Year: 2016

3 Nagas by Sofitel: Luang Prabang, Laos

When we arrived in Luang Prabang, we were unsure where to stay. We walked around on the main road and passed by 3 Nagas by Sofitel. We decided to check it out and were really impressed with the facilities, so decided to stay here during our time in Laos. The biggest plus about 3 Nagas is the location. It is right on the main road in town and walking distance from almost everything you would want to visit in Luang Prabang. The hotel is a culmination of three different buildings, all of which are protected UNESCO world heritage buildings. This means that they are all original architecture buildings and preserved to maintain the authenticity. The buildings are of the original French colonial architecture. Being that these are protected sites, there has not been any modern updates such as sealing the Windows or doors or remodeling of the bathrooms. As such, there are some bugs that can get into the room, so you are provided with a mosquito net. This didn’t really bother us as we …

Basil Cookery: Chiang Mai, Thailand

We were picked up at 9am by Apple, our teacher for the day. Then we went over to one of the hostels to get four other ladies who would be joining us for the class as well. They were a pleasure to spend the day with and we really enjoyed their company. A huge congrats to all of them for just graduating from medical school and we wish them good luck with their future endeavors. We then ventured to the market and had a little tour. Apple taught us about the different herbs and vegetables used to cook many of the dishes we would be making that day as well as what is used generally in traditional Thai cuisine. We looked at three different types of basil that are used in Thai cooking: sweet Thai basil, holy basil and lemon basil. We also saw the fresh vegetables in the market such as mini eggplant and crunchy eggplant. The mini eggplants are used in both raw salads and cooked curry and noodle dishes. The crunchy eggplant …

Aonang Beach, Krabi: Emerald Pool, Hot Springs and RAIN RAIN RAIN

After our second trip to Koh Tao we continued along the normal plan to go to Krabi. We spent two nights in Krabi and, unfortunately, it seemed that the rainy season had begun a little bit early. During our time in Krabi it rained a lot. The first day we spent wondering in the rain to find somewhere to do laundry and dry our clothes. Being that it was so humid, a lot of our stuff wouldn’t dry. This was a bit of a failure; there are no laundry mats or drying machines in Thailand. We hung our clothes in the room and hoped they would dry. We then met up with our friends Gillian and Gavin to have lunch at one of the best Indian restaurants in Aonang beach, Taj Palace. We did not visit Krabi Town due to lack of time. We would definitely recommend trying to head over there though, as it is known for some good street food and night markets. Taj Palace is right across the street from the Starbucks of Aonang Beach that …

Naka Market: Phuket, Thailand

We were lucky that our schedule landed us in Phuket during the weekend because we were able to visit Naka market.  This market has two different areas, one dedicated to food and the other dedicated to shopping.  We obviously were there for the food…  When we walked into the market, we were completely overwhelmed with the amount of food stalls and didn’t know where to start.  The first thing we saw were these balls of rice that had been fried to a golden brown color.  We initially assumed that you just ate the rice balls as is.  So you could imagine our surprise when the chef grabbed on and smashed it into pieces in a bowl.  We were so confused and then realized that this was the traditional larb, a crispy rice dish mixed with minced pork, onions and seasoning.  We decided we would give it a try.  For 35 baht ($1), what do we have to lose? Oh boy, was it good!  The rice was so crunchy and gave the dish great texture.  We …

Katathani Beach Resort: Phuket, Thailand

Our first two nights and we stayed at Katathani Beach Resort on Kata Noi beach. It is on a private beach. We stayed in a premier room with an ocean view. Our room had a king bed, which was fairly comfortable and sitting area with a coffee table and day bed. We also had a large bath, shower and standard bathroom amenities. Our porch looked out on one of the 10 pools on the resort as well as the beach. The room was very clean and had very beachy decor with blue and green accents all around. Outside you could see the lounge chairs set up on the grass as well as around the pool and guests having pedicures and massages. Our stay was two nights and three days. We had a very relaxing time even though there was a bit of rain. During the rain we relaxed in the room, watched TV, movies, and the storm (lol). We got very lucky with some sunshine on our last day and enjoyed the private beach for most of the morning. We …

