One of the most visited destinations in the world, Thailand — the Land of Smiles, continues to impress with its majestic appeal, scenic beauty and warm hospitality.
Enroute Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside — our hotel for two days before heading to Hua Hin — heavy traffic greeted us but unlike Delhi, there was no honkfest or lane jumping — an impression that would stay forever.
After a little rest, we headed to the Ratchaprasong area in the evening where the Happiness Street Festival was going on. As the name suggests, the annual gathering celebrates happiness through art, music and ­cultural performances that bring the vibrant Thai people together.
Day two began with a visit to the Grand Palace where we spotted a halo — a circle of light — another symbol of positivity and happiness that the land stands for. One of the most popular tourist places, the palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam. The next stop was Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon district.
Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the place was named so after a ­monastery in India where Buddha is believed to have lived. The image of reclining Buddha is 15 metres high and 43 metres long with his right arm supporting the head. There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor indicating the 108 avatars of Buddha.
Also read: When in Bangkok
On our way to Hua Hin on the third day, before reaching the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, we halted at a small village to understand the simple livelihood of the Thai people. At the floating market, one can find vendors on boats selling fruits, vegetables and much more. Next, we arrived at Amari Hua Hin hotel where we were to stay for the remainder of our trip.
Serene beaches, a pleasant breeze and the setting sun — a perfect welcome — laid the foundation for the upcoming days. Getting up early next day to visit Phraya Nakhon Cave at Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park was a task but worth the effort. The journey to the caves began with a 10-minute boat ride, followed by a 430 metre trek.
Also read: Thailand and free WiFi for tourists
The slight drizzle gave way to heavy rainfall, resulting in a halt. On completing the trek, the caves greeted us with silence. What attracted me was a hollow opening in the mountains —again shaped like a halo.
This void, too, seemed much the source of light and tranquil happiness, in sync with the soul of the country. Later, the 3D art at the Venezia in Santorini Park was as welcoming as the nature we enjoyed earlier, more so for the fun selfies it made for!