kids on a bunk bed

Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang: Hotel Review

Accommodation: Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang, a family and pet friendly modern hotel, is conveniently located at 725 Moo2 Ao-nang, Nopparat Road Muang Krabi, 81000 Ao Nang Beach, Thailand (725 หมู่ 2 ถ.นพรัตน์ เมือง กระบี่ (หาดอ่าวนาง, 81000)– and can be reached at +66 75 626 388

This is our second after-covid-19 staycation and boy did we get the best bang for our buck!

Hotel room

          We stayed in a family room with a great view of the mountain and vegetataion below (watch the video to see how lovely it is). Definitely not the largest room we’ve stayed in so far but it is well designed that it doesn’t feel cramped up. The double bed and bunk bed for our kids were soft and relaxing. We slept like a baby.

  • Amenities: It has the usual amenities like flat screen TV, fridge, air conditioner, towels, and hairdryer.
  • Additional amenities: Since it is a family room, it has an X-box console for the kiddos and kiddos-at-heart. Also, it has an intercom if you need assistance and whatnot.
  • Complimentaries include coffee and tea, bottled water, and toiletries.
  • Bathroom: I personally love it. It is dainty, functional, and squeaky clean. There wasn’t any cringy smudges and mildews. Towels are neatly folded on the towel rack. And the wall-mounted mirror adds charm to its entirety.

Overall, the room was lovely, comfortable, and smells great!

WIFI Connection

The hotel had a strong WIFI connection. It was very important during that time as there were things we need to care of online. The hotel did not fail us. No hiccups logging in. And we stayed connected everywhere we went around the hotel even in the pool area.

The Pool

One of the things we look for in booking a hotel is the swimming pool. We’re not great swimmers. But we love hanging out by the pool, especially that Derick and Summer have been self-learning how to swim. The pool in this hotel is the best we have ever been in so far. It’s big, super clean, and certainly well-maintained. The kid’s pool is 0.6 meters deep, safe for toddlers. Adult’s pool measures 1.4 meters deep all throughout, which we think is safer for young children, and those who are not good swimmers.

Derick and Summer had an awesome time, and eventually were able to learn to swim. Yehey!!!

Breakfast

We always opt out breakfast in our bookings. We had a bad experience with another hotel regarding this. However, “The Cliff” restaurant, aesthetically, looked inviting in the first place. Plus, we were informed that the kids will be charged half the price only. Wonderful!! So, we had our breakfast at the hotel during our entire stay. To see the food choices please watch the video.

Parking Lot

Driving is our thing, and so parking is essential for us. The hotel parking is located inside the hotel area, not by the road side. There are designated parking for cars and motorbikes. You can rest well at night knowing your car is safe and secure.

Clientele

Ibis Styles may be a great choice for families, group of friends, couples, and oh pet owners. Great stopover for roadtrips and family staycations.

Hospitality

Another strong point of this hotel lies on the people who, apart from their usual job, go the extra mile to assist and make guests comfortable. They’re accommodating but not in a nosy and instrusive way.

Price

We booked Ibis Styles Krabi for three nights for a little over 150USD. Considering how well-maintained the whole hotel is, and how nice everything is, we definitely got a great value for our money.

Do we recommend this hotel? CERTAINLY!

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Lanta Cottage Hotel review

Accommodation: Lanta Cottage Hotel

It is located at Sala Dan, Ko Lanta District, Krabi 81150 Thailand. We had our first getaway here after the travel ban was lifted. Businesses had just started to open, and the entire place felt like it had just woke up from a keep slumber. Going into Lanta Cottage, you’ll see untrimmed plants, dried leaves all over the place, padlocked sheds, and dusty receiving/canteen area.

Room

Nothing fancy about the room, it’s air conditioned and pretty spacious. There’s a mini kitchenette with sink. Plates and utensils are also provided. It’s a family room with one double bed and a bunk bed. Both are pretty hard on the back. But at least they’re not rickety. Please take a look at Lanta Cottage in the video at 4.25.

