, , , ,

Best Japanese Food in Thailand – Kobori Japanese Restaurant

Those who know us well, know we have a penchant for Japanese cuisine. Good Japanese food tends to be marked by fresh ingredients, tantalizing combinations of flavor and a chef’s passion for the process. We haven’t had much sushi since we left Toronto so we decided to try to find the best Japanese food in Thailand. We found what we were looking for and more at Kobori Japanese Restaurant in Koh Samui, Thailand and for us, the bar has been raised.

Kobori japanese restaurant koh samui thailand - has some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

 

kobori japanese restaurant koh samui

Our Journey To Find The Best Japanese Food In Thailand Ends Where It Begins

When we arrived at the restaurant, along the Mae Nam walking street, we were greeted immediately by the restaurant’s namesake, Chef Koji O Kobori, wearing full traditional Japanese clothing and a warm smile. He led us through the narrow restaurant to a table near the back of the comfortably lit, authentically decorated dining area.

Kobori Japanese Restaurant

Chef Kobori Brings Japan to Koh Samui and Takes His Kimonos With Him

In talking to Kobori we learned that the restaurant was only 9 months old, opening in February 2014, and while he did not go to culinary school for formal training, Kobori learned to cook in various establishments in Japan before working there as a chef for around 5 years.  His friendly demeanor and obvious love for Japanese cuisine and hosting guests made us immediately feel welcome and even more excited to try the food.

Kobori Japanese Restaurant Koh Samui

We requested that Kobori provide suggestions on our meal and drinks, which he did, starting first with a tasting of Japanese plum liqueur and some sake, both of which were a great way to start our meal. The sake was smooth and light and the liqueur was sweet and fruity and left our palate cleansed and ready for the food to come.

tuna avocado salad kobori - some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

We started with a tuna avocado salad made with fresh, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of tuna sashimi, chunks of avocado, slices of tomato, cucumber, onion and carrot on a bed of lettuce and served with a homemade wasabi dressing. The components contrasted well and provided a mix of textures while the slight kick to the dressing was a complement to the mild flavor of the tuna and the balsamic flavor blended well with the stronger hints of cucumber and tomato.

ice macha tea, thai iced tea

To enjoy with the rest of our meal, we had iced matcha green tea and a Thai iced tea. The green tea was bold and strong in flavor while the Thai iced tea was lighter and refreshing. We could have drank several glasses of both but stuck to just one.

fried fish skewers - some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

Our next dish was the Samui fish fry plate. Six beautifully and lightly fried, crispy pieces of skewered white fish were served with a katsu sauce on the side. The fish were neither greasy nor strong in taste and we were told that the type of fish used are chosen from whatever is fresh at the market that day. On our particular plate, we had three different kinds of white, flaky fish. Whatever they had caught in Samui that day, it was absolutely perfect for this fish fry.

salmon sushi rolls

What Japanese meal would be complete without some sashimi, sushi or a maki roll? Our Salmon-tataki roll was beautifully plated and served just as we were finishing our fried fish skewers. The freshness of the ingredients were evident as the flavor burst and blended in a perfect mix of salmon, rice, Japanese mayo and vegetables.  The salmon on the outside was nicely seared without being cooked through and matched the fish and vegetables on the inside of the roll.

By this point we were both starting to get pretty full but when Kobori mentioned his miso soup made from fresh miso paste, which he makes each day, we couldn’t resist. We must’ve been eating instant miso base all this time because the flavour was unlike any other miso soup we had tried back home. The soup had vibrant flavours that were strong and not watered down. Even the tofu held the flavour and was present in the soup in thick chunks rather than the small tiny cubes one usually sees when ordering a miso soup.

Kobori cooking some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

Kobori followed up the miso soup with some beef teppanyaki which he brought out on a hot steel plate and cooked himself on a service cart in front of us. Colourful vegetables combined with the thinly sliced New Zealand beef and emitted a wonderful aroma while being cooked with the sauces Kobori had also made and brought out with the rest. Fresh and flavourful we thoroughly enjoyed this dish, served with rice, and its unique presentation.

coconut pana cotta, macha green tea ice cream - some of the best Japanese food in Thailand

By this point of the meal we were quite full but the photos of dessert on the wall, and the Japanese sword Kobori kept strapped to his side, made it hard to resist ordering something. We decided on the homemade matcha green tea ice cream, especially since the iced tea was so good, and the homemade coconut milk pana cotta. Afterall, Kobori said that Koh Samui is nicknamed coconut island, so it only made sense to try at least something involving one of the island’s main crops.

The ice cream had a strong and creamy matcha taste while the pana cotta was light in texture and flavour. The drizzle of strawberry sauce on top was a perfect touch. We don’t know too much about pana cotta other than it’s delicious and can be tricky to make but when we asked Kobori where he learned to make it, he told us he taught himself and that “it’s easy”. If we hadn’t already decided that he was a talented chef, we would’ve been convinced in that moment.

