Friday, April 25, 2014

Koh Chang Vacation Final Part!

Koh Chang is a relatively under-developed island compared to many in Thailand.  Natural forests and beaches are prevalent.  Many areas along the beach are still trees.  It also is very hilly/mountainy (which I already established was a word).  It makes driving challenging, but makes for amazing views and beautiful scenery.  We loved the naturalness of the island.  

Our hotel in Koh Chang was beautiful.  It was right on the beach, and a private peaceful beach at that.  It had a nice restaurant and pool.  It was about 200 bucks for 4 nights :)  Moe and I thoroughly enjoyed waking up and falling asleep to the sounds of the waves.  We loved walking the beach and exploring the town.  We truly enjoyed our vacation!

Another wonderful thing that we did was get massages right beside the waves.  Our hotel had a spa service about 20 feet from the waves.  We got back and shoulder massages that was unbelievably amazing.  It was one of the highlights of the trip for both of us!  Just to rub it in a little more, it was only about 15 dollars total!  
It was so nice to relax.  We loved to sit at the pool in nice chairs but still be able to look at the beach and the waves.  It was great to be able to throw the Frisbee in the ocean and then go relax in the pool.  We definitely relaxed (when we werent trying to avoid Songkraners at least!).  It was bliss.  Most of our meals contained fresh seafood and we sat for almost an hour enjoying the conversation, the views, and the foods.  Im ready to go back!

View from restaurant first night. 

beautiful beaches

the pool looking back to our hotel. 

the chairs we sat at and enjoyed the view.  love this!

view from dinner night 2

dinner date :)

being silly
One night we dressed up a little to go out to a "fancy" Italian restaurant. I use fancy in quotation marks because its Thailand so its not that fancy.  It was outside as well.  But it was a great date.  Also it was nice to be able to go into town dressed nicely and not be afraid of getting soaked.  We verified that Songkran was over before we went on this exploration!
picture at the hotel 
restaurant sign

pretty chandelier

Moe and his 4-cheese ravioli and beer

my lasagna and sprite
Pictures before we left at 6am...ugh...but it was still beautiful!

my great travel companion!

The bus ride and flight back home were fairly uneventful which was nice after such an exciting trip.  I was super burnt on my back though so I was uncomfortable most of the time.  Our bus driver was CRAZY weaving in and out of cars, turning and U-turning on red to beat the lights, speeding like crazy.  One of our fellow travellers said that he was "driving like a fish flopping around all over the place".  I found that simile quite exact!  Although we left the beach at 6am we did not get back to our house until 10pm.  The bus trips and our flights did not align so we spent many hours reading at the airport, which wasnt bad.

Overall it was a great trip.  If there werent so many beaches in Thailand we would consider going back, but why go to the same place multiple times when you can go to new places ;)  But if you are ever in Thailand and want an adventurous beach vacation, I highly recommend Koh Chang!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Koh Chang Vacation Part 2 (Songkran)

Sunday April 13th was the departure date of our trip.  It was also the first official day of Songkran, Thailand's 3-day nation wide water fight festival.  Since the airport is about 30 minutes from our house, and we live in a secluded hard to describe area, we scheduled a taxi to pick us up at school to take us to the airport.  That meant we had to drive on our motorbike with all our belongings to school.  By the time we drove the 5 minutes to school Moe was soaked!  I was completely fine because he was blocking me, what a good husband!  Our bags were fairly fine too.

We flew down to Bangkok and spent a night there with our friends.  It was great.  We drove passed LOTS of people standing in the street shooting, throwing, dumping, spraying water at each other, at cars, at motorbikes, at trucks and people in the backs of trucks.  It was fun... to watch! However, it was not fun that it slowed traffic.

The next morning at 5:30AM we headed for the bus station to begin our 5 hour bus ride to our almost destination.  We rode a big tour bus so it was quite comfortable.  But again traffic, due to Songkran and people standing in the road stopping and dousing people, slowed us down.  So it turned into a 6.5 hour bus ride.  We then got to ride a ferry across part of the Gulf of Thailand to get to our island, which was rather enojyable.
View from the ferry, arriving to the island

Welcome sign!

