17 November 2015

Abi & Dave

View from our room!
We were lucky enough to start our time with Abi and Dave by staying at the KC Grande on Koh Chang. What a beautiful hotel it is and spending the day at the roof top pool is just perfect. This was Abi's first trip to Thailand and Dave's first foray into eastern Thailand. I don't think it could have started any better. We really like White Sands beach area, there are things to do without it being mental though it's sad that the Jungle Queen bar has closed loved the resident band that played there.

We didn't eat much in the way of lunch as there's so much choice at breakfast we weren't really hungry of course ice-cream is different. Since our last visit, there's a new converted VW combi-van cocktail bar. The guys are very friendly and there's access to a sit down toilet, so don't worry that it's parked on the main road. They use real alcohol I know that sounds strange but in a lot of places the bottles look real but they're often filled with wanna be contents so the drinks are awesome and reasonably priced at 150 baht roughly AUD£6 / GBP£3 / USD£4 / EUR4. Dave took a shine to their Long Island Iced Tea bucket and who can blame him.
Having spent three lovely nights on Koh Chang, Abi & Dave headed of for three nights on Koh Kood. To be honest I was a bit jealous as I've been wanting to go there the snorkeling is meant to be good but we just haven't managed it. Meanwhile, we headed back to Chanthaburi like Cinderella.

We had a lovely time showing them around town yes, including the lake at 6pm. We even headed to Maneechan Resort for a lovely lunch and an afternoon by the pool. Well, it was all going brilliantly until the storm clouds gathered and we figured we best get a wriggle on. Of course Abi & I headed to the changing rooms, found the hot showers complete with toiletries and the hair dryers so we might have taken a bit longer than we ought to. Anyway, half way home the heavens opened and we all got a bit wet on the motorcycles. Well, its all an adventure isn't it?
And all too soon, it was time for them to leave. I really can't express in words how thrilled we both are that people take the time and put in the effort to come and visit us. It was lovely to meet Dave who was very patient as I struggled with his south London accent and I've known Abi since she was in high school she feels more like a sister than a cousin. The good news is, it won't be three years before we meet up again.

If you'd like information on where you can eat whilst staying in White Sands, look here

13 November 2015

Super Saturday

OK, OK ... I've plagiarised the expression that I first heard at the 2012 London Olympics but it was coined that Saturday night to express the joy and pride of the sporting outcomes for Great Britain and quite frankly, I thought it was also appropriate for our full on meeting day. It made me laugh that there was about an hour where all three couples were sat on aeroplanes, wending their way to Bangkok.

Yes, this was the day my nephew Ross and Mr John's cousin Abi brought their partners on holiday to meet us or maybe it was just to have a holiday in Thailand??  It was great meeting Bryony and Dave. Thankfully, we managed to land half an hour before Abi & Dave so I thought that was a much nicer welcome than them having to wait for us especially as they arrived from the UK. Lucky for Ross & Bryony who'd traveled from Hong Kong and landed three hours earlier they had already got to their hotel and were enjoying cocktails by the time we rang them.
I'm pretty sure we all had a good time. We started the evening at Cheap Charlie's thanks to a recommendation from Lisa & Gordon. It's off Sukhumvit Road at Soi 11 and if you take Nana BTS you'll have less than a 10 minute walk. Be warned, spirits are served in slightly smaller glasses than normal, so you may down them a bit quickly not me of course. It was a great place to get to know each other and there's also some good places to eat just behind it. We chose Tapas Cafe and were amazed at the food. If you go and you're not vegetarian try the meatballs - the sauce is to die for just ask Mr John.

Of course no trip to Bangkok apparently is complete without a trip on the river ferry and a visit to Wat Pho. It is indeed our preferred attraction for first time visitors if only you could get a loyalty card. This time we also managed to fit in some shopping and lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok a request from Ross who is on some sort of quest I think. And speaking of Ross, thanks to him, we all enjoyed our own executive minivan back to Chanthaburi. It was a lovely way to travel this one had three rows of seats where as the ones we usually get have four rows - posh.

When we arrived in Chanthaburi 3.5 hours later, Abi & Dave still had another couple of hours to get to Koh Chang where they were spending the next week what a day of travelling for them.

We were lucky that Ross & Bryony were staying overnight before heading off to Koh Mak. It was Bryony's first time in Chan and so there were a few things we had to show her agreed to by Ross with his previous experience. So of course, it was off to the lake for 6pm and no, I'm not telling you why we do this, you have to check it out or come visit us.

We spent the evening at Tamajun and enjoyed ourselves way too much. Still brunch at Vietnamese Food always does the trick and our souls seen to by viewing the Catholic Cathedral. A wander down the street through the Old Town completed our lovely morning before waving them off on their next adventure.

