I have recently returned from a wonderful holiday in Thailand with my husband Pete. We travelled with British Airways in world Traveller Plus on the outward sector, which was well worth it. The seats are wider with more leg room, and the cabin is quieter. The service is superior to that of economy and generally the meals are served at more convenient times. The flight is approximately 12 hours.
Our schedule was 3 nights in Bangkok, for a hectic City break, followed by 7 nights relaxing in Hua Hin, which is a 3 hour drive due South.
The temperature when we arrived in Bangkok hit us, as it was a steady 35C!! It was humid too. We were transferred to our hotel which was the 4 star ‘Sala Arun’ near the river, opposite Wat Po temple. This is a conveniently placed property for many of the Bangkok sights. It is not luxurious, but has all that one needs. You can have breakfast overlooking the river.
The Thai welcome here was warm and friendly and I soon grew to realise that this was the norm for Thai people. They are gentle and disarming. Nothing is too much trouble.
We realised that in order to keep going that day, we needed to shower and power on through to the evening! So an hour later we were off on a tuk tuk into the centre of town. That was an experience!!
You have to do this while in Bangkok! We went to the top of the ‘Lebua’ Hotel to the Sky Bar where there is a magnificent view of the City. This was followed by our first experience of street food. It was absolutely delicious and our whole meal was £5!!!
The following morning we took a Tour to the Grand Palace. Such a wonderful photo opportunity, and not to be missed.
Later in the day we took a boat along the river to Asiatic where there were numerous shops, bars and restaurants. It is a lovely ride particularly at night. The Thai people use the river in many ways to move around the city. Taxis are very cheap, but you must insist the taxi is on the meter. You must negotiate the price of the tuk tuk before climbing in.
Most evenings we sampled the Chang Beer or Singha Beer which was cheap and yummy!! Beer and spirits were very reasonable, but the wine is pricey.
On our second morning we embarked on a very long day to The Bridge on the River Kwai, via the floating markets. The ride on a speedboat to get to the floating markets was great fun. The actual floating market boat ride was far too busy. We unfortunately arrived at the wrong time, along with many other tourists. The market itself was interesting and cheap, albeit very touristy.
We journeyed to the JEATH museum (Japan, England, Australia, America, Thailand and Holland – all the countries involved in the construction of the railway) to be informed about the terrible atrocities that occurred. Terrible torture was inflicted by the Japanese. We lost 15-16 thousand men. There were also 95,000 contracted people who died.
We then visited the actual graves of those who lost their lives. Comfortingly they are well looked after.
Finally on to the bridge itself, where so many men lost their lives while trying to build the railway. All I could think was how did they cope in the tremendous heat and on empty stomachs!
This was a pilgrimage for me as my dear Uncle Frank was one of those who worked on the bridge. His life was spared, but he died at 63, as his stomach was never really the same again. A very tiring, but interesting and moving day.
On our last evening in Bangkok our daughter Stephanie had told us we must visit Khoh San Road where all the backpackers stay, as it was fun. It was. The atmosphere was amazing. The street food superb.
The following morning we walked across the road to visit Wat Po where we saw the gold reclining Buddha. Again a must see place to visit.
Then we were driven by road to Hua Hin. A very painless 3 hour drive. Here we checked in to the beautiful Centara Hotel Resort and Spa. A colonial hotel with beautiful pools and gardens. An oasis of calm in the bustling Hua Hin. The main advice if staying here is to book Le Club. This means that as well as a lovely breakfast, the Club area is open all day for soft drinks – juice, iced coffee/chocolate. There is then afternoon tea served with cakes, scones, cream and jam – very English – but with the wonderful Thai service. In the evening cocktails, wine, prossecco, beer, in fact anything you wish, could be served to you at no cost.
There is no need to book evening meals as there is a plethora of restaurants, bars, and street food outside the hotel. We had some superb food. The most expensive meal, which was on our Anniversary including drinks, came to £25!! Therefore not a great deal of money is required once there.
The beach is at the back of the hotel which we strolled along several times.
The night market is a must. Hua Hin is a typical sprawling Thai town to be honest, with little beauty, but with the massages thrown in at approximately £6 anywhere along the high street, and the relaxing aura of the hotel, it was a lovely contrast to the Bangkok madness. However, I wouldn’t have missed Bangkok for anything.
The Centara Hotel Resort and Spa has many returning guests, and I can highly recommend it. There is a separate Villa area where the guests have their own plunge pool, but I was very happy with my Deluxe Room which was just a couple of steps from the Garden Pool. Thailand is a great holiday destination and can suit many different people. I personally look forward to my next trip. Judy Gibb Senior Travel Consultant