Bangkok - I clearly remember the day we decided it was time to take our children abroad and that if we didn’t do so soon, we wouldn’t have another chance as a family.
Instagram, Twitter, Mixit and X-Box had kidnapped certain family members and we needed to regain control. So, apart from the obvious benefits of overseas travel widening perspectives and creating lifetime memories, we felt that a trip to a country with different cultures would be of enormous benefit.
Call it “serendipity” – our fortunate discovery and unexpected surprise was that subconsciously, the entire family had been contemplating the need to reconnect and escape from dreary daily routine, to an exotic location… Or maybe “serendipity” was top of mind because it was the name of the travel agency on the brochure in front of us.
In any event, the swallow that forms part of the Serendipity logo was obviously soaring to great heights, as we received extremely professional and friendly service as the agent enquired “Where would you like to find yourself tomorrow?”
The simple, powerful question put us in a spin as we came up with conflicting suggestions. However, after causing havoc in the serene travel office, we decided that Bangkok would be an exciting option. Luckily, the agent handled everything for us, from itinerary to visas and foreign exchange… or we probably wouldn’t have made it to the airport.
The choice of airline was easy. We wanted the most reliable, shortest, quickest, fuss-free option and so we chose Ethiopian Airlines, which flies directly from Durban four times a week.
I have always been wary of flying, so knowing that Ethiopian Airlines is the fastest growing airline in Africa, with the African Airline of 2016 award under its belt, eased my tension.
Our agent, who seemed to have travelled every corner of Bangkok, planned our itinerary. And what an amazing explosion of experiences it was. The city is an intriguing blend of technology and modern times, mingled with the glory and grandeur of an illustrious past.
We visited dazzling temples, picturesque ruins, the world-famous floating market of Damnoen Saduak, and colourful China Town. We travelled by coach and boarded boats to take in as much as we could of beautiful Bangkok.
We were even mastering a new language with every place we visited, which included some of the most revered temples… Wat Tramit (The Golden Buddha Temple); Wat Benjamabophit (the Marble Temple) and Wat Po (the Reclining Buddha Temple). The names were as fascinating as the locations.
We travelled by coach to the picturesque ruins of the ancient capital city of Avuthya, then Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, followed by a peaceful cruise back to Bangkok.
A highlight was the trip on a long-tailed speedboat on the canals, to see the morning congregation of boats laden with fresh produce as farmers traded their goods.
The best way to sample foreign food is definitely through an international buffet – which we thoroughly enjoyed at the Thai restaurant at Siam Niramit, followed by a fantastic show.
There was plenty of laughter amid our dashing around and much energy was spent… all in all a very welcome break from our dreary routine and the digital technology that has taken over our daily lives.
If You Go...
Ethiopian Airlines operates four weekly flights from Durban.
Flights from Durban to Bangkok connect seamlessly via Addis Ababa (travel time around 15 hours).
The airline flies to more than 92 destinations across five continents, with flights to 52 countries in Africa.
It is Africa’s fastest-growing airline, operating for 70 years. It operates the continent’s youngest, most modern and environmentally friendly fleet.
Call 031 201 0630 or visit www.bookserendipity.com