I was lucky enough to participate in a trip with Air Canada, Hong Kong Airlines and Centara Hotels and Resorts for 10 days in November to the exotic islands and bustling cities of Thailand.
People who know me would think the number 1 thing that I was most anticipating was awesome Thai food! But although I had some amazing food, the culture and beaches surpassed anything I expected.
My departure date brought me to Thailand at a time where the longest reigning, and very much loved King of Thailand had passed away. The whole Country was in mourning for a month. All Thai people were in dark colours, mostly black. Tens of thousands of people lined up for up to 12 hours to pay their respects at the Grand Palace. I felt privileged to be a small part of this history.
We arrived in Bangkok and were immediately blown away by the size of the city! Twelve million people! For me, this is the first time I have been to Asia and this is by far the largest city I have ever been to. But I have to emphasize that the major tourist sites are no more than 25 minutes from central Bangkok by taxi and very accessible.
Our first hotel, Centara Grand & Bangkok Centralworld and Convention Centre was located in the business district and right next to the 2 biggest shopping centres in Bangkok- you can shop till you drop here!
The hotel staff were extremely helpful in organizing a taxi for us with an English speaking driver, “Sam,” who took us the whole day to visit 3 different temples. Wat Pho- the Reclining Buddha, Wat Traimit- the Golden Buddha and the Grand Palace with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. All 3 temples that were on my list of things to see! All were grand, golden and shining even in the hot haze and humidity!
Then Sam took us the next day on a private tour to the Floating Markets in Damnoen Saduak District, about a 2 hour drive from Bangkok on the motorway. But first, he surprised us with s stop at an authentic Thai village that has their market on the rim of the train tracks, where the train comes through 4 times a day! Watching these talented people set up and take down their stalls in 2 minutes flat was something unforgettable.
Once we arrived at the floating markets pier, we loaded into the traditional Thai long boat and motored through the extensive canals for 2 hours, shopping, bartering, eating and simply taking in the scenery of these unique homes along the river and watching their unique way of life.
As we say goodbye to the city life and Sam, we say hello to the exotic, turquoise waters, white sand beaches of Southern Thailand along the Andaman Coast … in Krabi.
When we arrived at the airport we had our resort taxi waiting for us there. It swooped us away to Nopparat Thara Pier where our resort has a private speedboat to take us to our much anticipated home for the next 6 days – Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi. As we arrive at our dock we see our paradise on its own secluded and quiet inlet. The hotel was a beautiful collection of small buildings built in a Thai traditional style at the edge of a mountain, among a forest of palm trees and exotic plants.
We were treated like royalty and our room was an amazing ocean facing space with a huge wrap around deck, walk in shower and whirlpool tub, a true retreat. The hotel has several excellent restaurant, one serving Thai food, one serving Japanese (the sushi was excellent!), one serving international (e.g. pastas, steaks) and one casual restaurant on the beach which served everything from salads to pizzas at table right on the sand.
The hotel also had a lot of visitors, including a troop of adorable monkeys who like to steal your drinks when you’re not looking!
We booked an all-day island hopping excursion in a speedboat and toured Bamboo Island, and several spots in the Phi Phi Island chain, including Monkey Bay and Maya Beach – where the famous movie “The Beach” was filmed. We snorkeled, had lunch and snorkeled some more. These beaches are nothing less than spectacular- the mountains, rainforests, white sand, turquoise waters and sea life..I can go on and on. This is a must do!
Thailand is a beautiful Country. Humble, kind and helpful people. Golden Cities. Exotic and unspoiled beaches.
Put Thailand on your Bucket List!