Go Thailand All about traveling & living in Thailand. http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand <![CDATA[Banyan Tree Bangkok Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> The hotel is in subpar standard and not well kept. Unfortunately, Banyan Tree precedes its own reputation in the past and that has created a letdown experience.

Too many frustrations during check-in and leave a bitter aftertaste. Other than that, there are something in the hotel that's worth applauding too! Considering the prices it's charging, it is not forgivable for it to make such mistakes!!!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/LuxuryHotels/reviews/d/UserReview-Banyan_Tree_Bangkok-706-1684791-228121.html http://www.lunch.com/LuxuryHotels/reviews/d/UserReview-Banyan_Tree_Bangkok-706-1684791-228121.html Sat, 8 Sep 2012 08:43:23 +0000
<![CDATA[Lobo Tom Yum Paste Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/d/UserReview-Lobo_Tom_Yum_Paste-44-1824458-224410.html http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/d/UserReview-Lobo_Tom_Yum_Paste-44-1824458-224410.html Mon, 28 May 2012 09:58:32 +0000 <![CDATA[Lobo Massaman Curry Paste Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Lobo_Massaman_Curry_Paste-139-1824457-224409.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Lobo_Massaman_Curry_Paste-139-1824457-224409.html Mon, 28 May 2012 09:54:31 +0000 <![CDATA[Lobo Thai Green Curry Paste Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
See full review here.

http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/d/UserReview-Lobo_Thai_Green_Curry_Paste-44-1824456-224408.html http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/d/UserReview-Lobo_Thai_Green_Curry_Paste-44-1824456-224408.html Mon, 28 May 2012 09:49:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ Sharrie's Home Cooked Kaang Keaw Wan (Thai Green Curry)!]]>
So, I bought a couple of them (each either $0.50 or less than $1; trust me, they are great souvenirs!!! Everyone is happy with it!) and tried cooking the Tom Yum paste, Masaman curry & Green curry at home. To my utmost surprise, the Green Curry Paste from Lobo is simply heavenly. Unbeatable!!! Even some restaurants in Hong Kong and Singapore don't serve such delicious Green Curry! And, I for one cooked it!!!!!!!!

Alas, I only bought 2 of them and gave one to my friend. Luckily enough, another friend of mine took a weekend trip there and I got her to buy me 10 packets (which I gave some to friends). Now, I wish I had asked for more! Afterall, it can be kept until 2014! 

Anyhow, trust me, this is the best home cooked curry I've come across. The Tom Yum paste didn't taste as great but I'm going to cook it again this weekend and see if I can improve on it.

How to cook? Well, 3 things are must. 
1. The green curry paste from Lobo - 1 packet
2. Coconut milk (Ayam brand or Kara brand, both found in Hong Kong, Singapore & Malaysia) - 1 can
3. Tiger Prawns (my personal favorite) with Squid (can do without too) or Chicken Meat (drumstick or breast depending on your preference)

What I like best about it is not just how good it taste but the ease with which one can cook it! It took me a mere 10-15 mins to get everything cooked! Nothing to cut or prepare in advance either! All one need is to cook some rice in advance. Otherwise, you can also served it with French bread!!!

Here's what I cooked the last two time. I managed to get some of the specially prepacked Thai veggies for green curry (Sweet Basil Leave, Kaffir Lime Leave, Ladies Fingers, Chilli, Thai Eggplant etc...) at a local supermarket in Hong Kong so that's a blessing! However, if you're not too particular, they are not a must and one simply have to add some favorite veggie to it to make it a really good meal. The first time I cooked it with chicken I simply added some baby corns as they are my favorites!

Cooking Instruction:
1. Heat a wok or whatever pot you use for cooking and add the green curry paste. Then pour in a can (270ml) of coconut milk. I personally prefer to fry the paste a little before I pour in the coconut milk. However, just make sure your cooking utensil is not too shallow or else you'd get burnt from the splatter.
2. Add prawns (and other seafood, squid is good for this dish too) or chicken (if you prefer) and stir fry until the meat is almost cooked. Then add a small cup of water (200 ml) and bring to a boil.
3. Add the veggies. Cook until tender. If you have fish sauce you can add it too.

That's it. Just 3 steps. Serve with rice or bread.

Lobo made a really comprehensive video on Youtube if you need more help with cooking! Check it out! Yummy!!!

(A Lunch Featured Review)
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Green_Curry-139-1428612-224407-Sharrie_s_Home_Cooked_Kaang_Keaw_Wan_Thai_Green.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Green_Curry-139-1428612-224407-Sharrie_s_Home_Cooked_Kaang_Keaw_Wan_Thai_Green.html Mon, 28 May 2012 09:33:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Thai Cuisine Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Some classic Thai dishes are:
  • Tom Yam Kung
  • Pad Thai
  • Green, Red and Yellow Curry
  • Pineapple Rice

http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Cuisine-44-1333870-206985.html http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Cuisine-44-1333870-206985.html Thu, 5 May 2011 02:45:36 +0000
<![CDATA[Thai Airways International Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Thai_Airways_International-129-1433522-205893.html http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Thai_Airways_International-129-1433522-205893.html Thu, 14 Apr 2011 07:07:21 +0000 <![CDATA[Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International Airport) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
If you plan on shopping and having your meals at the airport, go at least 3 hours before departure. The post office at the airport is also great if you've excess shopping from city. Just mail them home! ;-)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Suvarnabhumi_Airport_Bangkok_International_Airport_-129-1437422-205883.html http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Suvarnabhumi_Airport_Bangkok_International_Airport_-129-1437422-205883.html Thu, 14 Apr 2011 06:08:50 +0000
<![CDATA[Jetstar Airways Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Fly high, Jetstar!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Jetstar_Airways-129-1433470-205212.html http://www.lunch.com/airtravel/reviews/d/UserReview-Jetstar_Airways-129-1433470-205212.html Wed, 6 Apr 2011 07:13:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Star of Low Cost Airlines!]]> 3 major budget airlines operating in its international sky, namely (in alphabetical order):

  1. Air Asia
  2. Jetstar Airways
  3. Tiger Airways

I've taken all 3 of them in the past 3-5 years or so. Each has its own distinctive strengths and weaknesses. Here I'll just attempt to outline some of the common ones since this is merely a review on Jetstar.

Jetstar belongs to the Australians. As with the other two airliners, it is a low cost airline. That means you'd have to compromise (slightly, not too bad when you think about the savings in $ terms) in terms of services and entertainment when flying these airlines. There are some occasions when you've no choice but to fly them instead of premier airlines like Singapore Airllines, Cathay Pacific and/or Asiana Airlines because these airlines don't take you there direct or the cost of flying almost doubled or tripled. So, Jetstar it is!