  • Other room amenities include a flat screen TV, a fridge, a wooden wardrobe, and towels.
  • Complimentaries are the usual coffee and tea, bottled water, and toiletries.

Bathroom

I’m personally not so fond of the bathroom. It is large but the design is not so well-thought of. The toilet is placed very near the wall that you won’t be able to sit well. The bidette spray is placed at the left side of the toilet cramped up in between the toilet and the wall. It’s just way too uncomfortable. It’s not so clean too.

WIFI Connection

Wifi connection is important these days more than ever. Due to the pandemic, several jobs have transitioned online. And we are one of them. However, to our great dismay, this hotel’s Wifi connection had been severed by the provider. We didn’t want to complain thinking it might be an aftermath of the lockdown.

The Pool

Pool is life for our children. They love to hang out by the pool, and have been trying to learn swimming. This hotel’s pool is one of its strength. Kid’s pool is 2.5ft deep, pretty safe even for toddlers. Adult’s pool is 4.5ft deep. Although, not so clean, but we’ve seen worst than it.

Breakfast

Lanta cottage has restaurant area, but didn’t offer breakfast during this time. So we ended up eating in a restaurant overlooking the Bamboo beach.

Parking Lot

There was no designated parking area. Cars can be parked on any vacant lot any where around the hotel area.

Clientele

Lanta Cottage may be preferred by families or group of friends who prefer to cook or bring their own food. And it could also be a nice choice those who opt for a budget-friendly accomodation.

Price

We booked Lanta Cottage for a little over 60USD, definitely cheap. If you don’t mind a few inconveniences here and there, then, it’s a good choice.

Although it wasn’t what I expected, we were just thankful to be out of the house and enjoy the outdoor. We hope Lanta Cottage can bounced back to its feet.

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What Costumes Teach Us About Style

Halloween is coming soon. With only a few weeks left to prepare, it’s normal to start thinking about fancy dressing and fun treats. While Halloween is generally perceived as an American celebration, it has long spread across the world. Some European countries run Halloween-related commercial actions and events. While the traditional trick or treat runs organized by and for kids remain mostly a US-based event, you can find some neighborhoods all around the world, creating mini versions of it. 

What does Halloween have to do with Thailand? Well, it’s simple: The best parties are in Thailand. If you are looking for an unforgettable Halloween dress-up party, you can be sure that Bangkok is the place where it’ll happen. So, you can expect a mind-blowingly awesome safe party, especially at a time where we all need to clear our minds from the worries of a global pandemic. 

As shop offers for Halloween costumes are multiplying, now’s the time to consider how dressing up affects our everyday style. Did you know that your party costume can also change the way you experience fashion in your day-to-day routine? Here why: 

Unsplash – CC0 License 

Glasses showcase your personality

Adding a pair of glasses can completely change your face. It’s the preferred Halloween props and the easiest costume accessory to manage. But the same principle applies to your everyday life. A pair of glasses can turn you into a fashion idol, a serious business person, or a romantic geek, to name but a few. The shape and color of your frames add a playful dimension to your outfit. So why limit yourself to fun glasses one night a year when you can have fun everyday? Admittedly, it’s worth pointing out that the typically plastic fake glasses you wear at Halloween may not be suited for day wear. But they can let you experiment to find your style. 

Unsplash – CC0 License 

Wigs can transform your look

Are you turning yourself into a vampire? You need a long dark wig for the show! 

Do you prefer to dress up as your favorite cosplay character? A wig is an essential part of your gear! 

The bottom line: Wigs are not only fun to wear, but they are a safe way of changing your hairstyle. But you can also invest in a quality wig to wear on special occasions. Many artists around the world have a number of wigs they use to change their looks overnight. If you don’t want to damage your hair with excessive bleaching, a wig is the ideal solution to transform your appearance. 

Playful colors

One of the preferred costumes for Halloween is the creepy clown. It’s full of bright colors, and at the same time, there’s a scary edge to it. While you may not want to wear a colorful clown costume every day, you can learn from your costume choice. If you are naturally attracted by vibrant and bright dressing up outfits, why not inject a little more colors to your everyday wardrobe? 

