A Prologue to our Thailand Diaries
While looking at some not so expensive, foreign travel options, Thailand, is the one that instantly cropped up. Thus started our research. We reached out to Radhika at C World Holidays who had earlier arranged and organized our trips to Malaysia and Singapore. We zeroed on Bangkok and Pattaya as our tour operator gave us a good deal. This time we were travelling as a family group, consisting of Laya’s parents and my Aunt and cousin. The dates were fixed, the itinerary planned keeping our little Zavi in mind. Our flight was scheduled from Cochin International Airport.
First things first, we had to check our stuff and buy some travel gear. The first thing we bought was a swimming trunk and a pool cap for Zavi as we planned to definitely have some pool time. Additionally we bought t-shirts, shorts, swimsuits, shoes, chappals, socks, sunglasses, bags and a DJI Osmo mobile 2 ( I was really hoping to get some good videos too!!).
Last Minute Preparations and Departure
My Aunt, Shine Aunty and cousin brother, Chandu had their bags packed two weeks prior to the trip and had sent it along with us when we visited them at Trivandrum. They were scheduled to arrive by train on the morning of our departure. Laya’s parents were also all packed up and ready almost a week earlier and they were to arrive by afternoon at Cochin via KSRTC Low Floor Bus.
Since both of us were on a tight schedule, we took a day off to complete our travel arrangements. We decided to convert and carry some Thai Baht (THB) with us. So our first stop was Thomas Cook, Palarivattom. Next, we had to look our best for the trip, so we went to Bounce Salon to get our haircut. Zavi and myself tried getting similar haircuts and we also had to take photos with specific measurements for the VISA processing. The rest of our packing was also completed in the nick of time.
Shine Aunty and Chandu joined us at our home at Cochin and from there we took an Uber to the airport. Anticipating heavy traffic block on route to the airport, we hit the road a bit early. We just didn't want any last minute hiccups. And we were not proven wrong. The traffic jam started to get us worried a bit, but thanks to our Uber driver, he maneuvered his way through some shortcuts and we were able to make it to the airport on time. Laya’s parents also arrived in a few minutes.
As we waited for our Check in Counter to open, we saw a life sized display of 15 elephants depicting the world famous Thrissur Pooram. Zavi was in awe of these elephants and he kept saying “ Aaannaa….aannaa” ( the malayalam word for Elephant ). Zavi was brimming with energy and we had a hard time taking him away from the elephants. Finally we checked-in and made our way to Gate No 4A. We almost had 2 hours to kill before the departure of our flight. My little Zavi was having the time of his life, running up and down and Laya after him. All the running did finally pay off, Zavi slept off by the time we boarded our AirAsia flight at around midnight.
The way to Pattaya
The flight journey was largely uneventful and we landed at Don Mueang Airport at around 6:15 am THA (Thailand timezone). The Don Mueang Airport is one of the world's oldest international airports and Asia's oldest operating airport. Before Suvarnabhumi opened in 2006, this airport was known as Bangkok International Airport. We had to fill in quite a few forms and wait in long queues to complete the Visa on Arrival procedures ( this totally depends on the time of arrival and season you visit. ). Thankfully Laya was taken in and offered a seat near the counter as Zavi was still sound asleep on her shoulders, while we moved along the queue. It took us almost 2-3 hours to finish all the process and collect our bags and come out. At the entrance we were greeted by our driver Mr. Weichen.
Mr.Weichen was to take us to Pattaya, and we somehow understood from him that it would take around 3 hours to reach Pattaya. All of us were totally tired and these 3 hours was a good time to catch up on lost sleep. Almost 2 hours into our journey, we communicated to our driver that we would like to stop at some place and have breakfast. The driver soon drove into some kind of Food Street, which had all the Fast Food Chains as well as Local eateries. The smell of the local food was not really appealing and so we got into the nearest McD.
It was around 11:30 am THA and our stomachs were doing somersaults. But once inside McD, we were faced with our next hurdle. All the menus were in Thai language and none of the employees at the counter spoke English. Finally after much attics, we got hold of an employee with some working knowledge of English and she also got us an English menu. We placed our order, woke up Zavi and took two tables and settled in for our first meal at Thailand, at some place on route to Pattaya.
By afternoon, we reached our hotel, Mercure Pattaya. After the check-in process, our contact person at Pattaya, Ms Mary met us at the lobby. She passed on our tickets for ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ and we informed her that we would be ready to go by 4 pm.
All of us had our rooms on the same floor, and our room had a connecting door with Shine Aunty’s room. Zavi loved this facility as he could run between both the rooms. We first changed in our swimming costumes and headed to the Pool. There was a kid’s pool with a slide and lots of balls. This was going to be Zavi’s first swimming pool experience. We had one of a time at the pool. Except Laya’s dad, all the others remained in the kid’s pool with Zavi. Zavi was behaving like a pro in the pool and he even tried swimming.
And thus our Thailand trip was in for a great beginning!!!
Our First stop was Ripley's Believe It or Not. You may read more about it in Thailand Diaries : Chapter 1.
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We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.