Tag Archives: Thailand

Koh Lanta ⎮ Beach, Eat, Beach, Sleep, Beach!

To begin with, we all LOVED Koh Lanta!!! The beachy weekend vacation time went by WAY too fast for 5 days! For this time, we had two other guest backpackers staying with us for 10 days -my aunt, Sarah, and her friend, Amanda, from San Francisco – We all had a great time in Koh Lanta! Some day, I hope to come back!

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The now 6 of us arrived from Bangkok and were pumped to get some beach time in! The last time we had beach was in Indonesia back in late December/early January! After a quick AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Krabi, we hopped into the van to take us to the Chaw Ka Cher hotel and it took a lot longer than we had hoped. We had to take two ferries but when we were finally there, it was nice, really nice! I think we were all very impressed with the hotel – good food, service, pool, & rooms- and enjoyed it very much. We were all pretty tired that evening so we stayed at the hotel to eat. The food was great and we finished off the evening with a good game of hearts!

The next morning, we had a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel and went to the closest beach from where we were – Relax Bay. I think this beach was the best beach. It was very peaceful and calm with plenty of little food restaurants around. Sarah got a massage there and the rest of us read and swam and just plain chillaxed. We got back to the hotel later in the afternoon and chilled more by the pool. For dinner, we went out to a place called Thai Cat. Overall, it wasn’t bad but we’ve definitely had better!

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The Scouts!

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GoPro-ing fun!

 

The following morning came and went and we found ourselves in another beach, Klong Dao. The second beach had more people, shops, restaurants and was a lot bigger than the one before. We found a nice spot in the shade and did our beach chillaxing thing again! Sarah got another massage there but not as good as her first with the real strong old lady at the first beach. We had a good lunch where Sebastian ordered a pineapple fried rice. It’s probably the opposite of what you’re thinking though, with pieces of pineapple in the rice. It was more like a real pineapple cut in the inside with fried rice in it! It was delicious! After lunch, Amanda, Sebastian, and I rented two paddle boards and went on a little adventure. Brother and sister shared a board while Amanda got her own. We took several GoPro selfies and photos. Our adventure was a lot of fun! (just out and in to a little beach next to the big one) We relaxed a bit longer and then went back to the hotel. After chilling at the hotel, we got ready to go to our cooking class! (Sarah, Amanda, Mama, Sebastian, & me) The truck picked us up and took us to the Cooking School, Lanta Thai Cookery School. All the other students were women so Sebastian was the only boy and together we were the only kids! As a group, all the students had to choose 4 dishes to make and eat after. We all ended up deciding on the papaya salad as an appetizer, fried spring rolls, pad thai, and red curry. We all received a cookbook and certificate at the end of the class to try out the other recipes like mango with sticky rice! The food turned out great and it was so much fun to make. It was definitely worth it and we will certainly try them again when we get home to Florida!

The next day, we rented 3 scooters for the 6 of us. Sarah and Amanda rode together, Mom and Sebastian, and Dad and I. Our destination was Bamboo Bay beach. We swam all morning and had a great lunch at the Baan Phu Lae guesthouse. As we were leaving to go to Kantiang Bay beach to watch the sunset, two men on a scooter came by. We had all stopped to wait for each other to catch up when the man driving the scooter turned pushing the gas, and accidentally rammed straight into Sarah and Amanda’s scooter. Amanda did a kind of flip roll off the scooter and Sarah was leaning to the side about to fall over with all the weight of the scooter on her. Luckily, there was a small pole in between the two of them so it was pushing against the scooter and it did not fall but the impact broke the mirror of Sarah’s scooter. The two men from the other scooter rushed over to see if everyone was okay, and good thing everyone was okay! In the end, Dad and I rode back to the hotel with the guys and they had to pay for the broken rearview mirror and gave us some money for Amanda’s ripped skirt! Gladly, it was just a scare and the girls and Sebastian were waiting for us at Kantiang Bay sipping cocktails and waiting for the sunset over the Andaman Sea.