It’s silly to assume that Halloween costumes are something that you wear only one night during the year. They are filled with stylish tips and cues to define your style. If you gravitate naturally towards wigs, why not try one to change your hairstyle? Do you always buy a bright costume? Perhaps your wardrobe needs more colors. There’s so much to learn about yourself when you think about your favorite dressing up outfits! 

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A Guide To Getting Your Car Shipped

If you are planning a move whether inter-state or internationally and going to be bringing your car along, you may want to start finding out early how to transport a car across the country or overseas in a way that makes the most sense for your move and your budget.   While shipping a car to another country isn’t cheap, it’s certainly more cost effective than buying a new car when you arrive at your destination.

Motor vehicles are major items to move, especially across the continent via sea and hiring an auto transport company to handle the entire process of shipping your car is a great idea. Traveling long distance has some risks that could endanger your safety and that of your car’s. Moving is already a big and stressful process and traveling long distance on your move day may create more stress.  While your car is trucked safely from state to state or across the ocean, you can focus on getting settled into your new home. No one looks forward to a stressful long road trip on top of a move.

When you hire an auto transport company for your interstate move, you can move multiple cars at the same time. This is beneficial for families with more than two cars. Shipping all your cars together means the entire family can make the journey together. When you engage an auto transport company, your car is safer on a vehicle moving truck. Some interstate highways have the most dangerous roads in the nation with accident prone stretches.  Leave this stressful job to the experienced truckers who drive auto carriers from coast to coast have a lot of training and a lot of experience driving defensively to avoid accidents. Your car will also avoid a lot of wear and tear on a carrier.

You probably won’t be able to leave any boxes or belongings inside of your car during the move. Generally, the only items that may be left in the car are those that are directly related to it—stuff like your spare tire and your jumper cables. Be sure to remove any important documents, such as your registration and insurance information.   The car shipping company that you hire will be able to tell you exactly what can and cannot be in your car when your car is being shipped to another country. They will also likely have a requirement on how much gas can be in the car. Most companies dictate that the fuel tank can be no more than one-quarter full.

Once you’ve made the important decision that you’re bringing your car with you to the new country, then the very next step is to find a reliable international car shipping company near you.  On the Shiply website, you will need to fill out a simple form which details the make, model and size of the vehicle as well as the pickup and delivery locations.  Auto transport companies can then send you quotes straight to your Shiply inbox, giving you the ability to easily assess your options and pricing from them for comparison.  You must be very anxious to know the cost to transport a car overseas as that price will help you decide if it’ll be worth it to ship your car to another country at all.  Whether shipping your car interstate or internationally, the process can be quite tedious but you can learn more about the details at the Shiply website to allay your fears and doubts.

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Ibis Phuket Patong Hotel

Chairball a Popular Game in Thailand

For someone who’s into basketball and maybe a bit of football, chairball sounds, well, odd and different. It’s different from chairbasketball and certainly not Tchoukball. Chairball is a popular game in Thailand.

It is definitely a big thing here. The first time I heard of it, was during a sports week. Fellow teachers who were in their 50’s were playing and they were good at it. It was a bit strange to watch because they were passing the ball without dribbling it. I didn’t understand how it was played and I was totally uninterested.

Recently, my daughter got into this sport and join her team for their school’s sports week. Although she’s been training for basketball, she apparently was able to adapt to chairball. This time, the sport got my attention. Unfortunately there is not much information (in English) about this game in the internet.

Here’s a short video clip of a chairball match played by primary students in Thailand.

What do you think of the game?

For now having watched the game there are few things I’ve learnt about Chairball.

