10 days. 2 crews. 1 mission…
To film the best of amazing Thailand! The Tourism Authority of Thailand commissioned Travel Guru TV to shoot and produce a series of brand new videos to help promote Thailand.
Here is the diary of events from the crew who traveled to Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Koh Samui & Koh Tao including some sneaky pictures from behind the scenes. Enjoy!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
We’ve arrived in the land of smiles and it’s good to be back! After 10 hours of yummy snacks, good movies and sleep (thanks Thai Airways UK & Ireland for taking such good care of us on board!) we checked into the Hilton hotel Bangkok. Situated on the other side of the river in old Bangkok, Thonburi, we have amazing views back across the city overlooking the hustle and bustle of the modern city.
Tonight we had dinner at the Seafood Market in Sukhumvit 24 area. Delicious! It was our first night of filming and the rows of fresh seafood and hectic kitchens, where the chefs stood waiting eagerly with sizzling pans ready to cook your selection right before your very eyes, made great footage (and full tummies!)
Off to the Grand Palace tomorrow morning, the perfect start to any Bangkok itinerary. Night…
What a fascinating day we have had. From glittering temples and the magnificent Grand Palace to aromatic street food markets, canal tours through old Bangkok (such an insight into local life) to shooting sunsets from heli pads on top of the Hilton hotel and Pad Thai noodles at a restaurant called Cabbages & Condoms (a must try Thai restaurant with a quirky name on Sukhumvit Soi 13). We really feel like we’ve seen and experienced it all today!
We’ve traveled by van, Skytain, tuk-tuk and long tail boat today!
We’ve met so many friendly people, eaten a mouthwatering selection of food (why is it in Thailand all we feel we do is eat?!) and shot hours of amazing footage already.
Tomorrow we are heading off early to the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and are onward bound to the royal seaside town of Hua Hin. Can’t wait to feel the sand between our toes. We round off our time in Bangkok with a drink at 360 bar atop the Hilton hotel. Night!
After a whirlwind tour of Bangkok we headed south to the royal beach resort of Hua Hin with a stop at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This is one of the most famous floating markets in Thailand and a must see for all visitors to Bangkok. It’s a fantastic day trip from the city, just 2 hours by road. But be sure to head there early morning to experience the market at its most liveliest!
We challenge you not to buy anything here, the boats are full to the brim with fresh fruits, snacks, souvenirs and the waft of local freshly brewed coffee and noodles was enough to have us all watering at the mouth within minutes! After our colourful shoot at the market we continued further south to Hua Hin and checked into the new Cape Nidhra hotel situated on a pristine stretch of sand and were blown away by our beautiful (and very spacious!) garden pool villas.
Following an afternoon of fun and sun on the beach filming a kite surfing lesson (looks a lot easier than it is!) we headed to the local night market where we literally shopped til we dropped! Hats, sunglasses, t-shirts, gifts for family & friends, you name it, they had it. After a Singha night cap it was time for bed…
It’s 7am and there’s a lot of talk of ‘tea’. No, not that kind I’m told as we arrive at Springfield golf club. As a complete beginner to golf I offer to drive the crew around in a golf cart instead (much more fun than chasing little white balls around I say) and we head to the 6th hole which has a beautiful hilly backdrop. The first thing that strikes us all is how beautifully manicured the course is, its quite a task to keep the greens looking so lush in such a hot climate.
Luckily, I didn’t have to sit through all 18 holes as we are on a tight schedule and after a fantastic interview with some avid British golf players who travel to Thailand year after year we were soon on our way and en-route to the stunning Aleenta resort in Cha-Am. The resort is heavenly, tucked away in a peaceful corner along an unspoiled stretch of sand and is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or honeymoon.
From here we continue on our way to Hua Hin Hills vineyard where they produced Monsoon Valley wine is produced. Not many people know that Thailand makes it’s own wine and we were lucky enough to enjoy a tasting with the growers after a tour of the vines by elephant. Yes, elephant! Very unique and it made great footage.
The wine was just what we needed to help us drift off to sleep in the van, we had a 5 hour road transfer ahead of us to Pattaya…
5 hours or so later we arrive in Pattaya, it’s 2 am and tomorrow we have a full day planned shooting families and children so its off to bed for us with hopes of not waking up with a headache! Night.
Hangover free, we meet the team at Centara Mirage Pattaya and the families and kids we will be working with today. The resort offers a fantastic selection of activities for children of all ages and we get stuck in with painting, Zumba fitness classes, whizzing down slides in ball pools, volley ball, rounds of tennis, swimming and our personal favourite, the resorts own waterpark!
The rest of the afternoon was spent acting like big kids, zooming down water slides and sat in giant rubber rings floating around the lazy river.
Having worked up an appetite we were excited to be filming a Thai food sequence with cooking demonstrations and fruit & vegetable carving. Our reward… to eat the fruits of our labour (well, the chefs anyway!)
After another amazing Thai meal (we’ve certainly not gone hungry this week) we head into Pattaya City and the famous Walking Street. Camera free, its time for a well deserved night off and to let our hair down… Night from the Candy Shop bar!
Today we are filming a variety of hotels in Pattaya. From one of the most established resorts, The Royal Cliff to the city’s latest opening, Hilton Pattaya. The Royal Cliff Beach Resort expands over 60 acres so we had to manage our time well here to fit all the required shots in! It felt a bit like an Anika Rice challenge. The Royal Wing was particularly stunning and we loved the personalised sunloungers – on check-in each guest is presented with their own name plaque to hang on a sunbed for the duration of their stay. Saves any early morning brawls by the pool! 😉
In contrast, the Hilton Pattaya is super modern with a fascinating ‘beach’ design throughout the hotel. We check-in on the 16th floor and are blown away by the ocean views and city scape of Pattaya Bay.
While the crew film the bedrooms, infinity pool and famous Sunday Brunch we join Michael on the terrace and help him polish off Thailand’s largest Mai Thai – the hotels signature cocktail (equivalent to 5 drinks in one enormous glass!) At Brunch, Michael is shown how to make a delicious Papaya Salad – these cooking demos are a fun little extra for diners to get involved with at their own tables. A little over zealous with the chillis during his cooking class, we say goodbye to the team whilst trying to act cool and pretend our mouths aren’t on fire!
Back in the van and bound for U-Tapao airport, we are excited to be heading further south to the beautiful island of Koh Samui, just a 45 minute flight direct from Pattaya with Bangkok Airways. But we were sad to have to say “farewell” to our wonderful Destination Asia guide Mr Perez who has taken such good care of us so far this trip.
On arrival to Koh Samui, quite possibly the cutest airport in the world with small wooden huts for terminals, beautifully manicured gardens and swaying palm tress, we realise we have just landed in paradise! Its early evening, and the sun is just setting, the island looks so tranquil at dusk. We arrive at Mai Samui Beach Resort & Spa on Laem Yai Beach and check into our deluxe rooms. The bath alone here is bigger than my bed back home! We enjoy a relaxed evening at the resort with dinner at their restaurant and work through the film schedule for the last 3 days.
Tomorrow we have an early start, were catching an 8am speedboat to the island of Koh Tao. Before bed, we each pack a smaller overnight bag and feel really excited about our mini adventure to another island before returning to Koh Samui for the last 2 nights. Note to self – you don’t need 3 pairs of shoes for a 24 hour trip! Night all.
To be continued….