Our ultra-hip retro-lit van rolled in North Pattaya past midnight. It was an evening AirAsia flight from Manila to Bangkok. To reach Pattaya which is about 161km away, we rode for about two hours. Everyone was excited but also yearning to rest when we arrived at IBIS Pattaya Hotel. The lobby was simple but it was nice staff were still courteous enough to smile while checking us in past midnight.
The city of Pattaya, second most visited City of Thailand feels like one big theme park. It’s a good thing since it used to have a reputation of being seedy. Not only were the stretches of beach a main draw and the Pattaya Sea Adventure, there are several man-made attractions. From the lively night life of cabarets and muay thai arenas, theme parks have popped up all over the place. The Underwater World Pattaya is one that is family friendly and offers a glimpse of the nearby underwater world of Thailand without the need to get wet.
We’re in the midst of the summer season heat and the call of the sea grows even stronger. With AirAsia Filipino introducing direct flights from Manila to Bangkok, there’s another beach or island getaway to add to your summer destination – Pattaya, Thailand. Pattaya, is the second most visited city in Thailand after Bangkok and there’s a good reason why. It’s the closest beach escape from the bustling city. For a full day of tropical island fun, Pattaya Sea Adventure handled our tour (booked via KKday) which includes parachute ride, sea walk, snorkeling and beach bumming at Koh Larn Island.
Last time I went to Thailand, I had to fly through Kuala Lumpur. Not that there were no direct flights available at that time. It just so happen I had an AirAsia KL ticket at that time but wanted to travel to Thailand instead. If there was a Thailand flight then, I would have rebooked directly. Good thing AirAsia Philippines recently launched its direct flight to Bangkok from Manila. Now truly establishing as the only airline group that fly direct to all ten ASEAN countries.
“What is your intention?” The staff from Sak Yant Chiang Mai asked me while deciding on the tattoo design I would have. After spending 4 days of doing yoga at Suan Sati, I wasn’t expecting to hear that question which also usually starts a yoga session. But it does makes sense. Tattoos are something that’s contemplated upon. It’s a permanent mark on the skin. So for me it should have meaning. One thing I do know for sure, I will get a traditional Sak Yant tattoo on this visit to Thailand.
It is one of those trips when photography takes a back seat. I visited Chiang Mai to pursue my other interest – Yoga. I had been practicing yoga for more than two years and I was keen in joining a yoga retreat which I haven’t done yet. My bucket list is to maybe hop on one of those Jet Airways flight to world’s yoga capital, India. But my time allowed me only a week out so I stayed in Thailand. I was heading to Suan Sati, a yoga retreat place I found 40-minutes away from Chiang Mai. Here, I spent 4 days and 3 nights of twice daily yoga, daily meditation, healthy meals, permaculture environment and good vibe community.
It takes an average of 12–14 hours travel by train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok. Buses are a lot faster. Sometimes, Air travel cost is not far from the train fare. But there’s something about train rides I enjoy. For me it’s an easy and intimate way to travel through the landscape. Unlike the far and disconnected view from the airplane window or the sedentary feel in the bus, I can freely move around and enjoy looking at the passing view. It’s my first time to travel through Thailand provinces. And as I always do in different countries, slow travel by railway is always in my list to try.