  1. It is definitely a team game. So the one-man show in basketball is a no-no in this game.
  2. The ball is passed from one player to another without dribbling.
  3. Once a player has received the ball s/he has to pass it without moving her/his legs from where she’s/he’s standing.
  4. The player standing on the chair holding the basket is allowed to catch the ball. In other words, the player could bend forward, sideward, backward, and could tilt the basket towards the incoming ball, as long as s/he stays planted on the chair.
  5. The team that earns more points in a given period of time wins the game.
  6. For every ball that gets into the basket earns the team two points.

Have you heard of chairball game before? Have you played it?

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restaurant with view cliff sunset budget thailand travels

Restaurant with a View: Cliff Sunset, Koh Lanta Krabi

Restaurant with a View: Cliff Sunset, Koh Lanta Krabi

Cliff Sunset Restaurant is another restaurant in Koh Lanta with a fantastic view of Kantiang Bay Beach and has a great view of the sunset.

Four years back (2016), there was only Ploypailin restaurant on the cliff of Kantiang Bay, a very simple, small shack made of wood. Now, the beautiful trees that were once residents there are all gone and are replaced by tiny, thatch-roofed kiosk restaurants lining Kantiang Bay cliff. Where have all the trees gone; the environmentalist side of me is crying.

Moving on, as mentioned, there are several restaurants to choose from. The increased number of infrastructures in what already a tight place has caused parking problems, which restaurants owners have taken advantage of. Their signage reads: No eat No parking. Another sad effect of this business competition reads: No eat No photo.

Even our 9 and 6 year old children caught up and said “Why not? They don’t own the beach. “

restaurant with view

Anyway, we had lunch there, felt the cool breeze from Andaman sea and took delight in the beauty around us. With the cool breeze coming from the sea gently touching our skin, rustling our hair, and the rushing seawater below us, it really felt like we’re on top of the world. It gave such a carefree feeling. It’s nice to lounge for a while a forget about the worries of the world. What a lovely feeling!

There’s always a silver lining at the end of the tunnel, after this COVID-19 pandemic, it would be great to go back experience these all over again.

restaurant with a view

Cliff Sunset Restaurant offers a wide range of Western and Thai menu. We stuck to the basic and ordered food we’re familiar with.

Stir-fry Vegetables: @$2.97 (99 baht)

Minced chicken with holy basil (Pad Krapao): @$ 2.97 (99 baht)

Coke in can: @$0.90 (30 baht)

Scrambled egg (Kai Tiaw) : @$ 1.77 (59 baht)

Strawberry smoothie: @ $ 1.80 (60 baht

Pretty much affordable.

 

We wanted to go back and have an early dinner to witness the sunset. However, the weather changed just a few minutes after lunch. It rained cats and dogs all through the rest of the day. This didn’t ruined our short stay though, my children and husband hang out by the pool most of the after at our accommodation, Phutara Lanta Resort while I enjoyed a much needed alone time in our room.

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United Residence Serviced Apartments

United Residence Serviced Apartments

Accommodation: United Residence Serviced Apartments

Location: 414 Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekamai 26), Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110

Telephone: 02 711 5010

United Residence Serviced Apartments

Bangkok, Thailand

www.UnitedResidence.com

Room

We stayed at room 83, on the eighth floor of the building. This super clean, non -smoking room is good for 2-3 occupants, the third being a child younger than 12. It has the usual amenities you’d find in other hotels but what sets this apartment apart from other below 100USD accommodations is the fully-functioning mini kitchen. It has a two-door fridge, a microwave, and a front-open washing machine.

It is also equipped with the following:

  • Coffee and coffee maker
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Cupboards
  • Flat-screen TV with English channels
  • Wall-sized mirror
  • Built-in wardrobe
  • Mini terrace with clothes rack
  • Intercom
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Mini safe
  • Drawers

Bathroom

It is a OK. It’s super clean and comfortable. There’s warm water in both shower and tap. I, personally felt at home immediately using the bathroom. There are no weird stains on the walls and especially no mildew. The drain system is good, so water doesn’t pool around the toilet area unlike Ibis Phuket Patong Hotel.

WIFI

It is fast. Fast enough to stream videos from Youtube and other websites. There weren’t any hiccups logging in.

