We were honoured to be invited to the Amazing Thailand Romance Trade Meet organised by Tourism Authority of Thailand held at Bangkok & Koh Samui. It was a fantastic opportunity for buyers from 25 countries to discuss opportunities with over 140 hotels and resorts about Weddings and Honeymoons in Thailand.
Upon arriving in Steamy Bangkok after the 9.5hr flight with Thai Airways, which I have to say was a breath of fresh air with inflight entertainment, food and drinks at ready with exceptional service, I was impressed.
We were welcomed with a name board and the largest smile from our TAT escort. Travelling to our hotel, it seems 8:30pm the traffic settles down and the city gets in ready for the nightlife with swarming tourists, ready to taste, smell and enjoy everything Thai.
We arrived at the incredible Siam Kempinski Hotel, in the heart of Bangkok and only 2 minutes via the hotel's complimentary shuttle to famous MBK shopping centre, where everything is a bargain, a must for all Australians (I had to purchase a large bag to fit in my extra 9kg purchases yet only spent $150 AUD) Bargain!
The next day was planned as a huge day, so at 6:30am I made my way to the high tech, well equipped gym located in the other wing that had a view you could fall off your treadmill from staring at. Maybe I did!
Heading to the pool area situated in the middle of the hotel, the pools are sectioned to your needs. A warm comforting pool, the Quiet pool (no kids) play pool (for kids) and pool access rooms. Mine was the quiet pool, bit colder but a good wake up swim.
All in between were daybeds for couples, lounge areas to relax and a large architecturally designed bar/food/anything really you want.
I finally got to meet my awesome compadres from Australia & New Zealand and our wonderful, most gracious host from TAT Khun Nang who made sure our time in Thailand was full with incredible adventures and discoveries - true thai style!
A quick tour of the hotel rooms and how they were meticulously created and designed and of course the exclusive club area, where we can only dream of sitting in.
The Essential sign in and we were ready to enter the media area for famed photos in front of exquisitely designed flower peacocks with the scents of thailand filling the air with mass beauty.
A welcome introduction from TAT Deputy Governor Mr Tanes Petsuwan and the trade meet began, with 7 minutes for each seller to present their Hotel/Resort to us Travel Agents/Wedding Planners. There was a line up at the seats in the Australian section, as Thailand welcomes Australians with open arms as we are a large target market as we Australians love a good beach wedding and cheap holidays in 5 * luxury.
The event wrapped up with a heavy cocktail (that means lots and lots of food) and an exhausting day looking at absolute lavish resorts and honeymoon heaven.
The next day Khun Nang had organised a creative tour with the knowledgeable tour operator "Hivesters" for a true authentic Thai experience.
An hour out of Bangkok is Klong lod na Yom Floating market and community who has an amazing elder named Papa (Uncle Chuan) who has educated his community about clean environment and sustainability. What he has done is truly remarkable. He has ensured his community works, grows, gives and is happy, what a true leader.
We were put through a cooking culinary lesson by the Aunties of the Community and we created our own authentic Pad Thai. I had never tasted something that had every element required for nutrients that your tastebud danced on every bite - until I tasted their desserts!!
Was time to enter the traditional Thai paddle boat to cruise the quiet canals, passing local homes and and witnessing the serenity. We were told stories, traditions and the way of life for the Thai people. It was peaceful and green, smooth and calming, it was on a new level of completeness. We slowly came into the lively klong lad Mayom Market, traditionally for the locals however very welcoming to visitors. There was food, food and more food. I then realised that their passion for eating is about togetherness. Sharing food, communicating and a sense of belonging will always be first, along with food. It is the one common ingredient to bring people together. For us girls, it bonded us also - we got it!
Time for us to head back into Bangkok central for a well earned massage, shopping and bartering, true bangkok style. A Thai massage is one to remember as one's body is twisted in ways that you never thought it should go, yet you come out feeling relieved you never died. It's a good thing - I think?
After experiencing a unique food court, where you put your food on a card, gets delivered and all while sitting listening to an angel voice in high C singing a Cold Play song. Until you look and realise it is a male.
This is Bangkok. Just Fun!
We head back to the hotel where we end the day utterly exhausted but so engrained with the day, that we know it was a lifetime memory we all enjoyed together.
We will get ready to leave Amazing Bangkok at 5:30am to the tranquil Koh Samui - but that is another story!
Until then Kob Kun Kaa
I want to acknowledge my colleagues and friends:
Annette Fyfe - Thai the knot
Anita Gatley - Wedding Planner - NZ
Hayley Gough - Global Weddings
Nang -Tourism Authority of Thailand