Our night in St Goar, Germany

We had heard that St Goar was the town of deadly folklore.According to legend, a beautiful female who, sitting on the cliff above the Rhine and combing her golden hair, unwittingly distracted sailors with her beauty and song, causing them to crash on the rocks. This was my kind of town! We booked a B&B online, 2 nights in the witch town. As we made our way through, we stopped at Boppard for a cup of hot chocolate. This really is a gorgeous town. We did some shopping at the Christmas market and listened to the marching band go by.

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Red nose from the cold!

We then walked to the Sesselbahn, which is an amazing chairlift to the top of a mountain. The weather change was dramatic. It was cold and misty at the top, so it was back to jerseys and beanies! The view at the top was amazing! We ate some pea soup at the restaurant, then made our way back down.

 

When we arrived in St Goar, we were happy with the location of our B&B. That is where the positive remarks stop. We should have got the first clue to escape when we walked in to find swords and rifles all over the walls. There were witch puppets hanging everywhere in a creepy-when-not-halloween kind of way. We hauled our panniers up the the 2nd floor, and each bedroom had a witch hanging outside the door. The floors were slanted, and my friend got bed bugs. We were booked for 2 nights, but when we awoke the next morning we decided to cut our St Goar trip short.

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It was my Birthday, and we decided to start the day by going to the Rheinfels castle. I was hoping that the castle was going to be more decorated as it was when in use, but it was just a ruin. The views were incredible. We took the little train from the town center up to the castle, and spent about an hour walking around the grounds. When we eventually came back down, we stopped at the cuckoo shop to have a quick peek at the master carvings. I am glad we spent just one night in St Goar, as I felt that we had seen everything that was important on our list.

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We headed off onwards towards Bacharach, cycling with my birthday banner attached to my panniers. The sun had some out and the jersey had come off. It was starting to feel like summer!

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Day trip to Volendam

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Cycling on the dykes.

One of the nicest day trips out of Amsterdam was Volendam. We woke up early one morning, braving the freezing cold, to cycle our way to the fishing village. I donned cycling shorts, leggings, full tracksuit pants, 2 pairs of socks, a t-shirt, pullover fleece jersey, zip up fleece jersey, a windbreaker and a beanie. It.was.that.cold!

 

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Marken

We braced some biting cold wind and cloudy skies to make this journey, and I’m so glad we did! We cycled on the famous dykes, and found a clog factory along the way. It was fascinating to see how the clogs transformed from wood into delicately painted shoes. Again, I didn’t take the opportunity to buy the clog slippers when I should have. We cycled to a little harbor, and found refuge from the cold in a little pub style restaurant. The apple pie was delicious! After that, we paid the 8euro fee and boarded the ferry to Volendam. It was a pleasant surprise to find a fellow South African sitting next to us on the ferry. He was living in Belgium and recognized our accents straight away, mentioning how homesick he was. When we reached Volendam, I immediately paid 5euros for a proper fleece beanie, and set off around the little fishing village.

We enjoyed a cheese tour, learning all about the process of making cheese. We also indulged in some sweet poffertjies, which are a dutch style pancake. Eventually it was time to cycle back to our accommodation in Amsterdam. We took an alternate route which took us past farms and windmills. The sky had cleared up at that point, and the sun had come out to play. One thing I really loved about Holland was the farm life. There were many shetland ponies and farm animals roaming around on the luscious green fields. The warm weather was the turning point for the rest of our holiday. Sunshine and shorts all the way!

Exploring Amsterdam

After waking up after our first night in Amsterdam, we decided that the day would be best spent exploring the city center. We locked our panniers in our rooms and headed off on our bicycles. We stopped at a small café for breakfast – tostis with ham and cheese. I then bought a 1euro postcard to ship back home. It became an unspoken tradition between myself and my parents. Every overseas trip that someone took, a postcard needed to be sent home with a picture of that city. I always send one in the first few days of my holiday, and it never reaches South Africa before I do. Our postal service is shocking, it usually only arrives at our post box 1-2 months later!

100_2251We cycled to Dam square, locked our bicycles up and took off on foot. The streets were buzzing. I took a few touristy shots with over sized clogs, weed glasses and the canals. The canals were beautifully eerie. It was still chilly, the leaves were scattered in the water and a sense of coolness hung around. I bought a few small, lightweight gifts at the 5euro store. I’m embarrassed to admit that the little gifts consisted of cheesy clog keyrings and magnets, XXX underwear and little windmill novelties. As they say, “when in Rome” or in this case, Amsterdam.