Just as we were winding down to the last few bites of our dessert, a plate of ‘the fruit of the day’ was brought out. Served to all guests at the completion of their meal, the plate of fruit is to cleanse the palate after eating and the day we went was composed of lychee and watermelon.

 

 

Needless to say, by the end of the meal we were completely satiated and incredibly impressed by the quality and presentation of the food we had just consumed. Kobori then took time to help the both of us dress in traditional Japanese clothing and take photos with him.

Kobori Koh Samui, Kobori Thailand, Best japanese restaurant thailand, best japanese restaurant koh samui, sushi koh samui, sushi thailand, best restaurants Koh Samui

Donning some interesting, and pretty humourous, headwear we all took various shots alone and together and it was a great way to round out the evening and an example of what makes Kobori Japanese Restaurant and Kobori himself so special. Here, you receive individual attention, an amazing meal and a funny and attentive host.

japanese hat kobori

Open everday from 5:30pm-11pm we highly suggest you find your way to Mae Nam and Kobori Japanese Restaurant for some incredible and authentic Japanese cuisine and a chance to unwind, dress-up and enjoy. We definitely won’t be forgetting the meal or the evening anytime soon.

Kobori Japanese Restaurant

Moo 5, Mae Nam,

Ko Samui District, Surat Thani

84330, Thailand

 

Comment below and let us know which cuisine you’d look for after being away from home for a couple months!! We can’t decide between Japanese or Dim Sum!

 

 

, ,

How To Eat Your Way Through Penang in 48 Hours

Finding Diverse Food in George Town, Penang

48 hours has passed since we arrived in George Town, Penang considered Southeast Asia’s culinary kingdom. This melting pot of Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures have been blending and coming together centuries before any fancy fusion restaurant. Said to have some of Asia’s best street food at some very low prices, it also has some restaurants where a couple like us can eat for around RM15 ($5 CAN).

In Thailand the food was amazing everywhere (you can see our post on great restaurants in Pai) but the cuisine was not quite as diverse in most areas. Here in Penang, even in such a short time, we’ve managed to find some amazing and diverse food, eating Chinese dim sum, Indian butter chicken and a Malaysian specialty, Laksa.

Surprising Indian Delight: Restoran Ros Mutiara Sdn Bhd

Butter Chicken Indian food

 

Located on Chulia Street, this was our first stop for a meal in Malaysia and we were hoping it would be a memorable one. During the long overnight train ride from Thailand we didn’t eat much mostly because, as we discovered, train food is just as bad, or worse, than airplane food. Looking at the flimsy paper-placemat menu we decided we didn’t want to ruin our appetite and since good eats is the reason why we decided to come to Penang in the first place, we figured we’d wait. The sacrifice was worth it.

When we walked into Restoran Ros Mutiara Sdn Bhd (straight from the ferry we caught after the train ride), we noticed that it was a bit like a cafeteria-style restaurant with different types of Indian food on display, plastic chairs (which are found in most of the eateries we’ve enjoyed in Asia) and only two walls.

We sat down, ordered butter chicken (our go-to Indian dish), rice, and two orders of garlic naan (we absolutely love garlic naan!). We didn’t know we were in for a treat. Everything that came out was made fresh and a bit different in flavour than the usual western style Indian food we are accustomed too, but in the most delightful way.

The naan was a bit thicker, crispier on the outside but softer in the middle, with chunks of amazingness (garlic) throughout. The butter chicken had a touch of spice to it; not an uncomfortable amount but a little from the garlic, onion and hint of ginger we tasted, in addition to the rest of the spices.

It was also the best we’ve had to date. For us, this place was a pleasant surprise and what we hope is a glimpse into the quality of food we will be experiencing throughout the rest of our stay in Penang.

Laksa the Chinese-Malay Way: Joo Hooi Café

famous teochew chendul penang

Since first learning about the island of Penang, Laksa has been associated with it in our minds. Laksa, a soup created from Chinese and Malaysian influences is found in Singapore, Indonesia and, of course, Malaysia. This soup is made many different ways: Curry laksa, Assam laksa and Sarawak laksa. With some quick Google research we found a place specializing in Assam Laksa and decided on it for our introduction to the dish because of its close location to our hotel.

Joo Hooi Cafe wasn’t hard to find as it’s located on the corner of one of the main streets, Julan Penang, and was full of people. Outside, a street food cart “Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul” stands with a lineup of at least 20 people long at all times. Although apparently very famous in Penang, especially to the Chinese visitors and locals, we continued passed the line. We weren’t here for that – we came for the Laksa.

