Category Archives: asia

Hampi, our favorite place in India

India. Just saying the word India makes me think of people, million of people. And million of cars, motorcycles and bikecycles. Loud honkings . Pollution. Street vendors. Cows. Dirt and garbage. Makes my head spin. That’s what India is making to you. She makes your head spin. But there are some places in India that make inside of your head calm. Places that are so peaceful. Making your heartbeats beating slow. One of those places is Hampi.

 

Hampi. Just by saying the word Hampi makes me think of beautiful boulders, millions of boulders. Stacked on top of each other. Looking like someone very strong and bored has stacked them artistically for us to wonder how they got up there. So many of them as far as the eye can reach. So much energy oozing out of them, if you belive in that kind of thing. If not, you will feel it! These boulders what make Hampi so special.

 

Hampi. The people. Not millions but only hundreds. Smiling and waving people. And very kind people. And people who loves to have a photo taken. Kids that run towards you when they see you and making you feel like home.

 

Hampi. The colors. The color of the sunrise and sunset hitting the boulders. The color from women’s sari. Makes me think of green. Green from the rice paddies and palmtrees that blend in so well with the blue sky and the reddish boulders. Making a perfect match for the eyes to see.

 

What to do in Hampi 

If you are getting bored of laying on the hammack on your hostel and do nothing then Hampi has a lot of things to offer.

1. Sanapur Lakes

There are two clean and peaceful reservoir where you can swim with beautiful surrounding. You can rent a scooter or a bikecycle to get there. You will see a sign where it’s written ” No swimming, crocodile!” just ignore it. There’s no crocodile.

 

2. Bouldering

The best way to really take benefit of the boulders are doing some bouldering. There are several places where you can rent the shoes and the mattres. If you are a beginner you can hire someone to show you where and how to climb and get around the boulders. Most of the time you won’t get higher up more than 4-5 meters but it can be more tricky than it looks like. David wears 47-48 size in shoes and the biggest they had was 42. He was in very much pain!

3. Visiting the temples and the ruins

You can ride a bike or scooter and visit the sites or negociate with a tuk-tuk driver to drive you around. Best time to visit the beautiful ruins and the temples are the early morning or late afternoon. Our favorite is the Monkey temple.

4. Explore the area

We really loved our days on scooter exploring the nearby area. It was never ending boulders.

 

5. Sunset

Don’t ever miss the sunset in Hampi. There are many places in Hampi from where you can see a sunset; Matanga HillHematuka Hill and Malyavanta Hill. Or just climb on one of the many boulders and enjoy!


6. Movie nights

Just walk along the “hippie road” where there are most of the hostels and you will see some of the restaurants and hostels organise movie nights. We saw ” Life of Pi” in one of the restaurant.

 

7. Bathing Lakshmi the Elephant

Lakshmi the elephant of Virupaksha temple is quite famous and you can find the elephant taking bath in the Tungabhadra riverfront early morning around 7’o clock. Apart the Elephant you get to see the locals getting themself ready for the day. Some are bathing in the river and some are washing the clothes.

8. Meet the locals

What make Hampi so lovely are the locals. India has great people everywhere but we feel that people in Hampi are genuinely friendly. Really friendly. Talk with them. Expecially the kids. They love hanging out with you.

9. Dress like the locals

Sari is my favorite traditionel wear because of the colors. When the owner of the hostel where we were stayed at told us about his daughter coming over to visit I asked him if it was ok if she could help me to get dress in one of her sari so I could walk around and feel  beautiful. No problem he said!

 

10. Taking a boatride

The exact name of this bowl or a floating basket is Coracle. One of these can transfer between 15-20 person!

Where to stay in Hampi

We stayed at the  “hippie” side of Hampi, Anegundi. It’s other side of the river from the main village Hampi where all the ruins are. Along the main street of the “hippie road” you can find many hostel and restaurant. I can’t remember the name of our hostel but the restaurant itself gave me nausea with all the psychodelic images.

So where is your favorite place in India? 

Walking in Kimono for a day in Japan

When we were in Japan in 2014 for the Hanami festival we dressed in kimono and walked down the streets of Japan. It was a really fun experience to be dressed in traditional japanese style for a day!

