Weekend Trip to Pattaya

I just got back from a lovely weekend trip to Pattaya, which is about two hours away from Bangkok by car. I had always written off Pattaya as a holiday destination because of its rather seedy reputation, but to my surprise I had a great time.

I stayed at the Hilton Pattaya, which has the most amazing view over Pattaya Bay. The hotel is located on top of a shopping center called Central Festival Pattaya, which is just like most of the Central malls in Bangkok. It’s great – really convenient since you can stay and dine in the hotel and shop and watch movies at the mall below.

Here’s the view from the room:

hilton-pattaya-view

Isn’t it gorgeous? There’s also a jacuzzi on the terrace, which I never used because the daytime temperature is so hot. I booked the hotel from Guest Friendly Hotels in Pattaya, which lists all of the good hotels in Pattaya for couples by area. The Hilton is a little bit expensive, but it’s worth it for a nice weekend. Overall, hotels in Pattaya are slightly cheaper than Bangkok and in my experience, the rooms feel ever so slightly more spacious. Maybe it’s just the sea view!

Anyway, one of the best things about Pattaya is the dining. I always thought Pattaya was just full of bars, but it actually has some of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to in Thailand. I especially loved Casa Pascal, which is on 2nd road. Great food and a nice atmosphere.

Looking forward to returning again soon…

Simple Outfit Ideas for Summer in Southeast Asia

Summer’s here, and it’s as hot as you would expect. If you haven’t lived in a tropical country before, you will struggle to think of how hot it can get in Southeast Asia from April until September. If you have, you’ll know exactly how hard it can be just to make it through the day in such incredible heat.

In Singapore, it’s not so bad because of the proximity to the sea, but it can still be a major annoyance to find clothes that fit well and do their best to reduce the effects of the heat.

Need help finding some? I’ve put together some simple outfit ideas for summer based on my own style and favorites.

Easy and simple. This type of clothes is popular with tourists and locals alike, especially in May and June when the temperature will peak. Light top and short shorts keep you cool, while flat sandals are perfect for spending time visiting malls and out and about without getting painful feet.

Perfect if you want to go hiking or exploring. I would wear this to the zoo, out for a road trip, or for any summer outdoor activities. Since the top is quite thin and might show too much, a pair of nipple covers could help here.

Another nice alternative, especially if you prefer long pants to shorts. A good choice for at the end of summer, when it starts to get cooler and the breeze makes wearing shorts out after sunset less comfortable.

Which of these outfits is your favorite?

Two Days in Bangkok, Not My Favorite City

Sorry for constantly blogging about Thailand. I haven’t moved, but over the last two months I’ve spent very little time at home and spent most of my free time in Thailand and Vietnam. I actually just returned home from Bangkok, where I spent two days chilling out in my hotel room after having dental surgery.

The surgery (By the way, is this the right word to use? Maybe “procedure” is more correct) was porcelain veneers. I have hated my teeth for years and always wanted to get them fixed, but the cost at home is huge and in Singapore it’s not much better. I ended up flying to Bangkok, using a dental company there that works with foreign customers, and then flying back once I had recovered.

Results? No pictures yet, but I will provide an update very shortly. My experience with the dentist was great, and their service was fantastic, but I once again remembered why I could never live in Bangkok. Getting to and from the dentist’s office (which was maybe ten miles from my hotel, at most) was a multi-hour journey in the city’s horrible traffic. I really do believe most people in Bangkok spend more of their lives inside their cars than they do outside them. It seems totally impossible to go anywhere in that city without running into traffic.

So, dentistry in Bangkok fairly good. Traffic, not so much. I look forward to returning in the future (and going to some other destinations in Thailand — Phuket coming up shortly) but even after experiencing the city’s great food and beautiful temples, I have no desire to live in a city with Bangkok’s traffic ever in my life.

Simple Travel Style: How to Pack and Dress Well When You Travel

One of the hardest parts of traveling is taking your clothes with you. I’ve spent the past few months on and off the road, and fitting everything I need into one suitcase (a necessity if you’re using budget airlines) while still keeping everything you need to look your best is, to put it mildly, a challenge.

With this said, it’s possible to still keep a versatile wardrobe while you travel by making a few changes to the way you pack and the way you dress. It also helps to compromise and realize that you will never have the same level of versatility when you’re living out of a suitcase as you will when you’re living at home.

Right now I travel with a simple selection of clothes:

  • Two to three tank tops for warm weather (it’s hot where I live and travel)
  • Underwear, bras and other obvious essentials
  • One pair of jeans, three pairs of shorts, and two dresses (one casual, one formal)
  • A pair of training shoes, a pair of casual walking boots and one pair of heels

The key thing to remember is that you don’t actually need that much when you travel. I have enough in my suitcase to “fit in” at almost any situation, from a dinner with friends to a formal party. All of this fits neatly into my tiny suitcase without ever being a burden. It’s possible to create different looks with the same clothes by mixing around accessories and combinations. Remember, it’s much easier to carry around extra earrings or a few colorful belts in a suitcase than it is to pack another five pairs of shoes.

I think the best way to keep a good balance of style and practicality when you travel is to learn that you’ll never get quite the selection you’ll have at home, and then stick to your favorites and the basics. Personally, I’m happy to sacrifice a little bit of style if it means I can travel without using the cliché 50 liter backpack I see so many other people lugging around unnecessarily.