Jetstar participates in Qantas Frequent Flyer program (It was established by Qantas after all). It is also very strong in Australia and its domestic routes. Hence, if you're heading to/from Australia, your best bet would be to first look at Jetstar via its website. I like Jetstar website a lot. Of the three, it's the most user friendly and easy to find the day where the fare is most suited to one's needs. Hence, it's # 1 where website-navigation is concerned. Jetstar official website allows visitors to see the fares for 2 months on a single click and that saves visitors and potential customers lots of time. The other 2 airlines don't!

In terms of customers service, I've no idea as I never did call any of them. Know that in most cases, even if the policy allows you to rebook your flights with penalties, in the case of low cost airlines, it's never worth doing it. The cost is just too high and you might as well just book another new reservation!

When it comes to experience, Jetstar is a tad better than the other two. You'd notice that budget airlines in the world fly mostly from a different (aka budget) terminal. That means, don't expect posh airport facilities. In some countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, they are not too bad. In the case of Jetstar, it is interesting that it doesn't actually take off in a budget terminal in Singapore. Instead, it flies from Terminal 1. In addition, Jetstar doesn't charge for your baggages. Instead, the 20-kg allowance is already computed into the cost of the ticket (as with normal airlines). This is a deviation from the standard practices of budget or low cost airlines. I find that quite refreshing. On top of that, Jetstar also allows you 10-kg hands-on luggage instead of 7-kg. That's truly nice! I feel like I'm traveling on a full fare economy airline instead of a budget airline! Hence, that's what makes it a step ahead of its competitors. To put it simply, if the cost is the same and the time of the flight is equally good, I'll always choose Jetstar ahead of the other two!!!

Now, some tips for the readers. Jetstar is reasonably competitive in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Flights to Bangkok are often cheaper than the other two when you take into account all the charges. So, I encourage you to go through the entire process to calculate the total cost before you buy your tickets. Don't just look at the base fare as the other two airlines may have lower fares but when all things are added up, they are more costly! I do believe Jetstar doesn't charge for seats as well. So, do your sums!

One last tip about budget airlines. The beauty of budget airlines is that you can buy a one-way fare at equally great price as a return fare. Under the normal airlines, one-fare fare are usually a lot more expensive and are almost never accounting for about 1/2 the price of a return fare. That means you don't have to leave from the same airport if you prefer not to!

As you can see from the picture, Jetstar also has nice leather seats. At any time, it's better than the full fare airlines like American Airlines, Delta and United. So, have no worry about taking off in budget airlines in Asia. They are equally good and not filing for Chapter 11 as far as my knowledge goes. Tiger Airways is a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, by the way.

While Virgin Atlantic & America may be the choice in the Europe and US markets respectively, Jetstar is clearly the preferred choice in Asia. Naturally, the other two budget airlines do have their advantages. Stay tune for future reviews!

In the meantime, have a safe and pleasant flight!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Jetstar_Airways-139-1433470-205211-The_Star_of_Low_Cost_Airlines_.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Jetstar_Airways-139-1433470-205211-The_Star_of_Low_Cost_Airlines_.html Wed, 6 Apr 2011 07:05:11 +0000
<![CDATA[ Journey to the enchanted kingdom]]>
Now that we got that over with, let's enjoy Siam Niramit to the fullest. It's a show that not only showcased the historical relevance of certain cultures in Thailand but also the imaginary world of hell and heaven. I found it a little peculiar but I guess it has to do with Thais' fascination with the mythical and the mystical.

To get to the show, just check with your concierge on how to go about it. Alternatively, if you're staying on Sukhumvit area, I can suggest you taking the BTS to Asoke station, get off and head to Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit (which you can access directly from the Asoke station to its second floor doorway). Take the lift to the LG floor and look for the tour desk. The lady is very friendly and will make the necessary reservation for you if you're there before 5 pm. The pick up time is around 5 pm at the Sheraton. Show starts at 8 pm but the ticket will include transportation, dinner and also visiting the mock-up village at the back of the theater. You can also do some shopping there. Ample time to take dinner so you don't have to rush. 

Price = 1400 baht (all included).
If you like, you may try with other hotels and see if you can get it at a bargain price. For all I know, the theater charges 1500 baht for show alone. So, don't go there on your own and buy ticket from the box office. That could prove to be most expensive!

I met a couple from Pakistan when the driver came to pick me up. They were staying at the Grand Mercure and I was told they paid some 1300 baht just for the show. No dinner for them though. Nice young couple. Hopefully, I get to meet up with them again sometime in the future! 

I suggest you go take your pictures of the village before you head for dinner as the lighting would be better earlier in the evening. Also, take some pictures with the Thais dressed in traditional costumes. That would make great souvenir later.

The Show
The show boasted a cast of some 150 performers and 2000 seats. Scenes from ancient kingdom, villagers, traders and even heaven and hell were performed over the course of the 80 minutes show. No interval and no photography. I was most impressed with the grandeur of the stage and also the ever changing stage. It'd have been perfect if the show themes were well explained or "subtitled". As it is, at times, one feels disconnected from what's happening.

What truly saved it is the colorful costumes and dancings. The way the stage is designed is certainly worth every penny of what I've paid for. That was quite a remarkable architectural engineering, I must say. Half way through it, I was surprised to see how things have changed in a matter of minutes! Incredible!

I found some Youtube videos which I assumed were official editions. Otherwise, they must have changed the rules recently and no filming has since been allowed. Thanks to YouTube you may now see glimpses of the show and hopefully will get to it when you're in Thailand!

Official Site: http://www.siamniramit.com/oldweb/index.php

A Lunch Featured Review)]]>
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Siam_Niramit-139-1717104-203798-Journey_to_the_enchanted_kingdom.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Siam_Niramit-139-1717104-203798-Journey_to_the_enchanted_kingdom.html Sat, 12 Mar 2011 16:34:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Siam Niramit Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Show is a little draggy if you don't quite understand the culture and history relating to Thailand. However, it has enough varied performances to keep you entertained in the 80 mins continuous showing. I must admit the stage is definitely worth the price of the ticket. It's as good as most of Vegas shows. If you can spare the time, make sure you go and watch it. You will also be invited to 'experience' some rural lifestyle of the Thais before the show and to try some snacks free of charge!

http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Siam_Niramit-139-1717104-203795.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Siam_Niramit-139-1717104-203795.html Sat, 12 Mar 2011 15:51:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Westin_Grande_Sukhumvit_Bangkok-139-1684723-203793.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Westin_Grande_Sukhumvit_Bangkok-139-1684723-203793.html Sat, 12 Mar 2011 14:58:09 +0000 <![CDATA[All Seasons Sathorn Bangkok Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/hotel/UserReview-All_Seasons_Sathorn_Bangkok-1706784-203478.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/hotel/UserReview-All_Seasons_Sathorn_Bangkok-1706784-203478.html Fri, 11 Mar 2011 14:47:55 +0000 <![CDATA[ Passing with flying colors]]> All Seasons by Accor hotels that I'm staying in and reviewing. I must say it has surpassed any expectation I've of it! Coming out of Westin Sukhumvit (a 5* hotel, you know, it's Westin! Review coming soon...) and checking into a "budget" (presumably 3*) hotel can be a daunting experience. But, it is NOT and that's the best news of the day!