My one complaint - way too short a visit. I almost feel like I dreamed it.

10 November 2015


What can you say about Hanoi that probably hasn't already been said on a million different travel sites? Probably not a lot, but I can give you our perspective on what it's like to visit. For us, there was only one negative. The constant beeping of horns - both bikes and cars. It did set my teeth on edge a little bit. In that sense, you could really feel the French influence on the city. 

Speaking of traffic, they have bike helmets there that either have a section cut out at the back or a hole at the top, so girls can leave their hair up in a ponytail or bun. Knew mine was missing something. I have such thick hair that I have to remove any band or clip so my helmet can fit. 

Don't think Hanoi is racy though, during the week a lot of places are closed by 9pm especially the "cheap eats" spots.
There's so much to see in the city and we were lucky enough to be able to walk pretty much everywhere we wanted to go. Around the French quarter, the streets are really wide and can really only be described as boulevards. The only thing I felt I missed out on was seeing an actual train come down "train street". We waited for ages but had to give up in the end. Maybe next time.
We loved the Hanoi Social Club, its a lovely little spot of tranquillity in an otherwise bustling city. The food and drink is reasonably priced and the food portion sizes won't see you go hungry. I tried the egg coffee here and I've got to say, I loved it. If you're trying to imagine it and I know it might sound gross, think of liquid tiramisu. It's the best way to describe it and don't leave Hanoi without trying one. The staff here were awesome and are part of the disadvantaged youth programme that's championed here. So you see, you're doing something to add to society as well.

Banh Mi is just about the best thing ever invented. You can buy a baguette and have it filled with meat and salad for only 32,000 Dong (roughly £1 / AUD$2 / USD$1.43 / Euro 1.33 / 51 baht). 
We also got to meet up with Emma and Orla from Chanthaburi see it really is a small world at Mojito Bar & Lounge. If you enjoy a cocktail as we do, you should enjoy this place. A good place to hang out with friends but watch your step if you head to the toilet later in the evening.

We totally spoilt ourselves with a little help from Hannah on our last day and headed to The Metropole Hotel for afternoon tea. We even took a cyclo there which was quite a hoot. Half the time it felt like we were about to head the wrong way down a road and I felt quite sorry for the lovely little man who got stuck pedalling both of us don't worry, we gave him a good tip. 
In fact, not only did we have afternoon tea followed by a glass of champagne well, we were celebrating my birthday but we also had a cocktail sat by the hotel pool. It's a lovely hotel and very quiet so if you can stay there, we think it would probably be a good option.

We really loved our break here and would definitely go back again. I'd also like to head a bit further afield and maybe see some of the coast. As we had limited days, we decided to focus on the city only and I think that was the right decision. So, if you get a chance, check out Hanoi.  

03 November 2015

Holidays R Us

We've had such a good time over the last three weeks. Seen some awesome things, eaten our own body weight in food at least that's what it feels like, sampled some new cocktails and spent some lovely time with family and friends.

I'm sat here hoping that I can do everything justice but to do that, I need to focus on a few amazing things. At the moment, it's all about trying to get back into the swing of things. The apartment is eerily quiet with Mr John back at school and although I didn't feel like it, I've started back at yoga. 

So, I hope you've been following our exploits on Instagram. What a great medium it is to keep people up to date. Being a visual person, it really suits me as I am a firm believer in the old "a picture paints a thousand words" adage. Of course, you can't really go into detail about what's been happening so I've been very good about keeping my junk journal up to date.

How much fun has that been! It's definitely been a learning experience. I think I overdid the preparation before we left I knew this at the time, it kept getting heavier and heavier. I just need to get a couple of photos printed is anyone else like me and thinks just keeping photos digitally is a little bit sad?  Then I'll share it with you - in all its glory.

Too often, we all can't wait to get away and don't appreciate what we have around us. Having visitors in Chanthaburi reminds us of the lovely little place where we live and the fact that we shouldn't overlook what's on our doorstep.

With both Ross & Bryony and Abi & Dave we took them to the Catholic Cathedral obviously but also made sure that we walked the Old Town back to their hotel. The Old Town, Chanthaboon, has a 2015 UNESCO Award of Merit in Cultural Heritage Conservation for the refurbishment of a 19th century mansion into a boutique hotel. Visitors have said the whole street reminds them of Georgetown, Malaysia a World Heritage site. It's true that the architecture in this part of town is in my opinion beautiful but it's also the street art that captures my imagination.
So stay tuned for an update on all our adventures but please give me a chance as I have a huge amount of photos to get through and put into some semblance of order.