Lanta Cottage Hotel review

Accommodation: Lanta Cottage Hotel

It is located at Sala Dan, Ko Lanta District, Krabi 81150 Thailand. We had our first getaway here after the travel ban was lifted. Businesses had just started to open, and the entire place felt like it had just woke up from a keep slumber. Going into Lanta Cottage, you’ll see untrimmed plants, dried leaves all over the place, padlocked sheds, and dusty receiving/canteen area.

Room

Nothing fancy about the room, it’s air conditioned and pretty spacious. There’s a mini kitchenette with sink. Plates and utensils are also provided. It’s a family room with one double bed and a bunk bed. Both are pretty hard on the back. But at least they’re not rickety. Please take a look at Lanta Cottage in the video at 4.25.

  • Other room amenities include a flat screen TV, a fridge, a wooden wardrobe, and towels.
  • Complimentaries are the usual coffee and tea, bottled water, and toiletries.

Bathroom

I’m personally not so fond of the bathroom. It is large but the design is not so well-thought of. The toilet is placed very near the wall that you won’t be able to sit well. The bidette spray is placed at the left side of the toilet cramped up in between the toilet and the wall. It’s just way too uncomfortable. It’s not so clean too.

WIFI Connection

Wifi connection is important these days more than ever. Due to the pandemic, several jobs have transitioned online. And we are one of them. However, to our great dismay, this hotel’s Wifi connection had been severed by the provider. We didn’t want to complain thinking it might be an aftermath of the lockdown.

The Pool

Pool is life for our children. They love to hang out by the pool, and have been trying to learn swimming. This hotel’s pool is one of its strength. Kid’s pool is 2.5ft deep, pretty safe even for toddlers. Adult’s pool is 4.5ft deep. Although, not so clean, but we’ve seen worst than it.

Breakfast

Lanta cottage has restaurant area, but didn’t offer breakfast during this time. So we ended up eating in a restaurant overlooking the Bamboo beach.

Parking Lot

There was no designated parking area. Cars can be parked on any vacant lot any where around the hotel area.

Clientele

Lanta Cottage may be preferred by families or group of friends who prefer to cook or bring their own food. And it could also be a nice choice those who opt for a budget-friendly accomodation.

Price

We booked Lanta Cottage for a little over 60USD, definitely cheap. If you don’t mind a few inconveniences here and there, then, it’s a good choice.

Although it wasn’t what I expected, we were just thankful to be out of the house and enjoy the outdoor. We hope Lanta Cottage can bounced back to its feet.

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kids on a bunk bed

Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang: Hotel Review

Accommodation: Ibis Styles Krabi Ao Nang, a family and pet friendly modern hotel, is conveniently located at 725 Moo2 Ao-nang, Nopparat Road Muang Krabi, 81000 Ao Nang Beach, Thailand (725 หมู่ 2 ถ.นพรัตน์ เมือง กระบี่ (หาดอ่าวนาง, 81000)– and can be reached at +66 75 626 388

This is our second after-covid-19 staycation and boy did we get the best bang for our buck!

Hotel room

          We stayed in a family room with a great view of the mountain and vegetataion below (watch the video to see how lovely it is). Definitely not the largest room we’ve stayed in so far but it is well designed that it doesn’t feel cramped up. The double bed and bunk bed for our kids were soft and relaxing. We slept like a baby.

  • Amenities: It has the usual amenities like flat screen TV, fridge, air conditioner, towels, and hairdryer.
  • Additional amenities: Since it is a family room, it has an X-box console for the kiddos and kiddos-at-heart. Also, it has an intercom if you need assistance and whatnot.
  • Complimentaries include coffee and tea, bottled water, and toiletries.
  • Bathroom: I personally love it. It is dainty, functional, and squeaky clean. There wasn’t any cringy smudges and mildews. Towels are neatly folded on the towel rack. And the wall-mounted mirror adds charm to its entirety.

Overall, the room was lovely, comfortable, and smells great!

WIFI Connection

The hotel had a strong WIFI connection. It was very important during that time as there were things we need to care of online. The hotel did not fail us. No hiccups logging in. And we stayed connected everywhere we went around the hotel even in the pool area.

The Pool

One of the things we look for in booking a hotel is the swimming pool. We’re not great swimmers. But we love hanging out by the pool, especially that Derick and Summer have been self-learning how to swim. The pool in this hotel is the best we have ever been in so far. It’s big, super clean, and certainly well-maintained. The kid’s pool is 0.6 meters deep, safe for toddlers. Adult’s pool measures 1.4 meters deep all throughout, which we think is safer for young children, and those who are not good swimmers.

