Thailand

Sailing the andaman sea

Everyone knows I love to travel, and one of my favorite experiences is sailing on a catamaran. I wanted to take a trip before my new granddaughter’s arrival, so I joined @gadventures in Thailand for four days. We sailed from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi. The crew was exceptional, and I can’t say enough about our CEO guide A and Chef Chet’s delicious Thai cooking!

Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island, the floating village of Koh Panyee (special shoutout to Kristoffer for the amazing drone footage), and Railay Beach are incredible. I loved snorkeling at the islands of Koh Yaowasum and Koh Haa, and the tranquility of being out at sea is what I love about sailing.

What made this trip extra special were the new friends I met who were adventurous travelers. Stay tuned for more videos from Thailand, where I will dive into Thai street food and discover more about Thailand’s beautiful country and people.

Phuket Old Town

After an incredible sailing trip, I spent a night in Phuket Old Town, a historical district settled in the 16th century. The town, including my hotel, The Memory at On On, transports you back in time with the Sino-Portugese style and vibe. I noticed a food cart across the street that had a steady line, and I jumped right into the incredible street food scene. The chef/owner/server prepared Grass Jelly (Chao kauai.) Grass jelly, or chao kuai, is a Thai dessert served with ice and a dusting of brown sugar. It is crafted from a jelly foundation created by boiling the leaves and stems of the Mesona chinensis plant. It is garnished with dried fruits and finished with a sprinkle of brown sugar. This drink/dessert is a perfect cool-down on a hot day in Thailand. I absolutely loved it!!

I had a few hours in the morning before flying out to Bangkok so I dropped by a few Michelin-rated street food shops to get a better flavor of the town. My first stop was Roti Taew Nam famous for their crispy Roti that is quickly tossed on a charcoal griddle. Its flakiness is exceptional, and placing an over-easy egg on the pancake was the perfect dish to start the day.

I then stopped by O Cha Rot for a bowl of their famous beef meatballs and noodle soup. Condiments on the table included chili powder, homemade chili vinegar, and sugar. This is the most delicate beef broth I have ever tasted.

To end my mini morning street food binge, I stopped by A Pong Mae Sunee, known for its Khanom A Pong. These delicious coconut crepes are prepared in tiny woks over a charcoal fire. The crepes are delicate yet crunchy with a sweet coconut flavor.

Bangkok street food crab fried rice

I wasn’t incredibly hungry when I landed in Bangkok, but I wanted to get out on the street and was anxious to try Bib Gourmand’s recommended Crab Fried Rice from Weng (Woeng Nakhon Kasem.) I walked down Yaowarat Road to a broken-up sidewalk area where I found this incredibly delicious street food dish. I didn’t catch the few sauces that went into the wok, but the egg-fried rice with jumbo lump crabmeat was superb. If you’re visiting Chinatown in Bangkok, I highly recommend this dish! $2.80 total bill!!!!!

bangkok Food Tour 

Food tours are a great intro to a city when traveling, and I’m always down for getting the scoop on the food scene. I booked a tour with A Chef’s Tour this could be the best food tour ever. The street food scene in Chinatown is overwhelming, and this 4-hour tour introduced us to 14 local must-try dishes. There are so many street vendors in Bangkok, and besides the hectic street trade, you see every vendor packing many orders for take-out. We learned that most residents in Bangkok don’t have a kitchen, and they order their meals to go! This place is jumping! And everything is so cheap compared to the USA.

So about the insects! As it turns out Thai’s eat insects as snack food! Crispy critters. Our crew sat down with a bottle of local rum before and after this tasting. Hakuna Matata!

I did not ask A Chef’s Tour to list their stops, but trust me, everything was delicious. 

Here is the list of items on the video:
– Fried Chinese chive dumplings (gui chai)
– Braised pork in five spice (khao kha moo)
– Grilled meat with satay and cucumber relish (moo satay)
– Pennywort juice
– Steamed shrimp and pork dumplings (khanom jeeb)
– Thai curry (gaeng) with Chinese sausage
– Crickets, Worms, Grasshoppers
– Rolled rice noodles and crispy pork soup (guay jab)
– Soy sauce ice cream
– Spicy seafood soup (poh teak)
– Grilled shrimp with seafood sauce (goong yang)
– Wok fried morning glory (pad pak bung)
– Fried dough with pandan custard (pa tong go)
– Mango and sticky rice (khao neiw mamuang)

One Night in Bangkok

One Night in Bangkok. It was Saturday night and I wanted to head over to Khao San Road and Rambuttri Road, famous for the nightlife, street food and overall party vibe. In the back of my mind, I knew it was Makha Bucha Day, a significant Buddhist holiday commemorating Buddha’s teachings to his disciples. It is a day that resonates with the values of peace, compassion, and enlightenment. As I walked to Ram Buttri Road, I heard singing from Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan (Loha Prasat) and decided to go to the temple to witness the ceremony. I went into the temple and was immediately welcomed and offered water. The mesmerizing chanting was calming, and my mind was filled with thoughts of being a better person and ridding my mind of thoughts that sometimes pop in and are not always peaceful. I will never forget this experience. It has now become a constant reminder to reflect and discipline my thoughts to be peaceful and compassionate.