I fell in love with the clog slippers, but was hesitant to add anything more to my panniers. We walked around to look for Anne Frank’s house, but the queue was 100_2288around the block. Instead, we admired the little brass statue of Anne, and walked on. When you have limited time in one city, you just have to skip some things.

We cycled to the Rijks museum and took our tourist photos at the large “Amsterdam” sign. We managed to glimpse a few tulips, but they were behind the locked side gates. Next we stumbled across a large park filled with joggers, picnic spots and a large water featured pond. It was a lovely spot to enjoy a delicious butter roll from Lidl.

As we made our way back to the Dam palace, we stopped to do a 9euro canal cruise which was amazing.The captain, Freddie, allowed me to steer the vessel for a few minutes (in theIMG_0084 open water of course!). Having been so busy walking and cycling around, we decided that a well earned hot chocolate was in order. We stopped at another small café  and relaxed as it got darker outside.

We waited until it was dusk enough to walk around the red light district. I had heard how fun it was to look at all the offerings and in the windows, but I must be honest, I really didn’t feel comfortable seeing the women. In my opinion, a lot of them looked drugged, a hazard of the job? It felt more sad than fun to me, so we headed back to our campsite to relax. What a busy day!

How to pack for a 3 week cycling holiday

It can be a real challenge to pack for a 3 week holiday in Holland/Germany. Throw in the fact that you have to carry everything you take on your bicycle, and you quickly learn to downscale. We could make use of a backpack, a set of panniers and the bicycle pouch. Everything needed to be lightweight, and preferably disposable. I have written this blog post for people to see exactly what you can make do with for 3 weeks, and I’ll start with clothing.

  • disposable pocket size poncho
  • 2 x lightweight fleece jerseys
  • underwear (3 sets, washed daily)
  • leggings
  • jeggings
  • 2 x tracksuit pants
  • 5 x t-shirts/tops
  • 3 x pairs of socks
  • cycle shorts
  • hat
  • beanie (I ended up buying another one in Amsterdam – I had underestimated the chilly wind with my loosely knitted beanie)
  • sneakers
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • earbuds
  • 1 x box tampons
  • deodorant
  • hand and face cream
  • small tube shower gel
  • 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner
  • tweezers
  • nail file
  • hairbrush
  • face wash
  • small towel
  • small tube of laundry detergent
  • razor
  • floss
  • hair ties and clips
  • facecloth
  • headlamp
  • iPad and charger
  • camera and charger
  • waterbottle
  • cellphone and charger
  • tissues
  • earphones
  • notebook
  • passport
  • pen
  • cycling gloves
  • spare tube
  • puncture kit
  • sunglasses
  • ballerina flats
  • watch

That was it, i survived the trip with the above. I must admit, I ended up leaving behind a pair of tracksuit pants, and I should have packed clothes pegs for hanging up my washed clothes.

All in all, I was impressed that I could survive such a long time with such minimal space!

The start of my Amsterdam to Cologne cycle

My next overseas trip wasn’t quite my ideal holiday, but when offered the opportunity to tag along with someone to a new place, I always grab it with both hands. I had been cycling for a couple of months and my new bicycle had traveled a couple of miles. so I felt confident enough to go along with a cycling holiday to Europe. Our itinerary started in Amsterdam, and we would cycle our way down to Arnhem, and then take a train through to Bonn, Germany. We dismantled our bicycles in Cape Town, boxed them up and checked them in as our check in luggage.When we arrived in Amsterdam, the weather was chilly and overcast. It was the end of May, which is the start of the summer months in Europe.

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My reassembled bicycle.

We had to stand outside the airport and reassemble our bicycles. Our day to day luggage was anything that could fit into our side panniers and backpacks. Because we were cycling to our destinations, there was no room for any excess baggage. Clothes needed to be lightweight, shopping was kept to a minimal (A real blessing with the rand/euro exchange rate), and any toiletries that were heavy were bought in small quantities when needed. After assembling everyone’s bicycles and throwing away our boxes, we headed off to find our accommodation. .

In South Africa, we drive/cycle on the left hand side of the road. In Amsterdam, it is the opposite. When cycling down the paths in the city, I got such a fright at someone zooming passed me that I automatically veered right. Unfortunately for me the pavement was waiting to make me a victim. I crashed to the ground and suffered humiliation on my first day. I got up, had my friend straighten my handlebars, and slowly cycled off with a bruised ego and a bleeding hand. Luckily for me, that was the first and last accident on this trip.