I just can’t belive though that I managed to talk David into it!

There are many stores in Japan where you can rent a kimono. We chose to rent our kimonos in a store in Kyoto next to the Gojo station. As couple you can get a good deal compare to other stores in Kyoto. The two kimonos were for 6500¥ and then I had my hair done at the same place for 500¥. Once you have chosen your kimono there will be staff helping you get dress. For booking and further information you can find it here.

Just remember to book your time for morning so you can wear the kimono all day. When we booked there were only times available on the afternoon so we only had the kimono on for a couple of hours! 

Taking the subway in Kimono. 

It was strange at first to walk in a pair of Geta, a traditional japanese footwear that looks like flip-flops,  with socks on. Other from that my kimono fits me like glove. I really felt like a japanese princess..and kind of beautiful! 

As we didn’t have much time we decided to take the subway to the nearest parc, Kyoto Gyoen garden aswell known as Kyoto imperial palace parc. It was a perfect parc for having a photo session and just strolling around.

Both locals and tourists were looking and some even wanted to take photos of us saying that we looked cute. In reality they must have think that David who is almost two meter tall was looking quite funny. If you hate getting attention than perhaps this isn’t something for you. 

I just can’t wait to go back there with my daughter Mirabelle and we could walk in kimono as family!



What about you? Would you like to wear a kimono for a day? Perhaps you have done it? 

P.S I forgot to mention that in some restaurant you can get a special price if you wear kimono!

A basic guide to typical thai food

Thailand is known for the beautiful landscape, amazing beaches, great shopping, smiling people (beautiful women?!)..and ofcourse for the food! Just by thinking of thai food my mouth is watering!

Thai food is known worldwide and many of you have problably taste some dishes before going to Thailand for the first time. But once you are in Thailand you will be surrounded by so much thai food that you will ask yourself  What is this??

All this food that you are surrounded by are food that you have never seen, smell and taste before. Food that looks delicious and food that looks…strange. Food that smells good and food that…stinks!

But in this post I am not going to write about strange dishes for you guys !

In this post I will simply separate typical thai food and add them into categories to make it easier to navigate and for you to easier understand what you have to deal with.

  1. Khao gaeng
  2. Noodles
  3. Isaan food
  4. Namprik
  5. BBQ
  6. Dessert


1. Khao gaeng


Photo HERE

Khao gaeng are main dishes you normally eat with steam rice. Often in food court or at the food stalls you can chose between 1-3 dishes to go with your rice. These main dishes can be from red curry dishes to stir fry vegetables.

The most known khao gaeng dishes for tourist have to be the curry dishes such as green and red curry, Massaman curry and Panang curry.

Massaman beef curry. Photo: Here with the recipe

Other khao gaeng also very popular among tourist (and thai) are the thai soups tom yum and my favorite tom kha.

Tom kha gai. Photo: Here with the recipe

And there are stir fries dishes in Khao gaeng category that are also very common for tourist. Some examples are stir fry chicken with thai basilchicken cashew nut and sweet and sour chicken.

Stir fry chicken with basil thai. Photo: Here with the recipe


2. Noodles

If we Thais don’t eat Khao gaeng we eat noodles!

You can order your noodles stir fry like the famous pad thai or you can have a bowl of noodle soup. But the most famous thai noodles you know must be the instant noodles you can buy cheaply in all the grocery stores or the gas stations all around the world!😂

The famous Pad thai. Photo: Here with the recipe

For more details about thai soup noodles dishes please check this blog post Luckypeach!

Photo: Here

My favorite noodles dish? They so are many but if I have to chose I would chose Wonton soup and noodle with fish curry (khanom jeen namja).

Wonton soup. Photo: Here

 

3. Isaan

So, when Thais don’t eat khao kaeng or noodles what do they eat? They eat Isaan food, the thai northeastern food!

Isaan food is known for it’s bold flavors. Sweet,salty, sour, very spicy and often “stinky”😂.. as we love it! Another good part with Isaan food is you normally eat the food with the hands.

The most known Isaan food among the non-Thais has to be sticky rice and papaya salad

Sticky rice. Photo: Learn more about sticky rice. Great post!

