Thursday, April 25, 2024

Chonburi to Pattaya (Thailand): Ms. Nava's First Solo Travel and Beyond

Back from my very first trip abroad (Milan), can you believe it? Within just two months (Rome), I found myself on my first solo adventure. It wouldn't have happened without my girlfriend, who was at Amata Golf & Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand, organizing a golf tournament. She was amazing. Without her, I wouldn't have even considered traveling alone, especially for the first time. I owe her so much. But it's heartbreaking to think she's no longer here. She passed away a few years ago from breast cancer, in her early 50s. I miss her till this day. I was there for her through everything, from her chemotherapy to her funeral. It still brings tears to my eyes.

But let's put that aside for a moment. I booked my flight to Bangkok, and my hub saw me off at the check-in. I was shaking with nerves as I went through the procedures. Basically following others, and made it in one piece on board.

Arriving in Bangkok on a Friday, I was nervous again as I waited in line for immigration clearance. I struck up conversations with some ladies in the same queue, and it hit me that for Western women, traveling solo is normal. But for me, it was a big deal, especially knowing many Indian women who still wouldn't dare to travel alone. 

After nearly two hours, and given a disgusting stare by the lady for clearing immigration, only she knows why, what a relief to find my bright pink luggage was put aside, instead of going missing. Note to self: bright and unique luggage has its advantages. Thankfully, the taxi my friend arranged was still waiting outside the airport. As we drove to Chonburi, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. The rest of the day was spent catching up with my friend at one of the luxurious bungalows in Amata Golf & Country Club. The view of the lake and the surrounding nature was breathtaking. It was so peaceful.

The next day, my friend had to work, so I found myself alone in the bungalow, feeling bored out of my mind. Making it worst, there was no Wi-Fi connection. On Sunday, I tagged along with her and her colleagues to Siam Country Plantation Golf Course. While they were busy with work, I stood by myself, staring at the golf course for at least an hour, not wanting to be in between their discussion, and questioning if coming along was the right decision. But lunch at the coffee house made up for it. Trying Thai food in Thailand for the first time was a delight. The Tom Yum soup particularly, was unlike anything I've tasted before.

From there, we went to Pattaya, and it was chaos. Traffic jams, struggling to find parking, and following my friend into Central Mall since she was focused on picking up food and groceries at the supermarket. Feeling that I must at least see the Pattaya beach, I excused myself, got out of the mall, crossed the road and there the beach in front of me, packed with people. It felt like a daytime party, people boozing around and included some romance scenes as well. I sat at the shaded area. I was indirectly shooed off because I didn’t order a drink.

On the way back to Chonburi, we stopped for Thai street food. Mango Sticky Rice and you also get other toppings as well, the spicy sweet one and the dried shrimp spicy topping. We also packed Thai rice, opting for the dishes we wanted. Back to the Golf Course, we dived into the food and what a yummilicious. Street food also didn’t cause any tummy upset, as some people who will tell you. I suppose my tummy is well trained due to our Malaysian street food as well. 

Feeling bored again, I decided to join one of my friend's colleagues on a ride to Bangkok for my solo adventure next day. Don't miss out on hearing about my Bangkok solo adventure. Stay tuned. 

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