I really enjoyed the traffic laws that were available for cyclists. Separate paths, cycling robots and the bells were a great reminder of how a city can function well without the constant car fumes spluttering everywhere. Of course I must add, even for myself as a regular cyclist, I was often intimidated and scared out of my wits while cycling here. Everyone whizzes passed so incredibly fast.

I wish I had written down the name of the hostel site we stayed in, as they were cute and affordable. There was a small restaurant on the premises, where we ate dinner that night (11eu for a small pizza), and breakfast every morning. The showers were as clean as can be expected for a hostel and campsite, with an 0.80c charge to use them. The accommodation options included cabins, tents and caravans (this was a very busy spot). There was a petting farm animal pen which was great for the kids to experience, as well as myself (I am a sucker for animals). If I can pick up the name of the accommodation in my emails, I will edit this later 🙂

After the long flight and cycling to find our spot, we decided on an early night. We were in bed just before 10pm, and amazingly it was still light outside. The following day was going to be spent like a tourist, so I needed to look alive for pictures!

 

Favorite Pizza spots in Cape Town

As I’m sure you have guessed from the title, pizza is my ultimate food indulgence. I’ve listed a few of my favorite spots that I’ve tried around Cape Town, please feel free to add some more that you think I should try 🙂

  1. Da Vinci’s on Kloof – I first discovered this spot through a Groupon deal, and decided to try it out since it was on a very popular, trendy street. The restaurant is lovely, especially on a warm summer evening, as they have an outside section with fairy lights. The pizza has an incredibly thin base, and you usually need a fork to eat it. This is exactly how I love my pizza – thin and saucy! My favorite type is usually a rib pizza with a delicious BBQ base sauce. My partner had an avo, bacon and feta – he loved his too. All in all, a wonderful meal and we have since been here a few times.
  2. Woodstock Lounge – After a disastrous pizza at another “trendy” spot in Woodstock, we asked for the bill and left, making our way here. The pizza at the original spot had an awfully acidic, thick base. The topping choices were odd combinations, and the restaurant doesn’t allow for changes or substitutions – that should have been our first clue! Anyway, we chose to rather enjoy the rest of our evening at Woodstock Lounge, and what a great decision! The place has a casual vibe, with a seated section taking up half the restaurant, and a lounge section taking up the other half. There is also a bar running across the place. We sat on one of the comfy couches near the fire and ordered a pizza to share. It was a safe choice after the place we had just come from, we chose avo, bacon and feta. Nice thin base, great employees, and a cozy couch to munch away on. A definite winner!
  3. Doodles – A very popular, longstanding spot in Blouberg. We are very lucky to have this restaurant right next to our apartment building. The view is spectacular (
    Table Mountain at it’s best) and the atmosphere is laid back. Thursday is more manic as the drinks are half price until 8pm. The Rib pizza, and the “Dood” are great choices. The one thing that stands out about Doodles pizza, is their use of herbs. Most places don’t add enough to taste, but the cheesy pizza at Doodles is always generously sprinkled. There is usually a pizza special during the winter months – half price Sundays. Hopefully they are bringing it back this year!
  4. Obz Cafe – We shared a pulled pork pizza here recently, and have since gone back to enjoy it again. The pizza is in a large, square shape, with ample toppings, thin base, and mouthwatering chipotle sauce. Don’t be fooled by the harsh, dodgy streets. The inside is trendy and cool, the only downside is that the cafe shares a bathroom (dodgy bathroom I might add) with Jerry’s cafe.
  5.  Posticinos – Situated on Seapoint Main road, this place has been around for ages. Every time I have been there, it has been very busy. Always try make a booking, that way you can request the tables outside on the patio (weather dependent of course!) The menu has a large variety of choices, far from the boring, standard options. The pizza has a crispy, thin base with a generous amount of toppings. This restaurant comes alive in the evening, leaving you with a sense of social wonder and food satisfaction.
  6.  Forneria Italia – This is a busy Italian spot in Table View. People don’t come for the view, so you know they must be doing something right to be buzzing at night. This place feels like the pizza is done authentically, with a delicious variety of options to choose from. The only thing to keep in mind, last time we were there they only took cash! Bring enough to enjoy some vino with your plate of pizza heaven.
  7. Col’Cacchio’s Big Bay – Everyone in Cape Town knows Col’Cacchios, there are a few branches dotted all around the country. Their pizza is amazingly thin, with many gourmet options to choose from. They offer gluten free bases, low carb options, as well as pizzas with the centre removed and replaced with salads, for all those calorie counters out there.

