Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Showers of Happiness for Amsi

My favorite showers are the ones that I am well stuffed and well quenched.  Both requirements were fulfilled at Amsi's Bridal shower at Four Oaks in Dracut, MA this past Sunday.  Amsi's mother, sisters and future mother in law did a great job.

Shamir, Maria, Amsi, Kate, Shalmai

Monday, April 28, 2014

A rustic picnic Jack & Jill

I was delighted to help Angela's mom and sister plan/organize "Changela's" Jack in Jill this past weekend. The rustic picnic shower incorporated some of the couple's interests that includes the outdoors and  aviation (the groom fly planes as a hobby).

A Great Gatsby Tea Party

I had the pleasure of being invited to Angel's "Great Gatsby" Tea Party this past weekend.  The bridal shower was held on the 2nd floor of the Old Court  Irish pub in downtown Lowell.  My initial reaction was, An elegant bridal shower at an Irish bar? Really?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MK Restaurant and a movie at Mall of Bangkapi

The Mo and I had about 10 hours to kill before we had to get on our international flight back home.  Luckily for us, Emirates allowed us to check our luggage early so we wouldn't have to drag it across the city.

We took a cab to the nearby the Mall of Bangkapi where there are lots of shops, restaurants, a movie theater and even an outdoor water park on the top floor.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Foie Gras, carpaccio and more at Wine Connection in Koh Samui

The Wine Connection was probably my favorite place to eat in Koh Samui.  The food was fabulous and the wine prices were great.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fried insects at Chaweng Walking Street Night Market

This was probably one of the hardest posts that I've done because I could not stop gagging and dry heaving with tears streaming down my face.  When I took the pictures at the Night Market, I dry an audience of spectators with my response to the Mo eating the insects.  They all thought it was hilarious that I was trying to take pictures of him yet kept having to pause and want to puke.  None the less, I didn't puke but as I am editing the photos, the gag reflex is all to familiar.

Budget Dining on Chaweng Beach

Despite having a couple "splurge" meals on the beach or even a free meal at Ark Bar, the Mo and I like to stay true to our ways and eat budget friendly food.  Here are some of our favorite places during our trip to Chaweng (Koh Samui)

Everyone loves banana pancakes.  These heavenly sweet bites can be found on almost every corner in Chaweng.  Depending on what filling you get, they can range from 40-60 THB.  We got egg, condensed milk, banana and chocolate for 50 THB.

Romantic Beachside dinner in Koh Samui

During the last few days of our vacation, we like to live it up a little. I wouldn't call it a big splurge, after all, there is a W Retreat hotel on Koh Samui island and we're definitely not staying there, for sure. 

I chose a moderate priced hotel right in the heart of Chaweng beach with traditional Thai charm and decor, Dara Samui Beach Resort and Spa Villa for the last 4 days of our "holiday."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Free BBQ Buffet at Ark Bar Chaweng Beach Koh Samui

As if food in Thailand isn't cheap already, how about free food? Every Wednesday and Friday at 4:00PM, Ark Bar and Resort  puts on a free BBQ buffet to "Give something back" to their regular and new guests.

The hotel and bar area has expanded quite a bit since we last visited in 2011 and has added a new pool with a DJ station overlooking both the pool and the beach area.  The hotel/beach bar is known to have the best beach parties on Chaweng beach and they get the party started at 2:00 PM until late night with a great music system and booze laden drinks.

Tai by Red Snapper at Central Festival Koh Samui

Central Festival is a large lifestyle shopping complex located in Chaweng on Koh Samui island.  The new mall just celebrated its grand opening a couple weeks ago on March 29th, needless to say, it was still brand new when we visited last night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Food and Drinks in Koh Phangan

Eating and drinking in Koh Phangan was a bit different than the other town we visited.  We spent a little more money than we did in the busy cities of Krabi and Patong Beach but we had some of the best foods ever.  There are less street vendors and food stalls and more small budget restaurants offering both Thai and western cuisine, catering to backpackers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Koh Phangan Full Moon Party and Foam Party

Today's the reason why thousands of visitors flock to Koh Phangan, it's the 2014 April Full Moon Party.  Celebrated once a month on the Full Moon, Haad Rin beach can expect up to 30,000 people partying the night away in the wee hours of the morning.  The beach bars line up and blast different sets on their sophisticated music system and the vendors hope to make bank selling food and buckets of booze.

There are many pre-parties the days leading up to the big Full Moon Party.  Many bars offer themed events with special guest DJ's or different theme like the "Jungle Experience."  The Mo and I dropped in the "Drop In Foam Party" at the Drop In Club Resort.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Celebrating the Songkran Festival in Thongsala Koh Phangan

We woke up in Haad Rin the usual time around 8 AM and most of the town is still sleeping and recovering from partying hard the night before.  There are small clues that the Thai Songkran festival has begun.  We hear people shouting "Happy New Years!" and see a couple people on motorbikes with water guns.  We head to our usual breakfast spot, Lazy House, where the expat Jaime is already wet and his face smeared with white cream.