Derick and Summer had an awesome time, and eventually were able to learn to swim. Yehey!!!

Breakfast

We always opt out breakfast in our bookings. We had a bad experience with another hotel regarding this. However, “The Cliff” restaurant, aesthetically, looked inviting in the first place. Plus, we were informed that the kids will be charged half the price only. Wonderful!! So, we had our breakfast at the hotel during our entire stay. To see the food choices please watch the video.

Parking Lot

Driving is our thing, and so parking is essential for us. The hotel parking is located inside the hotel area, not by the road side. There are designated parking for cars and motorbikes. You can rest well at night knowing your car is safe and secure.

Clientele

Ibis Styles may be a great choice for families, group of friends, couples, and oh pet owners. Great stopover for roadtrips and family staycations.

Hospitality

Another strong point of this hotel lies on the people who, apart from their usual job, go the extra mile to assist and make guests comfortable. They’re accommodating but not in a nosy and instrusive way.

Price

We booked Ibis Styles Krabi for three nights for a little over 150USD. Considering how well-maintained the whole hotel is, and how nice everything is, we definitely got a great value for our money.

Do we recommend this hotel? CERTAINLY!

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United Residence Serviced Apartments

United Residence Serviced Apartments

Accommodation: United Residence Serviced Apartments

Location: 414 Sukhumvit Soi 63 (Ekamai 26), Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110

Telephone: 02 711 5010

United Residence Serviced Apartments

Bangkok, Thailand

www.UnitedResidence.com

Room

We stayed at room 83, on the eighth floor of the building. This super clean, non -smoking room is good for 2-3 occupants, the third being a child younger than 12. It has the usual amenities you’d find in other hotels but what sets this apartment apart from other below 100USD accommodations is the fully-functioning mini kitchen. It has a two-door fridge, a microwave, and a front-open washing machine.

It is also equipped with the following:

  • Coffee and coffee maker
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Cupboards
  • Flat-screen TV with English channels
  • Wall-sized mirror
  • Built-in wardrobe
  • Mini terrace with clothes rack
  • Intercom
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Hairdryer
  • Mini safe
  • Drawers

Bathroom

It is a OK. It’s super clean and comfortable. There’s warm water in both shower and tap. I, personally felt at home immediately using the bathroom. There are no weird stains on the walls and especially no mildew. The drain system is good, so water doesn’t pool around the toilet area unlike Ibis Phuket Patong Hotel.

WIFI

It is fast. Fast enough to stream videos from Youtube and other websites. There weren’t any hiccups logging in.

Parking

It is private and gated. So you could sleep sound in the evening knowing your car is safe in the garage.

Staff

They are friendly and speak English. They are quick to respond when we can’t get the washing machine to work.

Price

We stayed for two nights and paid 66 USD. If this isn’t a great deal, I don’t know what is then.

Overall

We love the room, the staff, and the location. We definitely recommend this.

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Geysers by the Road in Northern Thailand

geysers by the road
Geysers by the Road in Northern Thailand

Looking at these geysers by the road in Northern Thailand as cars pass by is but incredible!

Wiang Pa Pao is a district southwest of Chiang Rai, and a common stop-over for buses, vans, and private cars traveling to and fro. Chiang Mai is a three hour drive from Chiang Rai, and so this stop-over is definitely a welcome one. And why not! Wiang Pa Pao’s geysers are awesome.

Any one who’s passing by will definitely give this place a second look after all, it’s free. Definitely a budget Thailand travel! From a distance you could already see random white steam patches against the greens as you travel up and down the hills. If you’re new to the place, these would seem like smoke as if someone’s burning something except that it doesn’t dissipate in the air.

Innovation

What we like about Wiang Pa Pao, is that they actually took advantage of these wonders without ruining it. They’ve paved the surrounding ground and constructed a fence around it. They also built satellite pools where people could dip their aching legs. It has become a great tourist attraction of the place and consequently a decent source of income. And we believe the entire length of the road that stretches from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai was so design having the geysers in mind.

Source of Income

As mentioned, these geysers by the road have attracted so many tourists. Thus increasing the district’s revenue. Here, you’ll find restaurants, souvenir shops, Seven Eleven, Accommodations, and even jewellery shops. Some locals sell hard-boiled eggs cooked in one of the pools. Water’s temperature is at 98 degrees celsius. Really hot!

Foot Spa

The place has at least 3 to 4 pools where you could dip your feet or legs. The water is so warm! It took us a while to get used to the temperature before we enjoyed the dip. A lot of people enjoyed it too, and really took their time while chatting with friends and munching on some tropical fruits.

Is it a great place to visit?

