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7 DAYS 7 BREATHTAKING CITIES OF SWITZERLAND

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Switzerland has long been famed by Indian Bollywood Industry as destination of love birds. The place holds both pride & joy in its snow-capped mountains, manicured hill gardens, fresh breeze and lakes all around the this dreamy landlocked mountainous country.

Switzerland is also famously known as the “Banking Capital of the world”.

With so many whimsical and panoramic views to watch, it’s rather challenging to narrow down the itinerary for any first time visitor.

Here’s a snapshot of my first time visit itinerary for Switzerland with a focus on must visit places. So get going and derive your own itinerary to explore Swiss attractions.

1.ZURICH

Zurich is Swiss cosmopolitan city with a well-known banking sector mushrooming around the city. For me Zurich was my base camp to explore the popular booming towns of Switzerland. The major advantage that the place offers is the connectivity via trains every minute to various sectors making it convenient to plan a lot more destinations when on a short itinerary visit. I stayed with Park Inn By Radisson Zurich Airport Hotel for its sheer proximity to airport and the Train Station at airport Zurich Hbf.

Things you should know

SWISS TRAVEL SYSTEM

The best way to explore Switzerland is with the highly efficient Swiss Pass. Holders of this pass have access to all trains (including panoramic trains), buses and boats as well as entry to more than 470 museums across the country. Also, holders are entitled to 50 percent off mountain rails, and children under 16 years old travel for free. Bonus for families!

myswitzerland.com

Swiss Travel Pass: Best one can get. Passes are available for 3, 4.8,15 days Continuous journey.

More info: www.swisstours.com

Safe City: Zurich is safe, one can travel safely in night as a solo traveller too. However take caution of pick picketers’ like in any other European city.

Smoking: legal age is 16 for smoking. Smoke only in designated areas.

SIGHTSEEING – 24 hours x 7 cities 

ZURICH

Zurich is largely a medieval town with a spectrum of places to look into from architecture worth admiring from museums to galleries. Zurich showcases International Art at a different scale altogether.

Must Visits

FRAUMUNSTER: Fraumunster is a stained glass window in the choir created by French artist Marc Chagall in early 1970’s. Fraumunster literally means women’s abbey, it belonged to Benedictine convent whose abbess had wide powers in Zurich.

Pic Courtesy: mntviews.blogspot.com

UETLIBERG: It’s Zurich’s own little mountain marking the end of the Albis mountain chain on the western side of the lake Zurich.  The lookout tower is the highlight of this place giving amazing views of the city, the lake and the Alps.

LAKE ZURICH: Lake Zurich is one of the highlights of the city. One thing that one shouldn’t miss doing is walking along the shores; it’s such a cool breather for your senses.  Lake Zurich has a park few metres away called Chinese garden where one can relax, sunbath & play sports.

Lake Zurich Navigation Company operates ships on Lake Zurich & River Limmat, One can enjoy 10 minutes of captain’s uniform and brass foghorns. Different cruises available all year around.  A short cruise of 90 minutes starts every 30 minutes (May-Sep).

ZURICH UNIVERSITY
University of Zurich is Switzerland’s largest university founded in 1833. With 7 faculties covering some 100 different subject areas, the university offers wide variety of programmes such as Bachelor’s, Master’s & PHD’s. University of Zurich is recognised as Europe’s most prestigious research institutions. To date the Nobel Prize has been conferred on twelve UZH scholars.

Take a sneak view of the University in the video below.

Video Courtsey@www.uzh.ch

RHINE FALLS

Europe biggest waterfalls, serene, mesmerising and an astounding force of nature. One can explore castle Laufen above the falls. Walk through ancient walls and learn all about 1000 year history.

One needs to take a boat to central rock and then climb up.Boat ride gives a 360 degree view of the falls. There is an Art gallery called Rhein Art. Souvenir shops and cafes to enjoy some coffee while watching the falls is an experience in itself.

ST. GALLERHOF RESTAURANT

This cosy and warm restaurant is situated at the Sihlquai tram station in Zurich. The restaurant opened in 1998 and belongs to the Hotel Schweizerhof. The speciality of the restaurant is defined by its menu. The menu serves home style dishes prepared using regional products. From meat to cheese to vegetables; everything that is a local produce is used to prepare delicacies worth a try. Another highlight of the menu is that it changes daily and that’s not all its 4 different menu’s daily with a special focus on vegetarian & vegan menu. One can enjoy indoors as well as outdoors in their beautiful beer garden.

Recommended for sure.

DOLDERBAHN COGWHEEL TRAIN RIDE

A cogwheel train is a train fitted with one or more cogwheels. It is built to overcome a steep gradient in an urban environment. A short rack railway in suburb of Zurich is Dolderbahn Station. The cogwheel train goes from Romerhof Station to Bergstation Dolderbahn where The Dolder Grand Hotel is situated. The entire ride is for about 5-7 minutes with 2 stops on the way up. One can enjoy the lush green city views and the magnificent Dolder Grand Hotel.

Enjoy the Ride video

LINDT CHOCOLATE FACTORY

Chocolate is a weakness. After all who doesn’t like a chocolate? Swiss chocolates are world famous for its taste and flavours. One of the reasons for Zurich popularity is the famous Lindt Factory & Plant. As one approaches the factory, one can smell the scent of chocolates in the air. This is because the production plant is based there.

Plant & factory has a small retail shop selling various varieties& flavours such as chocolate balls, pralines, bars etc. There is small production model for those who wish to admire the process of making Swiss chocolates from the stage of cocoa beans to creating the final product.

From May- September visitors can also register for a 40 minute Chocolate Experience with a Lindt Maitre Chocolatier.

                              Various courses available are
  Occasion   Programme
  Easter   LINDT Bunny & pralines
  Mother’s Day   Chocolate Heart filed with pralines
  Summer Holidays   Chocolate tablet and fun filled lollipops
  Christmas   LINDT Teddy and pralines

 

Courses are suitable for children ages 5 & up accompanied by an adult.

