Each time I have a dream these days, I wake up somewhere in Thailand on a hot sultry sea beach with the waves lapping around my feet hung astride my beach chair. I can feel the soft breeze blowing my now sticky hair all over my tanned face. In the distance, I can hear faint voices and the cacophony of my two boys making their way towards me. Except they’re really not too bothered about mum soaking in the sunshine and the sea air simply because they have too many things to do…make the hundredth sand castle or wiggle their little toes in the muddy waters or make garlands of seashells — all, as I weave in and out of my dreams of such beer-soaked afternoons.
The beach looks beautiful and serene and when I hit the water, I always feel my legs relax at first then my whole body and then my face, whenever I come here. I think I have been going to Thailand, quite a lot, in the last few years, but of late, I seem to have developed a long-lasting crush on it, especially because the last three holidays there were so memorable.
The climate is lovely: it’s hot when it needs to be, rains when your throat is parched and you’re looking at the sky hoping the rain Gods will be appeased; windy and serene in the evenings as you sip your fresh coconut cocktail and partake of delicious Thai snacks as you lounge around, ruminating about the endless possibilities of your life. What more could a man or for that matter, a woman want when they are on vacation?
Not only is it among the good value for money holidays that everybody keeps trawling the internet for, one gets treated like a king or queen, whatever may be your preference, at most resorts or hotels you decide to hole up in. Being an Indian and being waited upon, on a holiday is a big deal breaker and no apologies on that one! Probably that’s why I’m not a great fan of European or American tours. Never been too fond of DIY vacations, I must confess.
In Thailand, people are happy to see you, for the business, you bring in and therefore happy to serve you. Politeness and courtesy notwithstanding, this is really the Land of Smiles. The moment I land at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, I can feel the infectious happy vacation air that takes hold of me and refuses to let go till I board the plane back to Delhi.
Usually, after the routine Bangkok city tour, which I always skip nowadays, it’s heading to the beach towns, either by driving there or taking a short flight. And then, you’re all set for the lazy, luxurious beach holiday. So, what do you have here? Good looking rooms with great views, preferably by the beach, as I like it; mounds of amazing cheap, delicious food and drinks to plough through the days. Of course, there’s a lot of sight-seeing and adventure activities too, for those who like it; but my vacation idea is to laze it off!
The hubby and the kids love coming here too for their own reasons. Been there, done that– but the heart isn’t satisfied. The top few things that make Thailand the best travel destination ever would be the reasonable airfares and hotels, the great mouth-watering variety of food, courteous hospitable people, golden sunsets, the laidback relaxed lifestyle of the Thais, the beautiful photo-ops at the blazing sunsets on the beach, the marvellous temples dotting the country and the desire to find, what I believe are the only things one should do on holiday-eat, drink, sleep and shop..yes, in that order.
These are the things that entice me time and again to visit this country. Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket…just a few of my favourite places and of course there’s so much more to discover. This long love affair isn’t going to end anytime soon. It was here that I discovered the pleasure of an aromatherapy massage that’s not just about the oils, but about the relaxation of all the senses. For an on-the-edge, always on the go person like me, this was a welcome relief. I actually need to be told to relax because I love to work, all the time!
Perhaps this wave of nostalgia is because this year, I shall not be vacationing in my favourite place. But, yes, I can dream on, till I feel two tiny hands smearing sand on my face. And that’s when I actually really wake up!