Monthly Archives: February 2023
The Golden Triangle!
And so we made the trip to Chiang Rai. It’d been a long few months and I really felt Aditya and I needed the break. We booked the all inclusive Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort. We flew in to Chiang Rai and then a short car ride to a river where we were taken by long tail boat to the resort. These are special services we had booked to truly enjoy the experience. Enroute we were so lucky to see the gorgeous Golden Buddha glistening in the sunlight.- truly an unforgettable sight! Then as we approached the resort we were greeted by two gorgeous elephants who would now take us to our room. All the sleep vanished from our eyes as we sat on the elephants and manoeuvred through bushes and trees to get to our rooms. The elephants were lovely, though naughty. My elephant chose to stop on the way to meet a friend at the camp and we got waylaid a bit. He then proceeded to almost bring down a tree… just because he was hungry. We did make it to the room eventually but honestly the journey was what made it so fun!
The fun part at Anantara was that there were tons of activities for us to do. So after a short nap, we were ready to go bathe the elephants. We were given overalls to wear and we figured that made sense as our clothes may get dirty… Little did we know what was going to happen. We first visited the camp and saw the elephants and a new baby as well. And then we were shown the showers. Throwing water and showering the elephants was a laugh riot. But this became even more fun when we were asked to mount an elephant each while he headed off to bathe… The elephants were so fun and relaxed and took us for a merry jaunt while heading to their bath. They stopped to eat, they turned around and seemed to chat with other friends. Then they headed to what can only be seen as a muddy lake. I saw it from the corner and didn’t think much of it. Suddenly my elephant mad e a quick turn to the ‘lake’ and walked right in! As he enjoyed the coolness of the water, I was most grateful for the overalls which were now covered in mud. Laughing at how fun this was, the elephant used his trunk to bathe himself and me! Now I was covered with mud but super happy! At the end of his bath, he took me back to my room and I had a bath in cold water (not mud!).
Watermelon , the cutest elephant was at breakfast the next day and enjoyed bananas and quick kisses while she blushed and basked in all the attention the guests gave her!
We then decided to explore the bordering countries. The Anantara team was amazing. It was unbelievable how you could go by boat and then a car ride and in a few minutes reach Myanamar. There we were taken to a beautiful temple where we prayed and watched locals pray and observe their traditions and customs. Walking through their local markets we were able to shop for trinkets while the aromas of food wafted through the air. We were then taken to a picnic ground where we were given a basket for lunch and sometime to unwind and relax!
Next it was time to cross the border to Laos and once again see how close this country was and how similar all 3 countries were at least in their border towns! In Laos we also saw an alcohol speciality in vodka with a scorpion inside! While I thought about whether I’d be brave enough to try it; in the end I decided against it! As the sun set in Laos, we headed across the water and back to our beautiful hotel.
Love, laughter and adventure… this has been my favourite Thai Hotel because the location and the hotel gave me as a tourist so much to see and do.
Cost-:Approximately $1200 approximately per night for a package which is all inclusive incl transfers.
Best times to Travel-: October to February when the weather is cool and not too muggy!
Pass Go- to the Langham London!
We all have our favourites and I too have mine. May in London has been a constant and our home away from home has been the Langham.
The Langham was a hotel we found quite by chance on a booking engine. It was close to all that we loved, walking distance from the theatre district and steps away from the busy shopping of Regent street and Oxford Circus.
What I loved about the hotel and what I still come back to is the level of personal service they provide. We always choose the Executive rooms. This gets you access to the Club Lounge level. This is absolutely fabulous. The guest relations mangers there will go out of their way to ensure a perfect stay. For example, when I’m there since I don’t eat pork as I arrive, they quickly move the chicken sausages out of cold storage and make a separate plate for me at breakfast. This is a very small example, but it shows a level of care!
The Langham is perfectly placed for all that you want to do in London. Add to that the Executive rooms offer breakfast at the lounge and then they leave muffins/scones/biscuits for the rest of the day which you can pair with hot coffees. They have a tea service from about 2-4 p.m. and then cocktails and canapés from about 5-7 p.m. This works perfectly if you need a short break in between the day or a quick bite before an evening’s performance. Add to that it’s a few minutes from the station, it works perfectly for your choice of holiday!