I've no idea what All Seasons hotels are like, except that it's one of Accor's many brands. It's actually in the same category with Ibis (on Accor's website) and I had stayed in Ibis when in Europe. They are clean and affordable so I've a little idea of how All Seasons might be like (esp. since i've also been in many budget business hotels in China; mostly chains by local entrepreneurs who have listed these companies on Nasdaq!). I saw the many All Seasons in Bangkok and decided to try one of its newest (if I remember correctly, there are no All Seasons in US yet, most are found in Europe and Australia). From the pictures online, it looks great and knowing the quality of furniture in Thailand, I know it's not going to be bad. The only concern is location (as you well know, if you had been to Bkk, the traffic here can be horrendous!). I spotted on the website All Seasons Victory Monument and the site said it's only 2 mins walk from a BTS train (station is not Victory Monument but one stop north of it). I know this would be it! After checking out the price (with tax included, it's only THB 1200 a night!). That's just very tempting offer, isn't it? A mere US$40 (everything inclusive, SC+taxes which amounted to 17% & a buffet breakfast)!

These days, 5* hotels are overcharging its customers. Hotels like All Seasons will capture quite a bit of business from the gap between prices and services. So, before we get on to what's wrong with 5* hotels, let's dwell on what is right with All Seasons.

It's not on Sukhumvit or Silom or Sathorn. Where it is is north of Siam, about 4 stations away and tucked in a quiet neighborhood. I like it because there aren't so many vendors and people loitering around it like those hotels on Sukhumvit. Traffic is less and you don't see prostitutes around either although I can't vouched for other guests who might bring them back. On the neighborhood though, it's quiet and clean. There's a 7-11 store around where one can get SIM cards to call home or friends in the city. 

[Phone cards are usually 99b with stored value of 33b. You may want to get a top up amount of 60b which would allows you to use the SIM card for a period of 1 month.]

I don't know about other All Seasons, this one in Bangkok is on par where services are concerned with those in Westin. Granted, their exposure and training may not be all encompassing but their attitudes are what I'm concerned with. The Thai has great attitude when it comes to the hospitality industry. This makes it such an advantage to the industry as a whole. On my first night here, I was made to feel welcome and at home. 

I check-in in this particular hotel twice. The first time was perfect, albeit a little slow. The next night, I decided to switch hotel (just for the sake of checking out another on in Sathorn area, embassy strip, which was a little older but from the website, things look perfect. I found out otherwise after a night there). I came back on my 4th night in Bangkok (my first was at Westin). 

During my 2nd time checking into this hotel, the new staff is not good in English. I found out in my first night that on the odd number rows of rooms, it's facing a construction site. I didn't want that even though it didn't disrupt my sleep (it's probably because it was a weekend night and they don't work on Sunday!). I specifically told her to give me a room not facing the construction site. I'm now assuming she didn't understand the word "construction" or she didn't know which room faces what! Anyway, it's just a minor problem and after getting to the room I had managed to get it changed quite quickly (assuming the bellboy tells her what the problem was after I pointed out to him the construction site!).

Another strange thing about check-in process in this hotel is this. I reserved under two reservation for my 4th and 5th night. Same hotel but 2 different online bookings as there is a special on the Monday night. During check-in, I told the staff that I'd be staying in the hotel for 2 nights in the same room. Normally, in other hotels, you can either pay everything upfront or pay everything later. In this case though, they made me pay every morning instead. They don't even want to take authorization. Everything is settled daily. Not the usual practices in most foreign hotels.

Lobby is nice spacious and bright with a wine bar around it where you can order something to chill off. It's a nice color theme and I do love the look of it. Drinks are reasonably priced and delicious!

I didn't see any group tours around the few days I was there and I hope it stays that way too. Most are independent travelers from Europe and Hong Kong. Didn't see any Americans either. Understandable since they are usually found in Starwood hotels or Marriott and Holiday Inn chains of hotels. This one belongs to Accor so the Europeans are most familiar with it.

Bed is king sized and very comfortable. I love the fact that it makes full use of spaces and the floor is not carpeted which translates to better upkeeping. Bathroom is much bigger than most budget hotels and nicely decorated. No toothbrush provided unless you ask housekeeping for it. 

No CNN but Fox News is available. 

Rooms are equipped with mini-bars and safety deposit boxes. Mini bar items are reasonably priced and laundry facilities are available.

This hotel has some of the best facilities with swimming pools and exercise rooms. I was surprised but I suspected it'll upgrade itself to a 4* hotel when it has a stable occupancy rate. 

I was impressed with the food quality of this particular hotel. The Thai food is even better than some of those in-town restaurants like Cabbages & Condoms. I love it so much so I had spent almost all my meals here! In addition, the prices are reasonable and if on extended stay, I'd have consider making this my home! Love the curries (130-140 thai baht) and fresh Mango, Lychee and Strawberry juices (90 baht) here! Tom Yum Goong is excellent too. Stay clear of the noodles though.

Just one tiny tip, if there are many people and they have not been served and you're very hungry, try eating somewhere else. Service is a little slow at night (I suspect there's only one chef in the night!).

Value for money. Couldn't ask for better! If one intends to eat in a lot and stay here for an extended period of time, Accor does provide further discounts with its Accor Advantage Plus Program.

Ease of reservation
Quick and simple. Credit card is essential. 
Official Site: http://www.all-seasons-hotels.com]]>
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-All_Seasons_Bangkok_Victory_Monument-139-1706785-203477-Passing_with_flying_colors.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-All_Seasons_Bangkok_Victory_Monument-139-1706785-203477-Passing_with_flying_colors.html Fri, 11 Mar 2011 14:44:49 +0000
<![CDATA[Gourmet Market Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Gourmet_Market-139-1680611-197379.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Gourmet_Market-139-1680611-197379.html Sat, 18 Dec 2010 15:51:52 +0000 <![CDATA[CentralWorld Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-CentralWorld-139-1680365-197378.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-CentralWorld-139-1680365-197378.html Sat, 18 Dec 2010 15:40:50 +0000 <![CDATA[ It's All in a Name!]]> location, location & location!
When it comes to restaurant, it's all in a name! That is, if your restaurant is known as Cabbages & Condoms!