The word "Songkran" is derived from Sanskrit and means change.  The holiday is celebrated throughout most of Southeast Asia including Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bengal.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Koh Phangan ...Do over

To get to Koh Phangan, the party island, we had to fly into Koh Samui international airport and take a 1 hr ferry to Haad Rin, Koh Phangan.  The flight from Krabi to Koh Samui was less than 40 minutes so I was surprised that the airline actually served a light meal and drinks on the flight.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Glory of Krabi Town's markets

To get to Koh Phangan for the full moon party, the Mo and I stayed overnight in Krabi Town to catch a flight the next day.  Although we stayed at the beach town of Ao Nang a couple years ago, we didn't get a chance to explore Krabi Town itself.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Captain Bob's Booze Cruise in Koh Phi Phi

Whilst in Koh Phi Phi, the Mo and I partook in a sunset booze cruise with Captain Bob and his team. The tour was super expensive (compared to other tours offered on the island) but they had excellent reviews on Trip Advisor.  There were different prices for men and ladies, 3000 THB ($ 93 USD) and 2500 THB ($ 77.50 USD) respectively.  Later I learned from fellow guests that prices could be negotiated on the island, our loss. I made the mistake of booking advance online.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fun in the sun at Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands is a group of islands with beautiful idyllic beaches off the coast of Phuket.  We took a 90 minute ferry to Phi Phi Don where we stayed for 2 nights.  The island reminds me of Montezuma, Costa Rica.  It's small and everything is within walking distance.  Everyone walks barefoot on the streets and small roads.  The faces all start to look familiar after a couple of days.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bangla Road

Oh Bangla Road... I left you feeling dirty

Bangla Road in Phuket is where people go to drink, people watch and for some men, fulfill their fantasies.  The renowned street in Patong Beach is lined with girl bars and night clubs, it's pretty much Phuket's "Red Light District."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Patong Street Food

What's the point of traveling to another country if you're not going to test the limits of your stomach and try some street food?  The Mo and I have traveled to many "developing" countries and one of the things we love to do is try the street food carts.  Yes, we've regretted a handful of times, one occurrence from me eating corn on the cob with pork and Coconut milk at the Russian market and the Mo in another region, both in Cambodia.

Yeah, we're cheap but we also love the food and the experience of eating from a street cart.  Here are some of the street grub on our recent trip. Some more adventurous than others:

(Note: We were actually present to take all the food pictures below and consumed it on our travels in Thailand. None of these photos are "borrowed" from the world wide web)

** Exchange rate based on Google 4/9/2014

Street Noodles:

Noodle Cart (Pad Thai - Fried Rice Noodles) 
Price:  100 THB = $ 3.00 USD
There's a handful of fried noodle carts in the Patong area. The going rate is about 100 THB which is about $ 3.00 USD.  You have a choice of noodles and meat/seafood.    The most popular combination would be the skinny pad thai rice noodles with chicken.  It's pretty much the staple food in Thailand for most tourists.  I also like the wide rice noodles with Thai Basil aka "Phad Kee Mao." ** Note that the food court charges double, 200 THB for the same portion size.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Prices of beer, groceries, food, manicures, transportation and more in Patong Beach

Here's a simple run down on prices we paid for goods and services in Patong Beach.
It's an abridged version.

Food And Drinks
Click here to see a separate post about Patong Street Food.
Most of these prices are based on ones we seen at 7-11.  The big grocery store, The Big C offers lower prices.  It's a bit of an inconvenience to walk into Juncelyon Mall and leave with bags without having a cart.

Swimming and Snorkeling at the Similan Islands

The Similan Islands is a national park located in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand.  The park is only open about half the year so we were excited that our trip to Phuket fell in between the period.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seafood Dinner at Sun Seafood in Patong

Sabai Dee! 

After settling into our new digs, we ventured out to find some dinner.  It was late, the clock almost struck midnight so we weren't sure what the options would look like.  We walked towards the seafood court where you can choose your own seafood and they can prepare it to your liking.

Apartment Living in the heart of Patong Beach

After a brutal 1.5 hour line through immigration and another 45 minutes airport transfer, we were thrilled to be "home."  The Mo and I really wanted to be where all the action was in Patong Beach, Phuket.  Sure, there were nicer hotels but we didn't want to have to hire a tuk tuk every time we needed to go to dinner, the bar or Bangla Road.  We found Siam Palm Residence online and its within walking distance to restaurants and most importantly the beach!

We got a Deluxe Studio Apartment with a king size bed, work desk area, kitchenette, sitting area with a 40" Sony smartTV, dining area and a balcony overlooking the garden.  We paid less than $ 100.00 USD per night, not bad considering its location and it has its own pool and WIFI connection.

"At the Top" Burj Khalifa Observation Deck in Dubai

A mere few hours ago, we visited the exterior of Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building in the evening time on our city tour.  After only three hours of sleep, we hopped into a cab at 5:00 AM and headed back towards Dubai Mall.  I actually pre-purchased our tickets two weeks ahead online and 5:30 AM was the only slot they had left. I was bummed at first but it worked out really well.  If you pre-purchased tickets online, they were $34.00 each, if you waited until last minute, they were $ 109.00 each.  You do the math.

Boston to Dubai on Emirates

The Mo and I are pretty good planners.  I had planned on having dinner in Malden at 7:30 leaving us ample time to arrive at Logan airport at 9:45 PM.  We had already checked in online, so we only needed to drop off our bags.  The Mo was weary of the idea at first and I assure him everything would be alright.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tasty Sushi and Chinese lunch buffet at Taipei Toyko in Woburn

When we are in need of a quick sushi fix, my tall friend and I head over to Taipei Tokyo in Woburn, MA (and when I say sushi, I really mean maki rolls).  Along with their Japanese and Chinese a la carte menu, they also offer lunch buffet on the weekdays at $ 11.90 per person.