The Langham also has a beautiful tea service. The sitting area of the lobby is full in the afternoon with tea trollies and scones. With guests dressed up for tea, the Langham really goes the extra mile in the white gloved high tea service!
Cost-:Approximately GBP 800 upwards and approx GBP 1200 for the Executive room during peak season (July on)
Best times to Travel-: June to October but we are there every May and the weather is just right!
Of Distilleries and Whiskies!
And so off to Dublin we went on the annual May birthday trip. Whisky tasting was top of mind for us and were better than the beautiful Dublin! Enroute to the hotel a chatty cab driver was like a quick dose of coffee. He pointed on sights and even Bono’s Clarence Hotel.
A drive across the gorgeous Samuel Beckett bridge and more information on the famous Temple Bar we were at our hotel-The Westbury.
The Westbury was a bustling hotel right in the centre of all the bustle of Dublin. A gorgeous old hotel it had the charm that I absolutely love. The room was spacious and comfortable with a pretty city view and after a much needed nap we set out to explore.
Whiskies were everywhere and we found a small shop just outside the hotel. While others are scanning and choosing, we did what we knew which was to ask the owner for help. We had no idea which whiskies were good and which weren’t, so we just asked him. The gentleman was happily surprised and recommended his favourites, but told us we should try a few. In Brusssels we’d had the most incredible degustation menu of beer. Would there be some thing like that in Dublin? He said he had a favourite bar in the Temple Bar district.. we should go there and then come back. That seemed fair and now we knew a local bar.
Walking around Dublin what we loved most were the many , many friendly locals. ‘Try this,’ ‘ don’t do that.’ This takes too long,’ you have to do this!’ Like in India what we loved everyone had an opinion and they were definitely not afraid to share!
Next it was off to the distilleries and are first stop was Teelings. The beautiful grey entrance matched the gloomy day and made for a cinematic entry. Once you’re in, tours are something you must must do. And they take small groups on a very proud tour of the distillery. Post a walk and explanations its whisky tasting time. That they are aged in Bourbon casts gave it a sweeter taste. And then of course there’s the Teeling’s shop. Now that you have favourites , there were whiskies you could buy!
Back on the road (no we weren’t driving) it was now time to just take in the sights of Dublin. Buildings with the most incredible facades stood out in the gloomy grey weather. The cheery locals also made for fun conversations. Walking towards Trinity College we saw the magnificent Bank which had been converted into a beautiful restaurant. A nice , comfortable warm meal kept us in good spirits as we headed to Trinity College. Going into the college was beautiful. Both Aditya and I had our Trinity College stories- Aditya had done Drama grades from Trinity and I , the piano. The college had its glorious history which was contrasted by the young students all rushing around. The library was glorious and Aditya and I spent a fair bit of time there.
The next day Guinness was on our list. Entering almost a Hard Rock Cafe with music and lights and sound is what Guinness is all about. There are photo booths, Instagram walls, fun coloured contraptions, bars on every level , sights , sounds and something for everyone! I’m not even a beer drinker and even I was photographing, doing the games and buying trinkets at Guinness!
Our final tour was to Kilminhaim Gaol- the jail. For this you must book in advance as entrance only allows small groups. This is a former jail and now a museum. It talks of Ireland’s violent past. Walking through tunnels and through the jail cells, you are given a sense of history. The gaol is a definite must see and is a sobering experience especially after all the whiskies.
In the evening , we went to the bar recommended by the shop owner. In the middle of Temple Bar, this local bar was filled with regulars and we both stood out like complete newbs! When he heard where we came from and our idea of a degustation menu; he did his best to give us a small shot of his favourites on a tray and watched us carefully as we tried to differentiate between them. Now we knew what we loved and we were ready to go back to the store and make our choice.
It’s been a while since Dublin and a while since I’ve blogged about travel but this was a birthday trip that was really special and a place I’d love to go back to because of how friendly everyone was.
Cost-:Approximately $600 upwards… The Westbury is lovely and a definite recommendation!
Best times to Travel-: June to October but we were there in May and the weather was glorious!