Registrations can only be submitted online-

https://www.lindt.ch/en/die-welt-von-lindt/live-chocolate-experiences/chocolateria/

Zurich is full of attractions, some more interesting spots like

 FIFA WORLD FOOTBALL MUSEUM- Zurich is hometown of international Federation of Association Football or FIFA. Its own museum tells the history of Football, FIFA & world cup.

SCHWEIZER FINANZ MUSEUM– With banks Zurich is known as city for finance and money with a museum dedicated on the same.

TRAM AND VINTAGE TRAM MUSEUM
Uniforms, train tickets, model trams and lot of old trams are on display. Good place for kids to relive the past.

VICTORINOX STORE
Zurich flagship store by Victorinox the Swiss family owned business. World famous for Swiss army knives, cutlery, watches, travel gear & watches.

FLEA MARKET-KANZLEI Switzerland’s biggest year round flea market, up to 400 people put their second hand goods on sale.

ROSENHOFMARKT- Incense sticks, trinkets & hippie style clothes are on offer on Thursdays & Saturdays.

Little Gypsy Disha #recommends Best of Switzerland Tours AG

 Choose to make your own itinerary and travel at ease by Swiss Travel Pass or one can opt for City Tours by service providers in Zurich.

Recommended by us is www.switzerland-tours.ch

info@switzerland-tour

                                                                                         LUCERNE

2.LUCERNE

An hour’s train ride south of Zurich is the stunning city of Luzern, home to the iconic Chapel Bridge. Where history meets festivals, economics to culture; this place is the most populous town in central Switzerland.

SIGHTSEEING- 24 hours

LUCERNE CULTURE & CONVENTION CENTRE: Located just outside the Luzern Bahnhof is culture & convention centre.  A work of the Parisian architect Jean Nouvel. The main concert hall has 1840 seats and is world’s best hall. The auditorium and museum is also a part of this centre.

BOAT RIDE – VIER WALDSTATTERSEE

One can enjoy boat ride on paddle steamers across Lake Lucerne to enjoy the breath-taking natural beauty of Alps. Vier Waldstattersee runs fleet of vintage paddle steamers & motor vessels at various intervals throughout the day. Swiss Travel Passes are valid on entire lake.

CHAPEL BRIDGE

The bridge was constructed in the first half of the 14th century as part of city’s fortifications. The painted parts on the bridge depict the local Swiss culture & history including lives of Lucerne patron saints.

One of the most instagrammed picture spot in Lucerne.

Water Tower

This is an octagonal tower, over 34 meters in height. Used as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber. It is part of chapel bridge, a trademark attraction and Lucerne most photographed spot.

Ritterscher Palace

The palace was built as a palazzo in style of Italian renaissance in 1557. It served living quarters for Jesuits. Served as the cantonal government, palace inners can be viewed on workdays.

OLD TOWN SQUARES

The old town in Lucerne is spread across picturesque by lanes with amazing artworks on the buildings exteriors with historical frescoes. Some of the must visit spots are Muhlenplatz, Guidhall, Kornmarkt.

LION MONUMENT

The dying Lion of Lucerne is one of the world’s most famous monuments. Carved out of rock it memorializes the heroism in 1792 of Swiss soldiers. Mark Twain described the Lion of Lucerne as the “saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world.”

CULINARY ARTS, LUCERNE

If Culinary Arts programme post your high school or graduation is what you aspire to pursue then Culinary Arts Lucerne is the institution you should be aiming to be in.

They offer 1 week programme’s for 16-20 years old who are looking at taking their first steps into the world of culinary arts. The 1 week programme offers learning basics of culinary art including chocolate and pastry- making.

More info https://www.culinaryartsswitzerland.com/en/

HOF CHURCH

Dedicated to patron Saint Leodegar, it is today Lucerne parish Church. Noteworthy spots in the church are the façade, Mary altar with relief panel dating 1500 and the soul’s altar.

JESUIT CHURCH

Established around 1666 by father Christoph Vogler for Jesuit. The domes were embellished in mid-18th century & worth noticing are acoustics of the church.

The views from the lake and chapel bridge look surreal.

For those travelling from India, food at times becomes a tricky situation. Well here’s an Indian restaurant to your rescue especially or vegetarians.

Kanchi Indian Restaurant is located in heart of Lucerne near the Lion Monument. From North & South Indian dishes to traditional tandoori clay stove, this offers a great Indian platter of Indian Cuisine. Monday to Friday cheap buffet for vegetarians and meat lovers.

Food parcels as take away option available too.

www.luzern.kanchi.ch

3. MOUNT PILATUS

Around the corner from Lucerne city is its very own mountain Pilatus. One of the legendary places in Central Switzerland. On clear days this mountain offers panoramic views of 73 Alpine peaks.

As the legend speaks a dragon rock fell from the sky in the year 1420. Even today Pilatus is a source of mystical discoveries and tales. The mountain can be reached from Lucerne by gondola lift and aerial cable car and from Alpnachstad with the world’s steepest rack rail road. The mountain also offers various sports, hiking tours and visit to summer toboggan run.

4. MOUNT JUNGFRAU

Mount Jungfrau is home to Europe’s highest railway station. The journey to this mountain standing 3,454 metres above sea level, can make you feel surreal.

The journey embarks an unforgettable experience towering through Eiger & Monch Mountains. One can enjoy Alpine beauty and an astonishing tunnel experience that showcases history of world’s highest railway service.

Icy air rushes across your face, snow chunks under your feet and the sheer silvery milky carpet views nearly takes your breath away; on one side the view of the Mittelland up to the Vosges, on the other the Aletsch glacier, bordered by four thousand metre peaks makes Jungfrau is must do on your itinerary.

5. BERN

Bern is the capital city of Switzerland. Not many cities have retained their historical features while Bern successfully maintains the same. The old town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The high point of the city is the 6 kilometres Lauben or the longest weather sheltered shopping promenades.

Must Visit Spots in Bern

– Rose garden: Rose garden is a mecca of flowers with a large park with wonderful views overseeing the Old town & Aare Loop.  The park is pad to 220 different types of roses, 200 types of irises and moor beds with 28 different types of rhododendrons.