Assam Laksa Penang

We were incredibly lucky and instantly found a seat in a booth that was held together by only a few pieces of duct tape. The Laksa here, like many others, is made in a huge pot. The soup came in a small plastic bowl and we weren’t too sure what to expect from this tiny, crowded restaurant.

The first few bites had us questioning the popularity of the dish, and the place. It was a little fishy with a confusing blend of flavours but as we ate more we found the flavor blended more completely and it got better with each spoonful. The mint and lime infused with the soup and by the end it left us wanting more.

Dim Sum For the Needy: Tai Tong Restaurant

Dim Sum Penang

Once again, Google search provided us with another great place to eat. Our last dim sum restaurant was back in Toronto, Canada before we left for Asia (with a brief pork bun teaser at Rock Restaurant in Bangkok) and our dim sum cravings were kicking in. We figured it was likely we’d find some decent places to eat some in Penang and luckily, our search brought us to Tai Tong Restaurant, right down the street from the coffee shop where we were getting work done.

We didn’t read too much about this place as we needed only to see the words ‘good’ and ‘dim sum’ and we were sold. We packed up our computers and almost ran to this restaurant. Another plastic chair restaurant, with plastic table cloths and two walls, we sat down not quite sure whether we had found the right all-day dim sum restaurant we had read about online.

When we were handed a menu, we got even more confused until we saw the typical dim sum serving carts being pushed down the row of tables.

Dim sum

We ordered Har gow (shrimp dumplings), Sumai (shrimp and pork wrapped in cabbage), bbq pork buns and our new favourite, chicken feet (although Carolann didn’t care for the bean paste sauce used here).

We would definitely recommend this restaurant as a good place to get your dim sum on. We ordered five dishes and a bottle of water and our total bill was RM16 (about $5.50CDN). With the quality and price, you really can’t go wrong. Just be careful, they close one day a week and last we heard, it was on Mondays!

 

We’ve spent only 48 hours in Penang and we’ve got a couple weeks to go in Malaysia. We came for the food and it looks like we will end up staying for the food. They say that  Penang is the culinary capital of Asia and judging by our experience so far, we would agree, although we’ve only just scratched the surface.

From Indian, to Malay, to Chinese, to Thai and beyond, the cuisines of Asia seem to meet here, sometimes fusing, sometimes remaining their own. It seems as though we’ll only ever really get surface deep into the culinary possibilities in Penang as with every corner you turn, there is another food stall or restaurant serving a different style of food.

With so many places to eat and cuisines to try, the majority of places and dishes are left to be discovered by the people who dare to explore and expand their culinary horizons.

 


***** You Can Do It Too! It’s not always easy to find good places to eat, especially if you don’t have internet access. If you do, Google away! But either way, don’t be afraid to get out there and seek out new places on your own.  Roaming the streets and looking for those great, local establishments, with little to no internet exposure, can provide you with the best experiences. When we look for a local restaurant or food stand, we keep our eye out for those places that are busy with lots of locals. You’re generally sure to find good food where the locals know and choose. *****


 

Comment below and let us know what city is your favourite for finding great and diverse cuisine!

 

 

 

 

,

Bangkok: More than Khao San Road

 

 

At the Tropical Writer’s Workshop in Koh Phangan, Thailand, we were fortunate to be able to work with an amazing and talented group of writers. Together, we wrote the following article which we are pleased to be able to share here on OMC.

4 Amazing Bangkok Neighbourhoods to Explore

by Chris Fox, Leann McKeown, Nazia Tariq, Carolann Hughes & Macrae Sutton. Edited with Kaila Krayewski.

Bangkok buildings, city of bangkok, bangkok tourism, bangkok,

As a tourist, Bangkok can be overwhelming and intimidating. The vast city promises something for everyone – if you know where to go. Tuk tuk and taxi drivers will offer you direction, but you may end up somewhere far from anticipated, with a lighter wallet and a heavier spirit.

Most tourists have heard of Khao San Road which was described as “the centre of the backpacking universe” in the popular novel ‘The Beach’. This small road is packed with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, food stalls, shops, hostels and guesthouses and is a common place for tourists and young locals alike.

But if you’re looking to see more than the typical tourist areas – explore more of what the city has to offer – there are several other great neighbourhoods to explore.

One Night In Bangkok – Sukhumvit Soi 11  

busy streets of bangkok, bangkok streets, city of bangkok, driving in bangkok, traffic in bangkok,

Sukhumvit Soi 11 is a fantastic place to hang out if you are looking for a good party. From Apoteka – a jazz bar with phenomenal live bands, affordably priced drinks, interesting food and good service; a great place to spend your evening or start at before hitting the clubs – to Oskar Bistro – with its delicious fusion food, strong drinks, and amazing house music, making it great for the pre-party – and everything in between, you’re sure to find something to suit your party needs.

