Coffee and Cake for under $4.00

You won’t get coffee and cake for that price in Australia, mainly because of our rates of pay. But in Thailand, it is a different matter. Labour is very cheap, so when we went to Euro Bistro craving a cappuccino and a slice of something, we were delighted to pay only 120THB each.

Both the coffee and the cake were delightful, and I have no hesitation recommending a little visit if you are in the Patong area.


The Cashew Factory

One of the places we visited was the Sri Bhurapa Orchid Cashew Factory. I had never even thought about how cashews grew, and we were very surprised to learn that the cashew nut itself grows on the end of a fruit, rather pear-shaped, but red and yellow. The cashew tree outside the factory is decorated with imitation fruit to indicate its colour and size.

Each of these larger fruits only produces ONE cashew nut. The tree only fruits once a year. I for one am never going to complain again about the price of cashews. A worker demonstrated the removal process.

I couldn’t believe the size of some of the nuts. There are so many other lines I could add to this, but won’t.

We bought a pack of cashew nut slice, coated with sesame seeds, similar to nut bars that you buy in Australia.

At the factory we were able to sample various flavoured cashews. I love cashews raw, roasted, salted, even unsalted, so I didn’t think the flavour needed tampering with. However, some of the varieties were delicious. Deciding one can each would be sufficient, (just in case our luggage weighed too much), I chose the Tom Yum flavour – we were in Thailand after all, and my husband opted for the spicier Wasabi variety.

Now that I have looked more closely at the ingredients of my tin, it appears that the tin contains only 65% cashews, 14% wheat, 11% corn flour, 8% sugar, 1.5% palm oil and 0.5% Tom Yum Powder. Oh well, I guess that’s usually the case when you buy flavoured items. It takes away from the naturalness of the actual nut. The 215 gram tin cost 195 THB, about AUD $6.50. I just realised you could have nearly a whole dinner in Patong for that price! Obviously this cashew factory is aimed very much at the tourist market, but it was a good experience.

The Eyes Have It

Last year, I had extensions done before our ten-week around the world trip. However, they can only last a maximum of forty-five days, the life cycle of an eyelash. Obviously not all your eyelashes come out at the same time, which is why you end up having not an even set after some weeks. Because we were going on a cruise from Honolulu to Sydney last October, I ended up having some eyelash extensions done in Las Vegas. I was bitterly disappointed, because although they were not cheap they only lasted a week before they all fell out; the glue must have been rubbish.

On our first day in Patong, Thailand, at Jung Ceylon Shopping Centre I found a salon called HAIR DECOR. Eyelash extensions were advertised on the window for 1200 THB, the equivalent of AUD$40. With no bargaining in actual shops, I figured for this price it was worth a punt, even if they only lasted the duration of our ten-night stay. If we are going on a cruise, eyelash extensions save the need for mascara and helps avoid panda eye syndrome. If you go in the pool you come out looking pretty good. When I get them done in Australia they can cost $100 – 120. I consider it a great investment in the comfort and vanity of a holiday! After all, does being vain ever really take a vacation?

They had taken a “before” photo for me , and then I was so tired from the overnight flight that I ended up falling asleep in the chair while the Thai beauty therapist worked on my eyes. I was very happy with the result, but would they last?

Weeks later they are still going strong. Just be aware, as they grow out and fall out, your eyes can be a little itchy, but it’s also hayfever season here in Melbourne, so that can add to the slight discomfort. All in all, I would recommend Hair Decor for eyelash extensions.

The Banyan Suite at Thara Patong

Welcome to Room 1330.

Situated on the second floor (or third floor if you’re from USA – does that mean you have to walk further?), this nicely-decorated suite is so-named for the large tree that is just outside the balcony. Because it consists of a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and lounge, instead of one balcony you get a double one, with four wooden chairs and two tables. It’s the only room on that floor without a doorbell – maybe for honeymooners?

It’s fairly open plan, with a television in both the sleeping and living quarters.

Though a sumptous looking bathroom, with two basins, the beautiful bath takes an inordinate amount of time to fill, thereby detracting from the enticement of a bubble bath, and because the water pressure is not that great don’t expect a sea of bubbles. An assortment of goodies are provided and replenished daily: cotton buds, shower caps, dual-use hair and body wash, bodylotion, soap,  sanitary bags, and even a little sewing kit. The hair dryer is quite good.

