Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tranquil Thailand #1 - The Begining

In the days of old when travellers like Ibn Battuta, Hiuen Tsang, Christopher Columbus amongst others went on their journeys the expenses of their journeys were covered by either their rulers (of the country they lived in) or by seeking sponsors or paying from their own pockets as travelling (full-time) was, is and will remain an expensive affair.. So, when I got an invitation from the Thailand Authority of Tourism to visit Thailand and see from my own eyes how the things (the atmosphere in Thailand) are, it didn't take me much time to say 'Yes' !!

Pictures of some of the greatest travellers the world has ever seen ! One of the biggest similarities between them, apart from their penchant for travel, is that they all had to struggle to arrange for funds to go on their epic journeys !!

Being a popular travel destination, travellers from all parts of the world make a beeline to go to Thailand so therefre there are a lot of general perceptions vis a vis Thailand which float around and I wanted to know whether they really stood true. I have talked to many people (friends/relatives/acquaintances/travellers) and discussed with them about Thailand as a tourist destination. For the Europeans its the beautiful beaches and the calm locales of Phuket and Koh Samui, for the Indians it's the party destinations of Pattaya and the shopping experiences of Krung Thep (Bangkok) and elsewhere, everyone has their own reason to head to Thailand. But of recent the number of people heading to Thailand has come down as the general perception regarding Thailand, which is prevalent in the world is that as there has been a military coup (and as military coup's in other parts of the world are all about blood and gore and everything nasty), it is not safe to go there.

A 'Welcome' signboard at the gate of the grand palace

So, when Thailand Authority of Tourism called, I was more than keen to go myself and observe myself as to what is it in Thailand which inspires tourists to make it their preferred travel destination year after year, and whether the rumours (that all was not safe in Thailand, and tanks would be rolling on the streets as a military coup had happened) held true or not. I knew, from discussions with travelers from other parts of the world, that much of the 'unsafe Thailand talk was Not True' but nonetheless when i had an oppurtunity to see from my own eyes the ground realities i would surely accept it !

The people of Thailand are a calm and simple lot. More prone to smiling than anything else !

The TAT in association with the Thai Airways and our hosts the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside and the Amari Hua Hin organised a trip for us media personnel (i have been a travel blogger for 4 years but i am still coming to terms with the fact that us bloggers are considered as media around the world, unlike in India where majority of people are yet to wake up to the power of Bloggers) to see for ourselves the beauty of Thailand, the rich culture of Thailand, to see for ourselves that nothing had changed (and if change happened it was only for the better) and to see for ourselves the character and resilient nature of the Thai people as after the coup (which succeeded a long period of political turmoil) took place they put their entire house in order within 2 months. This trip had a purpose, a mission !

The flag of Thailand is a common feature across the country, one can see it fluttering atop buildings, market places, boats e.t.c.

(to be continued..)

I am naming my series of posts over Thailand - 'Tranquil Thailand' as that is how i found the people, the atmosphere and even the gulf (named after Thailand) to be.. Completely Tranquil !! To quote our friend Saravuth, ' In Thailand calmness is the norm, anger/rowdiness is frowned upon'



Lovely intro! Eagerly awaiting your next post in this series! :)

I was also there for the convention. :)

Sad that we could not meet.