My first International Trip!
By Janarthanan S
How it all started!
After serving in Banking industry for a long 36 years, my mom was retiring and we thought to celebrate this remarkable achievement doing something we had never done before. We decided to go on an international trip.
The initial planning
The Process was not all that simple. My mom had retired and my dad is a businessman so they had no constraints on choosing travel dates. However, I was working in an automobile firm away from my home and being a fresher in the company, getting long leaves was not affordable. I then decided to use my Maintenance-Off (which are some exclusive leave benefits of working in an automobile industry) to get a long leave of about 10 days in September. I personally thought it was the most difficult part, but there was a much bigger and important question – Where to go?
Deciding where to go
I wanted to visit Turkey, my dad wanted Dubai and my mom was thinking about China (It was before Covid-19 and visiting China was indeed a cool option). And then our daily phone calls turned into a debating sessions. We all came up with reasons as to why our choice was the best. We finally decided to do some research to finalize on the destination. We found that China experiences monsoon in September (Although it receives highest yearly rainfall in August which can go on till September). Dubai, we thought can be easily covered in about 5 days. Turkey was found to be best suited only for younger people and hence all our initial destination choices got rejected. With hopes high we continued researching for places that can be travelled year around and suited for all age group. We finally decided to travel to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in one trip.
The booking process
By now we had finalized the destinations, travel dates and duration of visit. Although we have travelled a lot within India by ourselves, since this was our first International trip we did not want to take risk. We decided to book the trip through a travel agency. Our travel agent took care of entire pre-tour process like booking the flights, getting visas, booking our hotels and sightseeing with vehicle services. They also gave us a lot of tips and information about the places we were visiting so we were well prepared.
Finally we travel!
We finally reached the most awaited moment, the start of our trip!
Wat Traimit, Bangkok Golden Buddha, Bangkok Chao Phraya Dinner Cruise
We took a flight from Chennai to Bangkok, Thailand with one stop at Colombo, Sri Lanka. From the airport we drove straight to Pattaya on an AC Coach and had lunch en-route. The Coaches in Thailand were different and very comfortable. On reaching the hotel we took rest and spent some time at the pool. Evening we visited the Cabaret show, which had a bit of adult touch but was pleasant for majority of time. We capped off the day with dinner at an Indian Restaurant. Next morning, we enjoyed adventure activities like parasailing and sea walk in Coral Island. Afternoon we visited Nong Nooch garden. It was a spot for people of all age. There was something for kids, couples, youths, and elders. Next day we travelled back to Bangkok. We visited important attractions in Bangkok city like the Buddhist temples – Wat Pho and Wat Traimit, strolled through Chinatown and did some shopping in Indira Market. We had some special Thai dishes for dinner like Pad Thai (Thai Noodles), Som Tam (Spicy Papaya Salad) and Bubble Tea. Next day was a full day trip to Safari Park which was the highlight of our time in Thailand. All those childhood dreams of seeing cute little animals doing crazy stunts came true. Evening we had a dinner cruise over Chao Phraya river and with that we came to the end of the Thailand chapter of the trip.
Petronas Twin Towers Chinese Temple Batu Caves
From Bangkok, we took the flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We first enjoyed the city tour around Putra Jaya, administrative capital of Malaysia visiting their Parliament and PM home. Then by evening we visited King’s Palace, their national monument to commemorate the martyrs – Tugu Negara and Chinese temple. The best part of the city tour was the Petronas Twin Towers. It looks amazing in the evening when it is all lit up. It sure is a sight that will be memorable for a life time. Next day we visited Genting Highlands and to reach there we had to take a cable car ride, which is the fastest in the world. Lunch at the Genting Highlands is a heaven for all food lovers. It had a vast spread of 300+ varieties from cuisines all over the world. It had Chinese, Indian, American, Turkish and dishes from the entire globe, I suppose. In the evening we visited the famous Batu Caves. It felt great visiting this place that was featured in the tamil movie Billa starring superstar Ajith Kumar. The day ended with us enjoying some shopping around KL after dinner.
Singapore Flyer Universal Studios Marina Bay Sands
Next day we were on a coach to Singapore. It took about 6 hours by road. We took a little rest before heading for the evening city tour. We visited city square, Clarke Quay, Helix Bridge, Marina By Sands Hotel and their iconic mascot – Merlion. Next day we had so many attractions to be visited. If Safari Park was a dream come true, Universal Studios was like a fantasy coming true. It had those fast pace roller coasters taking us up and down and around 360° to fairy tale like merry-go-round with famous movie characters like Minion, Transformers, Shrek all over the park. Undoubtedly, it was once in a lifetime experience. We also visited Illusion Museum and clicked some interesting pictures. On the last day of the tour we took the Singapore flyer and enjoyed the aerial view of Singapore. Later we went to Gardens by the Bay, worldly renowned masterpiece of decorated gardens. We visited Sentosa Island to watch sunset and also took many photographs with the celebrity statues at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. We then took the late night return flight to Chennai.
We had an exciting 10 days of our life during this trip. It took me closer to the culture and economy of different countries and I found how each country was so tourist friendly. Of all three countries, I liked Malaysia a bit more. Climate was so good during our visit. Locals were extremely courteous to visitors. This trip has only strengthened my view that travelling awakens one’s soul and also further has instilled a spirit in me to travel more often once all these travel restrictions end (Off course with due safety!).
About the Author
Janarthanan is currently pursuing his MBA. He hails from the beautiful temple city of Madurai from Tamil Nadu. He is a foodie who loves to explore different cuisine and enjoys travelling. He has travelled to many Indian cities and plans to explore more. He has an expertise with numbers and enjoys math and working on Microsoft Excel. Enjoys computer gaming and is a big fan of F1 racing. He wishes to watch a live F1 race someday and experience Bungee jumping in New Zealand.