In the kitchenette are a small kettle, basic coffee, tea, sugar and powdered creamer. Two bottles of Thara Patong drinking water are provided on a daily basis. An assortment of glasses caters for all drinks, but although there is a fridge and microwave, the only cutlery you get are two teaspoons and the only crockery two cups and a little caddy for the teabags. The minibar is reasonably priced, though not for Thai standards, but you can just duck downstairs to a nearby family mart for essentials.

It has a lovely view of the one of the swimming pools, but at night you can hear some of the music from outside the Tantawan Restaurant, and in the day sometimes there is loud CD music playing poolside.

The disadvantage of the set of rooms on this side is that there are no lifts. The more modern wing has elevators. Generally that’s not a problem but after excessive shopping the stairs are not a welcoming sight on days 30 degrees Celsius. At least the air-conditioning is more than adequate, but don’t expect it to be freezing cold. It is Thailand, after all.

We liked it enough to stay here in the future. Oh yes, particularly for bloggers: free in-room wi-fi for the duration of your stay.

Sabai Sabai Restaurant Review

I am happy to add my recommendation to others who have gone before me.

However, don’t expect amazing surroundings.

 Tucked down a side street just off the Patong beach road, Phuket, Thailand, Sabai Sabai is an unimposing little restaurant, with very reasonable prices. A lady by the name of Gan runs this establishment, which is very highly respected by Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans, judging from the posters of gratitude adorning the walls.

Plastic tablecloths don’t reflect the quality of the food. We had been to another place that had gorgeous tables inlaid with roses, but the food had been disappointing. Obviously, if you expect great surroundings AND fabulous food, you will have to look elsewhere and pay appropriately. If it’s just a choice between the decor and the quality of the food, I would choose good food.

Each of our visits there provided delicious Thai food at reasonable prices.

A section of the menu indicates some dishes available.  Soup for just over AUD $2 – yummy!

I chose the Tom Kha Gai for my first visit at lunch.

My husband chose the Phad Thai, which was filling enough after our buffet breakfast.

The butterflied Tiger Prawns were enjoyed when we went to dinner with friends, but as we had all had a few drinks perhaps we didn’t appreciate them as much as we should have. The entree, dinner, dessert and drinks bill came to under AUD $18.00 each! Now that’s a bargain.

Time for Laundry

It’s amazing how much washing you amass when you are in  a tropical country. And how fantastic to be able to take 3 kilograms of laundry just around the corner from your hotel in Patong, Thailand, and have it all washed, dried and folded within twenty-four hours, for the price of 50 THB per kilo!

That meant for AUD $5.00 this sea of washing was no problem.

Luckily I remembered to add his shirt and my skirt.

Then when we picked it up it was all ready to pop into the drawers of our room at Thara Patong Beach Resort.

It was lovely not to have to rely on friends with washing machines, or laundromats on this occasion. That’s one of the things I love about Thailand; labour is so cheap. Imagine how much it would cost in Australia or Europe to get that amount of washing done?  Two words: cost prohibitive!

Fun and Frivolity with Friends

In 2008, staying at Merlin Beach Resort at Tri-Trang Beach on the outskirts of Patong, we met Sandy and Mick from Newcastle. We all hit it off famously and were coincidentally on the same cruise last October from Honolulu to Sydney.

A year later and we all happened to be in Phuket at the same time – obviously our paths are meant to cross! They stayed at Merlin again, while we were at Thara Patong this time. Needless to say, we caught up again to create some more memories.

Meeting at the Patong Merlin for a pre-dinner drink, we then headed down to Bangla Road. Having read some very positive reviews of Bangkok Burger Company, that’s where we decided to have dinner. Some would say it’s an overpriced hamburger, but it was absolutely delicious. The curly fries we also ordered probably weren’t necessary, as it was very filling.

There was the Tiger Bar where we stopped for another drink, and people-watching was a fascinating pastime too.

The atmosphere was vibrant. A cacophony of sounds and a plethora of sights greet you in Bangla Road.  Thanon Bangla is always a hive of activity, with people touting for your business, particularly if you are broad-minded. We went into one of the infamous shows that, having once seen it, you never have to do it again. Oh well, it was Thailand.

For us, it was another great night of friendship and frivolity.