Next up was a taxi ride to our hotel.  But remember in Thailand most "taxis" are songthaows which are trucks with 2 covered benches in the back, and some have plastic covering the sides.  Also remember that it is Songkran.  So 8 of us vacationers pile into the truck with all our luggage and embark on the trek to our various hotels.  What I didnt realize was two things: 1) Koh Chang is VERY mountainy (thats a word right!) and steep and curvy, so the drive on a normal day is adventurous, meaning you have to hold on not to fall out of the back of the truck!. 2) Our hotel was FAR away from the ferry port.  We traveled not far and entered a small village like area with bars on both sides of the street and people all over, remember again its a Thailand, which means drinking...all day.  People and drunk people, are throwing water at us the whole time.  We realize that we have plastic rolled up at the top of the truck and roll it down when people are throwing water at us.  But again remember, its Thailand and 100 degrees, so we cant leave the plastic rolled down the entire time, only when we must use it to protect against the water.  We drove through many small villages like this.  A few times people were "smart" and pulled up the plastic and drenched us.  Moe and some others in the truck were drenched by the time we reached our hotel, almost an hour later.  Some peoples bags were drenched as well.  There is more to the story but it is complicated to type out....  Plus it sorta makes my blood pressure rise remembering the many emotions.

Our hotel pictures
our hotel: Siam Beach Resort
our hotel was at Lonely Beach.... and it was quite lonely, which was nice. It was very quiet and secluded

View from our room - beautiful!! 
Later when we were actually prepared, we went back out to explore the Songkran festivities.  We wore clothes we could get wet and wallets that were waterproof and carried no electronics.  And we enjoyed ourselves.  Moe loved sticking his head out the side of the truck begging people to douse us.  And they did!  We were again soaked.  But this time happy about it.  I guess the holiday isn't really too bad... when you're prepared for it!

Sorry for the limited pictures, but its kinda hard to take pictures when you are worried about being covered with water! One more post to go

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Koh Chang Vacation Part 1

Moe and I enjoyed a 5 day vacation to Koh Chang Thailand during spring break.  It was quite the adventure and thus I have been afraid to write this blog post.  So I am going to share about it in parts.  Today you get a picture heavy part.... but lets be real, every post about vacation is picture heavy!  The map below shows where Koh Chang is in relation to Thailand.  It is the second largest island in Thailand.

On one day of our vacation we signed up for a snorkeling and fishing excursion.  Neither of us had ever been snorkeling before.  It took me a little bit to get used to, but it was incredible.  I just wish we had a waterproof/underwater camera.

our boat for the day

supporting Arnar clothing across the world!

not comfortable but fun!

beautiful snorkeling stop

loved the mossy tree stuff..... cant you tell I know my science ;)

Moe Fishing!
First Fish!

squid as bait

This dude, one of our "tour guides" was amazing. Caught about 12 fish

Moe catching boats...

other leader left fish right on the floor of the boat, but caught tons!

Caught it by the tail!

leader cutting and cooking up the caught fish... no catch and release here!

another snorkeling spot with shipwrecked boat

swimming spot the water was so clear

beautiful scenery from the top of the boat

excuse my burn :(


Moe loved the monkeys!
 This day was wonderful and beautiful and relaxing.  The weather was perfect.  So perfect that I got very very burnt :(  Definitely a great day and worth the 50 dollars :)  We love Thailand! Remember more to come!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Favorite-ish Chicken Recipes

I have been trying to cook a lot more and not just cook but plan meals in advance.  It has been mostly enjoyable for me.  So I thought I would share two recipes that I find very appetizing.  I am weary to use the word favorite because I dont know that I can decide on absolute favorites.

Moe and I eat chicken a lot.  This is partially the case because I love chicken, but also because beef is expensive here and not that good of quality.  So I have been experimenting with some recipes.  I must confess though that I am a recipe follower.  I rarely venture away from the recipe!

The first one is called Ranch Chicken.  We had this tonight for dinner.  Its delicious and SUPER easy.  The chicken has wonderful flavor.  We paired it with mashed potatoes and corn, again our favorites. Ranch Chicken Recipe.  I forgot to take a picture, I know you are bummed. Maybe I will add one tomorrow when I have the leftovers.

The other recipe I am much more proud of.  This one requires me to actually mince garlic and work at the recipe.  Also, I sort of adapted the recipe to fit our needs better.  The original recipe comes from here.  But mine looks a little different!  First I cook cubed chicken.  Then I basically follow the recipe :) I would strongly suggest using angel hair pasta because spaghetti evaporates all of the liquid and takes much longer.  Also, I think it is great without the cheese at the end.  I add a little bit of milk to thicken the sauce but not much and then dont do any heavy cream.  It too is delicious.  The picture makes it look quite plain but really it has lots of flavor.

Finally Moe has started cooking a bit too.  Maybe I have mentioned this before.  Anyway, we had homemade pizza this week and Moe did a great job.  We had one ham and one chicken pizza! He was especially proud of the crust!

If you would like to share any of your favorite chicken recipes I would love that, or ones with pork, or anything.  I try to stay away from beef and cheese meals because they are little expensive here, which is quite unfortunate for my taste buds!