Koh Samui, Paradise on Earth

大家好,

I think I won’t make any deadlines anymore because I never keep them! As of late, my internet has been so slow that each time I try to get on WordPress, it loads too slowly that I lose my patience. WordPress, like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc is blocked so to access it, I must use my VPN. Sometimes though it’s just so dang slow!

Today it’s not bad though so I will give you some more photos. Currently I’ve nothing out of the ordinary going on, but we might have a future Dalian trip with the school cancelled because of the China – S. Korea relations recently souring further.. the school worries it won’t be safe for the Korean students. In typical China fashion, they are on the TV and shit saying “If you’re real Chinese you don’t use Korean products” and a Russian student said he saw a T-Shirt for sale that shows a Chinese flag fist crushing a US and S. Korean flag.

Typical, unsurprising Chinese posturing. But whatever, soon I will go home anyway so yeah. In general I like Chinese people and history, but this kind of hyper-nationalistic BS annoys me in any country. Unfortunately, people here are, on average, more ignorant of things that don’t fit the party line so not much can be done.

Anyway, I’ll try to get some photos if I see anything like this.

Now to Koh Samui. To get there from Bangkok it’s actually quite easy, just long. Of course if money is no object you can fly there and that’s the fastest, easiest method. I’m a cheap-ass so of course we did the bus/catamaran method which is a slow 12 hour trip total, but only a sixth of the price or something like that. So it was well worth it.

Upon arrival it was a hair hectic but I mean, I’m so jaded with Asian travel so I guess I’m used it it. We were able to get a van taxi transfer and get to our hotel no problem. I think I forgot to take more photos of the hotel itself but it was super nice. The cheaper rooms are a bit worn but they were clean and cheap so I don’t really care about anything else. We stayed at the Kinnaree Resort. You can see the cheaper rooms and the more recently renovated ones on their website linked above. The red ones are the newer ones and the green themed room are the cheaper ones. I saw both and while the wood floor (as opposed to tile) and red decor is warmer and more inviting, I am a cheap-ass as I said so I didn’t care since the green ones were still clean.

I only realize now that the below is the only photo of the room I took, but you can check out the photos on their website so whatever haha.

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The presentation is so cute!

The room is like a little hut or house and they have little porches you can sit on. From our porch to the beach it was literally 10 steps, and it was great! More than a few days was just spent laying on the beach on a chair, reading the multitude of books on my Kindle. I loved it! Talk about relaxation. You could hear the breaking waves from our room as it was the second one from the beach end of the resort.

George was a salty Sally and didn’t want to sit on the beach because apparently putting on sun-block was too hard and he kept letting himself become Dr. Zoidberg.

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So friggin’ relaxing holy crap.. look at those muscley shoulders.. so manly lmao.

So yeah, the island time was mostly relaxing and not thinking too hard. One day we even played in the sand like kids. We made a sand fortress/castle? thing. Of course I asked for shells and rocks to decorate as I wasn’t sure how else to make it “pretty”.

See the rock on the top? I’ll let you guess who decided on that part. =.=
He was far too amused by that, but then again so was I. We are a lovely pair.

The whole 10-day trip in Koh Samui wasn’t only R&R but also food.. and more food. We are fatties and both of us LOVE Thai food. We found great pad thai noodles from a small little shack in a parking lot. It was delicious AND cheap. See for yourself!

In addition to eating good food, we actually took cooking classes with Smiley Cook which was pretty freaking awesome. The day started with our chef taking us to the market to buy ingredients after choosing what dishes to make.

We chose Green Curry, Steamed Fish, Papaya Salad, and Cashew Chicken. We met a nice Spanish couple in our group and it was a lot of fun watching George cook for the first time. He was definitely awkward but I was proud of him for giving it an honest attempt without getting frustrated or anything.

Other than cooking, we actually took a kayaking trip with Bluestars Kayaking to a geological park near the Thai islands. I loved this trip but George wasn’t so keen on the boat to the geological park. We discovered he gets seasick. Woopsie.