– Bern Bear Park: The Bern bear pit is a world tourist interest point. Since 2009 the bears of Bern have access to a 6000 square meters park just for them. Visitors can take a tour of old bear pit as well as the new park with green hilly terrain that includes caves and the Bear Bath in the Aare River.

– Old City of Bern: Accredited as the Unesco World heritage site, the capital city of Switzerland has a lot to offer. Its quaint old town around River Aare offers splendid views of Alps. 6 kms of limestone buildings and medieval architecture arcades. Renaissance fountains, colourful statues and royal cathedrals surrounded with embellished rooftops. Bern is indeed a gem of medieval architecture in Europe.

6. ENGELBERG & MT. TITLUS

Engelberg is situated 25 kms south of Lake Lucerne in a wide valley of about 1000 metres. Adjoining to this at about 3239 metres is Titlis Mountain with its glacier and Hahnen Mountain at 2,600 metres are standing tall over the surrounding peaks.

Engelberg is one of the top 10 ski regions in Switzerland known as free ride area too. In summer the place offers mountaineering, climbing, biking and playing golf.

Mount Titlis: Touring Mount Titlis at about 3,020 metres above sea level is an incredible experience. Titlis is a sparkler in Central Switzerland and the only glacier in that area.

Popularised by Indian Cinema and featured in some of the Bollywood blockbusters, this glacier is quite adored by visitors.

Activities at Titlis

Titlis Cliff Walk: Elevation of 3020 metres, 500 meter drop. 150 steps to walk through & icy breeze rushing literally freezing your senses. One can find this exhilarating at the same time, lifetime opportunity to enjoy amazing snowy views of Alps.

If spine chilling adventure is on your mind then a must do is Titlis Ice flyer. One can experience the snow all around with spectacular views of peaks at more than 3000 metres  to give you that hair raising experience.

TITLIS GLACIER CAVE

One of the focal points on Titlis peak is the Glacier Cave. Right in the centre, the cave has slippery ice walls and floors. The 150 meter long tunnel goes down to 20 meters under the glacier surface. There are few spots with ice peaks fabricated to give a real time experience of the glacier. The tunnel ends up to a souvenir shop.

Walk slow and carefully as floor is quite slippery. But the experience is worth it.

TITLIS GLACIER PARK

This offers all snow based activities all around the year. One can slip through snow toy fun balancer, snake gliss or minibobs and magic carpet conveyor belt swing you up and down.

7. GRINDELWALD –MT. EIGER & INTERLAKEN

GRINDELWALD

This is one of the most stunning and bewitching village in Switzerland. Right in midst of alpine landscape at foot of the Eiger North face. The region offers diverse adventure activities and recreational opportunities.

Virgin beauty, one of my personal favourite spot that refuses to leave my mind. Must Visit place on your itinerary. The other focal spots in Grindelwald are First, Kleine Scheidegg, Männlichen or Pfingstegg.

To Reach Grindelwald by rail Via Bern or Lucerne to Interlaken-Ost. Change to the Bernese Oberland Railway to Grindelwald.

Grindelwald is a showpiece of beauty, wild romantic glacier gorge with mills and marble blocks. Also famous for Hollywood flicks James Bond movie “Your majesty Secret Service” and Star wars Episode 111- Mountain scenery for the planet Alderaan.

Must Do spots in Grindelwald are

– First Cliff walk by Tissot

– Eiger walk

– Eiger Trail

– Bike walk

– Boat Alpine playground

INTERLAKEN

Another feather in the cap of Swiss beauty is this place called Interlaken, surrounded by mountains and an enchanting lake. Interlaken is a madcap’s playground. One can enjoy paragliding, boating in the lake or simply taking strolls on these cosy by lanes or spending some swiss francs on shopping at Hohematte.

One can arrive at Interlaken via train running on Bern or Lucerne sectors to Interlaken OST or Interlaken west.

Interlaken is quite popular with visitors from India. One can spot quite few Indian Restaurants in close proximity.

One such Restaurant is India King Restaurant. Just thrown stone away from Interlaken Train station, this restaurant serves Halal, Indian, Arabic & vegetarian options. Food tastes authentic and the portion size is okay. Fairly priced the place hospitality is undoubtedly good. Must visit.

Must see spots

– old town & castle

– Interlaken gallery

– Picnic on the lake

– kayaking on Lake Brienz

– Wakeboarding on Lake Thun

– Shopping

– St. Beatus Caves near Lake Thun: Dragon hunted by Saint Beat took shelter in this geological site as per the mythological folk lore.  St. Beautus Caves are deep in heart of the mountain along with well-lit walkways. Worth a watch are the stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years and a cave museum bring history to life.

For more information on Switzerland visit myswitzerland.com;

For personalised holiday packages & itineraries (Solo, group, family) direct from source.

Write to us at GYPSY VACAY’S & mail: info@gypsyescapade.com

 

 

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International

Bangkok World’s Top Tourist Destination

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Bangkok indeed is a tourist’s paradise. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or not there is one big question that we all face while choosing a destination for a holiday. And that big question often is “Does the place offer me a complete Touristy package”?

Have you wondered after all what is this Touristy Package?

I have been travelling for past 19 years and in my all escapades to various destinations, mingling with fellow travelers across the world. I can confidently state that while people do holiday for different reasons there is one thing that is common and that is “Big Expectation” from destination to offer Good Food, Shopping, Entertainment, Nightlife, Adventure and Scenic beauty and most important all of this at an affordable price. Sounds Good! Well good or not but it definitely is an overlong list of expectation.

So here comes Bangkok; a complete Touristy Package Destination. The city is high on tourism as it is also a convenient transit point to explore rest of Thailand. Travel Stats states that Bangkok is the most booked Asian destination of year 2018. Pattaya takes 10th position in the charts. Other popular Thai destinations are Hua Hin-Cha am, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Chiang Rai, Krabi. You can read about these spots in my other blog stories.

