Best of Thailand Trip – Unforgettable moments

Night in Bang Tao

Night in Bang Tao, Phuket

Its night out here in Bang Tao. The dark blue night sky is awash with white stars, and dark grey clouds against the dark mountains in the distance.

Its been a whirlwind of a trip, much awaited and looked forward to. I’ve fallen in love with Phuket, and I do believe it represents the best of Thailand, in terms of experiences with food, the beaches and the spirit of the people. 

Here are some of the best photos of the trip:

Bike and 91 gasoline

Bike and 91 gasoline

My beloved bike on which I roamed all over Phuket. At 250 baht (INR 500 or US$ 8) day, it was an awesome deal, thanks to Khan and Katy at Bang Tao Kitchen. Tip: Always negotiate on the bike rates, especially if you are travelling with 2 or more people. 

Pork and Chicken Strips on a Stick

Fried Squid and Sausage on a Stick

Every place has got a street food stall, and for 10-30 Baht (INR 20 or US$ .30), you can get some pretty delicious soya sauce dripping goodies.

Queen Victoria DJing at Catch Beach Club, Surin Beach

Queen Victoria DJing at Catch Beach Club, Surin Beach

Catch Beach Club

Catch Beach Club

Partying at Surin Beach.

Foot Massage at Pattaya

Foot Massage at Pattaya

Experiencing the famous Thai massage.

Tip: Bargain for the massages as well, and you can usually get a 100-200 Baht cheaper, especially if 2 or more people are getting massages at the same time.

Ladboys at Patong, Phuket

Ladboys at Patong, Phuket

Seeing the famous Ladyboys at Patong Walking Street, Phuket.

Grasshopper

Fried Grasshopper

Eating grasshoppers in Bangkok!

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Having delicious Pad Thai, my most favourite dish in Thailand.

Golden Sunlight at Nai Harn Beach

Golden Sunlight at Nai Harn Beach

My favourite picture of the beautiful Thai landscape; took this while biking on the road.

On the streets of Bangkok

On the streets of Bangkok

Overlooking Kamala Beach

Overlooking Kamala Beach

But the absolute best part was getting to chill with some of my best friends.

Will definitely recommend going to Thailand for a vacation. It provides a glorious experience, and its pretty easy to get around.

I’m inclined to post a special how to guide for people looking to party and chill in Thailand, especially on a budget :).

 

 

 

Chilling in Thailand

On a break from Goa, and what better place than Thailand???

Wish u all the best for your vacations and breaks.

Goan flavour updates to continue after July 1, 2013.

Meanwhile, enjoy some Thailand photos!

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The famous Pattaya beach

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Some awesome roast chicken in Bangkok

 

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More Bangkok street food – Pork Dumplings

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View of the Skytrain from my room

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Street food festival near Platinum Mall, Bangkok

 

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An ice cold Singha beer on the beach – Perfect way to enjoy a relaxed evening

Fun Way to Get Around Goa – The Dashing Pilots

If you are alone, and have just gotten off at the Panjim bus stand, and are wondering how to get around Goa, have no fear.

The dashing pilots are there.

Hello from Mr. Pilot!

Hello from Mr. Pilot!

No, the pilots do not have ANYTHING to do with airplanes or any other aviation related machinery. Proudly astride yellow colored motorbikes, these gentlemen will carry you swiftly to your destination. This gentleman happily posed for me at Panjim bus stand.

In Goa, the yellow color on the bike’s (or scooter’s or moped’s) number plate signifies that the bike (or scooter or moped) is for tourists. You’ll see this on bikes for rent, for example, as you can see on this lovely bike (my only long term relationship in Goa). She’s an Avenger and a lady, and if I ride her again, we’ll have to think of a name.

My lady in red

My lady in red

So back to the pilots. They can take you from Panjim to anywhere close by, like Dona Paula, Miramar, Candolim, Calangute (highlighted in blue in the map below). These are the popular areas, so I would recommend renting your own bike from here, if you want to go further to other places like Baga, Anjuna.

Place around Panjim highlighted in blue

Place around Panjim highlighted in blue

The pilots are pretty decent for the distances to the blue highlighted places. Any further and it becomes cost prohibitive/expensive. They should ideally charge around Rs. 100-110 (US$ 2-3) for distances upto 10km, which is more reasonable than auto-rickshaws in Goa, who charge Rs. 60-70 for 3-4km! My friend from Goa say Panjim to Mapusa (12km) is typically Rs.100(US$2), and a return journey (Panjim-Mapusa-Panjim) would be around Rs. 150.

