Thailand, A Photo Diary 1/4

The JourneyEyecandy and I have long been dreaming of  a trip outside Saudi Arabia that we can enjoy together. Since 2009, we’ve been planning to go to Egypt. 2010 to Europe, 2011 to Morocco, and 2012 to Maldives. Needless to say, our planning didn’t go anywhere further than Dammam and Al-Khobar. This 2013, we’re trying to schedule a trip to Maldives again during the Eid holiday in August. But as fate would have it, our godfather already handed us a gift that we couldn’t say no to… THAILAND.
You might be wondering why we should go all the way to Thailand from Saudi Arabia when we could’ve easily done it coming from the Philippines. Well, if it’s FREE, who are we to say ‘NO’?! 😉 And so off we go to the land of smiles.

Packing for a week

How do you pack for a one-week trip? Packing for a trip is one of the nightmares of traveling but for Eyecandy and I we have our plan down pat. *cough, stress, cough* We pictured our pictures in this trip and decided we have to match and complement each other’s clothes. Hehe. And me, being obsessive over itineraries, I have already pictured in my mind what I would wear on the places we’ll go to. Apart from the clothes, I always bring a scarf/shawl, a pair of sandals, a pair of pocket shoes (for the temples, which I will explain further in the future entries, lotion, and sunscreen (which I had to leave behind after deciding that I will not check this luggage in). How do you pack for a trip?

Pardon me for this selfie.

I’m quite used to the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh. I know for a fact that it’s fine not to wear an abaya for a traveler once inside but I felt eyes staring at me when I entered. I forgot I was wearing such a bright ensemble. PINK. Haha. It was a bit weird wearing something so colorful and bright in a sea of black, but this ensemble is what’s comfy for me. What do you wear for a flight?

The first class lounge at KKIA
See you later, Riyadh!

I love window seats! It’s what I always choose because I get to see the places from above. I remember during my first landing in Riyadh, the first descriptive phrase that came to me when I saw Riyadh from above was “the city of grid lights” because look at it, so well-lit and and so straight. E is more of an aisle person because it’s easier to go to the restroom. 😛 Are you a window or aisle person?

Anyway, Eyecandy went ahead first and I followed a few days after (ito kasing trabaho, sagabal sa mga lakad, hehe!). I flew via Srilankan Airways and had a stop-over in Colombo. Even if the journey was long (took around 14 hours for me including layovers), I can’t help but enjoy it thanks to the business class amenities of my ticket.

The main dinner: chicken curry and drinks
Tea time.

You can’t fly Srilankan and not have a cup of their tea. Sri Lanka is the fourth largest producer of tea in the world. The Ceylon black tea (Ceylon is the former name of Sri Lanka) is one of the most popular kind of teas in the world. I love the aroma of my tea; the taste a bit strong but turns gentle when combined with milk.

The business class lounge in Colombo

Colombo has a small airport but it’s quite busy. I decided to stay in the lounge for my 4-hour layover and relish the free drinks and sandwiches. They also have a free massage that I enjoyed. Relaxing!

I swear I didn’t notice the ‘no photography’ sign in the wall.

It took another four hours in the plane to reach Bangkok, Thailand.

An hour to Bangkok.
The Chao Phraya River! (Bangkok, Thailand)

Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country located at the center of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. The good thing about it being in Southeast Asia is we, Filipinos, don’t need to get a visa prior to visiting the country. (Thank you, ASEAN!) 

Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok was huge and well-designed. I can’t help but feel we need something like this for the Philippines. Like now na. Anyway, immigration was a breeze and I ended up in the arrival area gazing at the streams of tourists and their sundo. There were a lot of restaurants to go to and kiosks for sim cards, taxis, and hotels. While waiting for Eyecandy, I can’t help but order Thailand’s greatest dish (at least for me)… the pad thai.

Pad Thai of Tate Cafe

I’m a bit surprised by this Pad Thai because it’s quite sticky and sweeter than I’m used to. (For those who haven’t tried pad thai, you can order a simple but tasty pad thai in Villa Restaurant and a more expensive but tastier version in Noodle House.) I still like it though, especially the robust shrimps.

