Thai Travels Day 3 - Nong Nooch Village & Gems Gallery

Our last day in Pattaya. Nong Nooch Village is not a village in true Indian sense. *wink* The whole place actually belongs to one lady. It's private property and is named after her. The place is beautifully designed and well thought of. The entrance itself radiates positivity. Nong Nooch Village is something like a jungle safari; only difference being that here there are life-size-non-living animals. There is a dinosaur valley, animal walk and a temple for the four faced God. There is even a Butterfly Hill along with a pottery garden where all the structures are made with earthenware pots (which had sponge filled in them; I checked).

The remaining part of Thai culture can be seen in this place as they have an auditorium which shows you a performance. Almost same like the Alcazar show only difference I think is that there are no lady boys. But I can never be 100% sure.( I've never had a problem telling apart a girl from a boy).
Next was the Elephant show which was the best. Here there were around 10-12 elephants who performed. They were made to throw darts, play football, prod and jump over people. The younger ones were really cute. One could buy bananas worth 40 Baht ( 80 Rupees) to feed the elephants. But these guys were also smart. They knew when they wanted food and when they wanted money. They wouldn't accept the fruits if another person had money in their hand (Elephants understand business too!)

Outside the shows there was a real tiger and macaus with whom you could pay to click photos with. Here in Pattaya, after every show, anything between 200 Baht to 600 Baht ( approx Rs.400 - Rs.1200) would be charged in order to click photos with the animals.

Once we were done with Nong Nooch Village we proceeded for Gems Gallery, the world's biggest jewellery store. When I went there all I expected was to be shown some real diamonds and sapphires and that's it. So what we ended up seeing was actually a surprise. The very first thing that they do when you go to any tourist attraction place it that they attach stickers to your shirt with a number common to all your group members. So in case you get lost they know where to direct you to. 

Gems Gallery starts off with a tram ride which lasts 15 minutes. During this ride they take you through a dark tunnel which eventually gets lit to reveal life size figures showing the process of how the gem stones were discovered, extracted and by whom they were used.

After this the showroom was open to viewers which contained precious stones. People could buy their birthstones set in different pieces of jewellery. The cheapest was a really really small topaz ring in a silver setting worth 1500 Baht (Rs.3000). There were big sets as well as small beautiful ones (these costed Rs.37 lakhs ; I didn't bother to look further after that).

Gems Gallery is kind of relaxing after a long day at Nong Nooch Village. Just when I thought that was end to our day, our guide told us that we were heading towards the Scientific Thai Massage Pavilion. This place at a time can accommodate 20 people in one room. Beds are placed in rows and men and women have separate room. Those who are wearing tough material clothing can change into the night suit provided. The massage goes on for one full hour. Most of the girls there don't understand English, so it was pretty obvious that it was our turn to know some thai. Two very important words to communicate the amount of pressure applied were : Bow Bow -Soft & Nak Nak -Hard. This experience was wonderful! Afterall, who doesn't like being pampered after walking so long ? 

 Later we headed to Mumbai Magic which is a disco place. And just like that, it was the end to Day 3!

Thai Travels Day 2 - Coral Island & Pattaya Park Tower

Day 2 started really early because we had to leave for Coral Island. The only way to reach this place was by speed boat. The weather was beautiful when we started out. Unlike the Indian waters that I have seen so far, this one was a lovely shade of blue. Thailand is a country with 77 provinces (something like Indian states, like our tour guide said) Pattaya being one of them. Along with foreign tourists there are a lot of local people who flock to this place for their holidays, so it's always crowded.

When you reach the edge of the land, there are piers which lead you to the speedboats. Here you meet with another local guide who will take care of you till you come back. Here safety is given priority as water sports can be quite dangerous (afterall the very last thing they want is for you to be marooned on an island) Everyone advises you to put on caps or towels and lather on sunscreen lotion (you anyways tan btw). At this place, the majority of tourists are Indians so all the locals know a little bit of Hindi which is a blessing. Words like chalo chalo, chappal nikalo, paisa do, bhaago bhaago are quite commonly used ( this actually makes you fall more in love with them. Another plus  point *smile* *smile* )

At the pier there is a speed boat which takes you to your first activity point - PARASAILING. The speed boat ride is too good except for the docking and undocking which makes you feel terribly sick. Looking anywhere doesn't really help much. I'd say Try to be the last person to enter the boat and the first person to leave it. 
There are 3 different platforms for parasailing & each platform can have upto 4 people up in the air. The system is very organised. So everyone moves quickly. When my turn was coming they stopped it for sometime because they couldn't land the person in front of me because the wind became too strong. When I was finally up in the air, the view was breathtaking. It felt so relaxing. My father actually got 3-4 rounds as they couldn't land him as well (how much I wished I was in his place *sigh* ) The people handling the parachutes were quite cool. They were like " You run, or accident. You no run, then I push you in water. Bhaago bhaago" *lol*. 