Absolutely!! One, the place is free. It requires no money whatsoever to enjoy this rare phenomenon called geyser. Second, the foot spa is relaxing and refreshing and you get to do this amidst the trees around. The geysers are by the road, so accessible. You need not hike hundreds of kilometers into the mountain just to see one. Lastly, it would be a great financial help for the people of Wiang Pa Pao who so graciously share nature at no so much cost.

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Singha Park Chiang Rai: A Must Visit

Boon Rawd Farm, famously known as Singha Park, sits a few kilometers away from the center of Chiang Rai. It is less than 10-minute drive from the White Temple. Singha Park Chiang Rai is one of the visited attractions in the city. Aside from it’s vastness and beauty, going in and exploring the place is free of admission.

Singha Park/ Boon Rawd Farm/  บุญรอดฟาร์ม.

It is a vast open land with so many beautiful attractions.  A giant effigy of a Lion (Singha in Thai) greets visitors at the entrance with numerous variety of colorful flowers prettily landscaped behind. There’s a designated place for parking. Cars are allowed during low seasons. There are however two means of going around the park,  biking and by trams. There are different types of bikes for rent -mountain bikes, grandma’s bike,  and double bikes at 120 baht an hour.  Trams are scheduled at regular intervals and it cost 1.67 USD (50 THB) per child and 3.34 USD (100 THB) for adult. This takes tourists around the park and stops at the park’s destinations.

Telephone: 091 576 0374

Opens: 9.00 am to 5:00 pm from Saturday to Sunday

Attractions in Singha Park

  1. Flower Park. Different species of beautiful, colorful flowers are displayed here for at least a week or two and mostly during the first two weeks of January. The flowers were totally breathtaking.  The park is quite big that a couple of hours, which was the only time we had, is definitely not enough to leisurely roam around. And I suggest that you fully charge your mobile phones and cameras before coming,  The place is so amazing you can’t stop clicking.  I would certainly go back as I have not really fully enjoyed the place due to lack of time. I’d also make it sure that I have the appropriate camera. The photos I’ve taken of the flowers and the place are not great due to again lack of time and limited battery life.  In fact there were several attractions I haven’t photographed.  
  2. Swan Lake. Next stop is the swan lake. From the name itself this huge lake has plenty of white swan, and giant coy fish. Children could feed them through bamboo tubes that piped the sides of the lake. And just recently (as of November 2019) at the opposite side of swan lake is a large effigy of a rat made from hay.
  3. Tea Plantation follows. Here, you’ll see vast field of tea plants, such a pleasant sight of well-contoured greens. There’s a tiny station around here that sells tea powder. They also got customs and baskets tourists could use to take photos with.
  4. Zoo. Watusi cattle and short-legged horses are the main attractions in this part of the park.
  5. Strawberry farm. During the winter season that is from December to February, strawberry is aplenty. They are big and sweet in this part of Thailand.
  6. Mushroom and Herbs. As of 2019, they have develop a certain variety of mushroom (please see video). They also have variety of herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and many more.
  7. Zipline. Oh yes, I guess one of the highlights! We Zipline for the First Time, Made the More-Than-24 Hour Car Drive Worthwhile! This is the last stop of the tour. This place has a very nice restaurant that opens until the night. They also sell their own-made ice cream, the Boon Rawd Ice Cream. The zipline has a separate fee of 10 USD (300 THB). Aside from the zipline, they also offer other activities like wall climbing, biking, and survival trail.

Here’s a short video clip of the rock climbing activity in SIngha Park.

There you go folks. Hope you’ll have a great time there.

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Tips for Planning a Family Trip

tips for planning a family trip
https://pixabay.com/photos/family-trip-italy-alps-wander-789029/

Going on a family trip can be one of the best experiences for both you and your children. Trips provide opportunities to experience new environments together, and can open your children’s eyes to the world. However, without proper planning, traveling in large groups with kids can quickly turn stressful. In order to make sure you make the most of your vacation, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a family trip.

Hold a Family Meeting

The first thing to do before starting off on any family trip is to hold a family meeting. Why is this important? According to the Center for Parenting Education, a family meeting is a great opportunity for children to feel like they have a voice in family decisions, and can increase family closeness. When it comes to planning a vacation, this is a great opportunity for family members to touch base on where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do. You can discuss dream destinations, as well as streamline and adjust vacation plans to fit family members’ schedules and expectations.

Plan Ahead

Once you’ve got an idea of where you want to go and how long you want to be away from, it’s time to start planning. While it may be tempting to leave things until the last minute, planning ahead will definitely save you a lot of worry and headaches in the long run. The Huffington Post recommends forward planning because it leads to less stress, as well as helps you spend less time and money. The earlier you start shopping around, the higher the chance you can snag rooms or tickets at a discount, especially if you’re looking at taking a trip during the holiday season.

