Thailand Trip Day 3: Pattaya Gemstones, Nong Nooch Village, Lebua skybar, SiamParagon

Initially I set my alarm to wake me up at five early in the morning and somehow I didn’t hear it and wake up at six. Fortunately, the sky was still dark, which mean I haven’t miss the sunrise because we are staying only for one day in Pattaya. Instead of going back to half asleep as usual, I jumped from bed and took a shower. I have packed my bag last night because I know I will be in a hurry in the morning, which indeed was true.

Pattaya1Panorama of Pattaya cityscape from the beach across my hotel

The walk to the beach from Pattaya Seaview Hotel is only about 2 minutes, crossing a main road. The beach was still empty, several people jogged on the pedestrian road and few were cleaning the street. With my loafers I carefully step on the sands, trying to avoid sands getting into my shoes. I set up my tripod one with one leg shorter than the other because the slope of the beach. The sky was mildly colorful, with red colour clouds on the sky and the sound of waves brushing the shore.

DSCF5501Street vendors across the beach in Pattaya

Twenty minutes had gone by and the sky was getting brighter and less colorful, a sign that I have to get back to hotel for breakfast. I sat on the table near the buffett and clean up my photography gears, blowing the sands of my lenses using air and cleaning the smudges using special pen and brush. Today I have my second breakfast in Thailand, all the foods are vegetarian (fried rice) unless you order an egg. It seems that the breakfast is lacking variety and taste in Thailand.

The first place we visited today was gemstones stores, a big one operated in Pattaya, although they have stores in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai. From my experience of 4 years traveling around 5 continents, I could smell an overprice, not so valuable goods inside. What is unique is that they put us on a train like the one in theme park and show us the process of how gemstones were made by nature and extracted from ground through process by smith. They also sell leather goods and assorted souvenirs. I learned that they give commission to whoever take us there, so just going there would already be a bonus for local guide.

Afterward we went to Nong Nooch Village, a big complex of garden and few attractions inside. What we were doing here is to watch Thailand dancing performance, Thai boxing and elephants soccer. The show we were watching started at 10.45 and we had thirty minutes to walk around the garden nearby, which is well taken care of and quite big. The performance stage was a big, traditional, indoor built using woods. It is suggested that you enter 15 minutes earlier unless you prefer standing in the back row.

Nong Nooch Village

DSCF5567Nong Nooch Village Garden

The show was ok but halfway through the show we decided to get outside and wait for the other on a bench outside the stage. Each show took more or less thirty to forty minutes, ended at 12.45. We also have our lunch inside Nong Nooch Village, a buffet on second floor of their food area.

Shows in Nong Nooch Village

As soon as we finished our meal, we hop on the bus and rode to Bangkok. We stopped at two other places on the way, the first was Bee Farm (more like honey shops) where a sales representatives present their products and benefits in order to sell their honey. Lots of what he is saying does make sense, however of course there are misleading information such as honey used to combat worms inside our body, which in my knowledge unapproved by medical literature (I have my Bachelor in medicine). There are other disturbing information as well, such as it is allowed to drink as much honey as we want in a day, even a bottle of it. Whatever, he is just trying to sell their products anyway. The second stop was in a snacks and souvenirs shop near the road, where my sister and mother bought seaweed and other snacks.

KVN03541Bee Farm entrance

We arrived in Bangkok around 17.30 and check in our hotel, Twin Tower Hotel. We hit Lebua state building to Skybar, the highest open space bar in Bangkok at 64th floor. A taxi ride from twin tower hotel to Lebua is only 20 minutes and cost less than 100 Baht. If you are going to skybar, the dress code is smart casual, no shorts and sleeveless clothes allowed. We order juices, each cost around 400 baht ($10-15) at the top. The place we are allowed to wander around is not very big, however the view is great for photographers, but no tripod is allowed. I tried to use the railling as impromptu tripod for my fujifilm XT1, which enable me to take few worthy shots. There are lots of staff helping people to have decent photograph with the city as the background. It is recommended for photographer to take fast wide angle lens such as 16mm f/1.4 or wide angle lens with image stabilizer.

Bangkok HDRBangkok Cityscape from Skybar in Lebua Hotel Bangkok

Bangkok HDR4Bangkok Cityscape from Skybar in Lebua Hotel Bangkok

We spent about 1 hour on the rooftop and since we haven’t eat yet, we decided to go to Siam Paragon, an elite mall in Bangkok.

DSCF5710Inside Siam Paragon Shopping Mall Bangkok

We exchange money from US$ to Baht there and got a good rate. We tour around the mall, which has LV, Hermes, channel, Prada, etc. At nine we head down to the lower ground floor and eat ramen at Nasuttei, which to my surpirse employ transgender as their employee. It seems that LGBT is part of everyday life in Bangkok. When the time comes for us to go back to hotel we found that the taxi queue is extremely long that my mother suggested we ride a tug-tug instead. It turned to be a mistake, first of all we are supposed to bargain on the trip price before entering the vehicle, when we were inside and start going, the driver ask for 200 Baht ($6) when we know that it supposed to be around 100 Baht  ($4) with taxi. And unless you enjoy going at 60 Km/h in the street and braking unexpectedly with nothing but a bar to hang on on your left side, you might want to pass riding tug-tug. We did got safely back in our hotel and rest for the night though.

DSCF5714The horrifying tug-tug ride in Bangkok


About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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