Koh Samui, another paradise.

Good Friday meant another perfect window to slot in another travel. And this time round another beach destination on my list was on the horizon. The major setback with getting to Koh Samui is that there are no direct non-budget flights despite it being an under 2 hour flight. Many travellers come to the island via Bangkok. I didn’t have much choice being on a time crunch to fly via Bangkok Airways. Tickets costed me SGD 400 each despite booking my tickets nearly 6 months early.

Arriving in Koh Samui Airport felt like visiting a golf resort. We got fetched from the plane in buggies to the arrival gates which were little huts. Definitely chill vibes from the minute you land in Koh Samui.

We got ourselves 3 day SIM Cards with unlimited data for 100 THB. How awesome! I don’t think I can ever go back to travelling without Google Maps.

We picked up our motorbike which was 250 THB per day from the airport and headed right to our Villa. Many villas/resorts in the island offer daily spa treatments along with the room. Ours was no different – Villa Nalinnadda. For 3 nights, we paid SGD 450 for all inclusive breakfast, daily 60 minute treatment in the in-house spa room, as well as a jacuzzi in our balcony that faces the sea. Good deal? Definitely think so! Our villa was about a 20 minute motorbike ride to popular area, Chaweng. But, we didn’t mind as our villa was 10/10.

IMG_7310The view from our villa balacony

Koh Samui is a less visited beach destination of Thailand in my opinion, largely due to the fact budget airlines do not commute to the paradise (yet). As such, a lot of honeymooners flock to the island all year round.

Truth be told, having visited so many beaches in Asia, the ones in Koh Samui definitely didn’t wow me. The popular beaches in Koh Samui would be – Mae Nam, Chaweng as well as Lamai. Apart from Maenam, the other two are relatively more popular among tourists due to the location of them near usual spots people stay around. There was plenty of action both at Maenam and Lamai when we visited. From water sports ranging from jetski to banana boat to flyboarding as well as lounging on deck chairs, you will end up spending more hours than you had planned for in the beach.

Apart from the beaches, if you are on a time crunch, 2 places I highly recommend worth a visit are – Beach Republic and The Jungle Club!

Beach Republic is ranked probably one of the top few beach clubs around the island. As we rode past it multiple times during our days on the island, we had to pop in to check it out! And, I must say, the vibes of the place blew me away. There was a minimum spend of 1000 THB per person. Like us, if you end up lazing your afternoon away, it is worth it. We hit the minimum spend quite easily with their seafood platter for 2 and a few beers.

IMG_7421.jpgDeck chairs/cabana: Check, Pool: Check, Sea: Check, Music: Check

After a day in the beach, soaking in Vitamin D, if you wanna escape into some nature and wilderness, The Jungle Club would be your best bet. While searching on a place with good views in the island, this place kept popping up on my searches. Despite the tough ride on dirt road, this place is a must-visit! It is also possible, if you require the resort to come get you from the bottom of the hill. They charge a nominal fee of around 200 THB for their transport.

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3 tiers of bamboo decks with beanbags as chairs overlooking the entire coast of the island. Bliss! It was a pity we made The Jungle Club our stop during our final day on the island. Would have definitely loved to hang there longer.

I can’t decide which ranks higher for me, Beach Republic or The Jungle Club. But, I’m glad we squeezed in time for both over our 3 nights in Koh Samui.

For authentic local Thai food, 2 of the places we dined at were hits (at least for us). Haad Bang Po Seafood Restaurant, close to Mae Nam served very good steamed fish. I suppose this review was not inaccurate at all! Considering the location of the restaurant being far away from the main area, it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. How perfect! Check out our drone capture while waiting for lunch!

Another local eatery we kept driving past was Eat Easy Restaurant. A very humble, fuss free dining option for some authentic Thai. Thai fish cakes, green curry chicken, steamed squid in garlic and chilli and mango sticky rice concluded our final meal on the island before we headed back to the villa to get our bags and off we went to the airport.

Thailand, I discovered another part of you and you still very much remain to be my favourite destination in Asia to visit. I hope to visit you again before the year ends. Till then.

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All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

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#36hoursinbangkok

One huge perk of being in Asia is that your weekend getaways can be flight away without a huge bomb in your pocket if you plan your travels quite in advance.