This is quite a famous and popular restaurant in Bangkok on Sukhumvit Sol 12. I first learned about this restaurant from another traveler on VirtualTourist.com. Apparently, this is a must visit for many tourists in Bangkok. As some of you may know, other than a religious country, Thailand, especially with regard to Bagnkok, it is also a popular sex destination! There are moral issues when it comes to this topic but this is not a review about those issues.

As rampant as sex is available in this city, what is one to do in order to control the situation? Well, someone came up with a "brilliant" idea. He's Mechai Viravaidya who's an activist who popularized the idea of condoms in Thailand. As the chairman of PDA (Population & Community Development Association), the largest NGO in Thailand & also one that's been awarded the 2007 Gates Award (as in Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) of $1 million for its work in family planning & HIV/AIDS prevention, Viravaidya believes that to be successful in rural family planning, condoms have to be as easily accessible and accepted as cabbages! Hence, the name Cabbages & Condoms! Truly, I'm not kidding!

Well, you've to see it to believe it! The restaurant is decorated with condoms. I know, that sounds gross!
But the food is great! At first I did have reservations about going to such a restaurant! I mean, what to expect? I've no idea! I'm curious though and anything that sparks my curiosity can't be bad, I figure ;-)

First, you've got to find the place though. The direction was easy enough. Just 5 mins walk into Sukhumvit Sol 12 which is directly across from the hotel I was staying in. Well, I walked and walked. Saw the sign but where is the restaurant? I walked right past it and knew I had overshot when I saw Ramada. There was a foreign couple behind me and they mentioned about going into Ramada to ask. I guessed they were heading to the same place. So, I walked back to where I found the sign and true enough, there was a path leading into the restaurant. It was a late afternoon, after 2 pm and there wasn't any crowd. Just some in the air conditioned part of the restaurant. There is also the open-air beer garden area but since it was a hot afternoon, no one was sitting there.

So, what's so special about this restaurant? Well, you gonna get lots of condoms, esp. in its decor!
Take a look!

What is a restaurant without the right food? Well, this one has all that Thai cuisine has and more. 
Some of the specialty dishes include the following: 
  • Samlee Det Deao (mouthwatering deep fried cotton fish with mango & chili sauce)
  • Chicken in Herb Leaf Bikini (deep fried chicken wrapped in pandan leaves)
  • Tom Kah Kai (chicken breast in coconut milk and galanga soup)
  • Gung Obb Mapraow On (steamed prawn in whole coconut)
  • Spicy Condom Salad (A naughty combination of Shanghai noodles garnishes with chili sauce and herbs)
So, there you've it! Well, since I was just recovering from my sore-throat, I opted something different with less chili (as specifically ordered by my physician, no chilli! Of course, I cheated a little...).

Here they are:
  • Pla Ka Pong Nueng Ma Nao (Seabass in lemon sauce) - a popular way of cooking fish which you can eat elsewhere in Thailand as well. I love fish and thought this to be quite good price. A whole seabass at 350 thai baht (before taxes and service charges of 17%) is quite reasonable. In Thai terms, it might be a tad more expensive than the normal restaurants. However, if you've been to Bangkok before, you'd know it all depends on where you eat rather than what you eat! There is a wide range of pricing of the same dish. 
  • Poo lone (Steamed crab in coconut fish sauce) - this is something which I've not tried before. It is a little similar to Lalap in Indonesia where raw vegetables (salad) is eaten with some cooked meat, in this case, crab meat. Quite tasty although a tad sweeter than what I'd enjoyed. At 200 baht, it is reasonable. 
  • Coconut juice - Love this especially in the warm weather of Bangkok.
  • Water chestnut dessert - I forgot the name in Thai but this is the red rubies in coconut juice which can be seen almost in all Thai restaurant. I was reasonably full by the time I finished the fish so I simply ordered something light.

All in all, I enjoyed my 2 lunch visits to Cabbages & Condoms. I'm pretty sure I'd be back again in future to try out its green & red curries. If you're in Bangkok or the vicinity, you might like to visit this restaurant run by the PDA. There is also a handicraft shop at the entrance to the restaurant whereby sale proceeds are used to fund development and social welfare activities of the PDA.

Other branches of C&C Restaurant can be found at:
  1. Nakhon Ratchsima: 86/1 Suebsiri Road, Nai Muang Sub District, Muang District Nakhonratchasima Province. Tel: (044) 258100-2
  2. Vieng Pa Pao: 153 Moo 6 Pa Ngiew Sub District, Viengpapao District, Chiangrai Province. Tel: (053) 952131
  3. Chiangrai: 620/25 Tanalai Road. Muang District. Chiangrai Province. Tel: (053) 719167
  4. Nangrong: 81 Moo 6 Chokchai-Dej Udom Road. NongBoth Sub District. Nangrong District. Buriram Province. Tel: (044) 657145-7

So, how about this? A santa dressed in condoms? ;-) or if you have a queer sense of humor as the Thai did, Tiger in condoms! What a joke!

http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Cabbages_Condoms-139-1680575-197377-It_s_All_in_a_Name_.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Cabbages_Condoms-139-1680575-197377-It_s_All_in_a_Name_.html Sat, 18 Dec 2010 13:45:15 +0000
<![CDATA[ It's no Four Seasons but it's good for the four seasons!]]>
Four Points by Sheraton is a Starwood Hotels & Resorts hotel brand. That I know even before visiting. That's one of the reasons why I chose the hotel. Another is because it's brand new (a mere 2 weeks of openings) and is giving its customers great bargain while the hotel staff learns their "crafts".

Let's take a closer look at what the Four Points in Bangkok offers.

Located just a few steps from the other 2 Starwood hotels, namely Westin Bangkok and Grand Sheraton Sukhumvit, it is well poised to take advantage of the convenience of Sukhumvit area. Robinson (shopping mall) is next door and Times Square is just opposite. Four Points is on the side street (ie. Sol 15) of Sukhumvit Road and is between Sofitel and the Westin. That translates to top notch location as we all know that big hotel brands won't set up their hotels out in nowhere or in areas that is questionable.

As for the horrible traffic jam in Bangkok, Four Points is about 5-7 mins walk from Nana BTS Skytrain station. Alternatively, one can also walk back from Asok Skytrain station or Sukhumvit subway station.

