Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adventures in Ko Phra Thong

I wouldn't have enjoyed our vacation in Ko Phra Thong as much if it had not been for our friends (yes the crazy ones who found this isolated resort). I know more than a handful of friends who would have stopped reading after "no hot shower" but I did receive several enthusiastic yeses.

I love the fact that we have the beach to ourselves. We even caught a couple suntanning in the nude (even though it is probably not allowed). You don't need to jostle for beach space. There are no loud groups (oops we were probably the loudest because of the kids).

There were gentle waves which was great fun for the kids. In fact we even had beaches on either side of the island too choose from - depending on the shade & the tide. Can you see my daughter growing up to be a surfer type ?

Entertainment isn't just for the kids. Our friends had a nice big terrace & we would gather there every evening for .....

Happy Hour

The adults played Scrabble &
the kids played Happy Family
(who needs TV ?)

We did venture off the island. One was a half day leisurely kayak trip to a nearby island to explore the bat caves & to check out yet another beach. I don't know why The Girl kept complaining she was tired when she wasn't the one rowing. No photos cos I didn't want my camera to get wet in case our kayak capsized.

The next which we really enjoyed was our trip to Surin Island. Some of the best snorkelling that I've done. The variety of the fishes & the corals are just amazing. Thankfully the tsunami didn't seem to have damaged too much of the sea life. As part of that trip, we also visited a Sea Gypsy village.

I think the ice cream truck just drove by cos all the kids seemed to be eating ice cream when we were there This was the jetty made up entirely of jelly cans (I believe that's what they are called). Our lunch stop.
Beautiful beautiful water....

This is Marion who was our guide &
also The Girl's snorkelling teacher

Practising in shallow waters

Earnestly spitting into her mask
Once, of course, is never enough

By our 3rd dive, she was already snorkelling away

I love sunsets
& always try to catch it when I'm on vacation

The staff at the resort was wonderful. Genuinely helpful & ever ready to play with the kids. The Girl found a new friend in Pinar & there were a few tears when we left.

What makes a great vacation - good food, good friends, good times.
Thank you Gaby, Loic, Joshua & Juna for being there with us.

Monday, March 29, 2010

For Martha

For Martha
Because you asked for it

This was the sand art we did at the Peranakan Museum

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How green can you go ?

Did you take part in Earth Hour yesterday ? Last night I was out at dinner with a friend. We dined by candle light & honestly, didn't bother us one bit that there was no light nor air con (the restaurant didn't have air con to begin with). We just continued chatting & chomping down our food.

Anyway it seems befitting to talk about our recent stay at an eco resort in Thailand. My question is would you stay at a place that.......

takes you 2.5 hours by plane, 3 hours by car & 1 hour by boat to get to

where there is no electricity during the day

the current comes on from 6-11pm
so the fan only works during that time
after that, you have to depend on the breeze or wind
(or lack of)

with outdoor facilities which means

no hot water
maybe a little warm as the pipes get heated up during the day

constant stream of uninvited guests like frogs, lizards, monkeys

with thankfully modern toilets

with no minibar so the drinks are kept cold by a block of ice in an icebox
(the big barrel of water lasted us one week)

walking more than 1 km 6 times a day everyday
to the club house for breakfast, lunch & dinner

We survived our first eco resort. Admittedly it took some getting used to. Yikes no hot water but by the end of the trip, I appreciated the ice cold showers & would take one every opportunity I can. In that heat, it was much needed relief.

We learned to do things differently. Everything was done at a leisurely pace, there was no need to rush around. We woke up early to beat the heat. Breakfast at the clubhouse then it was off to the beach. Lunch. Afternoons were spent indoors - reading, taking naps, playing games. We ventured outdoors again only in the evenings. Slept early so that we could take advantage of the fan before it goes off at 11.

It wasn't exactly back to nature, rough it out type of vacation we had. For the most parts, it was very comfortable. Honestly, we didn't miss much of what we considered as basic amenities like hot water & minibar. The toughest part was not having air con. Even though we were by the sea, unfortunately there wasn't much of a breeze to speak of. Try sleeping at nights drenched in sweat. I would be quite happy with the fan but you can't feel it sleeping under a mosquito net.

The resort is made up of different villas - all uniquely designed. Ours was tastefully done up with Thai antiques & was told owned by a British soap opera actor, whose name I couldn't remember.

This was not Club Med so we had to provide our own entertainment. More on that the next post. I enjoyed a lot of quiet time in the afternoons when everybody was taking their naps & as a result, finished several books on that trip.

This was our favorite house
It's small - probably only for a couple
but love the adjoining terrace

So back to my original question, could you spend your vacation in a place like this ?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's going on

Ivana, one of my readers asked if I could post what's happening so here goes. Some of events I just happen to stumble upon by accident but these 2 I read about & will most likely be going.

Mighty Mughals Weekend Festival
This weekend at the Asian Civilisations Museum. With so much going on, I won't even post it here. Check it out at the website.

They mentioned henna art so you can be sure we will be there !

Straits Family Sunday
April 4th (Easter Sunday), the Peranakan Museum is organising a once a month workshop that includes making photo frames, dressing up & even a guided tour. From the museum website, it seems the workshop in April is free.

We love the Peranakan Museum so you'll probably find us there after we're done hunting eggs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ramayana Revisted

What can you do with an active 5 year old during the weekends ? Quite a lot if you are living in Singapore. Several weeks ago, we had a blast at the Peranakan Museum. They organised a special event over a weekend celebrating Ramayana & so had a whole bunch of activities for kids, all free.

Shall we take a look at what we did ? We were might busy.

This is Rangoli, traditional sand art. I'm ashamed to say my introduction of this was one episode of the Amazing Race Asia where they got the contestants to do this as part of a road block.

This takes patience so it was amazing for me to see The Girl spending a good part of the hour at it. She wanted to keep going on.

This was the end result (just kidding !)

I only have to whisper the words "face painting" & she would be jumping with joy. Children are so easy to please.

The only time she will sit quietly for more than a few minutes without fidgeting.

This was the highlight of her day. To have a henna painting. You should have seen her. She was holding up her hand the whole day, like the wounded, so afraid to smudge it. The henna lasted a good one week, during which time, she would show it off to everybody - even random strangers on the street.

The favorite with everyone else was the clay section. Everybody had a go at making different animals. We made this adorable elephant.

This was a bit of a mess but so much fun. Sand art. The children had a choice of different designs. I just had to help her remove the stickers & then she was off selecting the colours & pouring the sand over. The final result is now sitting on her bookshelf.

And that wasn't it... In between the activities, we got to watch several performances.

The space is a bit tight & since we weren't on Singapore kiasu mode yet (that changed for the next show) meaning we weren't there early enough to snag a spot, we didn't manage to catch the first show.

I might have found out what a Chinese opera had to do with the whole Ramayana theme if I had bothered to read the program.

Making sure we weren't disappointed a second time, we made our way to the performance area early. The Girl was the one who kept reminding me not to be late for the show. A Indonesian group enacted part of the Ramayana story which thrilled everyone. I, personally, adored their costumes.

Photo op after the show

All in all, a very good afternoon. It kept her busy for several hours. We brought home several souvenirs & best of all, didn't cost me a single cent.