 

Other great pizza spots worth mentioning:

  • Bardelli’s – Kloof street
  • Maestro’s – Milnerton
  • Beerhouse – Long Street (technically not pizza, it is labelled as “Sour Dough”)
  • NY Slice – Kloof street (For a quick, delicious sliceaway)
  • The Beach Tavern – Milnerton
  • Royale Eatery – Long Street
  • Yours Truly – Kloof Street
  • Some Oaks – Rondebosch

Please feel free to mention any that I should still try out, I’m always open to testing out the pizza waters 🙂

Phuket, Same same but different!

When we arrived back in Phuket, I was excited to start sifting through all the day trip options. We had 4 nights left, and then it was back home to Cape Town. Our transfer shuttle dropped us off on Bangla Road, and we walked to the bottom, turned left, and started searching for our guesthouse. We eventually found it, hidden away in a little nook, but we were very impressed with our (*cough cough* MY) choice. We had decided to rather stay in a small, affordable place rather than a hotel, and we were extremely happy. Our place was simple, yet clean and air conditioned, with a lovely little breakfast every morning. There were also computers in the upstairs lobby for our full use. The place we stayed at was called Patong Beach Bed and Breakfast.

We decided on 2 day trips, Coral Island and James Bond Island. We did James Bond island first. We were picked up in a large bus, and driven quite a while to a temple within a cave. There was a large Buddha figure, laying down, as well as a monk performing ceremonies for people. There were quite a few monkeys running around outside. Next, we hopped back on the bus and set off for the Gypsy village. This village was in the middle of the river/sea? I wasn’t sure what this body of water was, it was muddy and looked like river water. The village was built on stilts, and we stopped there for the usual tourist shopping experience. We were one of the first off the boat, and saw a woman quickly take a monkey out of a cage and offered us a photo opportunity for 100baht. I wasn’t impressed! We walked around, not buying any of the silly souvenirs, and eventually departed for James Bond Island.

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James Bond Island.

We were very lucky to get there at low tide, it made for amazing photo opportunities. The picture of me holding up the famous cliff almost won us business class flights through an Etihad competition. Sadly I came 4th, so no prize for me 😦

I would recommend doing the kayak trip, as it looked a lot more fun and adventurous than the motor boat. We eventually made our way back home after a long, fun day. Our bus driver was very good, and our guide was quite informative. They even played the James Bond movie on the bus TV screen during our drive.

For our second Phuket day trip, we took a speedboat to Coral Island. This little spot, not far from Patong, had the most beautiful water I had seen yet. We snorkeled with fish, enjoyed a fruit smoothie on the beach, and truly relaxed in the warmth of the sun and sea breeze. SDC12142Feeling adventurous, we also decided on a last minute parasailing trip. It lasted a grand total of 2 minutes for 800Baht per person, but wow it was so incredible!

The speedboat took me out for a minute, slowed down so that I floated down into the sea, and then sped up again to raise me back  into the sky. It was an exhilarating feeling! In my opinion, worth every baht!

For our last evening, we booked tickets to Simon Cabaret. We were very impressed with the surgery the men had undergone to transform so beautifully. The show was fun, and the best for me was the Cher lookalike. It was a great end to a wonderful vacation, and I was so sad it had come to an end.

We packed our now overly full bags (too many shopping opportunities!) and headed off to the airport the next morning. I was better prepared with leggings and a hoodie for our return flight. The journey home was very long, an 8 hour stop over in Hong Kong, and a 5 hour stop over in Dubai, but as soon as they announced we had arrived in South Africa, I found myself crying. I was so sad to have left such a beautiful place behind, but I promised myself to one day go back, see more and experience more of the wonderful land of smiles.

Ao Nang Adventure

I need to start off by saying that overall, Ao Nang was not the beach paradise I had thought it was. I should have done more research and stayed in Koh Lanta or Railey beach. I found the water at Ao Nang beach to be more muddy than anything else. Perhaps it was just the time of year?

We arrived at Ao Nang from Phi Phi Island via the ferry. Part of our “transport package” included hotel transfer. We stayed at Srisuksant Resort, you can read my review on Tripadvisor Here.