Also recommended are Levels, where the entrance is usually free and the music commercial making it a great spot for meeting people, and the after-hours Wax, which gets crowded at 2:00 am when regular clubs have just closed. The drinks are alright and the music can be very good depending on which DJ is playing.

Satisfy Any Spending Urge – Asok

terminal 21 bangkok mall

Asok is one of the many popular Bangkok shopping destinations, having selections from high-end boutiques to tiny stands where you can buy the latest must-have items. Terminal 21 is a great place to start. Linked to Asok station, this world-class mall has many different shops with every level of the mall hosting a different theme from around the world. In a matter of minutes you can go from London to Tokyo.

If you’re looking for the real Thai shopping experience, look no further: just outside Asok station, lining Sukhumvit road, right through to Nana station, you can find stalls that host the well-known Thai goods and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Ever-Changing Culinary Delights – Silom

Soi in Bangkok Chinatown

The Silom area has always been a popular lunch spot for office workers in Bangkok’s Central Business District. It has become trendier and more diverse with entertainment venues, like Ku De Ta, springing up. Additionally, popular New York gourmet cafe Dean and Deluca draws huge crowds on Ploenchit Road in Central Embassy.

The Deco Bar & Restaurant next to the Pullman Hotel is highly recommended for a stimulating conversation over a glass of wine. In addition to these hotspots, some of the best burgers in the city can be found at Bangkok Burger Company on Silom Road. Nearby Soi Phipat 2’s Eat Me Restaurant offers modern international cuisine; or you can always leave the noise behind and head into the tiny sois verdant with foliage to discover your own taste of Bangkok from the small stalls that line these narrow streets.

When Culture is Your Tour – Thonburi

bangkok wat, golden wat bangkok, bangkok temples, temples in thailand, bangkok tourism, bangkok attractions

 

As you pedal through the neighborhood of Thonburi you’ll pass grandmothers sitting on the steps of their wooden houses, vendors whisking a profusion of sizzling tasty morsels in their steaming woks and children playing in the streets, their laughter filling the air. Getting away from the glitzy shopping malls and fast pace of Bangkok proper, Thonburi’s elaborate web of khlongs weave you past locals going about their daily lives. In fact, many homes still have their addresses on khlongs rather than roads. You will be drawn to the embrace of this charming neighborhood, instantly feeling at ease here.

 

Whether you are enjoying the nightlife in Sukhumvit Soi 11, dining in Silom area, shopping in Asok or absorbing Thai culture in Thonburi you’re sure to find what you are looking for in one of these diverse Bangkok neighbourhoods.

 

When exploring a new city, which type of area do you look for first: shopping, dining, partying or cultural experiences? Comment below and let us know!

 

, , ,

From Toast to Thai Food: Our Anniversary Do-Over

 A Hidden Gem in Koh Samui’s Backyard

Koh Madsum Beach

For our anniversary on Koh Tao, we chose to celebrate in two ways. The first, was to get our scuba certification and the second was to have a nice romantic dinner. Unfortunately, the first got in the way of the second in the form of a killer migraine. Carolann was struck by a severe migraine shortly after our first two dives and our romantic dinner turned into a very quick meal where all she could stomach was toast. It wasn’t until we got to Koh Samui that we had the opportunity to make up for it and have a romantic outing together.

Our romantic outing came by way of Island Gem Picnic Tours and a day excursion snorkeling followed by a picnic lunch on a secluded area of a small gorgeous island nearby. As soon as the booking was finalized we were rife with anticipation for the tour and for finally having a romantic day together.

A romantic day on our own piece of paradise

Island Gem Picnic OneModernCouple

We weren’t too sure what to expect. We knew that we would be picked up by Gavin, the owner and operator of the tour, at 10am and that we would be going snorkeling followed by a picnic. Gavin was early and so we had time to sit with him, have a coffee and chat. It had been a while since we had an opportunity to really relax and since we weren’t being rushed for the day’s activities we were both able to start doing so.

ISland Gem Picnic Koh Samui Driver

We were driven to the other side of the island to where a long tail boat was waiting for us. Although Island Gem Picnic has the option of either a long tail boat or a speed boat, we definitely wanted to ride in the more traditional means of transportation. Long tail boats, as we’ve brought up before, are popular wooden boats in Southern Thailand powered by automobile engines attached to a long drive shaft with a propeller at the end. Our tour boat was called the Island Hopper and had an Isuzu engine and a captain named Chud. Friendly and efficient, Chud helped Gavin load the picnic baskets quickly before we all hopped on board and set off.