However, its not recommended to go piloting, if you are carrying a lot of luggage (2-3 heavy bags). It’s cool if you have just your back pack and 1-2 light bags. 

Enjoy your pilot experience when you come to Goa, its one of those typical Goan things. It’s a fun way to get around Goa.

And here’s a sweet goodbye from our dashing pilot at Panjim.

Goodbye from Mr. Pilot

Goodbye from Mr. Pilot

Goan Flavour Journey – Recommended Blogs

It’s been 3 months since I wrote the first post (about Sweet Water and Tandoori Shark) on Goan Flavour. Has so much time passed already!?

Time flows eternal.

Time flows eternal.

It’s been an interesting journey. I was pretty enthusiastic about posting about Goa in the initial days, putting up pretty much everything I thought of, without really thinking how useful it is for the reader.

Goa oh Goa!

Goa oh Goa!

Hopefully I’ve learned from my lessons and the later blogs are more in tune with helping newcomers discover Goa, and old timers rediscover it :).

On a different note, these three months have led to the discovery of many interesting blogs on WordPress. It is quite awe-inspiring to read these stories, posted by some very talented people. It has forced me to think harder, and write better posts.

One of the bloggers, Les 3 Elephants, who has an amazing story by the way (read about it here), was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster blog award.  

Inspiration!

Inspiration!

While I won’t be writing for it, I will be recommending some of the very inspiring bloggers, who’s posts are a pleasure to read. Fun, quirky and often deep, they enrich everyday life and make you think about life beyond your own world.

Here they are (in no particular order), and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do :):

  1. Fabulous 50’s  – Great posts by a “fifty-ish” baby boomer who puts many young people to shame with her vibrant energy
  2. Dreaming in Arabic – All about adventures in the UAE. Compelling and well written posts with nice photos.
  3. The Open Suitcase – Quirky, fun posts about travel with family
  4. Not in India – A nice blog with gentle, relaxing posts, quotes, thoughts and much more
  5. PS Love Charli – A very nice blog about fashion, health and celebrities
  6. AvecVeritas – Another well written blog about make up and beauty. Great to suggest to all your female friends!
  7. MissAdventure – Follow the adventures of Jessica as she travels and writes about teaching abroad in China, Thailand and more
  8. The High Heel Gourmet – I love this blog for its wonderful pictures of authentic Thai and Asian fusion food. You can see that Miranti really puts a lot of effort in writing detailed recipes designed to make you drool.
  9. Simple Tom – I enjoy Tom’s blog for his high impact visuals and informative videos. His posts are simple, not too long, but they leave you inspired and thinking of a better way to live :).
  10. CristianMihai – This is one of the latest discoveries. A writer from Romania, Cristian has great short stories, essays and more about the craft of writing, its struggles and joys. 
  11. Wanderful World – Adventures of an arm chair traveller!
  12. TheVintagePostcard – She has some of the best photograph galleries about travels around the world and a most beautiful website layout.
  13. EricJohnBaker – Another nice blog about writing. Eric is also a talented musician and just posted a great song in the genre of Progressive Post-Punk Arena Pop. Check it out the video here. The band’s called Full Blown Cranium and the albums called Cacophony of Weirdos. Just hearing the name, you know you want to listen to it :)!
  14. Chronicles of Wanderlust – As they say, two travelers discovering the world and capturing their journey with nice posts and photos. They just covered Victoria and are having a contest giving away Maple Cream Cookies, amongst other prizes :). Check it out right away!

I do apologize for my brief introductions above; they do not to do justice to the depth and breadth of topics covered by them.They cover travel, living, fashion, food, inspiration and much much more :).

 I invite you to explore and enjoy these blogs.

Relaxed Goa

Relaxed Goa

 

And do come back to Goan Flavour, for fun, food and relaxation.

Update:

I’m shifting goanflavour from WordPress to be hosted on Hostgator.com. So during the transfer process, it’s possible that some pictures/links may no longer work. If you find any link not working or post not displaying, please let me know, and I’ll fix it right away.

The decision to shift was prompted by a wish to have greater control on the website and I’m it will work out better for you:)! 