There are many hotels located on Sukhumvit and hence restaurants and bars are found almost everywhere. To my surprise though, a restaurant by the name "Cabbages and Condoms" (I bet you'd remember this name thereafter and whenever you visit Bangkok!) is located right opposite the hotel, on Sol 12. I read about this restaurant a few years back when I was active on VirtualTourist.com. However, I had never been there the last few times. On this visit though, after checking with the Concierge and was pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually just 5 mins walk from the hotel (on the street opposite), I went ahead and checked it out (twice, in fact). It is indeed worth visiting the restaurant. I'd write a review on it after this. Do check that out if you're even "vaguely" interested! :-)

Yes, indeed. A hotel is only as good as it is if it falls within our budget, isn't it? For now, the introductory offer is 1900 Thai Baht + 10% service charge & 7% VAT. For 3 nights, I paid some 6700 thai baht (about US$222). That translates to US$74 inclusive per night (Room rate does not include breakfast though). Not a bad deal, eh? As for how long the offer lasts, I've no idea. All I know is that it is a practice for hotels to increase the rates as soon as they've got good businesses! The same happened before for Courtyard by Marriott in Hong Kong. Hence, do make your reservation while the offer is still on! 

For a 4* hotel rating, Four Points is adequate. The beds are the same for all of Starwood hotels. Hence, that's the bargain. On the other hand, you might have to put up with some disturbances since this particular hotel is still not fully operational. In fact, on one early morning (9 am is early for me ;p) I could hear renovation work done on the 7th floor. By the way, this hotel is no skyscraper. So, if you want a view that's unbeatable, this is not the one for you. Also, I forgot to check out the swimming pool so I'm not sure if it's any good. I did ask for Spa and was told there is none. The hotel that's next to it has one though, just in case if you're interested in one nearby. I didn't visit it. I've appointments with Oasis Spa which I visit every time I'm in Bangkok. I did visit another new spa which is just next to Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant for a foot massage. It's across from the hotel so that's a good one to go if you merely want to stay in the area. Alternatively, Westin, Grand Sheraton and Sofitel should all have their own spas.

Check-in & Check-out
Check-in was a tad slow. I was told the rooms were not ready yet since many of the guests left late that day! It took more than 30 mins to check in. What a drag! I won't be surprised since I was allowed for a late check-out of 4 pm 3 days later. That's the benefit of being a Starwood member!

Hotel Lobby & Reception Area

Nice and chic decor give it an art deco feel to the hotel lobby. I like the high ceiling and the spacious lobby with nice comfortable & colorful sofas and sitting areas. There is also a corner with some Mac machines for those who'd like to use the facility to go online. Extra charges apply.

Room Amenities
Safety box, ironing board and most of the usual basic amenities are available. My only complaint is that housekeeping is not consistent. One day there is shampoo, conditioner and bath gel. Another day, there is none but a mouthwash is given instead (it could be she guessed I don't need it since I had some of my own, but even after asking her to supply before she cleaned the room the next day, they weren't supplied and I've to call guest services to send over instead). As for toothbrush, you have to ask for it. Otherwise, it won't be supplied.

One other problem with the bathroom is the washing basin. There is design flaw and you'd find water splashed all over. In no time, the hotel will need another renovation in this regard!

Light is sufficient so no complaint in that regard.

LCD TV is a little too small, imho. The writing area is also not sufficient. One wonders if this is a business hotel or a leisure hotel! In any case, I see mostly business travelers and solo travelers. 

The hotel charges for internet access of some 530 (+17%) thai baht. This seems to be the trend for Starwood, Marriott and other American brands of hotels operating in China, Hong Kong and Thailand. Note that other local hotels do NOT charge for internet access and the room rates are lower too (for the same grade of hotels). I suppose if one is charging the bill to the company and is a business traveler, no big deal. For individuals who are traveling for vacation, the only recourse is to use free wifi in the lobby area!

Oh, by the way, something weird I found in this particular Four Points! A condom packet on its mini-bar!!! That is not a sight one would expect from a Starwood Hotel. I can understand their intention but hey, it is not of good taste as far as I'm concerned. No matter what one thinks of Bangkok and no matter what the other Bangkok's hotels are practising, I simply think Starwood group of hotels shouldn't do it! As a matter of fact, it is surprising considering that their GM is an Australian lady. So, what to make out of it? That it's guests would bring prostitutes back to the room?!!! That's yucky for other guests and one wonders about the safety of the hotel in that regard. I surely hope they will take a closer look on this matter. In fact, I'm planning on forwarding this review to the hotel as soon as I'm done!

I didn't visit any although I did think of having lunch one afternoon. However, I was told there's only buffet and yet I didn't see many people eating there (that's about 1 pm). That makes me wonder how fresh the food is! On second thought, why would a newly opened hotel simply offer buffet? That just doesn't make sense to me!

I did check on room service prices. They are pretty reasonable for a hotel but about twice the price in a restaurant. There are many restaurants around Sukhumvit so I'm not sure if anyone will eat in, unless one is not well or too late in the evening.

Customer Service
Staff are friendly and helpful although not highly productive! On the other hand, concierge took the effort to make reservation for my spa appointments. When I asked about tours to Sukothai (an ancient city some 400+ km from Bangkok), he wasn't able to help and suggested instead of private tour. That's something I'd never do. Private tours are hyper-expensive if you booked through the hotel. 

From the airport, there are 2 types of taxis you could take. One is more or less the limousine type (aka private car, not exactly limousine as in Vegas) which charges some 500 thai baht (that was a few years ago when I took it, not sure if the price has increased) and another is metered taxi. For the last few visits, I took the metered taxi since I'm already familiar with the city. However if you are arriving late night, I suggest you take the limousine ones. It's safer that way. From the airport, there is a 50 baht service charge on top of the meter fare and also a 25+45 baht toll fee. All in all, it's about 330 baht to Four Points.

What I'd like to point out is this. Due to the recent oil hikes and also traffic jams, many taxis are not willing to go by the meter during peak hours. As I was leaving the hotel on a friday afternoon (4 pm), despite the hotel's porter who got me the taxi telling the driver to go by meter, I was told by the taxi driver after driving a block from the hotel that he wanted a flat rate. Of course I told him to go back to the hotel. He then told me he wanted some 300 baht (including the toll fee which he'd pay) after he realised that I know the meter will be some 220 baht. That's blackmail on his part (even if it's just a mere 30 baht more; would have been more if he thought I didn't know about the prices!)! 