Our last beach day was spent in Kantiang Bay again in the morning and Relax Bay again in the afternoon. We all got massages at Relax Bay and they were REALLY nice! This time I got to drive the scooter to the different beaches and it was SUPER fun!! To wrap up our time in Koh Lanta, we went to an excellent 5 star restaurant, Yang Garden. This was a FANTASTIC farewell dinner and ALL of us enjoyed it very much! For dessert, we had a Thai Creme Brulee and a Chocolate Truffle. Yum!

This wonderful beach relaxing time got us all prepared for Laos! Farewell, Koh Lanta! We will return…;)

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The Girls

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Back 2 Bangkok! ⎮ Louisa, the Negotiator

After a few weeks in Myanmar/Burma, I think we were all ready to go back to urban and westernization for a little while!

All this trip, Mommy and Dad (mostly Mommy) had been raving about the awesome markets in Thailand. We finally arrived at the Chatuchak market and it already reminded me of Disney World. The mad rush of people that never ends…oh well. I figured if there were so many people, this must be some pretty good stuff, like Disney World. We started walking around and there were SO MANY shop stalls! From just clothes to juices, every step you took there was a stall. Literally. Anyway, we were walking around and for some reason, I have no idea why, this navy blue Abercrombie T-shirt just caught my eye. On it said ‘Abercrombie Prep Athletics’ with a set of lacrosse sticks crossed over one another. I thought that shirt would be just perfect for me since I wanted to start lax again when we get back home. Of course, I walked over to it to check it out and it was EXTREMELY soft! It is the softest cotton I have ever felt! It almost feels like cashmere! I am not sure if you know, but it felt like the bamboo fabric. Except, even softer! So I asked the man how much it was and he said 300 baht – the Thai currency – !! That is equal to about $9.00 USD. That is VERY inexpensive for an Abercrombie product, but for Thai baht, nope! So this is where my negotiating career began! 🙂 I started negotiating for 200 baht and this man was rock solid! He was not going to move his price down 100 baht. So I kept raising the price until I didn’t want to raise it any longer and came to a conclusion for 280 baht. You will see later how much better I got at it!

Then, we did a LOT of walking and window shopping for a little bit. Next up, the shoe store! Man, let me tell you, this shoe store was a little room-full of chaos! It was maybe around the size of our living room packed with around 20 people I would say! When you would step back outside, your reaction would be, “AIR!!!”. Mommy went in first and I followed. She liked a pair and was going to buy it when Dad, my shopping advisor, started pointing out all these shoes to me! He would say, “Look, Louisa! These are nice…Ooooh! What about these! No? I like them…” Most of the time though, I have to say, my Dad has some pretty good taste. I ended up buying a pair because of that. (Surprisingly, I would not have if it weren’t for him)  After that it went back to a lot of walking and window shopping. At the time, we were also trying to find an ‘Oscar’ Chelsea FC jersey for Sebastian, but we did not succeed. I am positive we will find one in London Sebastian! No need to fear for your awesome sister is here to find a cool jersey for you so you can be happy and not bother her when she says STOP fifty five times in a row! 😉 We were also searching for a silver chain for myself, (for when I become a Kiwi @ camp Kiniya next year) but again, no luck. (We ended up finding one in another mall)

When we were still walking around, my shopping advisor, pointed out some pretty cute/cool shirts. Once again, I walked over to check it out and I saw a nice London blouse to go with my London shoes I just bought! I asked the woman there how much it was and she said “200 THB” thinking she would receive 200 THB. Not so fast! This is where I really get good at negotiating. I asked her if she could do 100 THB just to test her solidness. She obviously said no, so I started raising the price again. I came to 120 when I was saying, “Uggh! Please, 120?” She responded and said, “Okay, 120.” I then said, “115.” And the women gave it all up and started hugging me all over. She was saying, “Oh! You are so cute! I will give you 100! You are just too cute! Oh!” and basically repeating that over and over again. And then obviously my Mom and Dad started laughing and talking. So now, I am the negotiator in the family and am called over whenever someone wants to buy something.

