Archive for June, 2014

On our last day in Phuket, we made it a point to squeeze in some more touring before we head to Bangkok for the second leg of our Thailand trip. One of the very friendly hotel staff helped us book a half day tour complete with a private car and our own personal driver. She also helped us score bus tickets to Bangkok that included free pickup from our hotel. Super convenient! But before that, we had to get moving because the rest of Phuket eagerly awaits us.

The first destination of the day: Kata Beach. Kata Beach is one of the most popular beach in Phuket next to Patong. It is much less crowded than Patong so it is a great family destination.

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It is safe to swim in Kata Beach because it does not have any drop offs. It is very friendly to children and non-swimmers. Because of the waves, it also is popular among surfers and even hosts a surf competition once a year. While we were there, we saw a couple of surfers in the water.

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Much like Patong Beach, benches shaded by parasols are lined up along its one-kilometer shore. I could imagine myself lying down in one of them, staring off into the scenic clear water flanked by hills, sipping on an ice-cold drink. Alas, I didn’t have the luxury of time for that so I went back to our car and took a final parting shot instead. Maybe next time…

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When booking for hotels on vacations, we all have a lot of considerations in mind. Location, amenities and affordability are always on the top of my list. Luckily, we found one that meets our standards.

Leelawadee Boutique Hotel is within walking distance from the charming Patong Beach where most of the touristy things are. The hotel has an in-house restaurant with a delicious à la carte menu. What won us over is the free buffet breakfast that comes with our hotel reservation. Hard to resist free things, right?

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Every morning, we would make our way down to the restaurant to get our fill of eggs, sausages, and freshly cut fruits. You can request to have some eggs done however you like, and the cook will prep them on the fly. A fairly wide selection of drinks is also available. Cold juice or freshly brewed coffee, whatever floats your boat.

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We booked the cheapest room that could fit the three of us. We had zero expectations on how large the room was and we would have been happy with whatever we had as long as we could fit comfortably in it. Imagine our delight when we got ushered to our very large room. Plus points for them letting us into our room waaaaay before the normal check-in time.

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Our room was on the second floor which provided a very good view of the swimming pool. The stairway going up to our floor is also gorgeously lit up at night which provided a nice backdrop to some token vanity photos.

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Moving on to the pool, we almost always had it all to ourselves. Every afternoon, we would lounge around drinking some local beer and eating some snacks. When we get tired of the water, we move around an upper deck that has a great view of the sun setting from the distance. Aaaaaahhh the tranquility!

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The hotel is decorated in a contemporary Thai style and it was fun searching and photographing all the little ornaments scattered all over the lobby. One of my favorite is the bathroom sign near the reception area.

The exceptionally warm service of the hotel crew should also be commended. They always have a warm smile on their face and they’re always ready to cater to our every little special request.

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108436480If you are going to Phuket any time soon, I would highly recommend this hotel. You can check their official website here: http://leelaboutique.com/

Back when I used to live at a condo unit with a bunch of other girls, we made sure to celebrate things together. It has become one of our traditions to have a Christmas Dinner before every one of us goes home to our beloved families for the holidays. Like me, my girlfriends also love eating and discovering new food and new places to eat at.

For that particular year, we decided to have our annual Christmas dinner at Chef Tatung’s. The place is owned by Chef Myke Sarthou who converted his own home into a private dining gem.

The interiors of the place is pretty homey. The walls are painted a vibrant red that looked very welcoming especially with the gorgeous chairs and table setting. There are also paintings and other trinkets and every corner is “Instagram-worthy”.105596953

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While waiting for our food to get served, we made our way to the outside dining area and it was equally charming as the interior. We had to go in after a while though because there were a number of mosquitoes feasting on us. 105599253

On to the food…

These are the only drinks I got to take a picture of.  On the left is Tuba Shake (P110) and the other one is the 4 Seasons Shake (P150). 105594870

What’s a Filipino dinner without rice. We ordered Tatung’s Fried Rice (P160) for us to share.

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For our vegetable fill, we got the Gising Gising (P220). I was actually expecting green beans in coconut milk but this one was more like Chopsuey. No complaints though because it had bits and pieces of different kinds of seafood.

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I know these were consumed couple years ago but I can’t help myself from drooling right now. This is their Prawns Aligue (P480). Plump and juicy large prawns in a deadly delicious aligue (crab fat) sauce. Yummy!

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We also had two orders of the barbecued Pork Belly (400). As evidenced by the photo, the meat was juicy and it had a small amount of fat in it, which we loved.

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For desserts, we shared an order of Leche Flan (P60) and Tsoknut Cake (P80). These were demolished in less than five minutes.

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Before our dinner ended, Chef Tatung made an appearance to check on us and graciously take a photo with us. What a nice fella!

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I’m not sure if this place is still open for business because as I mentioned, this was a couple of years ago. Bad blogger! LOL. But if it is (still open, that is), go check it out! The food is great and you’ll definitely get the bang for your buck. 105605096

After a sumptuous lunch at Bora Bora Restaurant, our speed boat made its way to the last destination for the day — Khai Nok Island. Koh Khai Nok is a small triangular island tucked in Phang Nga Bay.

