying is that its so densely spread with adult entertainment that you may find yourself exploring new places each evening.

Hey but that’s not all place is perfectly safe for family visitors ideally adults. Enjoy little drama while having Turkish Ice-cream and also shop at one of those street shops selling apparels, shoes, lingerie’s, plenty to street eateries to enjoy. And for those who are not interested in exploring adult entertainment just a stroll on this neon lit street is a titillating experience.

 Big Eye Show Pattaya

This is an 18 +adult show and takes approximately 1 hour to view. Photography is strictly not allowed and if someone is caught doing so, penalties are heavy. The show is a nude display of acts performed by Lady Boys.

The Show timings start from 6:00 Pm in evening till 10:30 in the night. Its an ongoing show so one can join anytime in between the time band mentioned above. Seats are as what available at time of your entry.

-Alcazar Cabaret Show

The show started way back in 1981. There used to be 100 performers and staff and the theatre had capacity of 350 seats only. As the show gained popularity globally, the presentation of show was modernized with technology, new performers were added, conceptual changes were done.

Today it is one of the sorted after transvestite shows with super colossal use of costumes- make up, cultural storytelling and musical display to can sweep away your hearts.

Must Watch. Kids are allowed.

Shopping

Pattaya Night Market

Covered airconditioned Thai street Market; popular amongst tourists. The place is good to shop souvenirs and summer outfits. Good variety of Beach wear especially outfits in crochet. Open markets with narrow gaps in stalls and humid heat can spoil your shopping experience that’s why Pattaya Night market is much needed retail refix. Enjoy your retail therapy in much ventilated and structured ambience.

Central Festival Mall

Central Festival Mall is one of the premier malls in Pattaya. With over 300 shops its home to Numero Uno brands like H&M, Zara, Calvin Klein, Spencer etc. Lavish spread of eating points. From Middle Eastern to Italian and western cuisines. There is an electronic mart with brands like Samsung and Canon. Entertainment zone for families to watch cinema or play bowling.

Terminal 21, Pattaya

It’s shop ‘o’clock around the world. This place is planned like a sleek shopping airport. 6 world class shopping cities connecting each other on different levels. What sets this place apart from any other shopping mall is one of course the different countries thematic look on each floor and the longest escalator with spectacular plane on runway about 250 meters long next to a replica of a beach.

Must Visit

Food

Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant

While it’s my endeavor to promote local, sustainable and responsible tourism. I do speak about places, items and services that are popular or fall in must do list but I always prefer to keep a distance between mentions and recommendations.

So here’s a big thumbs up to one of the restaurants that I recommend. Cabbages & Condoms is a restaurant with a mission to educate people on issues like health, education, HIV, environment & water. A restaurant that started as a vegetable kiosk in Bangkok selling vegetables along with Lace panties, T-shirts, Condoms and Oral Contraceptives. As the Kiosk gained popularity and the name drew curiosity amongst people. In seventies a small outdoor restaurant was added and the cuisine serving specialties like Spicy Chicken Salad, Dried shrimp, Chicken curry with potato, deep fried coconut etc. became popular with masses.

The Restaurant is thematically laid out with décor items made using colored condoms. The furniture, lantern and furnishing give rustic ambience. There are witty and informational quotes all around about sex and condoms. From wishing well to condom tree and quite few of life satirical anecdotes. The place seems to entice you to spend your time in for sure.

The Beach side view of restaurant is captivating. Extensive menu reasonably priced just look out for taxes as with that it tends to get expensive. Menu spread consists of Local cuisine, Seafood, European, Asian, Thai, Vegetarian Friendly.

One of the Award-winning restaurants in Thailand. Operating in Thailand, England & Japan it attracts diners from all across the world. Definitely worth visiting.

To know more about their social work visit www.pda.or.th

Check out our value packages for frequent travelers to Thailand on www.thetraveltummy.com

For customized tours for Thailand, write to us at info@thetraveltummy.com

 

 

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