Charming Cha-Am

Last weekend, I went to Cha Am Beach, Thailand with few of my colleagues and some of their family members. This trip was actually planned over 5 months ago but due to our very busy work schedule and since I also asked to delay the trip as I intend to bring along someone but it never happened so we finally planned 3rd week of September. Fortunately the weekend we went to the beach, the sun is very bright which actually lately we have been missing  the sun especially with torrential rains and thunderstorms especially in the afternoon.

We went first to Don Wai Market, a popular riverside market in the suburban town of Nakhon Pathom. Hundreds of tasty desserts and foods can be bought in this market gaining huge popularity to Bangkokians due to its proximity to the capital. We went there very early in the morning. Fortunately, the weather is not too warm and the crowd is not as much. They say in the afternoon or Sundays, the corridors of the market is so full you can barely walk. Many stalls sell the very sumptuous boiled duck. Really, while writing this piece, I am salivating just imagining back the palatable ducks we saw in the shops!
After buying some foods, we headed to a Sukiyaki Restaurant in Ban Pong near Nakhon Pathom. The Eat-all-you-can Sukiyaki (similar to what you see in MK Restaurants) costs only 99 Baht per person including refillable drinks. Of course there is not as many selection as that of MK Restaurant but for 99 Baht, how can you complain. You need to finish within the allotted time of 90 minutes otherwise, all the foods left will be charged at 20 Baht per 100 grams. It is actually an ample time to finish the lunch. My group consumed all the food in our table including dessert for only 1 hour sharp!
Then we headed off to Cha-Am Beach.
We stayed at the Grand Pacific Sovereign Resort and Spa, a 5 Star Resort offering a stunning view of the sea and has 3 level swimming pool. With the promotional rate they are offering right now, it is indeed value for money. The Coffee shop has a wide range of Breakfast item including crispy bacon (my favorite!) and a big salad bar.

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign

The Hotel room is spacious with full amenities like own private balcony, a day bed, separate shower area and bath tub.

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign

We had our dinner in the Hotel’s Italian Restaurant– Celestino and the food is visually appealing as well as appetizing. A perfect match over a glass or two of their Italian Red wine.

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign
Grand Pacific Sovereign

After dinner, we headed to the famous Hua Hin Market which is less than 20 minutes away by car. Wide range of Thai desserts and various delicacies are available and not to mention seafood restaurants. Since we are still full right after dinner, I only bought a cup of ice cream worth 25 Baht for 3 scoops with many toppings to choose from. This ice cream kiosk is really so popular that you have to go through a long queue before reaching the counter.

Equally mouth-watering are the dried barbecued squid with spicy dipping, boiled sweet corn, roasted duck or chicken. Also popular is the rotee bread with either banana, egg or banana and egg filling. The best part is the foods being sold are very cheap!

Hua Hin Market

Hua Hin Market

After we checked out of the hotel, we had our lunch in “Dang Seafood Restaurant” located in Samut Songkran on the way back to Bangkok. This restaurant started with just few tables in its dining area and has expanded many times since then.

You can view the kitchen from the dining area which is quite big. My colleague said one cook will only prepare 1 or 2 kinds of dishes so they can prepare it very fast. True enough, less than 10 minutes after we ordered, all the foods were served in our tables. The best dish for me is the deep fried fish which is very crispy and tasty and the steamed prawns.

My spice level is not same as Thai but the dipping sauce full of chilli is really very nice and not to mention sweat-provoking. LOL. I was joking them my tissue consumption is more than the shells or fish bones in my plate as I had to wipe my sweat a lot after eating the spicy food.
This was my 2nd time in Hua Hin/Cha-Am. Last year was with some of my Filipino friends. I would love to go back to this place soon which is much more quiet and family-friendly than Pattaya.

My Koh Samed, Thailand Trip

Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed

 

As an Expat, I am always fascinated with how different our culture is with Thailand even though this country is still within Southeast Asia and only 3.5 hours away from Manila. To make my working life here in the City of Angels easier, I try to adapt some of their way of living but of course this doesn’t mean I am already forgetting my Filipino roots. I guess we Filipinos adapt easily to any environment or culture for that matter. I am always trying their local food, courtesies, simple living like riding an ordinary bus, tuk tuk (their own version of tricycle) and even a motosay (a public motorcycle you hire to roam around the city faster) whenever I can.