But for now, let’s have a look at what makes Bangkok a Avant Garde Destination.

Girls Group Tour organized by Travel Tummy.

Accommodations

From Airbnb to hostels to hotels to resorts. Bangkok fits in everyone’s budget and that’s the best thing about the place. Best locations from accessibility, food and entertainment purpose are Sukhumvit, Silom, Siam, Pratunam and Riverside.

 I prefer Hotels in around Sukhumvit Soi 11; for its proximity to various destinations, good spread of Restaurants offering Asian food and BTS Skytrain station just around the corner.

Personally, experienced hotels that I recommend are Grand Swiss Sukhumvit 11 Hotel Bangkok by Compass Hospitality and Citrus Sukhumvit 11 by Compass Hospitality. These two properties in Sukhmvit Soi 11 are best known for rates, proximity to eateries, clubs, BTS Skytrain station and massage parlors.

Bangkok for you.

                                    Mahanakhon Skywalk

  1. Mahanakhon Skywalk

Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in our minds. Dare to challenge it? Try exploring Thailand’s highest observation deck at 314 meters offering 360-degree panoramic views of the city. One can experience world’s largest glass trays at height of 310 meters from 78th Floor. Best views of the city. One is permitted photography from official photo taking area only.

 Pic Courtesy Bangkok.com

  • Siam Niramit Show

A spectacular show offering a grand feast of sight, sound and taste. The show presents legendary stories of Thai Mythology and Culture. The entry starts at about 5.30 Pm in evening and one can enjoy early Dinner Buffet, Thai Massage, Elephant rides and Souvenir shops.

The show starts at about 8:00 PM. Performed on a huge stage listed in Guinness World Records. About 100 performers in more than 500 costumes. The show displays special effects using cutting edge technology. Must do for those who love to appreciate art and take a glimpse into Thailand’s art and culture.

                             Floating Market Bangkok

Pic Courtesy Bangkok.com

  • Floating Market

Floating Markets are quite popular amongst the visitors and tourists to Thailand. For first timers this seems to be a must do in their bucket list.

There are quite a few floating markets in around Bangkok. While most of the markets have boats piled with tropical fruits, vegetables, coconut juices and local cooked food. It’s the ambience that makes a difference in the experience. Some are crowded with locals while some have mix of locals and tourists. Some Floating Markets are in Bangkok while others are in radius of 20-50 kms outside the city.

The one that’s ringing the bell is Damnoen Saduak Floating market. Hollywood friendly this market has featured in James Bond Classic “The Man with the Golden Gun with Roger Moore as James Bond.

In 2008 the film Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicolas Cage shot a scene in the market place and thus making this market quite popular amongst tourists.

The market exhibits aquatic culture well blended with Thai architecture around the place. One can shop traditional puppets, noodle soup, bamboo hats and more.

                                      Grand Palace Bangkok

  • Grand Palace- Emerald Buddha-Reclining Buddha

Grand Palace is one of the spectacular spots of Bangkok. A must do in your first visit. Built in 1782 its been home to generations of Thai Monarchy for 150 years. The Palace also held Thai war ministry, state departments.

Within the Palace there are impressive shrines of Buddha popularly and locally known as Wat Phra Kaew or the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha (Phra Putta Maha Mani Ratana Patimakron) is a Buddha image in meditating pose in the style of the Lanna School of the North way back from 15th century AD. The robes of Buddha are changed by the HM The king of Thailand and is considered an important ritual of Buddhist calendar. Though the King doesn’t reside here but most ceremonial and auspicious ceremonies are held in the Palace.

Wat Pho -Golden Reclining Buddha

The picture of Golden Reclining Buddha is the most iconic image used to promote Bangkok. Hence making it a must do spot. The Buddha figure is about 15 meters tall, 46 meters long; feet are about 5 meters long decorated in Mother of Pearl illustrations of auspicious laksanas of the Buddha. 108 is a significant number referring to 108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection.

One needs to be appropriately dressed which is no exposed shoulders or skin above the knee. Wat Pho also is known for therapeutic massages. Post temple visit if you wish to relax your feet or try various massages to relieve your stress and improve blood circulation.

Pic Courtesy- Bangkok.com

  • Wat Arun

Envisioned by King Taksin in 1768, it is believed that after fighting his way out of Ayutthaya which was taken over by Burmese army at that time, he arrived at this temple. He named it as Temple of Dawn. Emerald Buddha was earlier stationed here before moving to Grand Palace. Rama 111 further added spires of porcelain to add to grandeur of this temple. One of iconic sites of Bangkok. The night views of temple are simply mesmerizing.

  • Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise

Be it a honeymoon or a new year’s night cruise ride on the Chao Phraya River is one of most intoxicating experience. One can enjoy views of some of the most iconic buildings, light music on the boat, riverside scenery, watch live performances, World class Thai cuisine buffet. In short simply splendid. One should definitely do this to carry back timeless memories. Ideal for private parties, wedding receptions or incentive groups.

Pic Courtesy -Blue Elephant School

  • Blue Elephant Half Day Cooking Tour: Love to explore the world gastronomy or are simply foodies; then this is the tour for you.

Upon enrolling you can expect a century old mansion opening its doors to you. One can learn about rich history of recipes and taste culinary delights of royal Thai Cuisine. You shall have a mentor chef greeting you with welcome drink. Then would be a discussion round together for you to curate your 4-course meal. One needs to head to market to get ingredients that chef has listed and then get back to school.Now comes the action time so get set into your aprons and start following instructions from the chef for your menu and after you put in all the hard work; its time to lay the food presentation and taste it.

  • Muay Thai Boxing

If you are high on your adrenalin rush and possess martial art instincts then this is a must for you. You may choose to witness live action or may chose to learn the art but let me warn you this is no joke its real sweat in the ring.

Muay Thai in Bangkok is neon lights flood ring with two men’s spiritual thanksgiving to their teachers, spirits and sport in a ceremony called Wai Khru.