One of the best spots for snorkeling in Thailand

Island Gem Picnic Snorkeling

Although it was a slightly overcast morning (Chud assured us it wasn’t going to rain) the water was calm and we were at our snorkeling location off the small island of Koh Tan in about 10 minutes. Although there was another boat nearby, we anchored far enough away so as not to be interrupted by their relatively large group.

While talking to Gavin on the boat ride we found out that he was a certified diving instructor so we asked him to join in on the snorkeling and the three of us jumped in the warm, calm water. Having Gavin with us was great as he found and pointed out creatures we would have missed had we been on our own. He found two blue-spotted stingrays, one of our favourites to see, a black and white nudibranch and he was able to name the other fish we saw for us. The water is very shallow so at many points you are incredibly close to the coral and able to see so much up close and in the full colour, that would not typically be seen in deeper waters. The area is pretty large and very much alive with fish and sea creatures and is now one of our favourite places to snorkel. If you aren’t able, or don’t want to, scuba dive in Thailand, this spot will allow you to see a vast array of underwater life.

Island Gem Picnic Gavin

After about an hour of snorkeling we headed back to the boat. We had noticed that another tour group had anchored after we had gotten in the water and had already left before we climbed aboard and asked Gavin how long the snorkeling usually lasts on his tours. We found out that he completely tailors his tour so that the guests basically decide the ratio of time split between the snorkeling and the picnic. If you only want to spend a half hour snorkeling, you can do so and spend the rest at the picnic. There is no rush and no pressure and we were extremely grateful for that.

Once aboard, the anchor was lifted and we were on our way to the small island of Madsum for our picnic.

A secluded picnic under a banyan tree

Long Tail Boat THailand

Another couple minutes boat ride and we were anchoring again – this time on the shores of a small, secluded beach on Koh Madsum. While we could see several boats and sunbathers in the distance, anchored at another beach on the island, our area was left empty and unspoiled. The clouds were gone by this point and the sun had come out so we were left with a beautiful view on a private beach on a gorgeous day.

Koh Madsum Thailand

Gavin and Chud set up a wonderfully laid picnic under a large banyan tree complete with a mat, triangular pillows to lean and rest against, and two place settings for us. Offering us beer and wine, Gavin left us to relax comfortably and enjoy our drinks while he heated up the food (he had brought a table, an element and several cooking instruments in order to serve the food hot). The spot was perfect and the banyan tree provided shade and a little added privacy.

Koh Madsum Picnic

We were served Thai fare (although there were other options to choose from) and there was quite the spread. We were served papaya salad and a lettuce salad, fried chicken, pork skewers, rice with chicken and squid, and larb gai. The food was delicious and plentiful. After taking our time on the main course, Gavin then served us dessert – Watermelon, kiwi and pear slices and some coconut jellies and a dessert of sticky rice and taro. We learned that there was such a thing as yellow watermelon which tastes pretty much like the red kind. From start to finish, the entire meal was so filling and tasty and we took our time enjoying the food, the wine and the beer.

Koh Samui Picnic

Koh Madsum Picnic

Romantic Things to do in Thailand

While the dishes were being put away, we went for a quick swim in the water and a stroll along the beach before returning and getting in the boat. When Gavin dropped us back off at our hotel, we noticed that it was not too late in the afternoon which allowed us the rest of our evening to ourselves. It turned out to be a one-of-a-kind day and we were finally able to spend some relaxing, romantic time together.

If you’re in Koh Samui, don’t forget to check out Island Gem Picnic for groups, couples, families, wedding parties and even individuals looking to meet new people!

Have you ever been snorkeling? If so, comment below and let us know where your favourite place to snorkel is! If not, where would you want to start?

 

one modern couple email sign up ad

, , ,

How We Slice It – A Guide to Pai. Part Two: Where To Eat

Where To Eat In Pai

“Even the bad food in Thailand is still worth eating”. We made up this saying, to describe our culinary experience, after a meal in northern Thailand.

While driving in Chiang Mai, we decided to pull over one night for a bowl of soup from one of the typical street vendors one sees throughout the country. Although being deserted, which is usually our signal for “don’t risk it”, it was the first one we saw while particularly famished. About three spoonfuls into it, we noticed small flying ants, which we dubbed “flants”, floating around in our bowls. Turning the noodles over we confirmed that these were not recent casualties – there were several more underneath. Despite the unwanted guests, the soup was actually delicious and extremely flavourful but whether or not we continued to eat it is a story for another time.

Thailand has an overwhelming number of places to eat, there is no arguing that, and Pai is no exception.

Finding good restaurants and food is a large part of what we do when we are travelling and Pai had some great places worth mentioning. Whether you are looking for traditional Thai, other ethnic foods or a little taste of home, chances are you’ll be able to find something delicious while you’re there.