Another thing that I would want to maximize while I am staying in a foreign land is to visit as many places as I can during my stint here. Thailand as we all know is known for very scenic spots such as beaches and mountains. So far, I have been to some places mostly within short driving distance from Bangkok like Pattaya, Hua Hin, Nakhon Nayok, Ayutthaya and the farthest would be  Koh Samui, an Island destination south of Thailand- which is an hour flight from the capital.

Last weekend though, I was fortunate to be able to visit another “up and coming” popular spot especially for Bangkokians— Koh Samed (Koh Samet).

Koh Samed, approximately 3 hours travel by land from the capital and another half an hour boat ride is the closest perfect island destination from the hustle and bustle of city living, so to speak. Koh Samed is lined with white sand beaches in most of its part. Unlike the more popular Phuket or Pattaya, Koh Samed is not as crowded but is equally charming as the 2 former spots mentioned.

The most popular beach is Sai Kaew Beach located in the eastern part of the island. It has a long stretch of white sand beach dotted with a good mix of resorts and other lodgings. The most popular bar and restaurant is Plowbar. What attracts many tourist to this joint is the nightly “Fire Dance” being performed in the beachfront to the amazement of people enjoying food and drink on tables set-up in the sand. Sad thing is that this performance is quite dangerous especially since they are literally playing with fire and what’s even worse is that most of the performers are minors (the night we watched, the youngest performer was a 12 year old boy who does this job during weekends or every school break to help the family earn income).  

The weather was perfect during our so-called holiday. Although this month until October is still considered the monsoon season, the sun is very warm. Only thing is that the sea is a bit rough even though there is no storm whatsoever. However, the boat was big enough (capacity of 70 persons) so it is more comfortable since the boat just go with the waves compared to taking the speed boat which is like taking a car passing by a very bumpy road.

We stayed in Sai Kaew Beach Resort which is the biggest resort in the island at the moment. The room is spacious and has full amenities. The resort is only a few steps away from the beach and offers complete guest amenities such as a modern swimming pool, fitness centre, souvenir shop, seaside restaurant, massage service, pastry shop called The Mango (which serves one of the best tasting dark chocolate cake and blueberry cheesecake I tasted in the many hotels or restaurants I’ve visited). If you happen to be in this island, please don’t miss these delectable desserts.

We’ve visited several other resorts and my favorite is Paradee which is located in a more secluded southern part of the island. The pool villas offer not only your own private pool but also a magnificent view of the sea. The beach is literally few steps away.

Too bad our stay in this island is limited since the next day is already a working day. Fortunately, Koh Samed is very accessible from Bangkok and you need not save too much since there are many comfortable but low cost accommodation and transfers available.

Surely, I will go back to this place very soon. Hope next time it will be longer. I’m posting snapshots if this trip. Hope you enjoy.

Koh Samed, Thailand
Koh Samed, Thailand
Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed
Koh Samed

 

Koh Samed

Koh Samed
Koh Samed

Where is the Best Holy Week (or Summer) Hideaway?

Holy Week is almost 2 weeks away. I heard there are many resort destinations that still have vacant rooms for Holy Week. This is really strange considering that traditionally, Lenten Season is a super super super PEAK season even before our generation was born. The Global Economic Recession is really pinching its way to all sectors of the society and Tourism is the most volatile of them all.

Anyway, for the Sun, Sand and Sea lovers- Holy Week is the best time to relax and do some rest and recreation. Going to the Beach and stuff doesn’t mean we forget the essence of the Lenten Season which is commemorating our Savior Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to die on the cross to redeem us from all our sins.  I would like to think that this season (being a Long Holiday) is the best time to reflect, spend precious time with loved ones and repair or take back some broken or lost relationships.

Now the question is, Where is the Best Holy Week (or Summer) Hideaway? I’ve made some random choices for you to select. Once you select the best destination, share to us why you consider it on top of the list.

Hope you will have a memorable Holy Week this year!