The stadium witnesses loud Thai classical instruments playing music with boxers performing a Ram Muay-dance demonstrating their skills and styles. These pre match ceremonies are believed to bring in luck and protection to boxers. Post that match starts, stay tight as it does gets bloody and gore some to watch.

Most famous of Thai Boxing academy is Master Toddy’s Muay Academy named after master himself. He is considered as “The father of Muay Thai Boxing”; one can learn Muay Boran, Krabi Krabong, Western Boxing, Women’s self-defense and MMA.

  1. Thailand Flower Market-Chao Phraya Pier

Thailand Flower Market is not a typical bucket list spot but I would definitely suggest visiting this place. Be it with your family or a solo trip there is so much to learn from flowers. I personally believe in “Flower Sermons”. Wanna try? Here you go take Lotus flower for instance it teaches-Trust in the Light; grow in the dirt and believe in new beginnings. Another One- look at Jasmine flower- smiles at darkness of night.

One can grace flowers like Jasmine, Chrysanthemum, Orchids, Lillies, roses, tulips and many more. It’s nature’s feast to one’s sight.

Vacations are best way to detox your mind body and soul, one should often look at visiting places that are not necessarily must do’s but do teach you life sermons unknowingly.

And don’t forget to buy yourself a bunch because you are worth it.

  • Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine: There are many phallic shrines in the world with various beliefs and facts. This shrine in Bangkok believes in worshipping phallus to encourage fertility and marital bliss amongst couples. Women looking forward to pregnancy, young girls for wishing marital bliss or for general marital contentment offer beauty products, phallus in the shrine as offerings.
  • Massages

Bangkok is a hub for spa’s and massages. There are innumerable massage centers offering beauty spa’s, therapeutic massages to general massages for daily lifestyle requirements. One cannot imagine Bangkok without a massage so whether its your first time or fifth, leaving Bangkok without a massage is simply not a good idea.

One can chose to opt for a massage parlor outside your hotel or call masseur in hotel room via hotel. There are massage parlors inside hotels too or chose a parlor in any of the malls. There are many choices suiting your pocket and preference.

  • Bangkok in New Years

New Year is one time of the year that rocks indeed and witnessing this rocking moment is a lifetime opportunity one shouldn’t miss at all. One such work trip to Bangkok during New Year’s just made my day. The only low down is that the places are jammed packed with no space to breathe; at times becomes too claustrophobic but whose complaining with that kind of titillating backdrop. Children and those suffering from breathing ailments should be avoided.

Bangkok puts up a great show on New Year’s; while there are many spots celebrating the New year’s frenzy one such public event is held at Centre World Mega Shopping Complex. The mall is home to branded clothing, gourmet eateries, ice skating ring-though most of them shuts down early in the evening as the place turns into one mega venue to witness New Year’s countdown.

Pre countdown festivity starts with live music bands playing popular nos. of Western and Thai Music. One can watch popular Thai TV & Cinema Stars coming and performing on musical nos. before the countdown onset starts. There are street food hawkers, people selling neon lit hair bands, new year body accessories to add to the season flavor.

Watch the Pre & Countdown video to decide if this event is for you?

https://youtu.be/j7ug9rHd9no
  • Shopping

-Pratunam: This is one of the most famous street markets of Bangkok selling clothes, shoes, accessories at wholesale prices. Popular with small local & international shopkeepers who buy in bulk. Prices are cheap at times unbelievable. The market operates on cash payments only. The area is huge spread across tiny by lanes and stalls sometimes get difficult to find your way out. It’s quite a maze but who is complaining for the deals one gets to find here. If shopping is in your mind then carry lot of money and bags because you are definitely coming out with empty pockets.

-Malls

Terminal 21 is a whole world in one place. The Mall is haven to shopaholics laid out in market street style inspired from 8 world class shopping cities. The Place is spread out on different levels with escalators flying you from one city to another. So Welcome to Caribbean, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul, San Francisco and Hollywood. What’s your pick?

 Accessible with BTS and MRT Routes.

MBK Center

Bangkok’s most legendary shopping mall amongst tourists and locals. There are 8 floors with 2000 shops that sell almost everything from clothes, make up, fashion accessories, handbags, food eateries with level full dedicated to electronics. One can sell and buy electronic items here. It’s not as upmarket or plush as Siam Paragon but it offers great products and considerably less prices. Easy access via sky train or TukTuk or cabs.

Products are value for money and bargains do work here. Try your luck.

Siam Paragon

One of the high-end shopping destinations in Bangkok. The mall houses a host of international brands, South East Asia’s largest aquarium, 16 screen cineplex and a comprehensive world cuisine.

Located conveniently in front of Siam BTS sky train station. The mall has a collection of over 250 international brands so if something exclusive is on your mind then this is the place for you.

Asiatique

Asiatique is one of my favorites shopping spots in Bangkok, a night bazaar and a vintage mall. One can ride a ferry from Saphan Taksin BTS station. With over 1500 boutiques and 40 restaurants this place is splendid. What I like most about this place are the views down river with ferries doing rounds, the big Ferris wheel and the buzz that’s so much fun. The place for sure gives a great shopping orgasm.

Pic Courtesy- Safari World

Bangkok for Kids

Bangkok has some great spots for Kids to enjoy too such as homeland’s famous KidZania situated in popular Siam Paragon Mall on 5th Floor;

Bounce Inc. is an action-packed trampoline park and Climbing Centre.

Most popular amongst kids is the Safari World Park offering fun at Animal Kingdom and Marine Park both. One can feed animals and also watch great shows put up by these animals.

I have always said that while they put a great show for us; we too should be compassionate and treat them with love and care. Never hurt animals.

Gypsyescapade does not promote nor encourages any sort of recommended fun activities that involves or promotes cruelty against animals.

Pic Courtesy- La Presse.ca

Nightlife

PatPong

World’s most glorified red-light district. Patpong is where Thailand’s Go-Go Culture started. The same came in spotlight and was immortalized in James Bond Chase sequence. Patpong is spread between two parallel side streets between Silom and Surawongse road. With neon lit strips bars, pole dancing; go go bars and naughty shows openly offered to visitors and tourists. This street is indeed having some electrifying pleasure waiting to be consumed.