This was the first time I ever got to kayak and I definitely have a new hobby. It’s a good workout, but still enjoyable. I think if I ever live near water, I might want to look into some kind of group or club for rowing.. I might like that, too!

But yeah so in effort to keep this not so long, here are some random photos before I go to sleep.

So yeah, I’ll work on the final Summer trip location, the Philippines when I have time and decent internet. Also I’ll try to pay attention to things going on here to share. I think I’ve become jaded and I take things for granted here now that I don’t think to blog about it, haha.

Anyway,

再见,
Laowai Shye

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To Manila!

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Thai Curry is Best Curry…

…Sorry Tim!

大家好!

Tomorrow is the start of my final semester of classes.  As promised I am getting my Thailand photos up but I’m splitting Thailand up into two posts, this one for Bangkok and a second for Koh Samui.. I’ll do that one and the Philippines in the next few days. I wanted to get both Thai posts up today but Bangkok is taking me too long and I can’t stay up so late. Yeah, I’m breaking my promises a bit, but I’m trying!

Anyway, after my awesome time in Chengdu, I took a flight to Bangkok. I was super excited as I’ve never been to Thailand before. I travel light when I’m going so many places, and I live out of one 35L backpacking bag. I arrived and had already looked up in advance how to get to the hostel. I always ensure I know exactly what to do if I’m in a place where I don’t speak the language.

I was able to take a subway ride from the airport to a stop not far from the hostel. Of course I had gotten a cell phone SIM card at the airport so I had access to google and could easily map my way there.

We chose to stay at the Siamaze Hostel  by recommendation of Monica because she had gone to Thailand the previous winter. I basically copied her trip. Made my planning much easier. The hostel was BEAUTIFUL, clean, and the customer service was on point! I stayed in a dorm style room the first night as George was meeting me in Bangkok the following morning, then we’d switch to a standard queen room. This way the first night was a bit cheaper.

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Hotel lobby panorama

The first day George was there we just walked around because he was tired from the international flight and jet-lagged. We had a food tour scheduled the next day so that day was free to chill. We found a Vietnamese restaurant which was great so I got my Viet-French press coffee and some noodles with stuff on it. The stuff was like some pork and veggies wrapped in betel leaf. It was awesome!

The following morning we did the food tour which was perfect. It was a walking tour so I felt less guilty about being the fat-ass glutton I was born to be. The tour company was Taste of Thailand food tours and the price was pretty good. We finished so freakin’ full that I barely could try the last few dishes! I don’t have photos of each and every dish but an overview. My god, I would do it again and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a really good overview of Thai cuisine. We got to try curry of course, local street snacks, drinks, Muslim food, and desserts.

This was the only planned thing for Bangkok this time around. We had a bike tour toward the end of the trip but the first 3 days was mostly exploring the city, shopping and of course eating! We did try to find some notable sights but it was kind of hard to get to them by foot and public transport. The best way I think is by bike tour, which ended up being how we saw some of the cultural sights. (more below)

Our time in Bangkok was split up, we did 2 or 3 days before our 10-days in Koh Samui, and 2 or 3 days after. This was because the trek to the island was a full day thing, 12 hours by bus and high speed catamaran. With the flight George would have to endure, it was nice having less of it being terribly close together. Since this part is all Bangkok, I will skip ahead to our second time in Bangkok.

The last few days in Thailand we tried to see some sights again but ran into the same trouble doing it on our own. Luckily the bike tour covered them but the problem was I chose a night bike tour, the Siam Ratree tour via Follow Me Bike Tours, as I felt the nighttime would be cooler and more comfortable in a Thai summer. While most certainly true, it meant that we couldn’t go inside of the fancy gates because places would be closed. The one exception was the Wat Phra Kaew, I think. It was open because of some special event and we were able to go in. Our tour guide even showed us how to prepare a lotus flower for a Buddhist prayer and the proper method for the prayer. It was a cool little culture note to round out the night.

