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Another ultra successful holiday! Despite some tricky logisitics (coordinating people from Sydney, Chicago, Shanghai) we pulled it off. It was my first time in Phuket and it was nice, but I prefer less developed and a bit quieter.

HOWEVER, it can’t get much quieter than sailing around the Andaman for 4 days. We booked the Seraph through Latitude 8 Yachts for 3 nights/4 days  – we started in Chalon and went down to Racha Yai and Racha Noi, then headed up to Kai Nok and Rang Yai  and then back to Chalon. We decided to spring for the crew and a cook – Ooi did an PHENOMINAL job of catering for us – every meal was amazing: seafood, curries, veggies, papaya salad.. any dish that was put down disappeared pretty much immeadiately. It was a splurge, but well well worth it.

While in Phuket we stayed at a new Boutique Hotel that is still in soft opening, but clearly will be one of the most interesting places to stay in the near future: B-Laytong. It’s at the very end of Patong beach (well away from the heart of it) with a gorgeous pool and beautiful rooms. Geared more towards the party crowd (club to open downstairs), this is not really a hotel for families. All the rooms have double-glazed windows so despite being on a busy road, the rooms are very very quiet. And the hotel restaurant is also impressive – we had a fabulous last lunch there and one of the best hotel breakfasts on offer each morning.

On recommendation from our boat capitain some of us went up to Rang Yai for the last 2 nights – we stayed in clean but very basic bungalows that were more like camping than a hotel (which is what we wanted). We had some “visitors” (nothing poisonous, but big enough to unsettle more than 1 member of our entourage). Not for everyone, but we loved hearing the waves at night and the beaches were beautiful and empty. Cost of a bungalow (1000THB) includes free use of sea kayaks, snorkel gear and breakfast. The restaurant isn’t cheap (about 400THB/pp for dinner), but the food is decent enough.

Pum cookingPum

This is totally unrelated to my trip but this came up in conversation so I wanted to post it. If you are on Koh Phi Phi I HIGHLY recommend Pum´s  cooking class (or at a minimum eat at the restaurant, it´s MSG-free and some of the yummiest Thai food I ever had).

BKK Street Food

BKK is known for good food. After BBQ Chicken from food stalls on the street, these are a few of my favorite places:

Royal India–  BEST Indian food I had outside of India. VERY casual – kind of like eating in someone’s living room. The nan is amazing.

Laothai – Cheap good Thai and Lao food (and nice deck to sit outside):  Sukhumvit soi 16, #186 (tell your taxi driver Somerset Apartments, it’s another half block down on the opposite side)

Spring – YUMMY chocolate desert place:  sukhumvit soi 199, #1

Sukhothai Hotel – if you’re in BKK on a weekend, the champagne brunch is awesome. Not cheap, but they make their own truffles and have an amazing cheese table and and and..

Cabbages and Condoms – great cause, great Thai food.

Lao Liang

For me Christmas is a time to hide on a beach. To run away from the masses of crazed shoppers and stick my head into the sand. This year I wanted to go somewhere relatively cheap, cozy, clean, and free from old European men and their teenage companions. Once upon a time these kinds of places were a dime a dozen around Thailand. This year, it was tough. After searching around various travel sites and blogs I came across Lao Liang island. There are no bungalows – everyone stays in tents (big ones you can stand up in that have a ‘bedroom’ and a ‘living room’). I paid a little extra so mine was right on the beach and I could hear the surf while I lay in bed. Bliss. All meals are communal as are the bathrooms which I realize might not be for everyone, but I thought it was fine. The beach was small but really nice and there are kayaks for guests’ use, rock climbing and a daily outing to snorkel on a neighboring island. I flew into Trang from BKK on Nok Air and the folks from Lao Liang picked me up at the airport. We drove 30 minutes to the ferry ‘terminal’ (read: flimsy dock) and then it was a 20 minute boat ride. Most people go to Lao Liang for 3 days, I went for 9 which was a bit long. I was the only person there NOT in a family, couple or group of friends, but everyone was friendly so I was rarely for wont of someone to talk to. If you’re looking for a chill beach holiday I totally recommend it. At 5000 Bht for 3 nights/2 days it’s not super cheap but considering all meals are included (the food was really good) and use of kayaks and snorkeling trip is included I think it’s very fair.

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