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Our resort

We were lucky enough to once again get upgraded, and we were put up in a room in the newer building. They had a lovely pool bar,  and the staff were very helpful (they did struggle to speak English though). The receptionist organised us a scooter rental which we used all day, everyday (I’m not sure if all the companies are the same, but you need to hand in your passport as deposit – slightly scary for us first time travelers). The breakfast was delicious, with a large western and eastern selection. There is definitely something for everyone at the breakfast bar! The resort was very close to the beach, which seemed to me to be more of a fishing beach.

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Lots of street food

There is a busy nightlife area a short scooter ride away from the hotel, and we spent every evening there enjoying the street food and shopping. I had a delicious bbq corn and spring rolls. The quarter chickens on sticks were also lovely.

Because of the convenience of hiring a scooter, we were able to explore further afield. We got a little lost on one of our drives, and came across a shell market somewhere quite far out of town. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you where it was, as we were lost when we found it, and lost when we left it. The souvenirs were much cheaper there though!

We also drove past a large, laying down Buddha. Unfortunately it was getting dark as we drove by so we didn’t stop to explore.

The only excursion we booked during our stay was an elephant ride. We had read about elephant sanctuaries and about how the elephants are treated well. Unfortunately I can’t say I enjoyed this excursion at all, my expressions in all the photos are of me frowning. My mother asked me afterwards why I could just fake a smile for the pictures, but I really didn’t have it in me to try.

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I wanted to take this beautiful girl home with me.

I don’t want to say the name of the place, as I am not 100% sure if it was that place (we booked through an agent), but I will honestly say that I will never do it again.

We rode through through the trees on the back of one of these gentle giants.The elephants were so beautiful, but had little cuts or wounds on their bodies. The guide had one of those hooks in his hand, and when I asked him what happened to the elephant, he spoke in Thai to another guide and they laughed. I’m not saying they are abusive as I didn’t witness anything first hand, I was just uncomfortable with having paid to partake in this industry. I have been told that there is a real sanctuary in Chiang Mai, where rescued elephants go to enjoy their retirement. I haven’t been there myself, but hopefully this is true.

After 3 days, our time in Ao Nang had come to an end. We weren’t really impressed with this part of our trip, but perhaps it was because Phi Phi Island was a hard act to follow. We booked a ferry back to phuket, and set off for the final leg of our Thailand adventure.

Phi Phi Island, where I left my heart

We were picked up in a minivan at about 8am, and delivered us to the pier where our ferry awaited. It took about 2 hours, but time flew by as we watched the flying fish leap out the sea. Spotting them became a fun way to spend the time. Once we arrived, we needed to pay a small port fee, and then we walked a short distance to our hotel. We chose to stay at the Phi Phi hotel, which is close to the docks and quite central to the stalls.

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walking through the stalls.

If I’m being technically correct, everything is central to stalls. The whole island is so small you can walk the it flat in less than 20 minutes. There are no cars on this island, but occasionally you need to leap out of the way of bicycles.

There is a pier side, where the boats and ferries enter Phi Phi, and there is another beach side, which contains a lot of partying back packers. We had booked 3 nights here and I immediately felt like I could have done 5. After settling into our room, we ventured out to look for day trips. As you know by now, never just settle for the first one, there will be cheaper trips as you walk along. We eventually settled on an longtail island hopping tour for the following day. It cost 400baht per person, including snorkeling gear and lunch. Next on our agenda was food. I have always been a very cautious eater, so I stuck to a giant slice of pizza (I ended up enjoying this so much, I had it all 3 nights!).

The next morning, we made our way back to the stall that sold us the tour, and we were guided to the back of the shop, which opened up onto the beach. We climbed aboard the longtail with all the other tourists, and set off. Our first stop was Shark point. I was quite nervous as this was going to be my first proper snorkeling experience with fish to see, but as soon as I got in the water and began snorkeling, a complete sense of tranquility came over me. I was in love with this new world! SDC11658We saw starfish, parrot fish, sergeant majors,and the winner for me? Nemos! (clown fish). From there, we headed off to a few other spots (Bamboo island, monkey island, gypsy caves, an enclosed lagoon).

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Phi Phi Leh

Our last stop on this tour was Phi Phi Leh. This is where the film, The Beach, was set. Phi Phi Leh was a beautiful spot, but it was ruined with the high boat traffic volumes. The whole shoreline was crammed with long tail boats, and speed boats filled up the lagoon section.  After relaxing on the beach for a while, we eventually departed for Phi Phi Don. Our driver/captain/operator stopped the boat as the sun was going down, so we could enjoy the beautiful moment. I would definitely recommend an island hopping tour for anyone visiting this awesome island, though if you are a small group of friends, pool your cash together and hire a private longtail and driver for the day.

