When in Thailand (last of two parts)

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

HERE'S the second part of my story about the places in Thailand where I spent my growing up years.
I have come up with other experiences you should enjoy if ever you visit there:

1. Visit the night bazaars or shopping markets

The night bazaars and the shopping markets are the best place to go buy cheap and good souvenirs. Keychains, pen holders, accessories, bags, T-shirts, and etc. you can basically find it here.


Visit Chatuchak Weekend Market, the world's largest weekend market, when you happen to stay over the weekend. You can find almost anything in this market from pets, house decors, souvernir magnets, to T-shirts.

For a different shopping experience, visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi wherein you can buy goods from one boat to another, or from a floating house. If you are a night owl, visit Thanon Khaosan in Bangkok or Thanon Khon Deun in Khon Kaen city. But wherever you are in Thailand, there will definitely be a night market or bazzaar, I have been to so many of them that I can only remember two! Which is odd.

2. The malls are awesome!

There are a lot of unique malls in Thailand and my favorites are in Bangkok. My earliest memory is The Mall Shopping Center Bangkapi, what makes this mall so unique is at the top floor, there is a waterpark. It has a river pool, wave pool, a pirate's cove and waterslides! Plus, there is also a large arcade before the waterpark. Another unique mall is Terminal 21 where each floor features a certain region or city, for instance, the ground floor has Rome-inspired adornments while the first floor is Tokyo, and second floor is London.

Another cool thing about the mall is that toilets are high tech, as it has buttons that will release water to clean you and to flush, to name a few. Finally, if you are looking for high-end shopping, go to Siam Paragon. The mall has an aquarium, Siam Ocean World, which features marine animals.

Luxury brands like Burberry, Emporio Armani, Bvlgari, and Marc Jacobs also have shops in the mall. Car lovers would also enjoy the showrooms of some luxury car brands like Lamborghini, Bentley, and BMW.

3. Visit Thailand on April 13 to 15

Visit this time of the year because it is the Songkran Festival or Thai New Year. During this time of the year, Thais roam around the streets to throw a water and smear each others' faces with powder. The festival is really fun.

I remember coming home from the University of Khon Kaen and at one of the intersections of the university, a group of students, who lined up with water guns and pails filled with water, began throwing water at the passengers. You think that people will get mad but the passengers simply laughed it out. But do not fret, you can always inform the revelers that you wish to not get wet. I think the best Songkran experience is being on a pick-up truck and throwing water at those who are on another pick-up truck or those on the streets.

4. Northeast Thailand

For me, Northeast Thailand is the jewel of Thailand. Central, South, and North Thailand has a lot to offer and are well visited by tourists but the Northeast is a treasure trove. In the Northeast or Isarn is where you can find one of the best Thai dishes: kai yang (marinated, grilled chicken) and mu ping (marinated, grilled pork) paired with khao niao (sticky rice) and som tam (papaya salad). There are also dinosaur museums in the region, which will bring back childhood memories of your love for dinosaurs. Finally, it is the gateway to Laos through the Thai - Lao Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai. Visit Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai if you ever come here.

There are other places to visit like the waterpark and amusement park of Siam Park City, Dream World, Dusit Zoo, Pattaya, Chaing-rai, Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, and elephant riding, among others. When you visit for Thailand, go for the experience you want to get from the place instead of simply going to tourist destinations because they are famous. Thailand is not simply about shopping or beautiful tourist destinations, it is also about the experience.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 13, 2014.


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