Anyhow, it's about some 30 baht more than I'd have to pay by meter I reckon and since it's true that traffic can potentially be extremely bad on a friday afternoon, it's no big deal and I don't want to have a huge argument with him. That's not the point though. Be very careful esp. if in the night and if you're alone. Taxis in Bangkok are not the safest and honest! If you suspect something is wrong, make sure you get off at the earliest possible when in a busy road or area in the city. Do not ever allow him to drive far from where you boarded.

I took down the guy's plate no. E7795 and thought of launching a complaint. I do believe one can call 1584 for complaints. I didn't on this occasion since I did arrive at the airport without much event and all the guy wants is a better income. Alternatively, if you do not have much baggages, you might want to take the Skytrain to the airport instead or call the hotel at the earliest possible time should you suspect something is amiss! 

I'm lucky in that this is the 3rd time it happened to me throughout my years of travel. First time was in Madrid, 2nd time in Zagreb and this is the third. All of them involved trips either to or from the airport!!! So, these guys do try to take advantage of tourists! In all respects, I was also able to get away without paying a lot more since they know that I know the market prices in each case. However, if you're not well traveled, you might have to part with a lot more than you should. In any case, it is best policy to check with your hotel prior to arrival how much each trip would roughly cost. That way, the taxi driver won't have the pleasure of knowing that you know nothing and hence he can easily overcharged!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Four_Points_by_Sheraton_Bangkok_Sukhumvit_15-139-1679707-197372-It_s_no_Four_Seasons_but_it_s_good_for_the_four.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Four_Points_by_Sheraton_Bangkok_Sukhumvit_15-139-1679707-197372-It_s_no_Four_Seasons_but_it_s_good_for_the_four.html Sat, 18 Dec 2010 12:05:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Siam Paragon Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Siam_Paragon-139-1444971-197338.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Siam_Paragon-139-1444971-197338.html Fri, 17 Dec 2010 17:56:08 +0000 <![CDATA[BTS Skytrain Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-BTS_Skytrain-139-1680358-197337.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-BTS_Skytrain-139-1680358-197337.html Fri, 17 Dec 2010 17:53:18 +0000 <![CDATA[Thai Cuisine Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Cuisine-139-1333870-197336.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Cuisine-139-1333870-197336.html Fri, 17 Dec 2010 17:47:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Bangkok Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/city/UserReview-Bangkok-139-1397662-197335.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/city/UserReview-Bangkok-139-1397662-197335.html Fri, 17 Dec 2010 17:45:04 +0000 <![CDATA[Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/starwood/reviews/d/UserReview-Four_Points_by_Sheraton_Bangkok_Sukhumvit_15-248-1679707-197130.html http://www.lunch.com/starwood/reviews/d/UserReview-Four_Points_by_Sheraton_Bangkok_Sukhumvit_15-248-1679707-197130.html Thu, 16 Dec 2010 06:33:40 +0000 <![CDATA[Thailand Quick Tip by megmeg]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Thailand-139-1434321-64609.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Thailand-139-1434321-64609.html Wed, 7 Jul 2010 17:29:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Jim Thompson Quick Tip by megmeg]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Jim_Thompson-139-1419143-64608.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Jim_Thompson-139-1419143-64608.html Wed, 7 Jul 2010 17:28:31 +0000 <![CDATA[Thai Dessert Quick Tip by megmeg]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Dessert-139-1428750-64607.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Thai_Dessert-139-1428750-64607.html Wed, 7 Jul 2010 17:27:57 +0000 <![CDATA[ All hell has broken loose!]]> jrjohnson had requested a list of this destination because an associate of his intended to celebrate and spend his 10th anniversary in this country. Now, that I believe is no longer a feasible or good idea.

Last year, Thailand lost many tourists $ due to an unrest (of similar nature) for a week or so when its airport was "hijacked" by (I believe) another group of people. If I remember correctly, they were wearing some yellow shirts. Anyway, the international airport was closed for some 3 days or so although the disruption was controlled. Tourists were stranded and other than spending more time discovering the city of Bangkok, there wasn't that much they could do about it unless they choose to travel by road to northern city like Chiangmai or southern cities like Phuket and Krabi and took a plane out of the country from there if they must. Otherwise, it's just another excuse for a longer vacation ;-)

This time though, it has taken another twist. As far as I've read these 2 days, the country is now under a curfew. Many are afraid to go out in the day too, lest they got caught up in the "heat of the moment" & lose their lives! At last count, 50 people had been killed and 400 or more injured!

So, what is it all about? Well, in all essence, just one word: THAKSIN.
Who is he? Those of you who visited Thailand often enough know he's the last prime minister of Thailand. He was accused of corruption and was ousted last year. The red shirts protesters are mostly his supporters.

To read in detail all about the why and the who of this event, check out this article on CNN.
Explainer: Thailand's Political Crisis

The article explains in detail the why, the who and the future implications including Cambodia role if the protests cannot be quelled. As for what is happening now & if it's safe to visit, well, I don't suggest you make a trip until at least after the end of this month. Watch the news closely and let the dust settles before you plan on a trip. Political unrest is of no joking matters. I've had friends and relatives told me about what happened in the 1997 political unrest in Indonesia and how homes, buildings and cars were torched. People were killed too and some atrocious activities were going on back then. It's a horror which you do not want to be caught in. Innocents are being targeted and it's one sad ending which no one will go sought for justice even after the entire matter has blown over. 

On a more personal note, I am not into politics and haven't really studied all the issues involved. However, I believe the current government of Abhisit Vejjajiva is much better than that of Thaksin. It's not unknown that Thaksin had been in business deals that gave him and his family large "incentives" although that's not uncommon in Asian political scenes. In any case, my only concern is safety when traveling to this country. Like most of its citizens, I feel any instability in the country is always a negative for the people as a whole, regardless of who's in power. Hopefully, Thailand will resolve its issues soon! I look forward to visiting again! 