Patpong undoubtedly is the King of the scene compared to Soi Cowboy its counterpart in Sukhmvit area. The place also sells street junkies to tourists and visitors. Dull and dumb in the day and in the night its completely opposite -unrecognizable.

Need we say more as to why Bangkok is rated as Top Tourist destination?

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Calmer & Quieter Cha am; Thailand

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Slow, Still, Serene, Speechless….

Life today is turbulent, rowdy and boisterous. Living each day is a challenge in cities. Taking a break is no more a luxury it’s rather a necessity to disconnect with the world and find peace. Though holidays are planned to rejuvenate our mind, body and soul but we still get stuck up at noisy beaches; crowded amusements parks; hitting up must do’s on our travel bucket list in urban city’s or popular countryside locations. And finally, realize that are holidays were as busy as our daily lives.

So, here is Cha am one of the quieter and calmer beach islands located just 200 kms south of Bangkok; good enough for a day trip too. Popular with Bangkok locals who want to rewind themselves away from the daily chaos and for travelers in search of laid-back holidays. One can combine Cha am with Hua Hin Island in close proximity.

Cha am comes out to be a perfect place to simply disconnect with the world, enjoy reading a book on the beach with just sound of lapping waves , cool breeze and  turtle or sea gull for company. Popular with couples looking for more private space, senior citizens who prefer peace over noise and families with kids who want less crowded spaces for kids to enjoy outdoors.

Exploring Cha am.

Sometimes its important that we detox our lives and one such place to do that is Cha am a district in Phetchaburi province.

It’s a white sand beach that stretches for kilometers. What’s best about this place

is the proximity of beaches with the places it offers to stay. There are quite a mix of places one can pick up on.

  1. Cha am Beach

Cha am’s long stretch sandy beaches are known for stillness of time. Best to have self-sessions; picnic with family, pony rides or just enjoy watching sunrise and sunset with your loved one.

Though it does offer beach activities such as jet skiing and banana boat riding and seafood is readily available in restaurants as well as street side kiosks.

Pic Courtesy- Coaching Golf

2. Golf  

Cha am & Hua Hin are best known for Golf. Especially Cha am with spectacular scenery, embraced by forested mountains and poetic sea; golf is best enjoyed in this place. The place offers some of the best golf courses including the Jack Nicklaus designed course and 6 international standard courses inciting you to keep coming back and qualifying them. There are extensive Championship golf courses are available for you to enroll in them.

3. Maruekhathaiyawan Palace

Period Splendour When approached from afar, the sight of the palace against the backdrop of white sands and cerulean-blue sea conjures up an image of a place suspended in time. You can almost imagine court servants scurrying down the corridors, going about their daily business, while the king and royal consorts take residence in the royal chambers. Back in those days, each of the three buildings had clearly defined functions.

A series of halls located in the south wing served as the residence of the king and royal consorts. These consisted of royal sitting and relaxing rooms, the royal chamber of the princess consort and a reading room. The north wing served as accommodation for court servants, and the two-story open pavilion or ‘Samoson Sewakamat Hall’ served as the official venue for royal functions as well as for theatre and entertainment.

4. PlearnWan

Plearnwan in Thai means joy of yesteryear. This is Vintage rustic ground selling unique souvenirs, toys, apparels, fashion accessories, artifacts and variety of nam pirik (chilipaste). The ground has a Ferris wheel, game counters and an outdoor cinema where shows happen on weekend evenings.

Food is the focal point of this place. One can savor grilled meat and various local delicacies. There is a humongous spread of Thai desserts to relish. In all a place that truly depicts the culture of locals.

Pic Courtesy: Klook

5. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Breathtaking views of limestone peaks in backdrop and lush green surroundings; this place is nothing but green paradise. The name of the Park means “the mountains with three hundred peaks”. An area of 100 sqkm. Along the coast the place is closer to Hua Hin in south and Krabi province too. The beauty of this Park lies in wildlife, Crab eating macaques, Asian Goat Antelope. And that not all the pristine white beaches, offshore island caves, forest trails; bird watcher’s paradise as its home to more than 300 species.

 Best seasons for park is between Sept- November when a flock of migratory birds from Serbia, China and Northern Europe arrive to halt and feed and then continue their journey to South of Australia. One can explores Caves or opt for hiking. About 400 meters from the Park Centre hike up the hill to view most scenic sunrise viewpoint called Khao Daeng.

Pic Courtesy: Klook

 Phraya Nakhon Cave: What can I say about this Cave; nature’s marvel is at display with a hole in its roof that allows stream of light to fall upon a dome constructed in conventional Thai Architecture for King Rama V. Surrounded by limestone mountains on three sides.

Pic Courtesy: Thai National Parks

The dome looks exquisite when the beam of sunrays falls upon it making it the most picturesque views. To visit this cave, one needs to take 20 minutes long tail boat ride to Laem Sala Beach and hike another 30 minutes uphill forested trail.

6. Family Vacationers: for those travelling with kids there are quite few places to explore and enjoy such as Swiss Sheep Farm, Santorini Park. To  know more about these places read story by #littlegypsytraveller “ Best Kids Friendly places in Cha am & Hua Hin on the link below.

https://bit.ly/2YTimpN

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Pattaya is not just the sin city of South East Asia

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If Las Vegas is the sin city, Pattaya is a bearhug from Lucifier himself. How many of us have heard this anecdote on Pattaya? I am sure most of us. Well when we spell Pattaya what comes to our minds most is it is the “Sin City of South East Asia”.

Not that you are wrong but do you know Pattaya is not just that. Sharing close proximity with Bangkok about 147 kms and offering value for money tourism; it’s one of the favorite destinations for Corporates for Mice events.

Pattaya is on verge of becoming new world class MICE City for Thailand and the whole world. Authorities are working on their ambitious project of making ”New Pattaya, the World Class Greenovative Tourism City” with a ”green and clean” environment for tourists and locals.