Parking

It is private and gated. So you could sleep sound in the evening knowing your car is safe in the garage.

Staff

They are friendly and speak English. They are quick to respond when we can’t get the washing machine to work.

Price

We stayed for two nights and paid 66 USD. If this isn’t a great deal, I don’t know what is then.

Overall

We love the room, the staff, and the location. We definitely recommend this.

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Geysers by the Road in Northern Thailand

geysers by the road
Geysers by the Road in Northern Thailand

Looking at these geysers by the road in Northern Thailand as cars pass by is but incredible!

Wiang Pa Pao is a district southwest of Chiang Rai, and a common stop-over for buses, vans, and private cars traveling to and fro. Chiang Mai is a three hour drive from Chiang Rai, and so this stop-over is definitely a welcome one. And why not! Wiang Pa Pao’s geysers are awesome.

Any one who’s passing by will definitely give this place a second look after all, it’s free. Definitely a budget Thailand travel! From a distance you could already see random white steam patches against the greens as you travel up and down the hills. If you’re new to the place, these would seem like smoke as if someone’s burning something except that it doesn’t dissipate in the air.

Innovation

What we like about Wiang Pa Pao, is that they actually took advantage of these wonders without ruining it. They’ve paved the surrounding ground and constructed a fence around it. They also built satellite pools where people could dip their aching legs. It has become a great tourist attraction of the place and consequently a decent source of income. And we believe the entire length of the road that stretches from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai was so design having the geysers in mind.

Source of Income

As mentioned, these geysers by the road have attracted so many tourists. Thus increasing the district’s revenue. Here, you’ll find restaurants, souvenir shops, Seven Eleven, Accommodations, and even jewellery shops. Some locals sell hard-boiled eggs cooked in one of the pools. Water’s temperature is at 98 degrees celsius. Really hot!

Foot Spa

The place has at least 3 to 4 pools where you could dip your feet or legs. The water is so warm! It took us a while to get used to the temperature before we enjoyed the dip. A lot of people enjoyed it too, and really took their time while chatting with friends and munching on some tropical fruits.

Is it a great place to visit?

Absolutely!! One, the place is free. It requires no money whatsoever to enjoy this rare phenomenon called geyser. Second, the foot spa is relaxing and refreshing and you get to do this amidst the trees around. The geysers are by the road, so accessible. You need not hike hundreds of kilometers into the mountain just to see one. Lastly, it would be a great financial help for the people of Wiang Pa Pao who so graciously share nature at no so much cost.

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Singha Park Chiang Rai: A Must Visit

Boon Rawd Farm, famously known as Singha Park, sits a few kilometers away from the center of Chiang Rai. It is less than 10-minute drive from the White Temple. Singha Park Chiang Rai is one of the visited attractions in the city. Aside from it’s vastness and beauty, going in and exploring the place is free of admission.

Singha Park/ Boon Rawd Farm/  บุญรอดฟาร์ม.

It is a vast open land with so many beautiful attractions.  A giant effigy of a Lion (Singha in Thai) greets visitors at the entrance with numerous variety of colorful flowers prettily landscaped behind. There’s a designated place for parking. Cars are allowed during low seasons. There are however two means of going around the park,  biking and by trams. There are different types of bikes for rent -mountain bikes, grandma’s bike,  and double bikes at 120 baht an hour.  Trams are scheduled at regular intervals and it cost 1.67 USD (50 THB) per child and 3.34 USD (100 THB) for adult. This takes tourists around the park and stops at the park’s destinations.