(A Lunch Featured Review)
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-2010_Thai_Political_Protests-139-1454286-22256-All_hell_has_broken_loose_.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-2010_Thai_Political_Protests-139-1454286-22256-All_hell_has_broken_loose_.html Sat, 22 May 2010 09:33:34 +0000
<![CDATA[Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Mandarin_Oriental_Bangkok-1444244-56064.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Mandarin_Oriental_Bangkok-1444244-56064.html Fri, 16 Apr 2010 00:31:03 +0000 <![CDATA[Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Mandarin_Oriental_Bangkok-139-1444244-56063.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/hotel/UserReview-Mandarin_Oriental_Bangkok-139-1444244-56063.html Fri, 16 Apr 2010 00:25:38 +0000 <![CDATA[Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Sheraton_Krabi_Beach_Resort-139-1444240-56062.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Sheraton_Krabi_Beach_Resort-139-1444240-56062.html Fri, 16 Apr 2010 00:16:11 +0000 <![CDATA[Phuket Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Phuket-139-1444052-56039.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Phuket-139-1444052-56039.html Thu, 15 Apr 2010 09:54:33 +0000 <![CDATA[Phang Nga Bay Marine National Park Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Phang_Nga_Bay_Marine_National_Park-139-1444050-56038.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Phang_Nga_Bay_Marine_National_Park-139-1444050-56038.html Thu, 15 Apr 2010 09:40:38 +0000 <![CDATA[Travel Thailand - Top Experiences]]>
(A Lunch Featured List)
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/Lists-139-2116-Travel_Thailand_Top_Experiences.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/Lists-139-2116-Travel_Thailand_Top_Experiences.html Thu, 15 Apr 2010 04:48:31 +0000
<![CDATA[Pad Thai Quick Tip by devora]]> http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Pad_Thai-44-1427495-54286.html http://www.lunch.com/thericetable/reviews/food/UserReview-Pad_Thai-44-1427495-54286.html Thu, 4 Mar 2010 06:56:35 +0000 <![CDATA[ Thai National Dish]]>
Pad Thai is served both by the side street vendors as well as the highest ranking chefs in Thailand. It is undoubtedly a dish which transcends class and race. The story goes that it was the Vietnamese that had introduced the noodle to the Thai. You do recall that there is afterall a similarity between the noodle used for Pho and Pad Thai. The only difference lies in the cooking method, ie. one is soupy while the other is stir-fried.

So, what's the secret to making a good plate of Pad Thai? For me to do it on my own, it's way too complicated when I could just get it around the corner. What you need to do, if you should choose to even bother, is to read this recipe first. Then if it sounds simple enough, give it a try ;-) Another alternative is the Vegetarian Pad Thai recipe from Epicurious.com.

Pad Thai is relatively cheap in both Bangkok & Shenzhen (I got mine at US$3 with a starter & dessert!) hence it doesn't make sense at all for me to even think about cooking it! One thing about Pad Thai is that if you don't like it sweet, remember to tell the waitress to omit the sugar. Most of the time the chef simply leave it on the side. I don't know about you, but I don't like sugar in my Pad Thai at all!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Pad_Thai-139-1427495-19015-Thai_National_Dish.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Pad_Thai-139-1427495-19015-Thai_National_Dish.html Sun, 28 Feb 2010 19:48:31 +0000
<![CDATA[ Curry Fancy]]> soups and feasting on Chinese goodies, I'm actually craving for some hot & spicy curry!

Curry can be found in many parts of Asia and it comes in all colors and tastes. Yellow, Red, Green curries. Somewhat like traffic lights! Now, for those who are not used to taking hot and spicy food, stop right here else you'll be having "hot" flashes! Curry is best when it's hot and spicy! The hotter the better! And I don't mean just by the temperature itself!

What is Curry?
So, what is curry? I grew up on it and I can even tell from having my eyes blindfolded. The aroma, the taste ... well, it's hard to forget once you've had it. Curry is distinctive in that it has some spices like turmeric (which attributes to its color too), coriander, cumin and red pepper. Chili is also a main ingredient. Coconut milk may at times be used, depending on which type of curry.

Curry originated from the word "khari" in Tamil. So, I supposed it originated from India! In some southern Indian languages, the word means side-dish.

Curry Countries
Curry is best in South East Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and for some, India. Personally, I'm not fond of India's curry because it's a little too pungent for me. As for the rest of them, I love them all! Surprisingly, curry can also be found in China, Japan, Iran and Nepal. I've tried them all, except for those in Iran!

Cooking Curry
Curry is best cooked with meats. Chicken, beef and pork are the meats that most chefs are proficient with. However, there are some who are more creative than others and have experimented cooking curry with roast duck. Thai chefs are successful in this aspect. Roast Duck Red Curry is awesome!

It's reasonably easy to cook curry as there are lots of prepackaged curry mixture/paste available in the market. All you need to do is to buy some chicken drumsticks or wings (breasts if you prefer) and then you can have it served within 15-20 mins. This you may do it at home but make sure you've got good ventilation in your kitchen else your entire house will smell of curry before you even finished cooking! My cousin in Toronto recently cooked curry early in the morning at 7 am and I was fast asleep on the upper floor of the house. I was awaken by... the smell of curry!!! Yes, it's no joke!!! 

For those who have the luxury of Asian restaurants around your neighborhood, esp. Vietnamese and Thai restaurants, you're the lucky ones! These 2 restaurants serve some of the best curry around. If I may suggest, be more adventurous and try the seafood curry.

Curry Crab

A popular way of cooking curry in Singapore is to cook an entire fish or fish head in curry. Known as Fish Head Curry, it is mostly cooked in clay pot and served hot with some Lady's Fingers in them. Generally, it tastes more sourish than other forms of curry but awfully delish! It is generally accompanied by rice.

Recommended Restaurants
Saigon Star
in Richmond Hill, Toronto serve the best Curry Crab I've ever had in my life! The curry sauce is so amazing that when you dipped French bread in the sauce, you've got a spectacular combo! Yes, the restaurant will provide warm toasted French bread to accompany its signature dish!

Prawns & squids are the common seafood found in Thai curries. I especially love the Thai Seafood Green Curry from Thai Express in Singapore. (Thai Express has restaurants not only in Singapore but also Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia & Australia.)

Green curry

Yellow Curry

Recently, in Hong Kong, I found a great small authentic restaurant near to the hospital that my friend was admitted in Happy Valley. It served the best Seafood Red Curry in a coconut husk with strips of coconut flesh in the dish. Thai Noodle Cafe (Tel: 2803 4003) at 32 King Kwong Street, Happy Valley. We paid for HK$98 (about $12) and it was more than enough for 2! Yum!!!

Perhaps your favorite is lobster? Well, you can also find lobster curry in the market! Isn't that amazing?

 If you're as adventurous as I'm with food, then you might want to try Kari Otak. An Indonesian way of cooking cow's brain with curry! ;-) How about it, I dare you!!! ;p
Well, there is another type of curry in Indonesia which most vegetarians would love and that's Sayur Lodeh. It's a dish of different veges cooked in soupy curry. It's good and I highly recommend it to you.

Kari Otak

For the less adventurous, Japanese curry may be the way to go for you. Japanese like to cook their curries with beef or lamb and the curry paste may be found in Japanese supermarkets which made it a good homecook meal.