I spent the last weekend of October last year travelling to Bangkok on Scoot and return by Jetstar because of the flight timings that worked in our favour to maximise our weekend in the food haven. Tickets for each of us was about SGD $170 return.

Our mantra for BKK was: eat, shop, sleep, repeat. And it was definitely MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Eat

Bangkok is laden with ample options for affordable as well as authentic Thai food littered along regular streets.

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Having visited Pantaree Restuarant, back in 2014, I went in search of it this time round to have my first meal in Bangkok there. However, it is no longer located below Asok BTS, but instead it has shifted closer to Nana BTS, along Soi Sukhumvit 8. I felt like the standard of food had dropped since my last visit to Pantaree. But, we still enjoyed our lunch nonetheless.

But, our dinner the next day at  Inter Restaurant was THE BOMB!

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Because of it’s location right smack in the centre of Siam, it does get pretty crowded. But, I assure you the food really tugs at every corner of your stomach. Our meal for 2 costed 525 Bhat. We actually ordered till we used up all our Bhat as we were catching our flight in the next hour. Typical Singaporeans. LOL.

Shop

We conquered just 2 places relatively well in our 36 hours in Bangkok. Platinum Mall as well as everyone’s favourite Chatuchak market. This guide would help be navigate through the various sections of the market successfully before the heat gets you down. But, hey, there is always coconut ice cream to cool you down.

Stay

I loved our stay at Sivatel Bangkok (SGD130/night). It came with a super huge room, breakfast overlooking the infinity pool and floats in the pool. It took us only about 15 minutes to get us to Siam, so I found the location very good given our short time in Bangkok. Definitely heading back to Sivatel the next time Bangkok calls me!

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Till next time, Sawadikap 🙂

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

Krabi Days.

Exactly a year ago, I landed in Krabi on Christmas Day with the sister! Our 6D5N trip was such a blast, I nearly forgot to recap my holiday till a year later. 😉

Since I was arriving close to sunset in Krabi, I decided to stay a night (at Krabi Front Bay Resort) in Krabi town before leaving for Ao Nang the next morning. It also worked out so we could check out the Krabi Walking Street which essentially meant FOOD, FOOD and more FOOD. No complaints that we ended up tucking into bed with mango sticky rice!

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The next morning, we set off from Krabi town towards Ao Nang which is essentially the main area in Krabi where everything happens. We paid 220 Bhat for 2 of us for the 30 minute travel to our rather fancy accomodation at Bluesotel Krabi.

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We spent the rest of the day booking our island tour for the following day, shopping, eating and lounging.

IMG_9733Day 2 dinner at Cheap Cheap Restaurant, Ao Nang (630 Bhat)

Day 3 was all about our 4 islands tour! I was slightly skeptical about this highly touristy activity but gave it a short nonetheless as it was my last day in Ao Nang before more chill awaited me at Koh Lanta. The tour costed us 1200 + 800 Bhat (entrance fees) for 2. I wouldn’t say there was anything fantastic with the tour, especially given that we went during peak season but the clear skies and endless blue sure does its wonders.

The tour comprises of Phra Nang Cave Beach, Poda Island, Chicken Island as well as Tub – Mor Islands. There was nothing too spectacular about the tour largely because of how crowded the beaches were given the peak season.

IMG_9890.JPGLongtail boats lined up at Phra Nang Beach

After 3 nights in Krabi, we were ready for a less crowded Koh Lanta and our private villa (Chalaroste Lanta) for our stay was just perfect. Spent the rest of the day, hiring a motorbike and exploring Koh Lanta. We checked out Khlong Chak waterfall, drove back while watching sunset and had Greek for dinner. A perfect, relaxing day before we end the trip with another island tour.

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Prior to my arrival in Krabi, I had read the reviews of Trang Island tours by Freedom Adventures and was definitely keen despite it setting us back about 2000 Bhat between us. Ko Mook was my personal favourite as you swim in pitch blackness for about 30 seconds (150m) before a beautiful lagoon greets you. Worry not, non swimmers, you are covered as you have your life jackets on. Snorkelling up close with fishes in Ko Kradan felt really surreal. Definitely recommend Trang Island tour. Here’s a review that would give you more details on what to expect!

Do note the ferry point from Koh Lanta is at Old Town. True to it’s name it has a very rustic and untouched vibe.