Telephone: 091 576 0374

Opens: 9.00 am to 5:00 pm from Saturday to Sunday

Attractions in Singha Park

  1. Flower Park. Different species of beautiful, colorful flowers are displayed here for at least a week or two and mostly during the first two weeks of January. The flowers were totally breathtaking.  The park is quite big that a couple of hours, which was the only time we had, is definitely not enough to leisurely roam around. And I suggest that you fully charge your mobile phones and cameras before coming,  The place is so amazing you can’t stop clicking.  I would certainly go back as I have not really fully enjoyed the place due to lack of time. I’d also make it sure that I have the appropriate camera. The photos I’ve taken of the flowers and the place are not great due to again lack of time and limited battery life.  In fact there were several attractions I haven’t photographed.  
  2. Swan Lake. Next stop is the swan lake. From the name itself this huge lake has plenty of white swan, and giant coy fish. Children could feed them through bamboo tubes that piped the sides of the lake. And just recently (as of November 2019) at the opposite side of swan lake is a large effigy of a rat made from hay.
  3. Tea Plantation follows. Here, you’ll see vast field of tea plants, such a pleasant sight of well-contoured greens. There’s a tiny station around here that sells tea powder. They also got customs and baskets tourists could use to take photos with.
  4. Zoo. Watusi cattle and short-legged horses are the main attractions in this part of the park.
  5. Strawberry farm. During the winter season that is from December to February, strawberry is aplenty. They are big and sweet in this part of Thailand.
  6. Mushroom and Herbs. As of 2019, they have develop a certain variety of mushroom (please see video). They also have variety of herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and many more.
  7. Zipline. Oh yes, I guess one of the highlights! We Zipline for the First Time, Made the More-Than-24 Hour Car Drive Worthwhile! This is the last stop of the tour. This place has a very nice restaurant that opens until the night. They also sell their own-made ice cream, the Boon Rawd Ice Cream. The zipline has a separate fee of 10 USD (300 THB). Aside from the zipline, they also offer other activities like wall climbing, biking, and survival trail.

Here’s a short video clip of the rock climbing activity in SIngha Park.

There you go folks. Hope you’ll have a great time there.

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Tips for Planning a Family Trip

tips for planning a family trip
https://pixabay.com/photos/family-trip-italy-alps-wander-789029/

Going on a family trip can be one of the best experiences for both you and your children. Trips provide opportunities to experience new environments together, and can open your children’s eyes to the world. However, without proper planning, traveling in large groups with kids can quickly turn stressful. In order to make sure you make the most of your vacation, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a family trip.

Hold a Family Meeting

The first thing to do before starting off on any family trip is to hold a family meeting. Why is this important? According to the Center for Parenting Education, a family meeting is a great opportunity for children to feel like they have a voice in family decisions, and can increase family closeness. When it comes to planning a vacation, this is a great opportunity for family members to touch base on where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do. You can discuss dream destinations, as well as streamline and adjust vacation plans to fit family members’ schedules and expectations.

Plan Ahead

Once you’ve got an idea of where you want to go and how long you want to be away from, it’s time to start planning. While it may be tempting to leave things until the last minute, planning ahead will definitely save you a lot of worry and headaches in the long run. The Huffington Post recommends forward planning because it leads to less stress, as well as helps you spend less time and money. The earlier you start shopping around, the higher the chance you can snag rooms or tickets at a discount, especially if you’re looking at taking a trip during the holiday season.

Research Your Transportation

Traveling with kids can be difficult, especially when they’re young. You’ll need to do more research on your modes of transportation, as children have different needs compared to adults. If you’re renting a car, look at insurance packages and child safety regulations. For longer haul trips that require time in the air, an article by Aviation JobNet recommends comparing airlines before making a decision. Among the factors they suggest for consideration are ticket prices, luggage surcharges, customer satisfaction, and frequent flyer status.

Manage Expectations

Finally, before you head out on your trip remember to manage expectations. Traveling with children comes with unique challenges that will require a bit of creativity on your part, so you should be realistic about what you expect from this holiday. For example, child development psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer recommends that international trips be reserved for children older than five, as they’ll be less likely to remember the trip at a younger age. Children also react differently to high-stress situations on the road, so parents should be patient and be ready to take lots of breaks. However, although being realistic is important, remember that vacations are supposed to be fun bonding moments. Leave some space for you and your family to have fun, and you’ll be sure to make tons of beautiful memories.

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