Papaya salad. Photo: Taem Laek

The meat salads “Laab” or “Nam tok” are aswell very known worldwide.

Porc salad, Nam tok moo. Photo:Taem Leak

My favorite isaan food is sticky rice with bamboo shoot salad.

Bamboo shoot salad. Photo: Here


4. Nam phrik

Nam phrik. Photo: More about thai hot chili sauce here. Great post!

The least known for the visitors but yet a very popular food in Thailand is Nam phrik = hot spicy sauce/paste ! (My own translation!!!)

There must exist atleast 10000 different kind of nam phrik. I can name some: chili paste with rotten fish, chili paste with shrimp paste, chili paste with grounded fish, chili paste with giant water bug.…and the list goes on.

Giant water bug can be one of the ingrediens in nam phrik. Photo: How to eat giant water bug. Intressting reading!

Our nam prik are not only hot sauces to be added to the main dishes. In thai food culture nam phrik can be eaten as a main course simply serve with boiled/fresh vegetables, and rice or sticky rice. Simple, healthy and so darn good if you ask me!

 I can’t think of any nam phrik that are eaten alot by tourist?!? Unless ofcourse you have a thai gf/bf or are married to one..but then you wouldn’t need this guide.😊

My favorite nam phrik is nam phrik pao. 

Nam phrik pao. Photo: More about what you can do with nam prik pao. Great post!


5. BBQ

The whole Thailand smells like BBQ! That is because we Thais love to eat grilled food. You must have seen a bunch of food stalls or wagons where they sell grilled sauges, meatballs, fish and meat on a stick, everywhere and on every hour of the day.

Grilled sauges and meatballs. Photo: Here

Grilled squid. Photo: Here

Something grilled that is ordered very often by tourist has to be the Chicken Satay with peanut sauce. 

Grilled chicken Satay. Photo: More about the delicious satay here. 

Grilled chicken satay. Photo: Here with recipe

My favorite from the grill is grilled skewer porc with sticky rice and nam phrik!! If you have not try it…don’t wait!

Grilled skewer pork. Photo: Here with recipe


6. Dessert



So much dessert to chose from but alot of tourist has atleast tasted once thai pancake aka roti, right? 

Roti

So so so much different kind of dessert! So complicated to explain.

So I am just going to link some good blog posts about thai dessert.

Enjoy!

Migrationology.com
Live-less-ordinary.com 

Bangkokbits.com


Please let me know if you think something is missing or just let me know your favorite thai dish or dessert. Do you prefer eating noodle, isaan or khao kaeng? 







Bang Bao bay, Koh Kut

I have already been in Thailand on high season so many times before so I know that most of the islands and beaches will be packed with people. It’s really not my kind of vacation but if it was not for visiting my thai family I would have gone to Indonesia…

This is not what I was looking for. At Kamala beach, Phuket.

So months before going to Thailand I was reading alot of blogs and forums to find an unspoil beauty, quiet and less devolopped island to visit. I came across Koh Kood or aswell known for Koh Kut. It’s Thailands fourth largest island and it is close to Koh Mak and Koh Chang. 

According to blogs Koh Kut has beautiful paradise beaches with crystal clear waters, several waterfalls to enjoy, good hotels and best of all…not much tourist! 

Once we decided for koh Kut  I then had to chose a beach. And once again thanks to blogs for helping me making my decision, Bang Bao bay beach was our final destination!

From Bangkok it tooked us around 8 hours to arrive to our bungalow at Bang Bao bay. ( I will write a complete guide of how to get there in another post and about our accommodation). Unfortunally we had bad weather for two days so the water was looking rather greyish and dirty than crystal clear bleu!

It was grey for two days and then on the third day when I woke up Bang Bao bay beach was finally looking as I was hoping for, if not even better!  

Can you see the differences between the photo above and this one? Same same but different, right?

The beach is around 1km long with  6 hotels and we stayed at Siam hut for 1300bath/night. (More about the Siam hut in another post)

Look how emty the beach is!! Bang bao bay beach, Koh Kut

What I really love about Bang bao beach is not only for it’s turquoise blue waters and fine sand, I really appreciate the calm sea and the shallow water aswell. You can walk out quite far before it’s getting to deep. It was the perfect beach for us since we are a small family with a toddler. 

