The next two days were the most interesting in Thailand. We traveled by road to Pattaya and the very next day to Kanchanburi to see the Tigers. However, one was not as promising as it sounds. Keep reading to find out why…
Day 5: Pattaya – The Sanctuary of Truth, Local Sight-seeing, Tiffany Show
On Day 5, we were up, bright and early for our 2-hour road trip to Pattaya. The town welcomed us with a dose of humidity and salty sea breeze. Our first stop was at The Sanctuary of Truth. A gigantic wooden structure built to withstand the wind and sunshine on the seashore at Rachvate Cape, and designed to match ancient Thai ingenuity. Every square inch of the building is decorated with wooden carved sculptures used to reflect the ancient Vision of Earth, Knowledge, and Eastern Philosophy. Click Here for the amazing history behind the Sanctuary of Truth.
After a long walk around the Sanctuary, we then drove to a local joint by the sea for some amazing Seafood. The food was so scrumptious, and cheap, we ate to our heart’s content. The battered King Prawns were tasty as was the spicy seafood stir-fry. The Baked Prawns with Vermicelli was a unique delight and the seafood stir-fry rice complimented everything really well.
Once Lunch was done, after relaxing for a while on the pier, we then headed for a small quick tour of Pattaya. First stop was the North Beach Area – an upmarket beach area with bustling nightlife and restaurants.We relaxed by the Beach (which surprisingly was full of old men in high-waisted speedos), and then headed to the Navy Base, or Bali Pier for a bird’s eye view of Pattaya. Our next stop was what makes Thailand Famous, the famous Ladyboy show.
The Tiffany Show is a Transvestite Cabaret Show with over 1,500 transvestite performers. The show is in its 40th year and voted number 4 in the Top Ten Best Shows to see around the world. The make-up, costumes and sets were so dazzling, one has to see it to believe it. This was by far, my most memorable moments of my Trip. Oh.. the most shocking was when I grabbed my chance for a photo with the “Leading Lady” and i heard a man’s voice asking for 100 Baht for the picture. I was looking at “her” and “she” did speak those words…lol, still, amazing!
Day 6: Floating Markets, River Kwai, Tiger Temple, Bridge on River Kwai
A word of advice for those planning to visit Thailand after being inspired by reading this blog (smiles) DO NOT opt for any Pre-booked trips with your agents. Just like we had done for Pattaya, we could have easily, and more cheaply, organized the same instead of being ripped off like we were. Also, please plan carefully as 31st December is a National Thai Holiday, and traffic was manic.
At the crack of dawn, we were hurled into a minivan with several other tourists from different hotels, some dozing, some curious eyed. The 2 hour drive to the floating markets was torturous in the AC-less van. Finally, we got to the Markets, were again hurled into a boat (like fish) and i sped its way towards the actual Floating Market. (Please keep your mouth shut while on this ride from hell, as you will get splashed by the dirty, toxic and polluted water). We did not experience the actual “Floating Markets” and we had to pay more money to see that. Several of the tourists were upset about this (including I) as we presumed the package we paid for included the Floating Market. So please ensure that you clarify this before booking. The only thing that I found worthwhile here was finding my Dragon Fruit! (Bucket list, Checked)
In an hour we then made our way towards River Kwai, where we were to have lunch. The traffic was so bad, that the 45 min drive took close to 2 hours. Finally we reached the Boat houses, where an almost diminished buffet was a welcoming site. We were allocated 20 mins (seriously!) to gulp down our food, before making our way towards the Tiger Temple. We only had 30 mins to cover the 45-minute distance, and the traffic was not going to help us.
Miraculously, we made it in under an hour. However although the vicinity was closed (note closing time 3.00pm) We were allowed to take pictures with the Tigers before rushing for our 3-hour journey back to Bangkok. So, with no Tiger Cubs to feed, and No Nature walk, we quickly made our way to the Tiger Canyons. (I can still hear the guide’s shrill voice shouting in his Thai accent, “Only Thirty minute please”. The experience was depressing. What spoiled it for me was reading a blog by a Volunteer at the Sanctuary stating the pathetic conditions the animals were actually kept in. And it was true. They were highly sedated, abused (physically) and were in a dismal state. I took my free picture, with a heavy heart, but personally I would propagate against going to see this as it only encourages more animal abuse.
I cannot find the actual blog but here is an example of what really goes on behind the sanctuary walls (Sorry for pasting another blogger’s link, but its with good intention)
Our final stop before heading back home was the famous Bridge over River Kwai. With 10 mins to take pictures, we got our mementos and off we were back to Bangkok.
Too Tired to celebrate NYE, we settled into the Hotel’s pool side restaurant, ordered Pizza and waited for 2016