Bangkok To Bombay

4:02 PM Shanky 5 Comments

Beautiful Sunset at Koh Tao
I would really like to apologize for the unexplained hiatus. However, that would mean an arrogant me thinking that a lot of you are actually waiting with bated breath for the next masterpiece from this huge master of words. I know, I know - you are not! So, I just thought I will leave it at that and continue to blog as usual, as much as Mumbai would allow me to blog. Yes, I have shifted base to Mumbai from Ang Thong now. My work requires me to travel every 3 months and so, Mumbai it is for next 3 months. What happened between the last post and the time & energy sucking Mumbai is what this post is all about
After I watched Eat Pray Love and one other divorcee women-goes-travelling movie it was getting too much for me. so I packed my bags and headed to the lovely islands on the gulf of Thailand. There are three of them and each has its own charm and purpose. If I have to describe the three in one word here it is - Koh Samui - Touristy; Koh Phangan - Party; Koh Tao - Relaxation.

I decided to spend time in all three of them. I wanted the last few days on this beautiful country to be the best and wanted it to stay in my memory forever. I took a train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, one of the inland ports from where ferry services to the islands were available. The second class train ride was surprisingly convenient and comfortable except that the rest room was as smelly as the trains in India, if not more. But the berth provided was superb. A attendant made my berth with an extra layer of cushion, a bed spread, pillow and a fresh blanket to protect from the cold. All the berths were also provided with a curtain. My compartment was filled with students from US, UK and the Nordic countries. Noisy, boisterous and of course - sexy ;) At Surat Thani I took a bus + ferry combo that will take me to the port in Surat Thani which was quite a distance from the railway station and then ferry across the gulf of Thailand to Koh Samui - The touristy yet beautiful place.

Koh Samui, the southern most of the islands, was the first place where I am travelling alone in my 25 years of existence on this blue planet. So I was feeling a little insecure, bored, cautious - all those anxious kind of emotions. I wanted to show-off like a seasoned traveler while inside I was full of doubts. What to do? Where to eat? Will I be bored to death or will I find interesting people to talk to? Samui was spent in quelling these doubts by reaching out to new people and some alone time at the wonderful beaches. I met quite a few characters here - gap year students, people who got bored of their job and a few who were fired. Most of all Samui helped me overcome my lonely traveler fears and doubts - For that alone, I am thankful to this island.

Though Koh Phangan was the next island while moving north I decided to keep it last and went to Koh Tao next, for some chilling. Two reasons - I wanted to complete a SCUBA diving course and I wanted the party to be the befitting end to this trip. Koh Tao is a small, likeable diving village island. The entire business ecology is based on the dive shops that dot the shoreline of this island. I had done my research and booked my course with Roctopus dive. It was small, friendly and personal dive shop. But after arriving here, I realized that booking a dive course is as simple as picking up a t shirt from Renganathan Street or vada pav in Mumbai. If you just want to chill out, soak in the sun, the best place - of the three islands, ought to be Tao. And here is where I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets in my life. Partly because I was so relaxed and happy and partly because rarely do I consciously wait and enjoy the sunset. In all probability sun set in Mahabalipuram is as beautiful as this one. After few dives and training I got my license to dive anywhere in the world up to 18 feet! I am a certified open water diver - woohoo!!

After the diving accomplishment, it was time to celebrate it with my diving buddies - two Argentinean students and their friend from NZ. So all of us headed to Phangan for the most (in)famous beach party. My UG friend also joined us from India for the full moon party. Thousands of revelers, hundreds of nationalities, numerous liquor shops, miles of white sand beach and one awesome insane party! This is like the most insane party I have ever been to; not that I had attended a lot of them. Still, this was too good! But that awesomeness might be, and in my case was, overshadowed by the hangover that rips through your upper abdomen to head. My friend and I were to travel to Bangkok the very morning when the party got over. So we had exactly 45 minutes between when we stopped drinking and when our ferry was scheduled. Luckily we had prebooked the ferry tickets and the combo bus tickets to Bangkok as well and slept through most of the journey. When the bus stopped for food we ate some spicy Khao Pad Thai and fresh fruits to ease our stomachs.

After a bit of shopping and pubbing in Bangkok that night, we retired to the room for a power nap of exactly 3 hours. Then I had to leave for my factory in Ang Thong and he had a morning flight to catch. Luckily we were able to get our drunken, party weary asses out of the bed to get to our respective destinations safely and on time. One hell of a trip; one hell of a country. There is still much more to see in Thailand and I vowed to return soon as a tourist who need not worry about the presentation and report that I had to submit. The following week I slogged a little to complete the report and the presentation. So after all those awesome things I did, here I am in Mumbai , my home for the next three months.

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  1. Thank you! At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I am already overwhelmed by Mumbai. Though I have been here before the crowd, traffic and pollution takes time to getting used to :)

  2. -Nice blog sharing information

  3. Well written shankar...will take some tips from u when i plan my thailand trip

  4. Sure Tej, Free tips for you :)


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