We had a few errands to do in Bangkok before going to our main hub in Thailand… Pattaya. Pattaya is a city 165 km southeast of Bangkok (an hour and a half drive away). It’s known as the “beach resort” of Thailand because of its proximity to the Gulf of Thailand. Many tourists and expatriates visit this place all-year long.

The Asia Pattaya Beach Hotel

This is our home for a week. The Asia Pattaya Beach Hotel is one of the oldest in the area which has a ‘retro’ vibe going on. (Even their website is retro!) E and I were listening to love songs of the 60s-80s for a week! What we like about this hotel though is its beach area… and a pool with a bar in the middle. So cool! Also, their staff are friendly and helpful (except when they forgot our call time on the last day… story on a latter entry.)

Anyway, tired and hungry from the flight and our trip from Bangkok to Pattaya, we decided to scout for a restaurant near the hotel. E, who has been in Thailand for 4 days before I arrived, suggested the restaurant of a hotel resort nearby. It’s called Cabbages and Condoms. Yes, you read that right. Cabbages and CONDOMS. (What is condoms doing in a restaurant’s name?)

In Cabbages and Condoms, you will be greeted by these:

Nice outfit you have! 😛
Hmn, you too!

You might be laughing on our choice of restaurant but seriously, this is a good restaurant and it has a cause. The restaurant uses fun visuals such as the mannequins in clothes made of condom to create awareness on sex, family planning, and HIV/AIDS. Thailand had a crisis on AIDS and Mechai Viravaidya, owner of the restaurant (and Birds and Bees Resort where the restaurant is) and Thailand’s Mr. Condom, has saved millions of lives by raising awareness of HIV/AIDS. I think that this head-on (no pun intended), almost in-your-face, campaign to battle this disease in Thailand is commendable, especially when its effectivity has been already proven. Even before coming to Thailand, I first heard Mr. Condom speak in a TED video and I was smitten by his passion and care for his fellow Thais. Watch his “How Mr. Condom Made Thailand a Better Place” video here. It’s funny and frank.

Going back to the restaurant, we really enjoyed the ambiance.

Serene and romantic ambiance 
My first dinner in Thailand.

And the food! This is where we found the best , as in BEST, tom yum goong we’ve ever had…

I badly want you in my stomach now. LOL.
Pad Thai, yes, again.

The restaurant even has a beautiful bathroom that I thought was a resort in itself. Hehe.

I wish all restrooms are like you.

I know I haven’t toured you around Thailand in this entry yet but get ready for my next entry. Eyecandy and I will show you around Pattaya! Hopefully, it will be enough to encourage you to leave the sands for a while and enjoy the tourist spots of the land of smiles. (The Thais really do smile a LOT!)  SAWADEE KAH!

Outside KSA Thailand Travel

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Janelle
Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

4 Comments

  1. Avatar Ann Reply

    Hi po! I am a Filipino/Philippine passport holder. I have a question. I am now in Riyadh and am planning to have a vacay to IndoChina. My route will be Riyadh-Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam-Riyadh.

    From Vietnam, do I need a visa to return to Saudi? Sorry for my question. I tried to call Thai Embassy, I could not understand their accent. Whereas Vietnam Embassy does not answer my call. Hope you can help me. Thank you!

    • Janelle Janelle Reply

      As long as you have your exit/re-entry visa to Saudi Arabia, I don’t think there will be any problem in your travel plans. We don’t need any visa to enter Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam; we can get them on arrival in the airport.

      • Avatar Ann Reply

        Thank you po for replying. One last question, do you know any agency or online travel agency that can arrange multicity booking? Someone told me I can book thru makemytrip.com or cleatrip.com. However, I am not sure if they’re reliable. We’re looking for a cheaper flight po kasi. Salamat po ulit!

        • Janelle Janelle Reply

          We’re not fond of using travel agencies that’s why we can’t suggest any that worked for us. We usually DIY our trips. 🙂

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