Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Vacation From My Vacation

by Regin Reyno

Tuyok
Day 26-32
December 4-10, 2019
12th leg: Bangkok and Pattaya, Thailand 

After almost a month of rushing from airport to airport, being on planes for 9-16 hours, hopping from hotel to hotel, crossing different time zones, being constantly on guard for potential scammers or robbers, losing sleep, and dodging shady taxi drivers, I needed a break.

My around-world-journey, overall is fun, meaningful, and fulfilling. I was doing my ultimate travel dream; no doubt, I enjoyed it so much. But, it can’t be denied that it was also very tiring physically and mentally demanding.

I crossed multiple time zones, went to the other side of the world; my mind always on alert mode; just by constantly converting currencies, trying to decipher languages, making sure I’m sticking to the budget to last me until the finish line, sorting out logistics on my own; all of these kind of took a toll on me. 

I can’t believe myself at one point, when I told myself, “I wish it’s already the last day of this journey so I can just land in Manila and celebrate my accomplishment of circumnavigating the globe ala Magellan (or Elcano)”.

I’m a huge advocate of savoring the moment when traveling; to not focus on the destination but the journey, to stop and smell the roses, to just read a book at a park instead of hopping and rushing from one monument to the other, to slowly sip a cup of medium roast 100% arabica with no milk nor sugar. That’s why I can’t believe myself, when at one point, I just wanted to reach my destination. And that is, despite the amazing sights, experiences, culture, and historical monuments that surround me.

Later on, I realized, I was just suffering from travel burnout. Yes, it’s a thing. 

A booking mistake in the past made my stint in South America short; which means there were lots of rushing to get to airports, compromised sleep and exercise routine. 

On the evening of December 4th, I landed in Southeast Asia, at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand-after almost a month in the Americas, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Bangkok has been my 2nd home for 4 years. I’m used to the culture there. I was greeted my Thai smiles, cool December climate, and delicious spicy goodness. 

I told myself that in Bangkok, I’ll not go visit places or tourist spots; just relax in my hotel, exercise at the gym, massages, and savor Thai street food. I’ve been to most of the major tourist sites in Bangkok, and I was tired, so I made this leg; this city, as my charging station. 



Those were exactly what I did. My mid-range hotel was nice: it has a balcony. So, I caught up on my sleep and exercise, then savored those authentic Thai dishes that I missed: somtam, kuiatiao, kao man gai, kao niao mamuang, pad krapao, pad thai, tom yum, and tom ka gai; read a book, Thai massages, long showers, and lots of sleep. It was amazing. I needed it.

My cousins, arranged a trip for us to have a bonding moment at a coastal city near Bangkok in a province called Chonburi. It is just 149 kilometers from Bangkok and it takes 1 hour and 43 minutes to get there. With their cars; two cars in total, we had a convoy road trip to Chonburi. 

One of the main things that amazed me about Thailand, especially when I first arrived there in 2009 (oh, man! Time flies), is their highways. It is almost at par with some European countries; wide, spacious, well-paved, many lanes, no houses by the side, simply wonderful; traveling to provinces is fast, convenient, and enjoyable. 

In Pattaya, we went to church, relaxed at the hotel, then explored the city: we drove around, went sight seeing, dinner, and had an enjoyable Samyang Spicy Korean noodles challenge in one of our rooms. That was fun.

I told my cousin, “Let’s hit the beach. Let’s go to Jomtien beach or Pattaya beach.” He said, “No, we’re not going there. Those beaches are too crowded. We’ll go to a beach that is secluded, has better sand, and cleaner waters.”

The next day, from Pattaya, we drove to Sattahip, passing by a convenience store for take-away breakfast and a coffee shop at a gas station for a relaxing coffee time. 

We entered a Thai Navy headquarters. It was nice: clean, organized, and peaceful. It kind of reminded me of Philippine Military Academy in Baguio, Philippines.

This beach that we were going to, is literally at the Thai Navy headquarters in Sattahip, Chonburi. It is owned by the Navy. But, they are kind enough to let the people experience it. 

After parking our cars and paying some fee, we took a songthaew (their version of jeepney or multicab) then headed to the beach. We passed by beautiful mountainous scenery, forests, and sea view. The beach’s name is Sai Kaew.

Arriving at the beach, we were greeted by wild macaque monkeys. That told us that the wildlife in that area is very much preserved and alive. The beach, truly is pristine: white sand and clean waters. And, more importantly, it was not crowded. It has a few restaurants, too. It is a very Thai beach. You can see locals having picnics using mats, bringing many different kind of food with friends, singing, talking, and laughing. There were quite a few foreigners, too; mostly from Russia. 


And, what’s good about this beach is, there no scammers and pushy vendors that offer you things while you’re relaxing. 

The mountains that surround it is covered with verdant forest. It reminded me of Koh Samet in Rayong, Thailand. 

It was a relaxing day. After walking on the beach and just savoring the views, I rented a beach chair then just relaxed. Staring at the the Gulf of Thailand, sometimes sleeping: it was a much needed rest. The sun, not so harsh that day, was enjoyed. It was a respite from the cold. It was winter in the Americas, Northern Africa, and Middle East when I was there. Most of the time, I was wearing jeans and a jacket. So here, wearing flip flops and board shorts were savored and enjoyed.



Weeks of constantly flying, I was always surrounded by recycled air on planes’ cabin. On this beach, the sun, sand, and fresh air, forest, and natural views rejuvenated me.

After spending time on the beach, we went to a Filipino restaurant at Sriracha for a buffet Filipino lunch and videoke. And then, drove back to Bangkok stopping by some wonderful scenery along the way.

In Bangkok, I checked-in in at Pak-D Resort: a nice boutique hotel in Ramintra, near Keerapat International School; the international school where I’ve worked before. This hotel is the best in terms of value for money, in this around-the-world journey. It is so relaxing, nice amenities and location, but inexpensive.

With no fixed itineraries and to-do-list, it was spent relaxing once again; walking, visiting cafes, eating street food, window shopping, visiting Mark Wien's restaurant, watching movies, and of course, doing our customary Chocolate Ville dinner.

After this Bangkok-Pattaya, Thailand leg, I was rejuvenated. I was, once again, ready to be on the road; to explore, to conquer, to meet people, to learn, to absorb the sights and experiences. 

And because of this, I was able to enjoy the rest of my adventures and explorations in this journey. 

This experience made me realize that even when traveling, we need to slow down, to have a retreat, to have downtime, in order to be more functional and happy. 


In my around-the-world journey, I’ve learned that:

  1. Jet lag is a myth.
  2. Travel burnout is a thing. 


Shoutout to my cousins in Thailand for a wonderful time in Chonburi province.



Notes

Accommodations
Bangkok:

  • Suvarnabhumi Oriental Resort
  • Diamond and Rust Hostel
  • Pak-D Resort 


Pattaya: 

  • The Corner Lodge


Sai Kaew Beach Fee: 

  • 50 Baht/person for Thai nationals
  • 100 Baht/person for foreigners

Fee includes transportation to the beach

For tours in Bangkok and Chonburi, contact: Lakwatsero and Vonzhoppe 



This is part of Tuyok









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