Best Hostel in North Goa – Asterix

To Travel is to Live” – Seen on the wall of Asterix Hostel

After getting my trusty red Avenger at Panjim, I headed over to north Goa, to Vagator. My destination was Asterix, a hostel with rave reviews on Tripadvisor. I’d heard a lot about it and was curious to experience it for myself. Why miss out on visiting one of the best hostels in North Goa?

Asterix hostel entrance

Asterix hostel entrance

A couple of wrong turns, going back and forth on the main road looking like a lost tourist and I was there. A kind lady called Mary Ann sitting behind the desk took the registration details and then showed me around. I was pretty impressed by the relaxed ambiance, how clean and organised everything was.

My dorm on the ground floor

My dorm on the ground floor

Asterix hostel has two wings. The main one has a dirt track leading up to the hostel. You go down the path, past the gate, and reach a building with leafy trees all around. There’s a fun common area with books and board games, 2 hammock like seats/swings you can sit on and chill out with other guests.

Mary Ann showed me the dorm room which I’d selected. It was an AC dorm room at Rs. 500 (US$10) a night, to be shared with 5 others.  Quite a good deal. Mary also showed me the pantry, which has filtered water to drink, as well as a fridge with beer and snacks. The beer is cheap, just Rs. 40 (less than US$1)! The beer and snacks are charged, but on an honor system. Have what you want, just write your name on the notebook along with the quantity you had and you’ll be charged on check out. Mary Ann also explained the laundry system. They’ve got numbered laundry bags, 1-5. All you have to do is drop your clothes in one of the bags, and then they’ll be washed and returned. Then you have to hang them up to dry. It was pretty reasonable, I think around Rs. 50/100 (US$ 1-2) per laundry bag and lots of guests use it. Also their wifi password is really cute :P. Can you guess what it might be?

I took a lot of pictures of the kitchen and hostel, noting the messages various travelers had scribbled on the wall. Some of them were really creative; all of them had a whiff of adventure.

To Travel is to Live

To Travel is to Live

Kingkisser: Definitely not Beer

Kingkisser: Definitely not Beer

I ran and I'm still running away

I ran and I’m still running away

The most fun part of the day was in the evening, when I headed to the main hostel. A couple of German guys, David, Alex, Benji, a Swiss guy and an English girl, Charlotte were sitting and playing a beer game. It looked fun and I joined them. The game’s basically everyone taking turns to ask a question. The question consists of giving two options and asking everyone what their choice is, for example; God or Nature. After everyone gives their choice, the person who asked the options tells the correct choice, e.g. God. So everyone who was said Nature, has to take a swig.

It’s quite a fun game to play in hostels, especially with new people and travelers. And you get to know a lot about other people, from the way they answer their questions. We moved from God or Nature to much more adult options, which I won’t discuss here. Go to Asterix and find out for yourself.

Asterix has a fun code of conduct which I found pretty interesting.

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

If you feel hungry, just walk out to Mango tree. It’s 2min away from Asterix, and has a bar. You can sit order Indian, Continental or Goan; lots of options. I stayed at Asterix for one day, and had breakfast at Mango tree on the next.

Mango tree restaurant with bar

Mango tree restaurant with bar

How to get to Asterix: Hire a bike at Panjim, and it’s a 25-30 min ride away. 10min from Anjuna. Ask anyone for Asterix hostel near the Mango Tree restaurant. It’s on the main road, you’ll see a sign with Asterix’s helmet on it. Be alert, the sign’s kind of small, but you won’t miss it.

Anjuna to Asterix

Anjuna to Asterix

Budget: Low – Medium

  1. Rs. 300-400 (US$ 6-8) per night for non-AC dorm room
  2. Rs. 500 (US$10) per night for AC dorm room
  3. Rs. 1300 (US$26) for a single room which can be shared by 2 people

Keep in mind that these prices are in the low season of June-August. Prices will be higher during the peak tourist season of Oct-March. Call ahead and check to be sure.

Asterix Contact Info

Asterix Contact Info

Goan Flavour Rating: Bombastic 10/10!

All in all, I would rate Asterix a 10 on 10 for the stay, experience and ambiance. Compared to other places to stay, this is definitely one of the best options in north Goa. I met a fun group of people, talked to this dude who’s a sailor from Turkey; it’s a great place to hang out if you are travelling alone, or with 1-2 friends.

My Turkish friend and I

My Turkish friend and I