The plane swayed a little, before making a smooth landing. I tried to get a glimpse and peered out craning my neck left and right, only managing to fog the window with my breath. Here I am, in Thailand, Bangkok….   Suvarnabhumi Airport pronounced “sùwannápʰūm” by Thai people. I walked a long distance looking for the 'Visa on Arrival' counter. I couldn't find for quite a long way, there was a board and I stopped to ponder upon the script of Thai trying hard to guess what was written. I gave up and went ahead soon, saw the Visa counter. Filled up the form and got it stamped ‘no problem’.

I reached the hotel and settled down. The best part of travelling is when you arrive and it’s still dark and later you open the windows and curtains to check the view;’s an amazing feeling each time. I did that and the view was stunning, tall buildings all around and the sun shining bright and clear. One of the Sun’s rays hit the glass of the opposite building and got reflected back brighter than before. I squinted my eyes and surveyed the roads and the traffic. I saw a number of cars lined up one behind the other maintaining a distance of at least two feet , no honking, no trying to close the gap and no urging to move ahead. Self disciplined.
After a sumptuous breakfast, I hit the road. I panned my eyes all around - girls, women and elderly ladies everywhere going about their business. I was surprised! where were the men and children? Soon I saw some men here and there. On the whole there were more females than males, which means that ‘it’s not unlucky’ to be born a Thai woman in this century.
Bangkok! yes,  That’s the name familiar to the tourist; the real name of Bangkok is some 15 words /43 syllables long. I am not even going to try and write it!
As always I wanted to get the feel of the place and the people, so I decided to head for the Chatuchak market. Its a weekend market. You can get anything and everything you are looking for and by that I mean tangible and intangible! The market has a typical Bangkok smell that you need to get used to. So I shopped a little and mostly tried not to get into anyone’s way. As the day progressed, it got crowded and brisk business followed. Surprisingly no flared tempers, no rude talking, no jostling… so either the Thais are basically non aggressive people or today was a good day.
I decided to go back by what looked like an efficient means of transport the túk-túk, a three wheeled vehicle. The driver weaved and zipped here and there and I reached my destination well before time! Interestingly there are many ways one can move around in the city. The Sky train is pretty cool, it moves on tracks slightly above the city. The subway, underground train is also there. There are metered taxis of different colors pink, purple, and blue! Oh! I almost forgot, there is also this Motorcycle Taxi for all those who are travelling alone.
After covering some major tourist spots like The Grand Palace, the abode of Emerald Buddha, National Museum and Royal Barges National Museum, I saw the largest reclining Buddha and several glittering Buddha images at Wat PHO. It is an excellent place for taking some great pictures. Later I went for the Siam Niramit show, a novel way to get to know about the history and culture of Bangkok. Don’t miss it!
A trip to Thailand is incomplete without a traditional Thai massage. The roads and lanes are filled with parlors claiming to give different types of massages ranging from foot massage, oil massage, and half body massage to full body massage. I enquired for a place to get a traditional massage and my guide took me there. I changed into a comfortable outfit and got ready for the massage. A petite lady got on to the task, firm hands pressed all the bones one by one kneading out the knots and relaxing the muscles. It was unique; in the end I knew where all my bones were, precisely.

I decided to go on one of the dinner cruises organized along the Mae Nam Chao Phraya, the Chao Phraya River. It’s a must do. As the boat cruised softly far beyond the shore we could see the heart of Thailand, glittering golden lights. We drifted smoothly and  peacefully. There was a singer on board who kept us entertained with songs in many different languages, singing in soft tones. Away from the din of the city this was very soothing. The buffet had some good choices but nothing to brag about, I would still say it was worth it. After dinner the singer sang some peppy numbers, which forced us to get up and dance.
The nights in Bangkok are brighter than that reflected light off the pane; I walked along the path taking in the sight. It was tantalizing, I did not feel or see anything distasteful. I believe it can be dangerous for single foreigners to walk alone. For me it was uneventful. Young, old, men and women moved about freely, giving meaningful looks, smiling and laughing. I was just witnessing the night life of Bangkok and let me tell you, the night life here is active, alright!

I also learnt some Thai English “You no give me for 50 baht, I no take”. “Hothail Milleneum, how I go?” It’s a pot simmering with tradition, culture, flamboyance, lights and sights. With a heavy heart I reached the airport all prepared to say “sa-wat-dee-khâ” to the hostess and “sa-wat-dee-khráp” to the attendant, hello and goodbye.



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