Thailand has become one of the top preferences for Indians as their first destination for an international holiday. Honestly, it is a great budget destination with a bucket full of things to experience for a newbie international traveller. The country is one of my favourite places to travel to – there’s so much to do and see there, ranging from Buddhist monasteries to crystal clear blue waters to a vivacious night life and much more. Genetically, Indians love Value for Money in all aspects of their life and Thailand is a great example of a VFM vacation.
Our First International Travel to Bangkok
It all started with a wish to travel out of the country for our second wedding anniversary and we got the right incentive when Air Asia announced a big bang sale in 2013. After a lot of deliberations, we booked our flights to Bangkok for Jan 2014. We opted for Bangkok because it was super accessible, a value destination for us and our itineraries also synced well with our work leaves. It is one of most hassle-free destinations for obtaining a visa and I believe, it’s a great place for couples to explore together.
Tips For A First Time International Traveller
Being road trippers, we usually do not plan much when we travel around in India. Our Mantra has always been to hit the road, follow it and come back. However, being the first international trip, we were a little hesitant of creating impromptu itineraries and decided to plan a little in advance.
Usually, the first couple of questions which pop up in our minds are whether to plan ourselves or hire a travel agent and to travel alone, as couple or join a group. For us, the choice was easy – firstly, because we always prefer exploring things at our own pace; and secondly because we like an iota of uncertainty and the feeling of “it may go wrong” which gives a certain level of thrill to our vacations. Having said that, Bangkok can be easily planned without taking the help of any travel agent.
Look Out For Budget Flights
We would recommend you to book well in advance in order to enjoy real cheap flight rates. We booked our travel with Air Asia almost 8 months in advance and saved a lot of money. If you plan properly and on time, usually Bangkok will cost you less than Kerala considering Delhi as your starting point. Similarly for people in the Southern part of the country, Bangkok is cheaper than flying to Chandigarh or Jaipur.
Get Yourself A Travel Insurance With Wide Coverage
Travel insurance should be an absolutely integral aspect of international travels but is actually one that is usually ignored by first timers. You must buy the right travel insurance to protect yourself against the cost of emergency medical care, delayed flights, or stolen items as well as other common travel challenges like baggage losses. Let me recite our tales to let you understand why having the right travel insurance is so important.
Our travel to Bangkok was planned for the last week of Jan 2014, and just few weeks prior to our travel, nation-wide protests erupted in Thailand with Bangkok as the epicentre. There was a coup d’état that resulted in the establishment of a new government in Thailand, resulting in disruption of normal life. Amidst all this, however, we decided not to cancel but instead stick to our plan.
When we reached Bangkok, we could sense that everything was not good. We were even advised not to visit some places and warned to be prudent with our itinerary. The protest actually hampered our itinerary and being our first international travel, it made us a little cautious of moving around. During our three-day stay, we lived constantly in a slight fear, taking every step only after consulting locals. However, having a Travel Insurance did take some of those worries out of our minds, especially whenever we encountered an ‘if in case’ or ‘just in case’ situation since the city was pretty chaotic around that time. The insurance gave us much of our required peace of mind and we had it as a backup for any emergency requirements that could have happened amidst the chaos. Although we could not explore the city the way we wanted to, we never really faced any kind of travel either.
When you travel, such unfortunate incidences can happen especially in today’s world where people are less tolerant and atmosphere around us is so unpredictable. No matter how much you plan, your itinerary can sometimes not work out. So to protect yourself, I strongly recommend you to select a good travel insurance policy and go for optimum coverage. For Indian travellers, I would strongly recommend Reliance Travel Insurance which has a comprehensive Asia Travel Insurance best suited for South East Asian Countries. It covers medical emergencies as well as emergency medical evacuations which is a great safety net to have. We also liked the feature that offers reimbursements for expenses that occur due to flight delays.
It’s important to note that Thailand is a very safe and travel friendly country, and such chaos is rare. However, we always need to be ready for any unforeseen circumstances so that we can enjoy awesome vacations with our family.
Budget Up Your Accommodation
Being one of the top tourist destinations in the world, Bangkok is packed with a range of accommodation options suited for every pocket. We are mostly budget traveller, but often we look out for moderately better options and hence we opted for Novotel at Silom Road. My biggest reason to opt for Silom area was the fact that it had so many Indian restaurants. Being strict vegetarians, Silom was a revelation for us as we discovered some amazing Indian options, including our very own Haldiram’s which was recently launched there.
Thai Visa for Indians
Thankfully, for Indians, Visa is no hassle when it comes to Thailand. We opted for Visa on Arrival and it was indeed a total hassle-free experience. It took us barely 10 minutes to get stamped at the airport. Thailand has the smoothest Visa on Arrival facility for almost all nationalities so you could even plan your Bangkok trip impromptu from any of the Metro Cities of India.
Bangkok in 3 days – Highlights from our Trip
We stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights and despite protests in Bangkok, explored the city and loved every bit of it. It’s a city that embraces you completely – it is big and intense, is fast moving and noisy too. It has a mixed flavour of Mumbai and Delhi and to tell you the truth, we loved it for being so lively and yet grounded. What brings people here is the whole mix of things from the history, street food, and legendary nightlife to the low cost of everything and the friendly, ever-smiling locals.
Boat Trip along the Chao Phraya River
Visiting Grand Palace and Wat Pho
Day trip to Pattaya Beach
An evening at Asiatique The Riverfront – An open-air mall in Bangkok
We had a great time in Bangkok despite restrictions due to protest. However, we are raring to visit the country again for a holistic and adventurous travel where we get to explore the country without any worries.
Lets dream more, see more, feel more and live more.
Would love to know what you think about our story of Bangkok, please comment below.
If you feel motivated, please share this blog post with your loved ones so that they can break the mundane cycle of everyday life and explore the world.