Here are our top picks for a variety of different types of meals and restaurants in Pai

Cheap Thai Food

Cheap Thai food in Pai

We often like to go out of the main tourist areas, or at least a little off the beaten path, and find some hidden gems on our own. We found a great little restaurant just off the walking street with some pretty good Thai food at amazing prices. While we couldn’t find a name, we have the directions so finding it may be a bit like a treasure hunt – but who doesn’t like those? If you are on the walking street, head east and turn right at the intersection before the Pai Mae Hong Son Bus Station. Take the second left and then the first right. On the southeast corner of that intersection you’ll find the restaurant, of no distinguishable name. If you just want some tasty and cheap Thai food without the search, Dang Thai Food also serves great dishes and, even though it’s on a busy strip, it maintains an authentic feel. At around 40THB a dish, it’s definitely a restaurant to visit.

 

For Burger Lovers

burger queen pai, thailand

It’s true we write a lot about burgers, but when you find a place that can make a great burger, it’s hard not to talk about it! We passed Burger Queen a few times while walking around Pai. We were talking to an expat who happened to mention the property in an offhand comment, and it stuck. Looking at TripAdvisor reviews had us thinking about it even more. We had just driven back from the outskirts of Pai in the pouring rain, had dried off as best we could and were getting pretty hungry when we decided we wouldn’t bother hunting down a restaurant, we’d see how good the burgers at Burger Queen were. They were amazing. Between us we had a classic burger and the Hawaiin burger and a side of homemade fries and ate pretty much in silence after the grunts of enjoyment with our first bites. This place definitely satisfied our burger craving and we highly recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of Western fare in between all the amazing Thai food you’ll find in Pai.

Breakfast, Coffee, and A Great Vibe

om garden pai food

While socializing on the walking street, Om Garden Café was recommended to us for a breakfast spot. We found it cozy and tranquil and quite unique with it’s tropical garden hideaway feel. The service was impeccable, the coffee was a perfect start to the day and there was a great selection of meals on the menu. Delicious food with reasonable prices, this is also a great place to do some work (they have free WiFi) or read a book and relax.

Want A Full Guide To Pai And How To Get There? 

Walking Street, Street Food

fried insects on walking street in pai

No, we’re not suggesting that fried insects are the best option in Pai – although we can’t say as we haven’t tried them – but you can definitely find a wide range of food on the walking street. We’ve already raved a bit about Grandma’s Pancakes, but we thought it was deserving of another mention. You’ll find many food vendors along the walking street with a wide variety of food. Meat skewers, pad Thai, fried insects – you’ll find it all but the one we thought was the most enticing and delicious was this little stand, with a little woman, serving little pancakes that were big in taste.

grandmas pancakes pai

You can get 10 regular pancakes with syrup for 30THB (around $1) or enjoy a variety of different flavours for slightly more. She’ll make chocolate, chocolate banana, Nutella pancakes and even savory ones like sausage and egg pancakes. We stopped several times during our time in Pai to grab an order of pancakes from the friendly, little woman serving them from behind a small stand.

Desserts And Some Coffee

 

Pai Siam Bistro in Pai Thailand

We’ve also mentioned Pai Siam as it was one of our favourite places to stop for a coffee on the walking street and was also the place that led us to find our little oasis in Pai, Soi One Bedrooms. If you’re looking for some good café style beverages and some homemade desserts, Pai Siam Bistro is a great place in a good location with reasonable prices. Located in the middle of the walking street, beside a handmade lampshade business of the same name, Pai Siam, this bistro is tucked behind their gellati stand and is definitely worth the visit.

 

Stay tuned for our third, and last, part of “How We Slice It – A Guide To Pai” where we will provide information on some of the attractions in Pai.

Travelling to Pai? You can read part one of “How We Slice It – A Guide to Pai” and discover a few great accommodations in Pai for a variety of budgets and preferences.

You can also find our tips on how to get to Pai, and about our drive from Chiang Mai to Pai

Comment below and tell us if you would finish a delicious bowl of soup seasoned with “flants”!

 

one modern couple email sign up ad

Daily Digital – Our Camera Is On Vacation

 

travel photography, travel blogs, travel writing

Alright, so our camera isn’t exactly on vacation, and neither are we, but our Daily Digital series will be on a slight hiatus for approximately 2 weeks. During that time we’ll still be trying to capture photos worthy of a bit of a spotlight, but we’ll be stationary on Koh Phangan, Thailand immersing ourselves in a Tropical Writers’ Workshop.

We are excited to learn new skills and acquire some tools to add to our arsenal but it means less time for capturing those Daily Digital photos and writing our blurbs about them. We may send out a few here and there, should we see something we just have to share, but for the most part our Daily Digitals won’t be so…daily.