Let’s take a look at what makes Pattaya a perfect concoction of Leisure, Lust, Luxury, Lackadaisical…. I can keep adding more L’s to my list. In short, the takeaways are endless and all this for a pocket friendly budget.


The Leela Resort & Spa, Pattaya- Recommended for Family & Group Stays.

Stays’

From Beach Side Resorts, Apartments, Family Hotels, City Centers, Romantic Hotels & Luxury Hotels, Pattaya has it all. Ideal areas to choose your holiday haven are Jomtien, Central Pattaya, Pattaya Beach Road, South Pattaya.

Islands Near Pattaya (Day Trips from Pattaya)

While there are quite few islands to explore from Pattaya such as Koh Samet, Monkey Island, Koh Si Chang, Koh Khram, Koh Rin, Koh Phai, Koh Krok, Koh Sak, Koh Larn; the most popular one being Koh Samet and Coral island (Koh Larn).

Koh Samet

This is a small island off Rayong (south of Pattaya). One can find tall cliffs along west coast and pleasing beaches along the east coast. This beach is quite popular among st locals of Bangkok & Pattaya especially the youth as it holds there an annual Thai Pop & rock music festival . Koh Samet has good line of hotels and resorts. The sea’s favorite thrills are scuba diving, swimming, snorkeling etc.

Koh Larn (Coral Island)

Coral Island is the largest island near Pattaya. One can access it from Bali Hai Pier. The island has around 6 main beaches. One can opt for a long tail boat or a speed boat for accessing this island. Island has got white sand and warm turquoise waters. Plenty of water sports like banana boat, jet ski, speed boat thrills and others. And for those who love to turn hermit for some time, this is a beautiful place to be in that state of mind. I love going in and out of hermit zone and rejuvenating my five senses at those beautiful abandoned spots in the island. The other leeway of enjoying this solidarity is that you get to spot some extraordinary Instagram able spots.

Pattaya Attractions

1)Pattaya for Kids

Upside Down Museum

Upside Down Museum Pattaya is like any other trick museums though what’s unique about this place is huge compound dedicated to this perplexed structure that leaves you completely disoriented once inside the premises. The structure offers various unbalanced interiors that can sway off your feet and offer amazing bewildered trick photography pictures. I would suggest scan and take a look at few trick photography pics before visiting this place so you can make most of it.

Photography services are available inside too. To add more to this topsy-turvy world the place is open for couple and newlywed photo sessions. Now this definitely is an amazing and quite eye drop experience to enjoy some comic and intelligent wedding photography at this place.

Recommended for those who find normal boring.

 Underworld World Pattaya

Underwater World Pattaya, the only aquarium in Pattaya City. The place is much more than an aquarium as it offers interactive activities with aquatic creatures. One can feed Koi Fish, Turtles and enjoy the Touch Zone pools where one can actually experience marine animals by touching them.

And that’s not all the highlight of the place is the Sleep Over with Sharks and Rays Camp designed especially for the School Kids. This program me is one of its kind.

The place as a lot of marine creatures and colorful corals. There are beautiful acrylic tunnels about 105 meters long with 180 degrees coverage that gives it a real underwater experience.

Not a regular aquarium. Must Do.

Sriracha Tiger Zoo

Great Place for Kids to explore wildlife in such close proximity. Activities offered are Crocodile feeding; Big Tiger feeding- food scumble, Nang Phong Scorpio- Trained lady with 100 scorpions on her dress-dare to do the same; Play with scouts (baby tiger cubs), feeding Koi fish, Park -Zoo has plenty of beautiful landscaping that offers amazing photo backdrops;

One can click pictures feeding baby tiger cubs or big size tigers. While we do all of this it would be nice if we show compassion and love towards animals while we interact with them and they put up at some amazing shows for us.

Ramayana Water Park

Biggest Water Park in Thailand. Rated 1st in Thailand, 2nd in Asia & 12th in the world by Trip advisor. With more than 50 attractions, 350 trained staff and 100 lifeguards. This place should definitely on your bucket list. Need I say more.  Speaking about what different at this Water park, crystal clear water used in the rides are safe enough to drink sourced from the underground wells. More than 20 rides are unique and have no comparison in Asia.

Art in Paradise

Watch the video to decide if this one is for you.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not

“Believe it or not” is a choice to open up to unknown. USA’s most popular tourist attraction. Be it amazing facts, darker side of life or thrills that give you shaking chills. This place for sure keeps you on toes.

Check the link below to see if this is for you.

2) Attractions

Sanctuary of Truth

History is tale of wonders and marvels. If you too are fascinated with history and love to explore cultural heritages then this is one place you shouldn’t miss. One of most iconic sites in Pattaya. Intricately carved in teak wood this is an outstanding example of Thai Craftsmanship. Elaborated and marvelous carvings of elephants, people and picture stories of Thai Mythology. The piece of cultural art depicted on the walls is a tribute to Ancient vision of Earth, Knowledge & philosophy.

Pic Courtesy-Reddit.

It’s interesting to know that the construction that began in 1981, is an ongoing and never ending one. One should definitely visit the tall hall to its north alongside the beach. It’s not only offers picturesque views of the temple but is simply breathtaking.

Pattaya Floating Market

Spread across an area of about 100,000 sqm, the market is forked into 4 sections displaying and selling items from North, south, central and northeast part of Thailand. One can savor eateries, fruits kiosks, art galleries. There is a cultural display every afternoon put up by the local folk artists. For floating experience one can opt for boat ride and witness the serene ambience around the riverside with a scoop of Thai culture.

Pattaya View Point

Pattaya Viewpoint on Pratumnak Hill is a striking viewpoint of crescent shaped bay. The view is peaceful and tranquil. Simply qualifies to be one of the Instagram able sites.

Nong Nooch Tropical Garden

Bewitching Tropical Garden is set in 2.4 sq.km; well-manicured landscape; this botanical garden is an inspiration from 17th century French gardens, Stonehenge and European Renaissance era. Plants like cactus, succulents, orchid nurseries, tropical palms, bonsai and topiary garden is what makes this place a nature’s paradise.

