Thailand: Part 1

Sawadika! (Hello!)

I know some of you are going to be visiting Thailand in the near future (and if you’re not, you so¬†should!), so I figured I better lock-it-up and get this honeymoon post completed!

I had to break it into two parts, because there is just too much for one post and you will probably fall asleep reading if this gets much longer ūüôā

My amazing husband surprised me with a limo to the airport, so we decided to pop open this special bottle of champagne for the ride:

IMG_5942

It was given to us by our good friends Beth and Kalen as a housewarming gift when we first moved to Cali over a year ago. Talk about willpower! By the time we arrived at LAX we were ready for the 14(?) hour flight!

Let me preface this by saying the plane ride is excruciatingly long…so a bottle of champs and a ride to the airport is a must. I watched 7 movies and read two books cover-to-cover on the flight (btw, thanks to everyone who gave me book recommendations! Ya’ll are the BEST!). Make sure you bring along something to do in case you get sick of movies, and wear super comfy clothes. Maybe even bring some snacks. I will share with you my traveling essentials in a later post because I have recently discovered some great ones!

In typical Lauren fashion, I was panicking upon landing because the weather forecast predicted bad weather for our ENTIRE TRIP.

As you may remember from this post, we decided to book our honeymoon during September (Thailand’s rainy season) because the prices were appealing. I read tons of reviews reassuring the thrifty traveler that this would not be an issue because sporadic showers and an occasional 20 minute thunderstorm would be all we’d encounter.¬†

Everything was still beautiful, but boy did it downpour that first night!

Before I get started on all the fun things there are to do Phuket, let me give you a tour of our resort. We stayed at The Shore at Katathani Phuket. When you arrive, it looks like this:

IMG_6614

We checked in, and then since the resort is on a steep hillside, were¬†driven to our villa in a golf cart by one of the awesomely fun resort employees¬†(shout out to Palm and Beer if you are reading this!). We stayed in suite 8842. I would highly recommend this suite because it has an amazing view (which all the villas have), was high up on the hill, and very private. If you’re not one for climbing stairs I would suggest something near the bottom, but this was not really an issue for us. The villa was spectacular…these pictures just don’t do it justice!

IMG_5967

The whole wall facing the ocean is a sliding glass door.

IMG_6418

Everything is gorgeous…but this bathroom, though!

IMG_5983

IMG_5996

IMG_6011

IMG_5978

Off the bathroom is a patio with a private infinity pool and a little alcove for relaxing…heavenly.

IMG_6234

From the second we stepped in (pretty much) we started googling how much it would cost us to just rent one of these villas for the rest of our lives.

(Conclusion: we would both probably have to win the lottery. Twice.)

After the initial shock of landing in heaven, we ventured out for sustenance:

IMG_6095

IMG_6100

and then food ūüėČ

IMG_6282

Our favorite restaurant was one that I had read about online before planning the trip. It’s called Mom Tri’s Kitchen at Villa Royale, and you must go there. I demand you! It ended up being a short 5 minute walk from the grounds of our resort, which we did not even plan! Mom Tri’s is¬†a bit more pricey than most other restaurants in the area, but you get what you pay for and the views are spectacular. They also have Jazz night twice a week, and Parker loves him some jazz so of course we attended that.

IMG_6071

IMG_6072

To get there you have to trek up an ancient staircase that winds along the oceanside.

IMG_6313

I am not joking with this view.

IMG_6319

Just keeps gettin’ better…

IMG_6311

and then finally you’ll see this through the trees:

IMG_6298

and you’re there!

IMG_6273

You need to order the ahi tuna and salmon appetizer because you will never have anything better in your life. This was our view during lunch:

IMG_6287

We elected to dine outside for our first visit, but the inside of the restaurant isn’t too shabby either:

IMG_6294

Us at Jazz Night:

IMG_6571

About 90% of our trip was spent eating/lazing around. The other 10% we tried to be active and go on mini adventures. My favorite part of the entire trip had to be elephant trekking. There are several places to do this in Phuket, but the one you wanna go to is called Siam Safari. The staff here is amazing and they treat the animals very well, which was important to us when choosing a tour to go on.

IMG_6224

IMG_6184

IMG_6188

Another fun adventure, especially if you are a religion or history buff, is visiting Big Buddah and the Wat Chalong Temples.

IMG_6470

IMG_6467

The temples are truly incredible, and if we could do it again we would have spent more time exploring them.