 

,

Daily Digital – Loy Krathong, Koh Samui

 

We’ve now posted a couple Daily Digitals mentioning Loy Krathong and explaining its significance in Thailand. We’ve explained how the full moon plays a central role in the full moon parties of Koh Phangan and the South, which occurs every full moon, as well as in the celebrations of Loy Krathong. We’ve also described a little bit about our experience participating in Loy Krathong and the difference between it and the festival of Yi Peng, celebrated in the North by releasing lanterns into the sky. While we’re sure we’ve given a decent description of the festival, we thought that it deserved a dedicated Daily Digital of its own.

We’ll be honest. We didn’t know when Loy Krathong was or that we’d be on Koh Samui, where there are large celebrations, for the festival. We heard about it from an owner of a restaurant we were dining at while talking to her about different things to do on the island. To our credit, we had heard about Loy Krathong before and the practice of launching krathongs, or decorated vessels, onto the water. Loy means to float and krathong is a word for the vessels that are launched onto the water. Loy Krathong then, is a festival that involves floating these decorated, candlelit vessels and is celebrated every first full moon of the twelfth lunar month. In addition to flowers, incense and candles, coins and strands of hair or nail clippings are also put onto the krathongs. This is seen as a way of releasing the bad luck and bringing good luck. The krathongs are released to the goddess of water, as an offering and as a request of forgiveness for any wrongdoings done to the water, such as pollution or overuse.

Since we were a little disappointed that we had missed Yi Peng in the North, we decided fairly quickly that we would make our way to Loy Krathong on the night of the full moon. On the way, we saw many tables selling krathongs and stopped to pick one up ourselves. We chose the area of Chaweng as the celebrations would be revolving around the river and we thought it would be a pretty great spot. The roads and sidewalks were packed and the area around the krathong release was set up as a sort of fair. There was a food tent with live music, fairground games, vendors and a nonstop stream of people entering the area carrying their krathongs.

We both added a few strands of hair to our krathong, lit the incense and candle and sent it onto the water into the mass of krathongs floating near the riverbed. It was an incredible visual display on the water and was only made more breathtaking when one looked up to the sky where lanterns were also being released. It was a great night and we were happy to have been able to participate in Loy Krathong and the festivities on Koh Samui.

, ,

Daily Digital – Revisiting Yi Peng, The Lantern Festival

Yi Peng is the festival of lights celebrated in the North, in Chiang Mai, with the release of lanterns in the sky and is different from Loy Krathong, which just occurred in the South, in which floating vessels are released on the water.

Unfortunately, we left Chiang Mai less than a week before Yi Peng on our first trip to Thailand and therefore missed the amazing spectacle that is the festival of lights. Thousands of lit lanterns floating into the sky above would have been a truly incredible sight and it would have been interesting to participate in this ceremony that pays tribute to Buddha.

We did skip the full moon party and got a chance to participate in Loy Krathong, when we went to Koh Samui that same year, and released a Krathong (or water vessel) onto the water as an offering and request of forgiveness to the water goddess. While hundreds of Krathongs lit the waters we were lucky to witness many lanterns lit and released into the sky.  It made us feel like we were experiencing a taste of Yi Peng. The lights in the night sky with the lights on the peaceful water made for a breathtaking and stunning scene.

Once again, on this last trip to Thailand, we missed out on Yi Peng. While the photos and videos are absolutely incredible to watch, we are still waiting for our chance to participate and release a lantern of our own up into the flickering, light-filled night sky.

, ,

How We Slice It – A Guide to Pai. Part One: Where to Stay

 

We stayed in Pai for about 5 days. After the drive up (you can read about our drive to Pai here and our tips on getting to Pai here), we didn’t want to leave right away but we also didn’t want to stay too long as we had plans to meet, for the first time, our now friends the Wagoner’s, a travel blog family, and go on a Scorpion Tail River Cruise. Our time, while seemingly short, was pretty perfect. We hadn’t read too much about Pai and all we knew by way of others was that we had to go, so we kept our plans open.

walking street pai, where to stay in pai, drive to pai, getting to pai, pai thailand, where to stay in pai, accommodations in pai, best hotel in pai, best hostel in pai

The centre of town is a pretty small area of grid-like roads with shops, restaurants and accommodations almost completely directed towards tourists. And there were lots of tourists. We didn’t notice them so much during the day. The center of town really picks up at night when the walking street begins and the bars and night-time restaurants open. During the day, we presume everyone was out exploring the various sites around Pai. When the walking street does open, which is nightly around 5:30-6pm, the main stretch of road and several offshoots are brimming with street vendors selling what any good walking street in Thailand sells: food, souvenirs, clothes, handmade products, and more food. We found that, while every night seemed to be the same vendors in the same spot, we always noticed and found something different.

