All posts filed under: Articles

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 …

From Thailand to Singapore: A Quick Update

Hi Everyone!! We haven’t had the best of internet during our last two weeks or so in Thailand.  We have arrived in Singapore and we are very excited for the last month (ish) of our explorations in Asia.  We just wanted to let everyone know we are having a great time and will be able to post all of our updates from the last two weeks now that we have some great internet.  Look out for quite a few posts over the next few days! Follow your tummy… -Jess and Steven June 1, 2016

Chiang Mai Round 2

Once arriving in Chiang Mai around 12pm, we grabbed a songaethew (or red truck) to the De Lanna Hotel, where we were staying for a second time. Upon arrival we put our bags in the room and decided to enjoy some Thai ice teas while planning the next two days. They were so refreshing and not too sweet, as they tend to be in the US. We decided we were going to explore the Warorot Market, so Mimi told us that it would cost 20bat per person to get there, half the price we had been paying thus far. We have finally learned that to get most places in the red trucks it costs 20-30baht per person. The trick is, don’t ask the price, just say where you’re going and get in and pay the 20baht at the end. This began to work out very well for us and saved us a decent amount of money. The market was quite a few floors, with most of the food on the first floor. The other floors …

Le Meridien Hotel: Chiang Rai, Thailand

Upon our arrival in Chiang Ria, and thanks to a recommendation from Chris on our bus, we headed to Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort for our two night stay.  We decided to “splurge” and stay at one of the best hotels in the area.  We had a king room with a huge tub, rain shower and private balcony looking out to the beautiful grounds of the resort. Everything was very clean and the staff was attentive and friendly. We arrived fairly late and decided to stay at the resort and enjoy the seafood buffet for dinner.  They had a great selection of raw fish that you could have grilled in a variety of sauces.  There were snails, shrimp, prawns, mackerel, clams, and crab.  We each made a plate and then ventured inside to enjoy some of the already prepared dishes.  The rest of the buffet included cau soa, a traditional northern thai dish, a chinese style station and a fresh salad station.  We enjoyed our dinner over fantastic dirty martinis!  They also had some frozen …

Luang Prabang, Laos 

Luang Prabang Adventures Our first evening in Luang Prabang was very low key, which basically describes this UNESCO World Heritage town. We stayed at 3 Nagas by Sofitel, which is located on the Main Street of town. We checked in and ventured down the street to the night market. STREET is closed down every night to motor vehicles and women pack the street from one sidewalk to the other with stalls of hand made goods. They mostly sell hand made scarves, but you will also find some wood carved crafts and elephant slippers! They do sell the normal SE Asia elephant pants attire as well. At one of the ends there is a side street that is loaded with street food stands. There is everything from fried or fresh springs rolls to noodle dishes, soups and BBQ skewers. They also have plenty of whole fresh fish on the grills as well. We enjoyed some spring rolls, green papaya salad, BBQ pork, fried rice and coconut rice balls, all for $8. There are some stalls that have …

Luang Say Cruise From Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang 

We arranged a car from Le Meridien, Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong (thailand border) to depart at 6:30am.  This allowed for us to arrive at the border at 8:00am, as required by the cruise.  When we arrived at the border we checked in and were greeted by the first of many Luang Say Cruise team members.  We were given the paperwork required to obtain our visas upon arrival and were guided to the windows where they process visas.  We filled out our paperwork, handed it, along with our passports, through immigration at the Thailand border.  We had to purchase a bus ticket from the Thailand Border to the Laos Boarder, which was 25 baht per person (less than $1).  When we got off of the bus we had to get our visas for Laos.  We handed our passports and paperwork to the tender at window one and waited for the visas to be ready.  After about five minutes, window number two opened and our visas were complete.  The process was painless and fluid.  Next, the …

Chiang Mai Coffee Shops and Street Food 

On our arrival at the train station in Chiang Mai, we were to no surprise immediately approached by several tuk tuk and taxi drivers. As obvious tourists, the price we were quoted for a short ride to the hotel was exorbitantly inflated. Don’t be afraid to bargain and/or walk away. Taxis and tuk tuks are easy to find. In Chiang Mai, there are songthaews, also known as red trucks. For about 30-50 bhat per person depending on the distance you can catch a ride just about anywhere in the city. Tuk tuks tend to be a bit more expensive but you can always try to haggle your price down. After a bit of bargaining we came to agree on a reasonable price for a red truck to lie hotel. During the ride, we spoke with an Australian ex-pat who recommended we check out Nimmanheminda road. We dropped off our bags and caught another red truck to Nimmanheminda and found ourselves drinking Thai milk tea at the Dulcetto cafe. While there we spoke with a man from …

20 miles of biking in 102*F in Chiang Rai, Thailand 

We took the last bus to Chiang Rai from Chiang Mai at 6:00pm.  Turns out we had booked the VIP bus, which was 512 baht for two people ($14).  The seats were double wide and reclined a decent amount.  They also had a leg rest that came out to ensure extra comfort.  They brought cool towels, water and snacks to everyone at the beginning of the trip.  The ride was about 2.5 hours and we met Chris, a New Jersey dude who moved to Chiang Rai 21 years ago.  He gave us advice as to where to stay, where to eat, and things to do during our visit.  When we arrived to the old bus station, currently in front of the 7/11 due to construction, Chris and his wife Ester offered us a ride to the hotel.  They were super nice and gave us a mini tour on our way over!  We were so grateful to have found such kind people willing to go our of their way to help out. When we arrived at …