When the service ended I continued on my way to Khao San Road. If you are looking for a hyped-up area with lots of bars, restaurants, foods, shopping with a trendy crowd then head over to this area for good times.

I walked back to Chinatown, where I was staying, and along the way I tried toasted bread with pandan and caramel sauce, a passion fruit smoothie and when I returned to Chinatown I tasted mangosteen fruit, known as the Queen of Fruits. If you ever see mangosteen, try it! It is phenomenal.

Getting Around Bangkok

There are so many options to get around Bangkok. You can travel by water on the Khlong Saen Saep Boat Service, a tuk-tuk, the mass transit train system, a taxi, or hop on a motorcycle! I loved the mass transit train system, which was easy to navigate and helped me get from one side of the city to another. During my last few days in Bangkok, I explored Chatuchak Market, the world’s largest weekend market, where I stumbled upon the best papaya salad and Thai Iced Tea for $3.00. I loved my Thai cooking class at House of Taste Thai Cooking School, visiting the Flower Market, and taking a longboat tour through the canals of Bangkok. I stopped by the Jim Thompson house and as many temples as possible, culminating in visiting Wat Pho to see the incredible reclining Buddha. I was always up for a cold, fresh coconut water for $1.50 along the way! Stay with me; I am on my way to Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Kanchanaburi

I joined G Adventures on my last morning in Bangkok, and we traveled to Kanchanaburi Province, home to the famous Bridge On the River Kwai. It was a sad and solemn reminder of the cruelty of war. Kanchanaburi Province is incredibly beautiful and peaceful. I loved the experience of lodging in a raft house on the River Kwai. Kanchanaburi is home to Erawan Falls National Park, which is famous for its 7-tiered waterfalls that are stunning and fabulous for a hike and refreshing swim. Night markets rule in Thailand, and the JJ Night Market in Kanchanaburi was tame by Bangkok standards but offered interesting food selections at 30 cents a bite! I loved the grilled squid in curry and the grilled quail eggs. The deep-fried mussel with bean sprout omelet was $1.50 and was one of the best omelets I’ve ever had.

We moved on to the city of Ayutthaya, visiting Wat Phanan Choeng temple, built in 1324, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, which had a colorful display of thousands of statues of roosters and fighting cocks, and we ended the tour at the Unesco World Heritage site Wat Maha That, built in the 13th century.

Later that night, we boarded the overnight train ride from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai. The train experience is not for bougie travelers, but I had a good night’s sleep and would recommend this journey to travelers who like adventure.

Chiang Mai

I took a bike tour outside of Chiang Mai with fellow travelers. We had a fantastic day riding by the rice fields and suburban areas of Chiang Mai. I was impressed with the beautiful homes and peaceful surroundings. We stopped by a street food stand specializing in Sticky Rice In Bamboo (Khao Lam.) This dessert is made of sticky rice, boiled black beans, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. We loved it, and like so many Thai street food vendors, the recipe is generational, and the stand is family-run. We loved it!

On my last day in Thailand, I mapped out a long walk around Chiang Mai, selecting Michelin-rated Street Food as my destination point. My first stop was Khao Soi Lung Prakit Kad Kom, featured on Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil.” I ordered the Beef Khao Soi, served with pickled greens, shallots, and a wedge of lime. It was 10 a.m., and the place was packed.  I wandered through the streets of Chiang Mai and was impressed with the livability of this city. My next stop was Sanpakoi Kanomjeen, located in Thongkam Market. Again, this was early morning, and while the entire market was closed, this stand steadily served affordable Kanomjeen (fresh rice vermicelli) in curry with side plates of sprouts and herbs.

I had to keep moving to catch Tue Ka Ko Na Prince before they closed. Luckily, I arrived as they made their last batch of Tue Ka Ko—or taro fritters. If you are ever in Chiang Mai, find this gem! The family was lovely and proud to show how to prepare the vegan taro fritters! The Thai people are so kind, friendly, and industrious!

Across the road from Wat Ket Karam, I fell in love with Lung Khajohn Wat Ket, which serves Khao Kriab Pak Moh, or steamed rice skin dumplings, filled with a salty-sweet filling wrapped in a coconut-infused rice flour sheet with a side of coconut cream and fresh lettuce. Every street food stand not only serves people ready to eat on the spot, but much of their business is packing orders to go. Wherever I stopped for street food in Thailand, the vendors were extremely busy preparing and filling orders.

I made my way over to the Chinatown section of Chiang Mai, anxious to try Go Neng’s pa tong go (Thai-style doughnuts) in the shape of dinosaurs, crocodiles, and elephants. The girls meticulously created the animal doughnuts, adding each piece’s eyes, legs, tails, and details. The deep-fried doughnuts were served with pandan sauce. I became a fan of pandan sauce in Thailand, which is made with coconut milk and pandan leaves. After this stop, I could not eat another bite, so I dropped a few stops and headed out of the Old City wall gates of Chiang Mai to my hotel. I had one last $9 Thai massage and a $9 mani and pedi to end my 7-mile food tour.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Wat Maha That, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Wat Maha That, Ayutthaya, Thailand

G Adventures Friends

G Adventures Friends

G Adventures Friends

G Adventures Friends