Bang bao bay beach, Koh Kut

The sunsets were not the best sunsets but they were was acutally not bad! 

Since we were travelling with a toddler we didn’t get to se other beaches so I can’t say if Bang Bao bay beach is the most beautiful beach of the island but I can say it was perfect for us. 

Other things to do than swim and sunbath on Bang Bao beach is kayaking, having a massage, snorkling and diving. There is a dive center on the other end of the beach. 

We were lucky that my cousin came over for a night and helped us look for our daughter while she was napping so we could sneak out…kayaking!! She was staying at Natural beach resort and kayaks there were for free for guests. But there are kayaks for rent somewhere at the middle of the beach.

And once we managed to get a massage while our daughter was napping! I had a good oil massage 1hour/400 bath while David had ordinary thai massage 1hour/300 bath. You can find the massage hut at the end of the beach at Siam beach resort.

We had five nights at Bang Bao bay beach at Koh Kut and we really loved it!  Just to bad our little daugter was not on her very best mood! Next time we would love to visit the other beaches and waterfalls!

Have you guys been to Koh Kut? Can you recommend other beach on the island?


What Thailand made me miss about being home.

Yes, I still have Travel hangover and yes I am still crying over to be home. But when I was in Thailand I missed alot of things about being home. To move on with my life and to get over this depression I am now trying to focus on those positve things I missed with home when we were away.

It is important that you understand that I am comparing being away in Thailand and not being away in generally because each country is different.

1. Walking

Lumbini parc in central Bangkok is a good place to walk.

My husband and I love to take long spontaneous walks and in Thailand (mostly in Bangkok) we missed walking alot. Yes you can walk mostly everywhere in Thailand but I wouldn’t call it enjoyable. Here are the reasons why.

  1. It’s to hot! You have between 6-9 am and 4-6pm to walk if you don’t want to melt of the heat.
  2. There no sidewalk! If there is one, it is often occupied by street vendors, dogs, parking cars and bikes.
  3. Traffic! People are driving like crazy and people are driving where they don’t suppose to. I am constantly looking over my shoulder when I am walking.
  4. I have already mention dogs! They are everywhere and they can be nasty!
  5. People! To much people!


2. Eating healthier food

Crispy porc is my favorit!

This is more a problem for a health freak like David but one of the thing we missed was eating healthier food ! When you are in Thailand you are surrounded by food everywhere, 24h! It’s easier and cheaper to eat out than to cook at home. The problem is we thai people (included me) love our food very greasy, sweet, salty, sour and spicy and we put meat in mostly everything. It is so delicious but not always very healthy! And when we ate out we had zero control of what they have put in the dishes. Once I ordered an ice tea without sugar. But the ice tea came very sweet. The vendor explained to me that he have put sugar in it beacuse without sugar the ice tea wouldn’t taste good! And we bought once fresh sliced pineapple where the vendor marined the pineapples with sugar to sweeten them. I have no proof but the pineapples cleary tasted like white sugar!

At home we like to buy our food organic and we eat less meat. Don’t get me wrong, in Thailand there are alot of fresh veggies and fruit everywhere but what we missed was a simple home cooked quality meals.


3. Crazy drivers and traffic jam

A fully loaded tuk tuk.

It’s aweful to be in a car jam with a toddler who hates being in a car. I can survive a car jam, but always having fear for my life everytime I am in a car beacause people are driving like I-don’t-care-about-my-life-neither-yours…that it’s so stressful! There where times we had crazy taxi drivers so we asked to change the taxi. We are happy be to back safely!

 

4. Baby chair

How we missed Mirabelles tripp trapp stokke chair!

Without a baby chair she would constantly jump up on the table. Switch between David and I. Go down on the floor and then up on our knees again. Bon appetit!

What we really missed was Mirabelles hight chair! At home she would sit nicely eating in her high chair. Many restaurants in Thailand have chair for baby but so many more don’t have them. For us it was a problem because without the chair Mirabelle would act like a ape by the table jumping around. We had no peace by the table. It was impossible to make a conversation because one of us always have to look after her. Every meal was a disaster!


