That time of the year is here when we Bengalis can’t stop ourselves from stepping out. It is the high time to explore new places, new cities and new cultures. We have already scanned the calendar and started planning for our next or most awaited trip of the year.
If you are a regular follower of my Instagram, then would know that recently we have visited Puri. It was a very casual trip. Now, I and hubby are in the planning of our grand voyage of this year. If you ask me about the destination I really want to go, then my answer would be “Bangkok”. Among other things, it is visa on arrival.
There is an interesting reason behind it. A few weeks back (at the time we traveled to Puri), I suddenly have come across a Travel Journal named “Aletey Golitey Bangkok”. You guys know that, I’m not a book person. I do not love reading other than fictions or love stories. But I was so smitten by this it that I have finished reading the whole journal during my train journey.
This was a nice storybook also, with color photos and got me interested in a few things and I plan to follow up on something as I will share later in this post.
I have read many things on travel, but I have never come across something like this, and I wanted to share with all of you. First, there is nothing I have found so far on a foreign destination published in Bengali, and that too with so many color photos.
It was nice to read this material in Bengali. Second, it is very interesting, it is a travelogue. There are over 20 chapters in which the author shares his travel stories on different themes based on several visits to Bangkok over time.
Aletey Goletey Bangkok is more like a travel journal, personal stories, with a lot of color photographs rather than a guidebook The author is based in New York and the book was published in Kolkata.
I always thought of Bangkok as a four-day trip until I read this book and realized there would be so much to do for the whole family in a one week jam-packed visit. I also think of this book as a nice book of fun travel stories on a foreign destination, written in Bengali.
What makes Aletey Goletey Bangkok different from any other Travel Journal?
- What I found most enjoyable was the overall storytelling or very casual form of writing about each experience or attraction. It felt like someone was sitting across me and just telling me a fun story. The use of so many colorful photographs and the details made me feel I was actually there with the narrator, often the storyteller had moved aside, and it was just me walking along those streets, Aletey Golitey.
- Each chapter ends with a few lines of very detailed information with phone numbers and websites, so the information is there, very to the point and very helpful if needed. There is a chapter at the end of the book with a variety of information based on the author’s personal preferences, for example, hotels suitable for families and hotels along the river.
Now let’s get into some details. Bangkok, we all have different thoughts on it. This book was a big surprise. I always thought of Bangkok as a three-day four-night trip, but with over 20 different exciting things it seems even a full week will leave me wanting to come back again.
The stories cover a variety of topics, including the author’s attempts to figure out how to use the metro for the first time. Malls are barely mentioned as part of the information chapter. Instead, the author tries to take the reader with him to some special markets, popular with locals.
There is a relatively new night market along the River which felt exciting. Bangkok is very congested with bad traffic, in one chapter the author writes about waking up before sunrise, finding the streets empty as he begins to walk with a Monk going about collecting offerings from people, I never thought of that as a Bangkok experience; nor would one normally think of taking a one hour lesson in the morning at a Muay Thai camp of a famous trainer, just to get some self-defense tips, plus a good exercise to start the day. Very different and interesting stories on the destination.
The author narrates a story about searching for a unique Thai restaurant in Bangkok and ends up at a place which serves recipes from the Royal Palace, and adds his experience of discovering the inner details of vegetarian food in Thailand. In another chapter, the reader is transported to a different experience of dining, rooftop restaurants, and high-end affairs suitable to celebrate any special event. Romantic dinners at sunset at 60 story high over Bangkok.
The author’s stories also took me along to explore local fashion brands and get to know more about a gentleman who played a very important role to improve the silk industry; his name, Jim Thompson, is now a very highly regarded brand. There are nice tales about cultural shows that may be enjoyed by the whole family, plus the vivid descriptions of visiting colorful temples and the Royal Palace.
I am curious to know more and I want to find out what made the author write this kind of book. How many times has to be visited to have all these interesting memories? What are his favourite experiences? It is a very high quality and classy production and published in Kolkata.
It made me happy to see a Bengali book like this one. I have communicated with the author in New York by email to ask some questions and spoken once. I plan to speak again with the author in USA over the phone and I will share the details with all of you in a future post. In the meantime don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments for me.
Let me share with you now one small interesting information. I had asked him, “Why Bangkok, what made you write about this place?” He had replied having discovered Bangkok by accident almost 18 years ago and narrated a fascinating story.
Living in New York the author made a social visit to Kolkata every year, “An expensive proposition that needs to be done,” he added. Having accrued enough miles he started to look for a free ticket for one such visit, but with no luck.
A good friend in New York City, Mr. Prabir Roy, who had a senior executive post in a company in the travel industry got him focused, try another strategy. The author mentioned Priabirda saying, “Arrey moshai, Kolkata jaben Europe r upor diye, free ticket Business Class ar tao peak season,” and the final verdict, “khub osubidhey achey fokoto ticket paoya.” The author followed his friend’s advice, “pashey ekta desh target korun.”
So the strategy became to find a neighboring country where a free ticket would be available, and buy the Kolkata ticket separately from there. Bangkok was the cheapest fare for a round trip to Kolkata and a free ticket was available from New York to Bangkok.
The author reminisced about that experience, “It took some effort to get that done, Bangkok to Calcutta return on Indian Airlines, sitting in New York and not knowing anyone in Bangkok, this was the time before on line e-tickets.” But, to almost get to Kolkata for free was worth the trouble.
“I arrived late night in Bangkok,” says the author. During that transit stop, the next day was available before my connection to Kolkata. He added, “I ended up on a city tour arranged by the hotel and as we approached the Grand Palace, I regretted not having my camera.” So what did he do was my question. He laughed, “This was the time before the internet, I phones; tablets and all that, so I quickly stopped at a Seven Eleven store and picked up a small disposable film camera.” He reminded me those were barely five inches square and yellow in color, took maybe 20 photos; most won’t remember these now.
The vibrant color and architecture of the temples and the Palace enchanted the author that first time. Over the years he made a few more transit stops on the way to Kolkata and then began planning independent, week long, visits to the city, “I keep finding new things that I wish to explore,” said the author. After many visits, the discovery continues.
I will plan to continue the conversation as I found more interesting things I will write about in my next blog post on this topic in January. In the meantime don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and write your comments and add anything which you would like me to discuss with the author.
From Where can you grab your copy of Aletey Golitey Bangkok?
Title: Aletey Golitey Bangkok; Author: Biswa Pratim Bhowmick, PhD
Available on Amazon India as an Ebook. In the Amazon search bar type the title of the book. You can also download the FREE Kindle App and you can use that app to download the E book from Amazon Kindle
The Print Copies of the book is available at Calcutta College Street Area at Dey’s Publishing, 13 Bankim Chatterjee Street, Ph 9874478855 and 33 224-12330; it is in the lane opposite the Presidency College gate and near the Coffee House.
The print copy, paperback, is also available in India on line at www.BooksbazarIndia.com and www.Devsahityakutir.com to be shipped anywhere in India.
The book has been published in Kolkata by Star Associates and for any questions on distribution or availability of the book contact Ph 9038909118 or [email protected]
Check out this website:
Take a look at the author’s website below, you will be able to read three sample chapters from this book and see a nice collection of photographs. I have not yet read anything like this, In Bengali, on a foreign destination.