To explore the garden fully one should hire a bicycle and take a nature troll at leisure. Orchid nursery is one of my favorites. Garden also features spectacular Thai Dance -Music shows in Thai Cultural Hall. There are Paddle boats and cycling available too. I would recommend this for sure, smitten away by the nature at its best.

Love Art Park

Love-lust is in this park for sure. Located in south of Pattaya close to Ocean Marina Yacht club, this 49,000 sq.mts park is a display of erotic human -animal sculptures. With artistic display of sex be it fairy winged woman, chicken -hen family, Male genitals displayed by vegetables.

This place is high on erotic drama. Not recommended for families the sex humor quotient is definitely high here. Evenings are illuminated, sunsets views are striking. If looking for illuminated displays- that’s not put up every evening it is advised to check with Park officials before visiting.

Mountain Buddha

This is one of my preferred places to visit in Pattaya. The very sight of artistically carved Buddha sitting cross legged with one hand resting on his knee and other in lap engraved in the northern face of Khao Chi Chan hill is alluring.


Serenity that encompasses this place is so infectious; it awakens your eyes to a beautiful life and your heart to natural serenity that lies within you. Talking about the mountain imagery it was carved in gold on this solitary limestone hill in 1996 to commemorate the Supreme patriarch.

Beaches in Pattaya

Jomtien Beach

6 km straight stretch of sand much of quieter place as compared to livewire north. Sandy shore, cleaner sea, mouthwatering seafood snacks across the shore.   

Pattaya Beach

Pattaya Beach is a 4 Km crescent coastline than just sea and sand. With huge no. of speedboats, parasails, Jet Skis, diving boats and floating restaurants.  Pattaya Beach Road is a line of Palm Trees away from the shore.  Between Pattaya North and Pattaya South there are large gamut of activities to keep you engaged and thrilled.

NIGHT LIFE

Girls Trip #Walking Street

Walking Street is one of the busiest spots in Pattaya. A Kilometer stretch of high live entertainment. From Night Clubs, to Go Go bars, Beer Bar Restaurants, eateries and shopping. The street is a high voltage erotic entertainment catering to various preferences.

What makes this street electrifying is that its so densely spread with adult entertainment that you may find yourself exploring new places each evening.

Hey but that’s not all place is perfectly safe for family visitors ideally adults. Enjoy little drama while having Turkish Ice-cream and also shop at one of those street shops selling apparels, shoes, lingerie’s, plenty to street eateries to enjoy. And for those who are not interested in exploring adult entertainment just a stroll on this neon lit street is a titillating experience.

 Big Eye Show Pattaya

This is an 18 +adult show and takes approximately 1 hour to view. Photography is strictly not allowed and if someone is caught doing so, penalties are heavy. The show is a nude display of acts performed by Lady Boys.

The Show timings start from 6:00 Pm in evening till 10:30 in the night. Its an ongoing show so one can join anytime in between the time band mentioned above. Seats are as what available at time of your entry.

-Alcazar Cabaret Show

The show started way back in 1981. There used to be 100 performers and staff and the theatre had capacity of 350 seats only. As the show gained popularity globally, the presentation of show was modernized with technology, new performers were added, conceptual changes were done.

Today it is one of the sorted after transvestite shows with super colossal use of costumes- make up, cultural storytelling and musical display to can sweep away your hearts.

Must Watch. Kids are allowed.

Shopping

Pattaya Night Market

Covered airconditioned Thai street Market; popular amongst tourists. The place is good to shop souvenirs and summer outfits. Good variety of Beach wear especially outfits in crochet. Open markets with narrow gaps in stalls and humid heat can spoil your shopping experience that’s why Pattaya Night market is much needed retail refix. Enjoy your retail therapy in much ventilated and structured ambience.

Central Festival Mall

Central Festival Mall is one of the premier malls in Pattaya. With over 300 shops its home to Numero Uno brands like H&M, Zara, Calvin Klein, Spencer etc. Lavish spread of eating points. From Middle Eastern to Italian and western cuisines. There is an electronic mart with brands like Samsung and Canon. Entertainment zone for families to watch cinema or play bowling.

Terminal 21, Pattaya

It’s shop ‘o’clock around the world. This place is planned like a sleek shopping airport. 6 world class shopping cities connecting each other on different levels. What sets this place apart from any other shopping mall is one of course the different countries thematic look on each floor and the longest escalator with spectacular plane on runway about 250 meters long next to a replica of a beach.

Must Visit

Food

Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant

While it’s my endeavor to promote local, sustainable and responsible tourism. I do speak about places, items and services that are popular or fall in must do list but I always prefer to keep a distance between mentions and recommendations.

So here’s a big thumbs up to one of the restaurants that I recommend. Cabbages & Condoms is a restaurant with a mission to educate people on issues like health, education, HIV, environment & water. A restaurant that started as a vegetable kiosk in Bangkok selling vegetables along with Lace panties, T-shirts, Condoms and Oral Contraceptives. As the Kiosk gained popularity and the name drew curiosity amongst people. In seventies a small outdoor restaurant was added and the cuisine serving specialties like Spicy Chicken Salad, Dried shrimp, Chicken curry with potato, deep fried coconut etc. became popular with masses.

The Restaurant is thematically laid out with décor items made using colored condoms. The furniture, lantern and furnishing give rustic ambience. There are witty and informational quotes all around about sex and condoms. From wishing well to condom tree and quite few of life satirical anecdotes. The place seems to entice you to spend your time in for sure.

The Beach side view of restaurant is captivating. Extensive menu reasonably priced just look out for taxes as with that it tends to get expensive. Menu spread consists of Local cuisine, Seafood, European, Asian, Thai, Vegetarian Friendly.

One of the Award-winning restaurants in Thailand. Operating in Thailand, England & Japan it attracts diners from all across the world. Definitely worth visiting.

To know more about their social work visit www.pda.or.th

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For customized tours for Thailand, write to us at info@thetraveltummy.com

 

 

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