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Reef shark

When we arrived back at the island pier, we quickly departed in search of a tour for the next day. I had fallen in love with the idea of seeing the reef sharks at shark point, so we booked the early morning shark snorkeling tour. This trip was amazing, as there was only one other person with us on this trip.
We snorkeled above black tip reef sharks, and had the waters to ourselves. The rain started coming down towards the end of our excursion, and the swell started getting bigger. We headed back to the island, and refreshed in our hotel. The next Phi Phi bucket list item to check off was the island view point. I dragged my partner to hike the mountain (In the humidity and with my unfitness level, this was a hard task!) I struggled up all the stairs, and sweated my way up the incline until we reached the viewpoint.

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Imagine if I had a decent camera at the time to capture this view!

This hike is what made me change into a more active lifestyle. I vowed to get fit and redo this hike someday. It was an incredible view. My only regret was not having a better camera at the time. It was quite sad to think that people used this spot as a safe haven during the tsunami, it must have been awful to watch everything get washed away below.

100_0850That night we had our last slice of Phi Phi pizza, a Thai massage, and a delicious cocktail at one of the bars. We also watched a fire dancer on the beach, and took in all the island buzz for our final night. One of my favorite signs was next to a restaurant. it gives me the giggles every time I go through my pictures. I had an absolutely amazing time on Phi Phi Island, and I cannot wait to come back here in the future and redo that hike, but Ao Nang was waiting for us, so we boarded the ferry and watched that beautiful island fade away.

Just a follow up to this trip:

  • I loved the snorkeling so much that I have since completed my open water Padi scuba course – highly recommend doing this before going to nay tropical destination.
  • After I came home, I did a bit more research on Phi Phi Leh, and read somewhere that a company did small overnight camping trips. I’m not sure if it is still operational, but I would definitely look into it if you going that way.
  • Take a bottle of water with you if you decide to do the walk to the viewpoint. It is uphill and humid!
  • I have since learned that the original inspiration for The Beach was believed to be El Nido, in Philippines. I’m heading there December 2016, so I will be able to compare.

 

Phuket Pitstop – Sunset Beach Resort

We took an early flight from Bangkok to Phuket using AirAsia. It was a cheap, no frills flight, but that was all we needed for such a short distance. Before we came to Thailand, I had prearranged for our hotel in Phuket to collect us from the airport so we didn’t have to fuss with taxis and meters like we did in Bangkok. Our driver was a crazy woman. She swerved all over the road, muttering about the mafia. She gave me a beautiful silk fan, which I am assuming she wanted a big tip for (I didn’t oblige).

When we got to our hotel, we were very happy with our choice. We had booked 2 nights at the Sunset Beach Resort (http://www.sunsetphuket.com/), breakfast included, and we were upgraded free of charge to a larger room. Here are my thoughts on this hotel:

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Pool bar next to the waterfall

Pros:

  • On the road directly opposite a beach.
  • free hotel shuttle to Bangla road every half hour until about 9pm
  • Nice breakfast
  • Awesome pool, complete with pool bar and waterfall

Cons:

  • Not a great beach (sand isn’t soft and powdery)
  • Nothing to see when snorkelling at this beach
  • A bit far from the centre of Patong (for some people this is a pro)
  • Pricey bar
  • Expensive tour options

SDC11253We had a great time relaxing at the hotel pool since the beach wasn’t the best. There is a small bridge crossing from one side of the pool to the next. It also contained a bar and waterfall. The drinks weren’t the cheapest, but the experience was awesome.

We would take the free hotel shuttle to Bangla Road about twice a day. It dropped and collected us opposite Jungceylon mall, which was a convenient, central spot. Patong beach was much better, though busier, than the beach opposite the hotel. When we were done swimming, we walked around and bought our one way boat ticket to Phi Phi Island for the next part of our journey.

An important tip: We enquired about the prices for a one way ferry to Phi Phi island at the hotel reception, and found one of the many street vendors around Patong selling the same ferry ride for almost a third of the price! Always compare prices with outside vendors!

I found the breakfast at this hotel to be one of the best of my vacation. It was buffet style, with endless choices. We enjoyed our two nights here, but couldn’t wait to finally see the famous Phi Phi Island.

To read my Tripadvisor review of this hotel, follow this link Here.

Next up, Phi Phi Island!