Deevana Hotel: Aonang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

We decided to visit Aonang Beach, rather than Krabi town during our visit to the west coast of southern Thailand.  We were happy with our decision, mostly because of the Deevana Plaza Krabi Aonang where we were staying because it was pretty much raining the entire time we were there.  Although the beach is suppose to be one of the best, we were not able to really enjoy it due to the weather. We were lucky to have chosen to stay at the Deevana Plaza Krabi Aonang.  Our room was spacious and we had a balcony overlooking one of five pools on the property.  We had a comfortable king sized bed and a large bathtub to relax in.  The room was very clean, which made it easier for us to spend more time there than usual due to the weather. The Deevana runs a shuttle to town on a specified schedule, which is free.  It drops you at the Starbucks, which is central and walking distance to most of the hot spots in town.  If you wish …

Amari: Koh Samui, Thailand

We arrived to Koh Samui in the evening and were able to share a taxi with another traveler, which saved us some money. We quickly realized that this island was a lot more expensive than northern Thailand, and even Koh Tao. We also noticed that the taxi drivers had a collection of signs with completely different rates depending on the season or time of day. Your best bet to get somewhere cheap is to hail one of the songethiews similar to the ones in Chiang Mai. When we arrived at The Amari Resort, we were greeted by the friendly staff and welcome drinks. The resort is on the modern side with a great beach vibe and a clear attention to detail. We were escorted across the road to our room. There are two parts to the resort. The eastern part had one pool, some guest rooms, the lobby, restaurant and beachfront. The western part across the road, where we stayed, had another pool as well as villa style accommodations. Our room was gorgeous. We were on …

Falling in Love with Koh Tao (and Rafa)

After a majorly delayed night train and a ferry ride from chumphon, we finally arrived to Koh Tao. The night trains had been great for us up until this point. This time we were in first class and that’s really the only way to do it!   For some reason there was a three hour delay as we stood still about 1 hour outside of Chumphon with no explaination. Fortunately we were able to make it on the ferry! Upon our arrival in Koh Tao, we went straight to Master Divers, the dive shop we had prearranged to do our open water course.  It is conveniently located steps away from the songserm pier. We knew we wanted to do our certification before we finalized our trip and, after much research, learned that Koh Tao was the place to do it. We originally had emailed a few other companies and, although we were temped with discounted courses and free accommodation, we decided to go with Master Divers, one of the smaller shops on the island. The …

Navigating for Tasty Eats on Koh Tao, Thailand

Preface: major apologies for no photos on this one!!!! We spent close to two weeks in Koh Tao. During this time we visited many different restaurants, mostly throughout meahead. We really enjoyed all of the places where we ate and would recommend all of them, as well as maybe a few that we did not get a chance to try. One of the first places we ate was actually on the pier and it was at a food cart that is run by an older woman. There are couple of food carts that can be found on the pier, but this one is one not to be missed. The special thing about this food cart is the incredible and tasty fried chicken that is made fresh right in front of your eyes. When you walk up to the cart, you can choose exactly which pieces you wish to take home with you after they have just been taken out of the hot oil right next to the cart. We decided to grab one breast, one …

Third Time to the Bangkok Hub

After another eventful night train, this time first class, from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, we had 12 hours until we were on our last night train down to the islands. We arrived on a Sunday and decided to visit the weekend market, also called Jatachak market. We really didn’t realize, until we got there, how massive this market really is. We wondered around for a couple of hours and decided that we would never make it through the entirety of it and that it was so unbearably hot. We had planned to visit the palace and temples during the day, but we really couldn’t handle the heat. So, we got to looking into where to get massages or a place to kick back and relax for the day. We were also desperate for a shower, even though the first class car on the train had showers. We found a deal at the SO by Sofitel for pool access, which was 700 baht per person. This gave us access to the rooftop pool overlooking Bangkok and the …