Taste and Train

Dubai & Thailand

Posted: March 5, 2014
Grand Palace Close-up

A friend told me that vacationing in Dubai and then in Thailand would be too much of a good thing. Both have beautiful beaches, amazing hotels and resorts and a night life to experience. Sure, one can tick off all of the above against these two locales. There are some differences too however.

Dubai is….surreal. Dubai was home during my high school years. There used to be a law that restricted the height of buildings in Dubai. No more…. given it is now the home of the world’s tallest building in Burj Khalifa. It is a city built by expats for expats looking to make tax-free income. Dubai today takes the cake for one driven purely by the pursuit of all that is material. Nevertheless, it is a thoroughly enjoyable place to visit, especially for the uninitiated. Just remember to stick to November through to March. Knowing full well what we were getting into, we made our most recent trip in August and stepped out into 40 degrees Celsius and 100 percent humidity. We were there to celebrate the end of Ramadan with family. So as long as we stayed inside, we were as comfortable as we could be anywhere. For me the most amazing discovery was the conversion of the public beach of Mena Seyahi, into a bunch of hotels and beach resorts. A whole new Dubai had arisen, complete with the biggest malls, the tallest buildings, an artificial creek and the most expensive brands. We stayed in the new Dubai (the Marina) but took a taxi into the old city to pay a visit to the Gold Souk. Yes, even the old Dubai had its guilty pleasures…
Places to see: Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Marina Walk, Emirates Mall (complete with an indoor ski slope), Ibn Battuta Mall and of course the Gold Souk.

Ibn Batutta Mall

Ibn Batutta Mall

 

A view of Burj ul Arab at night

A view of Burj ul Arab at night

Bangkok…Koh Samui…Hua Hin and more. Thailand is an amazing country filled with all the realities of today’s times. Yes, it has the amazing beaches and resorts (time appropriate to visit in August relative to Dubai), along with the malls and skyscrapers in downtown Bangkok. It also has traffic jams and a whole lot of ordinary people who can’t necessarily afford Gucci and Pink all day, every day.

From Soi Sukhumvit, to Soi Nana, and from the Mandarin Oriental’s flower filled lobby to the sorry sight of someone crawling through mud and water in an alleyway, Thailand comes in all hues and sizes. For us, the Thai cooking classes, the frequent visits to the massage spas, the golden Pagodas, the descent into Koh Samui and the lazy morning in the Sheraton Hua Hin’s lagoon were the highlights.

Places to visit and things to do: The Grand Palace, Jim Thompson’s house, Chokchai Farm, Chatuchak Market, Soi Nana, Siam Paragon Aquarium, The Intercontinent Koh Smaui (breathtaking views, pools and amazing food and service), Elephant Safari in Koh Samui, The Sheraton Hua Hin, Hua Hin’s Artist Village and the Hua Hin Night Market. And don’t forget the $25 one hour full body massages and $10 hour long foot massages…in high end classy establishments…just cannot be beaten!

Grand Palace - Bangkok

Grand Palace – Bangkok

Silk weaving - Jim Thompson House

Silk weaving – Jim Thompson House

Silk Threads - Jim Thompson House

Silk Threads – Jim Thompson House

Intercontinental Resort - Koh Samui

Intercontinental Resort – Koh Samui

Intercontinental Resort - Koh Samui

Intercontinental Resort – Koh Samui

 

 

Elephant Ride - Koh Samui

Elephant Ride – Koh Samui


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