For those of you who have been in Thailand, do you agree with me? What do you miss when you away from home?  


 

After holiday comes the travel hangover

Yay, you just booked your flight tickets and nights at a hotel by the beach and you are walking with a huge smile everyday till the day.

And when you arrive to the paradise your smile is even bigger because this place is even better than you imagined. For two whole weeks you are happy and you are living to the fullest and are enjoying every minute.

The day comes when you have to pack your bags and take the flight home. And you are still smiling.

You open the front door to your home and you immediate feel it’s good to be home when you lay your head on your pillow.

But for me this feeling of “feels good to be home” normally doesn’t last very long. And this time I didn’t even got the chance to feel “it’s good to be home” because it was blown away by the biting cold wind when we stepped out of the plane. 

We got home last night after spending two month in Thailand. The bags and things are spread out all over the floor. My daughter is all over the place. My head is banging of headache from jetlag. Both my daughter and I got a cold. It doesn’t help that the flat is freezing cold because my husband turned off the heater and forgot to close two windows before he took his plane (my daughter and I left a week before him). And I had to go to the grocery store. It was so cold outside that if I started to cry the tears would freeze into icicle. Then cook…after two month.

There is no place like home…right? If you ask me, I hate beeing home..atleast for now! 

White winter wonderland!

This feeling is normal. It is called “travel hangover”. 

Koh Kood

I get it everytime we come back home from holiday and the feeling is worse than the ordinary hangover. Travel hangover is pain in your soul and heart…almost like a hearthache when you separate from someone that you love. Like having a broken heart, travel hangover feels like it will last forever. But the truth is like everything else time will heal. I will slowly get back into the daily rutin, get use to the cold and the jetlag  will be gone ect. 

Other than time, there are actually ways how to cure your hangover. I will write about that another time. For now, I will just cry my ached heart out. Crying is by the way one of the cure…

Samet Nangshee viewpoint, Phang nga

In january 2017 we were two weeks in Phuket visiting good friends and relatifs. Phuket is known for being very touristic and during peak season it’s hard to find an unique and peaceful place out in the nature to calm your soul for a moment.

Wanted to visit this famous Phang nga bay I was not convinced of paying for an overpriced daytour and sharing a small boat filled with other tourist. I will one day but not this time…

Therefore my friend who lives in Phuket suggested us to go to a pointview where you can have a great view of the Phang nga bay. I really thought it’s going to be another tourist trap. 

Without any high expectation we drove 30km from Phang nga town to a small town Tha yu where you have to turn into a small road from the highway and drive another 11km to the car parking from where you have to do a short hike to the viewpoint. There were no cars parking! A good sign already!

For once the fee is 30 bath only, both for thai and farang (farang = foreigner). You can pay the fee by a small bamboo hut near the parking. If you need something to drink or eat there are some food stalls aswell.

You can chose to walk the approx 700 meter up, or for the more lazy ones drive the car to the viewpoints. There are actually two viewpoints. We walked up ofcourse and we did not even sweat a drop. Just a little bit but that was because of the heat! 😅

Once arrived at the first viewpoint we were impressed of the beautiful view but aswell because we were the only one there! Amazing! Nobody! 




From the first viewpoint to the second viewpoint is another 700 meter up. Not very difficult. I was happy to see that there were nobody again and that we could sit under a bamboo hut for shade while eating our exotic fruits and admiring the great view…for almost for free and alone. Perhaps this is not as beautiful as if we would see it from the sea but for us it was perfect.  A moment of peace.

What suprised me were the tents and the rustic bungalows! Yes, you can sleep up here! A tent is for 350 bath and a bungalow is 550 bath.

The toilets

We stayed there under the bamboo hut for almost two hours relaxing and talking. Next time, with a preparation we will sleep in a tent for sure….but next time will this viewpoint stay this sauvage and tourist free? I can already imagine in a couple of years resorts, bars and restaurants all the way up start from the parking.

 Not much really last this untouched in Thailand for long…

Do you know any good non touristic spot in Thailand?