The bike tour as a whole was so freakin’ awesome. The tour took us through small little alleyways and on a boat ferry to cross the river. This tour, while not a ‘food tour’ included MORE than enough food along the way. All local stuff, of course.

Of course I have many more photos but unfortunately WordPress limits me.. I’m at 80% capacity for a free site without even touching the Philippines.. Koh Samui photos are uploaded just no on a page yet.

But anyway.. I freakin’ love Thailand and most likely will return sometime in the future. I haven’t even been to Chiang Mai yet! So yeah, tomorrow I’ll work on Koh Samui, the island portion of our Thailand excursions. I liked that part best.. I never knew such a paradise as Koh Samui. Don’t worry, you’ll see!

Hey, TechData, go make fun of my husband’s kindergarten kid smile… me and my sister were dying laughing at it.. because while I only have one here (so he’s not too salty) he does that in multiple photos so it’s even funnier! He makes the best faces in photos. I love it.

Love you baby. Don’t be mad. :b

再见,

Laowai Shye

 

Summer Shenanigans!

大家好!

So tomorrow it starts again!

I will start my summer travels and boy it’s a bit nuts. The nice thing about summer is that despite the heat, at least clothing is less bulky so I have a lot more room in my bag and I don’t have to carry so much weight or coats and stuff. That’s nice.

Of course I WILL be going to tropical locations in summer. I don’t know if I’ll regret it but I guess I’ll find out!

Tomorrow I depart for Tianjin. Why go again you might ask? Because my good friend, Eddy Zhang will be there to see his family. I worked with him back at Han Dynasty and he was always my favorite Chef there. He’s a lot of fun and I’m excited to meet the family he was always mentioning.

From there I will go to Beijing to the Great Wall and to see my friend Monica who just moved back there.

Next will be Chengdu and Chongqing, two Sichuan cities. Panda will be seen and spicy food will be eaten. I’ve been wanting to go to Sichuan for years so I’m stoked!

Then from Chongqing I will be going to Thailand which will probably be my favorite part because my husband will be joining me! So not only am I not alone, but I can see the person I’m missing the most while I’m here. It’s great! I’m planning things to do like kayaking, tours (bike and food) and things for us to go see. I think I even have a Thai cooking class booked! SO EXCITE! MUCH FOOD. WOW.

We will be seeing Bangkok and Ko Samui which is the largest Thai island to the south. I wish we had more time and then we could’ve gone to Chiang Mai but I guess that’s an excuse to return someday. We are spending a lot of time in Ko Samui because I wanted it to be a more relaxing trip and because George doesn’t really care to run around too much away. Bangkok has some cultural places but it’s more  shopping city with Chiang Mai being the one with more temples and cultural sites. Oh well. Bangkok still has some really great places to see! Ko Samui is just like a tropical paradise and I’m down for R&R before my final leg…

…The Philippines! I’m going because I have to fly out of Bangkok anyway so why go straight back to China? Anywhere in China can be visited via train from here so if I have to fly anyway, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go someplace I want to go, that I would have to fly regardless. I settled on the Philippines because they speak a lot of English (hence my job going there twice) and because I have heard from coworkers that it was a blast. I planned it to see as much as possible so it’s definitely a tiring 2 weeks. Traveling there is a bit nuts because it’s all islands, getting places can be time consuming so a lot of planning went into it to keep my travel efficient.

I can say I succeeded, but we will know the true answer when I’m back!

Since my trip is comparatively slower in pace, expect posts as I go instead of waiting until I’m back to do them all. This way will be better and I won’t be trying to play catch-up again. I think I might only have to do that with the last few because the Philippines part of my trip will be the fastest pace. Oh and while I’m there, I will be seeing my friend Ardie! He is the artist who designed and created my Mr. Angry Dumpling that I use for this blog! He’s a fantastic artist and super nice for agreeing to spend a weekend with me showing me Filipino culture, food, and life!

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Let the adventure begin again

再见,

Laowai Shye