 

While the walking street is probably one of the more well-known aspects of Pai, we found there were quite a few things that made Pai a fun and interesting place to visit. We’ve put together our list of what we enjoyed in Pai including where to stay, where to eat, and what to do and will be releasing our suggestions in a 3 part series. Our list is based on our visit of only 5 days and while we had some pretty great experiences, we’re sure there is much more about Pai that would have made it on our list had we had the time.

 

Where to Stay in Pai

In all honesty, we only stayed at two places ourselves and both were right on the walking street. But we also heard some great reviews of a few other places from friends we made. We’ve provided a different suggestion depending on budget, preference in location and preference in style of accommodation.

On a Budget

If you are a backpacking couple or travelling on a budget we would recommend Walking Street Guesthouse. If you’ve been backpacking, this place is pretty typical of what you’d find in a hostel or backpacker’s guesthouse. We were able to book one night in a private room with a king-size bed and private bathroom for 200THB ($7.40CDN/$6.67USD). Now we’re talking barebones here. It was a concrete room, with a fan, a king-sized bed and that’s it. But it was clean, a good price and right in the middle of the walking street. Reception was also incredibly friendly and helpful and they have a restaurant which we did not try but was later told was amazing but another traveler we met in Chiang Mai.

Click here for more information and the latest prices.

Want A Full Guide To Pai And How To Get There? 

Affordable Luxury

SOi One Bedrooms, Soi One Gold Room, Pai Boutique Hotel, Best Pai Accommodations

Click here for more information on Soi One and their latest prices.

We stayed our last night at Soi One Bedrooms. We would highly recommend this boutique hotel should you have the opportunity. As there are only 4 rooms, it books up fast, it is a little pricier than a budget hotel or accommodations off the walking street. However, if they have room available the walk-in price is half. Either way, they are located on the corner of one end of the walking street and one of the main stretches of bars, have gorgeous rooms and still comes at an affordable price for the comfort, cleanliness and luxury of the property. Check out our post on Soi One Bedrooms – Best Place To Stay In Pai, you’ll get a more in depth look at why this is one of the best accommodations in Pai.

 

Outside of the Centre of Pai

Pai Vintage Garden Resort, Places to stay in Pai, best hotel in Pai, best accommodations in Pai, family friendly Pai

We did not stay at the Pai Vintage Garden Resort, however our friend’s the Wagoners did (photo above courtesy of them). About a kilometer out of central Pai, Pai Vintage Garden Resort is a peaceful and quiet getaway. If you are looking for accommodations in Pai that is a little off the main area, quieter and with an amazing view, this might just be the place for you.

Click here for more information on Pai Vintage Garden Resort and the latest prices.

Private Bungalows, Close to the Walking Street

Paichan Pai, best place to stay pai, bungalows pai, best hotel pai, drive to pai, getting to pai, pai thailand

We attempted to get a bungalow at Pai Chan but they were sold out by the time we found out about this place. Friends we made managed to snag the last room, for a discounted walk-in price, and were not disappointed. Private, traditional bungalows made of teak wood, a large swimming pool and a restaurant that overlooks the rice fields and mountains are what we were told were some of the amazing features of Pai Chan. Since they are not too far of a walk from the walking street, this gives a great alternative to being right in the middle of the action. It’s good to note that since these are traditional style, your stay will be a little more rustic, with concrete bathrooms, open windows (wood shutters when you want to close them), mosquito nets and no air conditioning.

Click here for more information about Pai Chan and their latest prices.

Stay tuned for part two of our How We Slice It – A Guide To Pai when we list some of our top picks for where to eat in Pai.

Have you been to Pai? If so, comment below and tell us where you would recommend as a great place to stay. If you haven’t, comment and let us know which of these you would choose.

 

 

,

Daily Digital – Full Moon Celebrations, Thailand

full moon thailand, full moon parties, koh phangan full moon party, loy krathong, full moon festival thailand, loi krathong,, significance of full moon thailand

 

If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll have most certainly heard of the full moon parties that occur in the South, particularly on Koh Phangan. These parties occur every full moon and draw loads of tourists. Music, dancing, body paint and fire juggling spectacles, these parties continue all night and have people travelling quite the distance to experience. In recent years, there have been mixed reviews on these parties, their level of safety and how crazy they can get.

We didn’t end up going to the full moon party, although we were close by. Instead, we chose to stay on Koh Samui, a neighbouring island, and take part in the Full Moon Festival, a once a year occurrence on the first evening of the 12th lunar month. The festival is named Loy Krathong, Loy meaning floating and Krathong the name of small vessels sent onto the water. These krathongs are decorated with flowers, coins and candles, as well as nail clippings or hair from the person or family, and are sent onto the water after dark. This is seen as a way of getting rid of bad luck by providing an offering to the goddess of water in apology for all the wrongdoings, such as pollution, done against the oceans and rivers and in thanks for all they have provided.