IMG_6525

IMG_6496

We hired a tour guide but he didn’t know too much about the history of the temples so I would highly recommend researching legit temple-tour-guides if this is something that peaks your interest. We were sad that we didn’t get to learn much about them.

But they sure were mighty pretty!

IMG_6512

IMG_6485

IMG_6519

IMG_6481

IMG_6532

On your way to and from the temples there’s a breathtaking viewpoint, so we took an obligatory pic there:

IMG_6428

Somebody forgot to SMILE!!! He’s cute, so it’s fine.

One night, we grabbed a tuk tuk (taxi) and braved the night market. In all honesty, we hated it. But it was an experience, so no regrets! It was PACKED with people! The air in the market is so thick with smoke from all of the cooking oils and (goodness knows what else) that you can barely breath in there. We were super intrigued by all of the different types of food that they had on display, and it was cool to see but we were a bit cautious to try anything other than some potato french fry thingie on a stick (which I ate too fast to get a pic of…oops!).

IMG_6328

Pretty much everywhere you go, there are tiny¬†houses or temples that are mounted on pillars called¬†spirit houses, and they are placed in front of businesses and homes to¬†provide shelter for spirits. At first we assumed these were Buddhist shrines, or shrines to Buddah, but soon found out that this tradition is rooted in animism. This blog post I found does a great job of¬†explaining this tradition, and also answering our¬†question of “What’s with the Red Fanta?”

This large offering of Red Fanta was at the market:

IMG_6331

Out of alllllll the wonderful things to buy at the Thai market, I left with these mini French macarons ūüôā

 IMG_6343

Go figure.

To be continued…

Part 2 coming soon!

Advertisements

London: Tips for Your Trip

So one of my close friends just left for a European adventure last night with her boo. ¬†She asked me for some suggestions on where to eat, what to see, and so on…and I thought why not just make a post about it? It’s easy to link stuff, and this way I could also post pictures to make it even better!

First up: London

IMG_3661

I’ve been to London twice: once for studying abroad, and then for a long weekend with Parker during his R&R a couple years ago. Both times were amazing, although very different. This could be due to the fact I was a wild college student who actually went out at night the first time. With Parker…well, all we cared about was food, history (on his part), ummmm, and food. Actually this is a lie, I also was hoping to see Prince William. That was definitely #1 on the list both times. Anyways, I can’t even remember all the places I went out at night when I studied abroad. Not because I was partying too hard!! Who do you take me for?! It was just so long ago I’m sure the hip spots have changed. Anyways, food:

IMG_3154

The¬†Fox & Anchor. This is near Smithfield Market, and it’s a historic British Pub. Get the chips….they are so good I get fat looking at them. The owner is super welcoming, too. We actually stayed here on our visit and the rooms are spectacular!

IMG_3151Learn more on their website.

Right across the street from here is a cute bar called Be at One¬†Cocktail Bar. IMG_3158They have some silly cocktails and a good selection of beer…stop in and relax with a happy hour drink!

IMG_3664

They have several locations in London.

If you’re feeling daring, for dinner go to La Bodega Negra.

IMG_3598

Ok, so this is not what it seems! Just call and make a reservation and show up at the address…it’s a secret restaurant. We loved the food (and margaritas ūüėČ) here. It is worth the trip outside of your comfort zone, and no, it’s not a sex shop, I promise you.

The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a must see!

IMG_3477

This happens every odd numbered day during August. Days vary depending on the month you visit, so check out their website for more info. It’s always crowded, so grab a coffee and try to arrive early!

This is a surprise to most, but Florida State University has a campus in London! Obviously, only true Noles would want to see this, but I have to leave this here for the happy couple because I know they love their school!

image

The address is:

Florida State University, 99 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3LH, United Kingdom

The campus is super close to the British Museum, so grab a street hotdog and stop in! If museums aren’t for you but you wanna do something cultural, I highly recommend seeing a play in Shakespere’s Globe Theatre.

IMG_3182Seriously guys, you’ll get goosebumps just walking in. And the plays are interactive! The actors try to recreate what it was really like back in the day. When I went there were no microphones, no artificial lighting, and a light rain was falling into the open arena onto the crowd. It was surreal.

If you do end up going out at night, there are some really cool places on yelp. I wish I could remember all the places I went, but I’m old and my memory is fading! I do have one tip for dudes: at night, urinals pop out of the ground! Sorry ladies, you’ll still have to find a restroom somewhere ūüėĀ

Anywayssss…hope you’re having fun, Lindz!! Amsterdam and Barcelona coming tomorrow and Tuesday! I love you!