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One special characteristic of Koh Khai Nok is that it has at least twelve types of exotic tropical fish and they aren’t afraid of humans. This is the only place I’ve been so far where you could snorkel above the water. Literally! You don’t even need to dip your head into the water to be able to see all the fish. The water is so clear and the fish are so fearless that they swim even on knee-deep waters.

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My friends and I were more interested in all the freshly cut fruits prepared by a member of our boat crew. He was masterfully cutting open piece after piece of pineapple and watermelon. All the guests could partake of the fruits, water and soda that they brought along. Well, don’t mind if I do! 🙂

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We rented out a parasol where we could put our things and rolled around on the beach’s powder white sand. The sand was so fine and it got everywhere. EVERYWHERE! Hahaha!

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On the other end of the island, less people were gathered. The water is relatively deeper and there are much more jagged rock formations than the inexperienced swimmer would dare get near to.

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After walking around and swimming with the fishies for a little bit, we went back under our parasol and gladly consumed some more watermelon that our full tummies could manage.  We just can’t get enough!

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We spent our last minutes lounging under our beach umbrella and people-watching. Not long after, our tour guide were calling everyone on board. Sadly, our whole day of gallivanting in Phuket’s Islands has come to an end.

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A while back, a good friend of mine invited me to try out the Sushi Buffet at Sakae Sushi. Given the fact that I love Japanese food, I was up to the challenge. And he said he would pay for our meal so I didn’t need much prodding.

Sakae Sushi offers unlimited sushi at the reasonable price of P399 per head. This entitles you to grab any sushi you want from the conveyor belt, along with a bowl of Miso Soup and bottomless Green Tea (hot or cold). Sounds like a good deal, eh?

The sushi’s value are color coded based on the plates. Keep your eye out for the purple and red plates are these are the most expensive types.

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I didn’t get to take a photo of every plate that we had. Below are the ones we sampled and I was able to capture before they got devoured.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the names of everything. I just grabbed whatever looked interesting from the conveyor belt. The sushi rolls were all good. But looking back now, I don’t think we were able to taste the classic California Maki. Weird. The orange looking thing in the lower right panel is Japanese rice wrapped in egg and soaked in some sort of sweet sauce. It was surprisingly good!

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Upper left photo was not good. It tasted sooooo fishy! I suspect that this plate has gone around in the belt for a long time therefore it was not fresh anymore. The octopus on the other hand (upper right) tasted fresh. It had a slightly sweet taste and was not chewy at all.

If I remember right, the lower left photo is Kani Tempura. It was quite confusing though because I am not used to green crabsticks. Lower right is the usual tofu steak. It was OK but I like Teriyaki Boy’s tofu steak waaaay better.

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This collage is all the Japanese rice wrapped in nori with different toppings. Every piece was huge and I was quite overwhelmed at first because I thought there was no rice in it and it was just nori stuffed with different things. However, upon biting into it, I felt cheated. It was filled with rice 3/4 of the way. LOL. I am not complaining though because nori is one of my favorite things in the world. I just had to be creative on how I can dispose off of the rice because I was already getting full at this point.

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One of the very rare prime items in the belt is this salmon thingamajig. It was fried with some sort of breading then slathered with sweet and spicy sauce. The salmon tasted fresh and the spice level was just right. image

After around two hours, I couldn’t take any more rice. We had to order a can of Coke just to help us burp because we were bursting in the seams. Suffice it to say, I did not crave sushi for a long while after this.

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Sakae Sushi is in SM Mall of Asia. P399 is quite cheap for such a ridiculous amount of food but do not expect anything authentic or gourmet level. I would probably go back, especially if someone is willing to pay for me again. LOL

 

 

The whole day island hopping tour we booked included a buffet lunch in one of the Phi Phi Islands. Lunch itself wasn’t too interesting but super filling. And I cannot get over the deliciousness of their watermelons. Their soup was also good but mainly because I am obsessed with nori, LOL.

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After stuffing ourselves full, we decided to walk around the island. The restaurant was also getting too full for our liking so it was a perfect way to escape all the noise. I am all for cultural diversity but families and friends speaking different languages in loud volumes – I tell you, it gets crazy.

Right outside the restaurant, we saw baskets of fake fruits and vegetables on display. They look so real on photos, though. Just a few steps away from the restaurant, we saw a vendor peddling real fruits. Their mangoes are humongous!

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The island has several hotels in it and the streets actually look like that of actual villages. We saw a couple of pools but they are for the hotel guests’ use only.

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A lot of souvenir items are available in the island. This neon green tank caught my eye but being the frugal me, I held myself back because I know I could find the same stuff at a cheaper price off the island. Most of the stores do not tolerate photography but I git to squeeze in a couple of shots before I got shooed away by a very agitated seller. LOL. Calm yo tits!

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After about 15 minutes of walking, we arrived at the far end of the island where we  got to have an awesome view of the surrounding islands. A handful of boats were docked in that area and it just looked so picturesque with mountains and the ocean as a backdrop. The photos do not do the view any justice, mainly because I was just using a camera phone.

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I also found a cute kitten lounging around the benches and I just couldn’t pass up a photo-op. Thailand has lots of chubby cats all around and this was just the start of me harassing a bunch of them. Soon after taking pictures with the cat, we made our way back to where we had lunch and hopped on our boat off to another island.

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