Thailand

When was the rating made?
We were there June 2 – June 29, 2007Where did we go?
Koh Samui
Bangkok

Koh Samui

Accommodation

  • Waterfront Bophut – This hotel is a great value for money. It is located in the small fishing village of Bophut. There are several good restaurants within walking distance. The hotel seems attract a lot of friendly guests, so even though it is small (17 rooms), there is a great atmosphere. The beach at the hotel is nothing special, but there is a great ambience at the hotel… having said all this, if you are looking for a big resort, this is not the place for you. 3 stars.
  • Baan Bophut – This is a small hotel near the Waterfront. The rooms are very clean and modern and there are rooms right on the beach. It lacks the ambience of the Waterfront, but overall seemed quite nice and is a good value for money. 2.5 stars.
  • Guesthouse across from SITCA in Chaweng – avoid this place. It is inexpensive, but it is hopelessly loud with a club across the street. There is also no security at all. 1.5 stars.

Restaurants
It should be noted that non Thai food is at least twice as expensive on Samui as eating Thai food…

  • Starfish and Coffee – This is a good tourist Thai restaurant. The atmosphere is lovely, the food is acceptable and the prices are good. 3 stars.
  • Local Thai place in Bophut – Tasty local fare for very (Samui) inexpensive prices. The Shrimp Stream Palace is delicious. (hard to describe, but very good.) To get there from Bophut Village, go down the street opposite the pier past Coffee Junction, towards the 7/11. Pass the 7/11 and cross the major street taking a right. The restaurant is on the left hand side and is quite large. 3 stars.
  • Happy Elephant – A popular Thai restaurant in Bophut village, but lacks good food. Don’t bother. 2 stars.
  • Villa Bianca – This Italian restaurant is a good stop if you are craving a nice glass of red wine and decent pasta dishes. This doesn’t compare with my favorite Italian restaurants, but it is quite good. The place has a good ambience, but beware that the prices are pretty steep. It’s a good alternative if you need a break from Thai. 2.5 stars.
  • The Shack – This is a steakhouse started by a New Yorker. The food is pretty good and gives a nice feeling of home 🙂 Steaks are expensive, but the portions are pretty large. 2.5 stars.

Activities

  • Cooking courses at SITCA – You don’t have to do the two week course at SITCA like I did to be able to get some of their great instruction. They have twice daily classes where you cook up several dishes that will make you proud. It is also included to have a second person come and join you for the meal.

Bangkok

Accommodation

  • Pranakorn Nornlen – This eco-friendly hostel / boutique hotel is a true oasis from the craziness of Bangkok. The staff are among the most friendly and helpful that we have met on our trip. The rooms are simple, but clean and decorated in a very funky style. The organic breakfast is delicious and is a great way to start your day.This may not be the most convenient location, but this is a certainly a unique retreat. 3 stars.
  • Lebua at State Tower – A fancy five star hotel (unlike any other accommodation we have stayed at!), but there are some great deals to be found online for this property. The rooms are all suites and have a beautiful view of the river or city. 3 stars (if you can get a really low rate).

Restaurants

  • Tom Yum Koon – Several people recommended this restaurant just off Khao San Road to us. The food was good, but certainly not worth traveling out of your way to taste. 2 stars..
  • Street food adjacent to Khao San Road – Wonderful options including rice congee (porridge), sauteed seafood with cabbage and sticky rice with mango. 3 stars.
  • Good View restaurant – Just like the name says, there is a good view here – next to the river – and some very tasty food also. The restaurant is also well known for its live music performances although we didn’t see any that night. 2.5 stars.
  • Tongue Thai – Tasty Thai food in a nice environment. 2.5 stars.Located just beyond the end of Silom Road on Charoen Krung 38.
  • Somboon Seafood – Famous for its seafood especially the curried crab. (Multiple locations)

Activities

  • Visit the Grand Palace and the Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
  • Bargain at Chatuchak Weekend Market – The world’s largest outdoor market
  • Eat street food – of course you want to be a little careful about selecting the street cart, but the food is fab. Vendors doing a brisk business particularly with locals is a good place to start.
  • Tour of a small fishing village (1.5 hours south of Bangkok) arranged through a Tour Guide named Tong. Our guide was Jerry and we thought that the visit to the village was among the best day trips we have taken.
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