Just to make myself more famous, we went home on the sky train, Dad turned on the TV, and I was on it! The titles ‘The youngest negotiator in all of history! – Louisa’ was all over! (Just kidding!! I fooled you!)

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Because we have no photos of the Chatuchak market, here are some extra bonus shots of Bangkok.

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The ferris wheel at Sky Asiatique

 

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Sebastian’s GINORMOUS watermelon juice at Eathai

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The Jim Thompson House

 

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The Flash! At the Banyan Tree skybar

 

I ♥ Bangkok

We departed Siem Reap, Cambodia, early in the morning via bus to Bangkok. Compared to our 2 awesome bus experiences in Singapore and Malaysia, this version was truly the cattle call from start to finish. Just picture a bunch of western tourists waiting on the side of a busy polluted Siem Reap road to the fear of said same group nearly losing the bus at the chaotic border crossing into Thailand and you get the idea. But we survived, tired and dirty and arrived in Bangkok late in the afternoon. Our Airbnb host, Toy, picked us up at the bus station in Chatuchak which in itself was wonderful after the long ride.

It was the 2nd visit to Bangkok for Chris (1989) and myself (2008) and we were both excited to return to this crazy city. We split our 9 days in Bangkok between 2 Airbnb apartments. The first half we stayed in a trendy building – Urbano Absolute, in the Riverside area. Imagine working out in the gym followed by an infinity pool swim on the 40th floor with 360 degree views of the city. We walked to the Hilton Millennium SkyBar for drinks/appetizers and of course amazing views. Another day we toured the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and its Reclining Buddha where the kids made contributions to the 40 different wishing pots – I hope they come true!

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Another day we shopped the Chatuchak Market. Louisa quickly became the guru of negotiations by befriending many a vendor to wheel and deal for all kinds of goods! It is entertaining to watch your daughter negotiate with people and she certainly did a great job! We also got lost in Chinatown meandering around and rode the touristy tuk-tuk for a ride. We also visited Sky Asiatique, a riverfront area with tons of shops and restaurants, and the highest ferris wheel in Thailand.

Our 2nd apartment relocated us on the same street of the fabulous Jim Thompson House in Siam Square. I liked this area better because of the action and activities nearby. Skytrain, the National StadiumMBK Shopping Center, Siam Paragon, BACC, and many other fun things to do are just steps away.  The Jim Thompson House was certainly my favorite attraction and a nice break from the temples. The architecture and peaceful garden are unique, not to mention the cute store with beautiful silk items! We even returned for dinner at the JT restaurant and were not disappointed as the food and service were excellent and we enjoyed the Thai delicacies.

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I could not finish the blog post without mentioning Thai food. Just as in Penang, food is a vital part of our trip and it could not be any different in Bangkok. The street food is really out of this world and generally safe to eat. Just on our street, for example, there was a nice lady with her food cart every day and we became regulars trying nearly all of her dishes. I love all the fresh fruit and juices that you can buy on the street too. My favorite dessert is Khao Niaow Ma Muang (sticky rice with mango), which is a Thai classic. So yummy!  The malls also have some amazing and diverse food courts. We enjoyed the 5th Food Avenue at the MBK and the fantastic Eathai, at the Central Embassy mall, the upscale street food court with a wealth of regional Thai food.

Why do I love Bangkok? Well, some visitors may think that 2-3 days in Bangkok is enough. I, on the other hand, think that 10 days cuts you short! There are so many interesting sites and one of the best things about Bangkok is simply sitting at the food stalls and observing the surroundings, the people and the chaos. Yes, it is a chaotic city but it has also a touch of ultra-modern and cosmopolitan attractions, just like in Singapore, but keeping it a lot more real, diverse and true to its origin.

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Sebastian’s favorite soccer player is here!

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The boy scouts

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