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IMG_0255.JPGOur final dinner in Koh Lanta at  Krua Dan Tai (650 Bhat) 

Despite us not heading to Phi Phi Islands, it was an amazing trip back to Thailand – one of my favourite countries in Asia. Till next time, ka pun kap.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

Best of Bangkok!

Bangkok is one of those popular and very frequented destinations among travellers, that getting started with planning a trip there isn’t hard at all. Thanks to every other up and coming travel blogger of course! So, I thought I shall dedicate this post to doing the best of Bangkok to aid your planning further. After all, having too many choices can also become a problem.

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Where to stay
Given Bangkok’s traffic situation, staying somewhere close to BTS/MRT station would definitely be convenient and helps you save time. I chose to stay in the vicinity of Sukhumvit due to the proximity of many (cheap) eateries and shops nearby. I stayed at On 8 Sukhumvit Nana Bangkok by Compass Hospitalitywhich was just next to Nana BTS. Pratunam was a mere 5 minute train ride away and Chatuchak market (Mo Chit BTS) was a 25 minute ride away. Being a mere 5m away from Nana BTS, was really convenient given the light showers that greeted us in the afternoons when I was there in early August.

More information on the train map and routes can be found here: http://www.transitbangkok.com/bts.html. Hope that helps you when selecting a hotel to stay in during your travel.

Activities 
This can be tricky depending on the agenda of your travel. Some visit Bangkok just to eat, some just to shop till they drop (literally). And others, just to visit temples and marvel at architecture.

Let me try and provide some details on all 3 for you.

Where to eat
Just like every other part of Asia, street food is the best way to discover some of the most authentic and mouthwatering eats. Since I was there just for 2 days I didn’t manage to visit the popular eateries most bloggers mentioned about. However, I rediscovered a gem by chance and it didn’t disappoint me at all; just like my first experience back in 2012.

This small eatery, Pantaree Restaurant, is just next Times Square (Asok BTS) is highly recommended. My friend and I ate like kings for under 400 Bhat (SGD 15). Although, the image below may not be the most photogenic capture, trust me, you have to have a meal here. No regrets at all.

If you are looking for other local food to try in Bangkok, do check out this post: http://www.misstamchiak.com/10-must-try-food-places-in-bangkok/

Where to shop
So everyone who arrives in Bangkok, probably hears about Chatuchak weekend market if they haven’t already. But, apart from that, there are many markets in Bangkok worth visiting. Other popular markets are Khao San market, Pratunam market and Flower market.

Here are couple of links for other options of markets, apart from Chatuchak, to stop at 😉

1. http://www.cookiesound.com/2011/10/5-markets-in-bangkok-thailand/

2. http://migrationology.com/2012/05/shopping-markets-in-bangkok/

3. http://travel.cnn.com/bangkok/shop/city-essentials/best-bangkok-night-markets-153964

These (very pretty) lights which were 100 – 150 Bhat were my favourite purchase from Chatuchak!

Where to go
Bangkok like most of Thailand is packed with temples. After a while, visiting temples become mundane and repetitive. So I definitely suggest going the more iconic ones. Combining all my temple visits from both my trips to Bangkok, my personal favourite would be Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn.

Next up, would be Grand Palace (Emerald Buddha Temple) just opposite Wat Pho. Wat Pho boasts a 46m long Buddha in a reclining position. Wat Traimit houses the world’s largest massive gold seated Buddha weighing at 5 and a half ton.

Beautiful architecture of Wat Arun

When to go
The best times to visit Bangkok are from December to February as subsequently the hot and rainy seasons kick in. If you’re looking for a getaway before the year ends, look no further, Bangkok is a great choice. Only if you can tolerate both the human and non-human traffic that is.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

Bangkok in 48 hours.

Sawadikaaaaaa!! From the land of smiles!

Managed to whisk myself away to Bangkok just for the weekend (literally 48 hours) last week.

Eat. Shop. Sleep. Repeat. #theperfectlifeofaworkingadult

Wat Trimit, Temple of Golden Buddha

Wat Pho, Temple of Reclining Buddha 

Wat Arun, Temple of the dawn

 

 

Despite, for this trip being my second visit to Bangkok in recent times, I truly believe you can never leave the same country with same or even similar experiences. Each visit to the same country carves different memories. This trip was definitely no different.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.