The roar of the tiger

Travel Tales

The roar of the tiger

One of the most popular cities in the world, Bangkok has an old-world charm and a modern appeal that makes it a must-visit for any traveller. We checked in to our hotel at Sukhumvit Road, one of the best shopping areas in Bangkok.

The best part about moving around here was the BTS skytrain. The roads had decent traffic and to our amazement, there were special buses that ferried passengers free of cost too. Our first day was a quick dip in this swarming area which was bustling even late in the night. 

Next day, we visited the famous Floating Market, about two hours away from Bangkok at Damnoen Saduak. The waterway had a truly incredible ambience. Tourists meandered through the countless number of small but long boats with the locals selling regional fruits, short eats, clothes and handicrafts. The Floating Market is surely a wonder and we were asked to use our bargaining skills to the fullest. 

Our next stop was almost two hours away — Kanchanaburi in western Thailand. The area is famous for yet another wonder — the Tiger Temple. The visitors have to wear light-coloured clothes to ensure that the tigers are not disturbed. We walked for about a kilometre to reach the enclosure of the tigers.

It was a magical experience, like an episode out of a wildlife show. Never in our lives had we thought that we could be so close to these majestic creatures, caress them and take photographs with them. There were even some visitors hugging the tigers as if they were teddy bears! 

However, the tigers appeared very calm and undisturbed by the amazed human population around them. 

The temple also had a very charming tiger cub named ‘Solo’, who was very friendly with all the visitors. It is also home to several peacocks, horses, boars and deer.

On the way back, we stopped at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery and visited the renowned Bridge on River Kwai. Our guide explained that the Japanese made prisoners of war to build this rail bridge during World War II. Many prisoners had died during its construction thereby giving it the label — ‘Death Railway’. 

On the third day, we visited the temple of Wat Traimit in Chinatown which houses the Golden Buddha — the world’s largest solid gold statue. Our next stop was Wat Pho, the Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon or the temple of the renowned ‘Reclining Buddha’. The temple has 108 bronze bowls where visitors could drop coins to bring good fortune. Adjacent to the temple is the former royal residential palace — the Grand Palace. After a quick view of the palace, we then moved to a gem factory.

The fourth day was dedicated to shopping and eating. We took the metro to the local weekend market area called Chatuchak. With over 5,000 stalls, Chatuchak had everything — ceramics, handicrafts, furniture, antiques, wooden masks, flowers, plants, tools, books, pets, clothes, purses, books, stationary and a lot of food counters. By evening, we had shopped a lot and even had a very sumptuous meal in addition to the several nibbles the food stalls offered. 

A 15-minute ride on the metro brought us to the station closest to our hotel. When we walked back through the streets of Sukhumvit, the night vendors were out in full swing. We hopped to a nearby mall to experience one more thing that Thailand is famous for – the Thai massage. While every nook and corner of Bangkok offered the massage, we were informed by all to go only to the authentic spas.  

The next day was the day of our return and as we left the city, we could sum up our trip in two words — ‘Just amazing’!

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