If you’re looking to escape the Holi hullaballoo in India this year, bolt to good old Thailand.
If you’re looking to escape the Holi hullaballoo in India this year, bolt to good old Thailand.Here’s a 5-day itinerary for all you culture-vultures who also want to have some fun at the beach. From the bustling city of Bangkok and the magnificent ruins of the grand city of Ayutthaya to the glamorous beaches of Ko Samui, have fun on the long weekend.
Day 1. BANGKOK
Arrive at Bangkok. Freshen up and take a Klong tour. Hire a long-tailed boat (1500-1800 baht for an hour) and explore the bustling city through its canals (klongs) which were the Bangkok’s old transport arteries before roads were built. The boat ride allows you an insight into the city with its mixture of dilapidated and grand houses, rich shrines and temples and local colour.
With more than 400 temples and shrines in the city, choosing what to see might get a little confusing. Thankfully most of the major temples are located near the Grand Palace. Start with Wat Phra Kaew. Located inside the Grand Palace premises, the Emerald Buddha statue inside this temple is quite a sight. Carry on to Wat Pho, another important temple which houses the massive ‘Reclining Buddha’. Some of the other important temples located in this area are Wat Arun, Wat Saket and Wat Benjambhopit.
Take a local cab the Rod Fai Market in the evening. One of Bangkok’s best night markets, it is known for its collection of vintage memorabilia. Like a treasure trove, the things that you get here range from vintage Cadillac leather jackets to French chandeliers! Add to that an amazing array of street food options and make-shift bars, and the market is perfect for a nice dinner to end the day.
Day 2. AYUTTHAYA
One of the best ways to get to Ayutthaya is by train. Not just because it is cheap but the route is breathtaking. You can catch a train from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station. Get the train timetable here www.railway.co.th. A 2nd class AC ticket usually costs around THB 300.
Founded in the 12th century, Ayutthaya, the erstwhile capital of Siam, grew to be one of the world’s largest cities by the 16th century, as it was the trading capital of Asia. Burnt down in 1767, the remains of this glorious city give you an idea of its past grandeur. From prangs (a tall tower-like spire, usually richly carved) and monasteries to palaces and temples, the city is over-flowing with magnificent ruins.
The Ayutthaya Historical Park encompasses most of the major wats (temples) and ruins in the city. The best way to explore is on a bicycle. Some of the best temples in the area are Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit, Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana. You can also visit the Chantharakasem National Museum.
Where To Stay:
The Park Ayutthaya on Naresuan Rd; Phone: (035) 950 337); Tariff: THB 1200-1500
Ayothaya Riverside House next to Wat Kasattrathirat Temple; Phone: +66 2910 8797; Tariff: THB 400-500
Day 3-4. KO SAMUI
Catch a flight to Ko Samui, the ultimate backpacker’s paradise. With colourful corals, blue lagoons and pristine white beaches, your Thailand trip is incomplete without a visit to Ko Samui. A plethora of activities are available for travellers here—from diving, snorkeling and partying to simply lazing around on the beach.Head to the Ang Thong Marine National Park, an archipelago of around 40 small islands. With limestone cliffs, caves and corals, the park is a popular place for diving and other water sports. Lamai Beach is home to the bizarre rock formations called the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks that resemble human genitalia! While you are there, you could also visit Hua Thanon, a charming fishing village to get a glimpse of life on the island.If you are in the mood for some quiet, relaxed time at the beach skip Lamai and Chaweng and go to Big Buddha beach or Mae Nam beach.
Pay a visit to the Samui Butterfly Garden and see the amazing collection of stunning butterflies and insects. Don’t forget to offer a prayer to the mummified monk at the Wat Khunaram Ko Samui. End the day on a ‘high’ note at Chaweng beach. Dotted with nightclubs, eateries and bars, this beach is famous for its full-moon parties. If you are in the mood for some adventure, head to the Paris Follies Cabaret. Known for its dazzling dance performances by lady boys in striking costumes, the show is a one-of-a-kind experience.
Day 5. KO SAMUI
Catch your flight back home via Bangkok.