Last but not least, even though I don't fancy it, it's Indian Curry. Indian Curry is often accompanied by Martabak (pancakes) or Roti Prata (folded bread).
The Indians love their curry with mutton. If you love mutton, this is the curry for you!

By the way, the best way of eating curry with bread? By hand, of course! Finger licking good!!!

Are you ready for some curry?!]]>
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Curry-139-1429680-18480-Curry_Fancy.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/food/UserReview-Curry-139-1429680-18480-Curry_Fancy.html Wed, 17 Feb 2010 10:53:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ Censored! Sensory Indulgence...]]> Ahhh... I need to pamper myself a little after all the hard work on Lunch, don't I?.
Spa on Lunch? Oh, Yes?!
(Hint, hint: JR, you know what to do! Plus that Lunch iPhone silicon cover too!)

The name Mandara originates from Sanskrit legend about the gods' quest to find the elixir of eternal youth and immortality. The legend has it that there are 10 stages of destruction & the ways to overcome it is to search for the Mandara girl who's the sacred mountain which flows the water of life.

Now, the wonder about Mandara Spa (other than being the leader in the industry) is that one can find it all over the world. About 50 spas in Africa, America, Asia & the South Pacific. I've been to the ones at Bali (Nikko Bali Resort & Spa), Krabi (Sheraton), Guam (Westin) & a few others. There are slight difference in expertise as well as pricing between all the Mandara Spas. A spa experience depends on your luck as to which therapist you get each time and if her touch is to your liking. So far, I found one I love at the Oasis Spa in Thailand with whom I go to regularly & another at the i Saguá Spa at Hyatt Regency Saipan (which is out of the way for me!). Not at Mandara Spa though, not yet... Still, Mandara Spa is my favorite when it comes to Spa at a beach resort or hotel. You can depend on it for its professionalism and also a sense of well being whenever you visit its spas.


Generally, I love the Swedish technique for massage and Mandara does it well. I'll have to try out the Mandara Signature massage (2 therapists performing the massage at the same time)! Blissful! Mandara also provides massages for couples. So, check it out!

Mandara Spa offers Balinese, Thai, Swedish, Shiatsu, Aromatherapy & Deep Tissue Massage. Take your pick and it'll be interesting to find out which one your body responds well to. Other than the Swedish massage, I also love the Ayuverdic massage which is commonly known as the hot oil massage. Mandara Spa sells its own blend of oils and those from Elemis too if you should prefer to use it. Both are great!

So, let's not wait... time to go for a great spa experience! Rest & Relax....................

Make your appointment at Mandara Spas around the world right now! Or, if you are so lucky to be on Silversea cruises, here's your big chance! I love Silversea! What a great way to spend a vacation!

Speaking of vacation, ahem... I'm heading for one very soon! To the land of spas, Thailand here I come!
http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Mandara_Spa-139-1388477-12980-Censored_Sensory_Indulgence_.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Mandara_Spa-139-1388477-12980-Censored_Sensory_Indulgence_.html Sun, 13 Sep 2009 06:33:49 +0000
<![CDATA[ To Spa With Love]]>
Generally, I frequent mostly Oasis Spa in Thailand and have visited a few of its outlets in Chiangmai & Bangkok. Mandara Spa is another which can be conveniently found in many of the 5* hotels. I prefer doing treatments at hotels and have found a few good masseurs from hotels in Saipan, Maldives and the exotic island of Bali. Spa resorts and hotels are great places to have massages in where you can enjoy its luxurious facilities and then back to the room for a relaxing sleep or even have the entire treatment  in your own room if you prefer. Of course, this will come at a price (a high one for that matter). On my recent trip to Cebu, Philippines, Shangri-la Hotel charges about 6000 pesos ++ for an hour of massage! That translates to more than US$125 which is not expensive if you are in Europe or the U.S. but is definitely not on par with what is offered in Asia. In Cebu itself, at a normal salon, one can get an hour of foot massage at only US$3 and an hour of body massage at US$8! I won't say they are equally good and afterall they are not the Shangri-la or Mandara Spa! Still, there is a great price variations between the type of facilities and oils used.

On my regular trips to Thailand, I found an extremely good Spa in Chiangmai. The Oasis Spa. It's just a day spa in general but its facility is great. Right in the city and the Spa will pick you up from your hotel or the shopping mall (if you wish) after you've made a reservation with them. Reservations are necessary as they are often fully booked! Housed in a one-storey building with many individual rooms, it feels a little like walking into your very own one-bedroom apartment amidst the serenity of a city. Same for its facility in Bangkok. Set within its own sanctuary and amidst the sound of water and nature, each room has its own bathroom and one feels like one is taking a shower outdoor as the bathrooms do not have a roof so the sunshine filters into the bathing area. It's a great & refreshing feeling. 

The treatments come in many different packages but the one I like is that which offer hot oil massage where you'd have hot oil dripped from your forehead (Ayuraveda Package, 3900 baht). Before your relaxing massage, you'll also have your entire body exfoliated and that will made one's skin feel cleaned, smooth and totally a new woman!  I love that feeling :-) This spa is of the Lanna style but it also offer other style like those of Ayurvedic and Swedish styles.

Bangkok Location : 64 Soi Swaddee Sukhumvit 31 Road. (15 rooms) 
Bangkok Tel : + 66 2 262 2122
Chiangmai Locations :  102 Sirimangkalajarn Road & 4 Samlan Road. 
Chiangmai Tel : + 66 53 920111
You may also reserve online.

Oasis spa is having a 1 for 1 promotion this & next month for its Coconut nourishing package for the price of 3900++ baht (US$120). Good deal! I'm making my reservation for the flight right NOW!!! I've not had the Coconut treatment at this Spa but have had a marvelous one at the Full Moon Beach Resort in Maldives. The Virgin Coconut Oil is awesome. I bought a few bottles home for gifts too. Great stuff!

For those who are frequent travelers to Thailand, you might also be glad to know that Oasis Spa now offer memberships which gives members 40-60% discounts for as little as 10,000 baht. With payment of US$300, you can get services up to US$420, a savings of $120! A 1-hour aroma hot oil therapy costs a mere $27 with your own room. Is that great or what?

From the many spas I've been to, I found the Thais, Indonesians and Filipinos to have really good hands and can massage well. Interesting :-) 


http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Oasis_Spa_Thailand-139-1414838-12974-To_Spa_With_Love.html http://www.lunch.com/lifeinthailand/reviews/d/UserReview-Oasis_Spa_Thailand-139-1414838-12974-To_Spa_With_Love.html Sun, 13 Sep 2009 02:05:03 +0000