From there the same speed boat took us to another boat which I hated. That made me feel sick. All those people who wanted to go for the Underwater Sea Walk were taken from there to feed the corals.
The next stop which was my favourite was the Coral Island. The beach was awesome. There were many water sports like Jet Ski, Banana Boat. Here there were tents for us to sit. We got to see a lot of local cuisine but somehow couldn't muster up the courage to eat any of it. There was a small glass bottomed boat through which you could see the underwater corals. These formations were fantastic. By 2pm we left for Pattaya again as that is the safety deadline. 

In the evening we went to Pattaya Park Tower, Pattaya's tallest building with 56 floors. There is one way of going up (the lift) and 3 ways of coming down.

1. Cable ride - for the bravehearts (only one person)
2. Open Basket - two people ( open basket)
3. Speed shuttle - 6 seater ( closed shuttle )

In the evening we had free time for shopping. This was good as we had the central festival mall just in front of us.

If you haven't already read Thai Travels Day 1 :
Thai Travels Day 1

Thai Travels Day 1 - Pattaya - Alcazar Show

My First International Holiday. Travelling in foreign countries where there is a big language problem is kind of risky especially if it's your first time abroad. To avoid any sort of trouble, we booked our travel tickets via Kesari (which is quite expensive by the way, but gives the best service ; so we don't regret that decision).  Our package was a 3 nights in Pattaya and 2 nights in Bangkok one and we were to travel along with 30 other people in the group.

Suvarna Bhoomi International Airport

Before we left, Kesari gave us a travel itinerary (which made packing tremendously easy *wink* *wink* ). Along with that we received a helluva lot of stuff. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:20 am from the international airport. Thailand has two airports; one being Don Mueang and the other one being Suvarnabhoomi Airport ( the one which we came and went by). When we arrived it was the onset of the monsoon season so the weather was cooler as compared to Bombay which was a huge plus point. On arrival, we cleared immigration and met our local tour guide Aeya who was a sweet bubbly person. She gave us a lot of extra information during the trip which helped increase our knowledge on Thailand.

The moment we landed at Suvarnabhoomi International Airport, Bangkok, we left for for Pattaya which is a two hour long bus journey. It was FANTASTIC. The scenery was awesome. The roads were beautiful. For the major part of the journey, we had a good view of small waterbodies. The roads didn't have much traffic so we made it to Pattaya in record time where we checked into our hotel Golden Beach.

This hotel was five minutes walking distance from their beach. Now there are a few things which struck as very different from India.

1. Not one vehicle honked even once, even though there were no signs put up anywhere. ( Which is personally my favourite which I think should be implemented in India as well).

2. Every vehicle whether small or big would immediately slow down to allow pedestrians to cross (brakes in India as a rule are applied only at the last moment when the driver realises that it's the only way to avoid an accident *sarcastically speaking*).

3. There are huge posters of their late King Rama IX who died around a year ago and black and white cloths adorning the railings of all boundary walls.

4. Every road was one way. So to get to any place even if it was just round the corner took a minimum of 10 minutes by bus to get there.

5. There were lots and lots and lots of massage parlours. (Not the sleazy ones mind you. These had a see through glass and were very reasonable).

6. There weren't any kirana /  grocery stores.There were only two every 100 metres - 7eleven and FamilyMart.

7. Their roads very EXTREMELY CLEAN. ( No wonder I didn't see any dogs).

It was already 6 by the time we checked into our hotel. By 7:30 pm we left for the famous ALCAZAR SHOW. This show was excellent. The costumes, songs, steps, dancers, backdrops changing for every song, everything took my breath away. All the lady dancers had perfect figures ( I later came to know that none of the people performing were women. All of them were transgenders. In pattaya they were known as lady-boys. Woaaaahhhhh. They were stunners #stunnners)

One good thing about Pattaya is that it's very relaxed. No one's in a hurry. The town is actually kind of sleepy and wakes up only at around 11 am. The actual business starts at 6 in the evening and doesn't end until 2 am. Pattaya is hence known as the CITY OF NIGHT LIFE.

Open Bars in Pattaya

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