Research Your Transportation

Traveling with kids can be difficult, especially when they’re young. You’ll need to do more research on your modes of transportation, as children have different needs compared to adults. If you’re renting a car, look at insurance packages and child safety regulations. For longer haul trips that require time in the air, an article by Aviation JobNet recommends comparing airlines before making a decision. Among the factors they suggest for consideration are ticket prices, luggage surcharges, customer satisfaction, and frequent flyer status.

Manage Expectations

Finally, before you head out on your trip remember to manage expectations. Traveling with children comes with unique challenges that will require a bit of creativity on your part, so you should be realistic about what you expect from this holiday. For example, child development psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer recommends that international trips be reserved for children older than five, as they’ll be less likely to remember the trip at a younger age. Children also react differently to high-stress situations on the road, so parents should be patient and be ready to take lots of breaks. However, although being realistic is important, remember that vacations are supposed to be fun bonding moments. Leave some space for you and your family to have fun, and you’ll be sure to make tons of beautiful memories.

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Kids Fed the Fishes in Aquaria Phuket: Exploring the Largest Aquarium in Thailand

The new Aquaria Phuket is now the largest aquarium in Thailand, as advertised. It is located in Central Phuket Floresta, right at the heart of metropolis Phuket. Phuket is home to hundreds of expats and welcomes thousands of tourists each year. Aside from island hopping, this could be a great destination, especially for families or a group of friends. As expats ourselves, we had the chance to experience it. We had so much fun in Aquaria Phuket. Fish feeding is one of the most enjoyable activities you can do. Explore the largest aquarium in Thailand.

Kids Fed the Fishes in Aquaria Phuket: Exploring the Largest Aquarium in Thailand

Aquaria Phuket is divided into four distinct zones, namely Station Aquarius, South China Sea, Coastal Heaven, and Mystic Forest.

  1. Station Aquarius is a semi-interactive zone as kids are allowed to touch the different species of star fish in a medium size, shallow pool, which occupies most of the space in this zone. You are required to wash your hands before touching them. It is important to note the grabbing is not allowed. In this area, there are also variety of jellyfish, sea shells, and insect preserves.
  2. The South China Sea Zone. This probably takes the biggest chunk of the aquarium. One of the interesting features of this zone is the USS Lagarto, a USA submarine wreckage from World War II, which was found in the gulf of Thailand. Read more of the submarine in the newest and biggest aquarium in Thailand or watch the video straight away of the submarine in the newest and biggest aquarium in Thailand. Here, children are allowed to feed the fishes. So, it has got a walk-in platform that goes all the way into the center of one of a tank. With a bucket of fish worth 20THB (0.65USD), kids can have a top view of the tank and feed the fishes there. Also found in this zone is the largest underwater restaurant in Asia, the ANDASI Restaurant. It has a spectacular view!
  3. Coastal Heaven features marine animals like penguins, red sea turtles, otters, and reef sharks, and many more. My daughter was pretty excited to see sharks in the aquarium. Their advertisement shows a large shark, and so she wasn’t so thrilled to see the reef sharks. Of course, we had to explain everything to her.
  4. Mystic Forest features variety of fishes segregated; one tank for all colorful tiny ones, the other for the gentle giants. On the second floor of this zone, are wide selections of rainforest insects like spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and frog. It also got chameleons and snakes.

Here’s a short video of Derick and Summer Thailand in Aquaria Phuket. This video shows the Station Aquarius and The South Chine Sea Zones only.

Would you consider bringing your family and friends here? What feature of this aquarium would you be looking forward to seeing?

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A Submarine in the Newest and Biggest Aquarium in Thailand

Aquaria Phuket, Thailand’s newest and biggest aquarium opened in Phuket Island just last month (August, 2019). It’s located at Central Phuket Floresta shopping mall. This state of the art aquarium surprisingly incorporated a submarine wreckage from World War II called the USS Lagarto. A Submarine in the Newest and Biggest Aquarium in Thailand? How cool is that!

Watch this short video to see the USS Lagarto inside Aquaria Phuket. Enjoy!

USS Lagarto (SS-371), a Balao-class submarine, was a US Navy submarine named after a lizardfish. Its wreck found in 2005 was missing a starboard torpedo, suggesting it went down fighting.

