Thailand Diaries : Chapter 2
Our day 2 was going to be at the beach till afternoon and then the rest of the day at Noong Nooch Village. Our day was planned out so that our little Zavi could enjoy the most.
We were up and ready by 8:00 am and proceeded for our sumptuous breakfast buffet at the hotel. We also packed up some food and milk for Zavi. We were picked up from the hotel in an Isuzu. The Isuzu was converted in such a way that there were seats fixed at the back. Our whole family piled in, but since there were already other people in the vehicle, myself and Chandu didn't have any place. We decided to just hang out behind the vehicle on the back step. It was one of a kind journey, an adventurous one, thankfully the driver was pretty slow and the drive was also short.
Pattaya city is around 150 kms away from Bangkok. Pattaya was known for fishing until the 1960s however after the Vietnam war, it became the Rest and Relax destination. The climate is tropical wet and dry. The three kilometres long Pattaya Beach runs along the city centre. The beach is bustling with life with hotels, restaurants, shopping malls all along the road facing the beach. The south street of the Beach Road is the Walking Street, which comes alive with rock music as the night sets in. The first query that I have encountered post our trip is, “Is Pattaya Safe for families ?”. Pattaya is definitely quite safe for normal tourist activities. Many dangers do exist in Pattaya, though the normal average visitors rarely run into trouble, nor even notice such incidents. Danger finds those who open themselves into it. Precautions during night walks along the walking street is required, and it's not really family-friendly. Pattaya nightlife is better for singles and couples than for families. There are a lot of bars across the streets which cater to adult tourists. Also the roads are not safe, the drivers tend to avoid the rules of the road especially near Pattaya beach which may cause serious injuries.
The Isuzu ride to the beach was quick, in roughly around 10 mins we had reached an assembly point of sorts where there were innumerable number of guides calling out their agency names. We identified our person. The area was swarming with tourists. Our group consisted of around 20 people. She gave us some quick instructions and told us that our group would be coded KM. She even wrote KM on our hands, just in case we got mixed up with any of the other groups. The day was pretty much hot, sunny and humid. We trooped over to the deck, where our speed boat was waiting for us. Slowly and cautiously, one by one we got into the speed boat. The engine spurred to life and off we were on Zavi’s first speed boat ride. He was thoroughly enjoying the strong wind on his face and the bumpy ride. We would see Pattaya City fade away and we were approaching a platform. Those who wished to go paragliding with jetski or speed boats could do so. We realized that the rates were way higher than at Langkawi, Malaysia, where we had holidayed the year before. So we just enjoyed the view and wind at the platform. We were picked up by our speedboat and our next spot was the beach. As we approached the beach, I was beyond shocked, saying that the beach was crowded would be an understatement. The beach was swarming with people. We found some space for us and decided to take turns to take a dip. Meanwhile, Chandu and myself went jet skiing. It was a first time experience for Chandu and he was beyond thrilled, but I didn't enjoy it much as we were not given much freedom to ride it, unlike at Langkawi. As both of us strolled back to the area where our family was, I spotted Shine Aunty frantically waving at us, but there was no sign of my Zavi, Laya or her parents. I hurried over to Shine Aunty, and that's when I saw my boy having a ball of a time in the water with his grandparents and Laya. I rushed into the water too and joined them. We had some good times, but I must say that the beach was literally overcrowded. We got back and all of us dried up fast and we were a little concerned about our baby too. But he totally didn't want to come out of the water.
After a few high waves hit us, Zavi said let's go back. We had great fun, and he was talking about the high waves and suddenly he wanted to go to the loo. Laya took him to the loo and as I waited near the beach, a few beach side vendors caught my attention. What I found interesting was full boiled peanuts. Unlike the fried peanuts we get here at beaches at Kerala, India, this was full size steamed peanuts. It tasted quite different and was fun to eat. They even gave us a few more to taste for the whole family. It was time to catch the trip back to Pattaya and our next destination was Nong Nooch Village, Pattaya.
Nong Nooch Village, Pattaya
Nong Nooch Cultural Village, is a beautifully landscaped park where you can spend a whole day, if you have time. It is suitable for all age groups. The Village has different types of cultural shows, themed parks, restaurants as well as hotel accommodations.
Nong Nooch Village hosts daily shows, which includes the Thai Cultural show, and followed by an amazing Elephant show. We arrived at Nong Nooch Village at around 1 pm, just in time for the last Elephant Show at 2pm. The place was really crowded and we decided to just go with the flow. We first reached a pretty big auditorium. As we scrambled to reach our allotted seats, The Thai cultural show slowly began. This show includes Classical Thai Dancing, battlefield elephants, Muay Thai, and also showcased a brief history of Thailand. The show lasted just around 15 minutes and then with the crowd we even made our way to the semi open amphitheatre gearing up for The Elephant Show. The Elephant Shows at Nong Nooch is extraordinary, as we could see elephants riding tricycles, painting, playing football, basketball and even massage for the audiences. They even had paintings done by the elephants for sale. All this while Zavi was super excited about his favourite animal, elephants.
After the show, we proceeded towards the garden. On enquiring, we understood that the garden was pretty much really big and walking through the whole area would be tiresome. So we all opted for an open bus tour covering the whole garden. The gardens are arranged in different themes, like 17th century French garden, European Garden, Stonehenge, Cacti Garden, Orchid Garden and even Bonsai Garden. As we made our way through the gardens, we passed through valleys where we found Zebras, Owls, Mountain Lions, Bisons, Crocodiles, and many more. The most amazing of those were the Dinosaur valley, where you could see life size replicas of T-Rex and other dinosaurs. Another interesting valley was the colorful bugs valley, full of bugs, humongous bugs. The bus service was a relay service where we could hop down at any valley and then get in the next bus. Nong Nooch is a perfect photo spot where you can pose with all sorts of living and extinct animals and the place was especially good for small kids. There was also a live tiger photobooth area, where you could feed the Tiger and as well as take some photos with the tiger. Another one was a few bird photo booths. We opted out of these two though.
Another way to go around the garden leisurely, is to hire bicycles.They also have elephant rides, paddling boats, and fish feeding too on offer. Unfortunately we have missed few entertainments like paddle boats, and fish feeding etc as the Village would be closed by 5:30 PM. As we made our way to the exit, we saw a few animal soft toys and animal figurines and bought a few for our little Zavi. By around 5:15 PM, it was time to say goodbye to the village. Our pick up vehicle dropped us at the hotel. After freshening up, we all decided to stroll around and do a little night shopping and then of course dinner. This was our last night at Pattaya and even with our baby around, we had quite a memorable night.
If you have not read our previous Thailand blogs then do read it to catch up with our experience until now.
if you have enjoyed the article, please subscribe & share it. Don't forget to follow us in twitter, facebook and instagram @rahul.devakumar (for portraits ), @streetstories.rahuldevakumar (for travel and street ), @stories.rahuldevakumar (for wedding & other event photography )
Creative Media Studio
We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.