A Submarine in the Newest and Biggest Aquarium in Thailand

I must say, the USS Lagarto definitely adds drama in that aquarium. Watching fishes swim around it coupled with the ambient sound of a submarine certainly gives an eerie feel. The concept is new (well at least on this part of the world). It is interesting. And it’s something educational. A great springboard to discuss a piece of history to children.

Kids and adults alike were awed by the huge structure inside the aquarium. It is something to marvel at.

What we really appreciate!

  1. Submarine wreckage. For us this is the main attraction of Aquaria Phuket. Whoever thought of this must be a genius. We love the idea. It’s refreshing, certainly different from the other aquariums we’ve gone to.
  2. Great Edu-tainment. Coming to any aquarium for that matter is certainly educational. But having this piece of history right in front of your eyes, gets into your emotions. And it actually gets you thinking of its history. Kids would start asking the whats, whys, and the hows.
  3. Basic information. Around the area are basic information about the displays and the sea animals in the tank. Plus additional information about the environment.

What’s more?

Aquaria Phuket also houses the biggest underwater restaurant in Asia, the Andasi Lounge and Restaurant. It is located right in front of the biggest tank, so you’d have a great view of the aquarium while enjoying a meal or snack.

people sitting outside an underwater restaurant in front a tank with A Submarine in the Newest and Biggest Aquarium in Thailand
ANDASI Lounge and Restaurant

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Songkhla Night Market: $10 Feeds a Family of Four

If you’re on a budget travel to Thailand , one important thing to plan is where to eat. This touristy country certainly has so many restaurants to choose from but one sure place to get super affordable food is the Night Market.

Please watch this short video to find out where you could get the best value for your money.

Night Market is the place to go. Night markets or night bazaars are street markets, which apparently opens at night. It is certainly cheaper than regular restaurants, or fastfood chains. Aside from this, the night market is the best place to experience Thai food and delicacies at an affordable price. Also, most night markets promote local traditions like the Thai puppet show, folk songs and dances, so this is the place to go to feel authentic Thai vibes.

a boy holding strawberry smoothie at the night market
Derick and Summer Thailand @the night market

As seen in the video, 10USD has bought a family of four enough food for dinner. And below are the food they bought in the night market.

  1. Fried rice with vegetables and salted fish.
  2. Bamboo shoot spring rolls
  3. Roasted pork
  4. Deep fried chicken
  5. Crispy fried seafood with vegetables
  6. Local french fries
  7. Strawberry shake
  8. Crispy pancakes
  9. Bottled water

It is a tradition and certainly a great one. Going to a night market, especially in big cities is like one-stop shopping as it also has shops for Thai souvenirs and memorabilia. Definitely the best place to go if you are on a budget travel to Thailand or to any Asian country.

One downside though, which by the way is being looked at for solution, is the amount of plastics used.

Have you ever been to a night market?

If you are looking for an affordable place and at the same time loaded with so much fun to visit with your family, you might want to consider going to the most affordable aquarium in Thailand.

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5 Reasons You Should Visit Rajamangala Trang Aquarium

Lighthouse just outside Rajamangala Trang Aquarium

Rajamangala Trang Aquarium is probably the most affordable aquarium in Thailand. With a 1.63 USD (50THB) for adult and 0.98USD (30THB) for kids entrance fee, I bet this is the cheapest there is in the world. Anyway, you might think that because it is inexpensive that it has nothing much to offer. On the other hand, it has loads of fun features and educational elements. Below are 5 reasons you should visit Rajamangala Trang Aquarium on your next visit to Trang.

Here’s a short video of a tour of Rajamgala Trang Aquarium.

5 Reasons Why You Should visit Rajamangala Trang Aquarium

  1. It has a wide selections of Catfish species. Catfish is very popular in this part of the world. Certainly one of the favorites is called Crispy Catfish with Green Mango Salad. We’ve never seen as many species of Catfish before as in Rajamangala Trang Aquarium. Their collection is simply unbelievable ranging from smallest to largest ones.
  2. Great collection of seashells. Children love seashells and most often they have collections of shells picked from the beach. Rajamangala Trang Aquarium’s seashell displays are awesome. Your kids would be amazed!
  3. It’s a stone throw away from Rajamangala Beach. After all the fun in the aquarium, you could frolic in the sun or play sand castle on the beach.
  4. It’s five minutes away from Pak Meng Beach. It may not be known for swimming but Pak Meng beach has a pretty sight to behold with all the beautifully sculpted islands just a few meters away from the shore. Sunset at this beach is also pretty spectacular.
  5. Trang is home to many unspoilt, untouristy islands in Thailand, Koh Kradan, Koh Petra, Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, and Koh Libong to name a few. These islands are accessible by long tail boats from Pak Meng Beach.

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