Koh Samui, Travel

I completely forgot to finish my Koh Samui posts until I looked through my old camera uploads and found photos of the trip. I was meant to finish this in August 2013, but it just didn’t come up again. Since summer 2014 is coming soon, I felt like this would be the best time to make up this post.

Other than staying at Muang Samui Villas and Suites, my family spent three days in Shark Bay on the south side of Koh Tao. From our first destination, we had to get on a two hour ferry ride to Koh Tao and depending on the waves, it could be a brutal ride. My whole family scuba dives so taking a trip to Shark Bay to dive with some sharks was something we were all looking forward to. Unfortunately, on the first day we got to Koh Tao, the weather wasn’t sunny. Other than that, the rest of the two days were amazing and I did get to dive with some sharks.

Welcome to Jamahkiri Resort and Spa! The pricing was a bit more expensive than Muang Samui, but so worth it.

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The rooms of the hotel are built on the edge of the bay with the view of ocean and plenty of natural light shining into your room. Sleep to the sound of the ocean and wake up to the beach sun shining on your face. The architecture of the hotel was a Mediterranean fusion with smoothed pebble floors and white stone walls. I loved everything about this hotel, it was a place of serenity.

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Each Thai-style bedroom has its own private balcony with an endless view of the ocean.

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This was the view from the hotel’s restaurant. If you wanted to go onto that beach on the right, you had to ride a small 5 minute boat trip there. The down side of this hotel was that it had no beach and it was strictly for snorkelling and Padi scuba divers. Then again, you can’t do much on a beach so you might as well rent a boat and go snorkelling somewhere.

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This hotel would not be the best place for older people. There was no other way to get around the hotel than going up and down these stairs. My family had to find a room closer to the restaurant for my grandparents because taking on those stairs was challenging for them.

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Hello there! I love seeing nature in Thailand. From land to sea, I saw all sorts of lizards and snakes to sharks and jellyfish.

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Other than the stairs being a burden, the design was beautiful and exotic. I wonder if Santorini, Greece is something like this.

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In Koh Tao, you can find sharks in Shark Island, Sail Rock, White Rock, and Chumphon Pinnacle. You would be able to find leopard sharks, nurse sharks, black tips and if you are extremely lucky, you might come across a bull shark or a whale shark. I was lucky to see more than nurse sharks!

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Luckily the hotel had a 24 hour pool opened with a view of the ocean. Take a swim in the morning after breakfast, go get a tan on the beach, scuba dive for an hour, then come back and swim in the pool while the sun sets. I would usually go for a swim at 2am because the night was too surreal and peaceful with the waves and the stars in the sky.

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Drinks everyday in Thailand. Drinking and eating in South-east Asia is so cheap, so I had margaritas and seafood every day.

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When you’re in these places for a vacation, the seafood is the most fresh and cheapest. For dinner, I ordered the Grilled Jumbo Prawns with Spices and Garlic. Notice how simple the dish looks when it was actually incredibly juicy with the taste of the ocean and the prawns. Succulent with the spices and garlic, tropical islands such as Koh Tao make the best and most fresh seafood.

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I told you that I drank a lot in Koh Samui. Spiked Mango Shake anyone? Make sure you order all the pineapple, mango, coconut and other tropical fruit drinks when you go to Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia or Indonesia. Everything is served fresh and sweet. Spiked shakes are usually not as delicious as normal shakes since the vodka overpowers the juice.

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Great dive with so much to see! Thanks, man.

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I miss the sun and sound of the waves before I sleep and when I wake up.

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My grandpa trying to enjoy a Steak Kebabs that was too tough or burnt to eat. I wouldn’t recommend ordering Western food in these places when you can try seafood and authentic Thai food.

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 To conclude my last day at Jamahkiri Resort, I had a glass of all natural mango shake without any alcohol.

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Chinese, Food, Vancouver

Time for another group date! This time, we decided to go to Richmond for some xiao long baos for dinner because Cho and I were craving for Shanghai cuisine. Located right in between Lansdowne and Richmond Brighouse, Top Shanghai Cuisine is an easy walk from both Skytrain stops. The restaurant was crammed with people and luckily since Cho made reservations, we snatched a four seater right in the middle of the restaurant within 5 minutes after we arrived. However even sitting at the middle of the restaurant, servers often ignored us and were quite rude.

*I forgot to take photos of the noodles that we ordered, we were too hungry and the food was delicious. We had the Shanghai Fried Noodles and the Shredded Chicken with Bak Choy in Noodle Soup.

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This is none other than the Xiao Long Bao (CAD4.99) with thin radish slices at the bottom. The trick to successfully pick up a XLB is to pick it up with your chopsticks at the top of the XLB so the soup won’t leak out of the bao. Extreme chopstick skills are needed and if you’re worried about breaking it, use your spoon to hold it once you pick it up. Inside the XLB  is a juicy and hot pork meatball that melted in my mouth once I ate it. I noticed that the pork was slightly pink, so it was extremely tender. The broth inside was hot, natural, clear and rich with pork flavours.

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The Green Beans with Chili Sauce was a much needed vegetable dish for our dinner. The chili sauce was indeed spicy and thrown in with the minced pork made it extra juicy with pork flavours and hot chili. The beans were a bit under cooked in my opinion and I thought there was a bit too much oil in this dish. Congee Noodle House does a better greens beans with chili sauce.

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The Shredded Chicken Breast and Green Bean Starch Sheets in Sesame Sauce (CAD7.99) is an authentic Shanghai dish. I would usually eat this as an appetizer given it being a cold dish, but the portion was too big for an appetizer. Back in Hong Kong at Ding Tai Fung, they would garnish the dish with cucumber strips but they added peanuts and green onions to this one.The green bean sheets were slippery and smooth to eat. The shredded chicken gave the green bean sheets a chewy texture but slightly dry if eaten separately. The sesame sauce was rich in flavour and tasted more like salty peanut butter, overall, I liked this dish.

Top Shanghai Cuisine 上海一只鼎 on Urbanspoon

Food, Seafood, Vancouver

It was about time I caught up with Cath and Kevin of Notey! We planned on going to Twisted Fork Bistro for brunch on a Saturday but the line up took an hour. We were clueless about where to go so we ended up at Cardero’s Restaurant in Coal Harbour. I barely go to Coal Harbour so when we got to Cardero’s, I knew that brunch by the harbour was going to be super comfortable. However, seafood for brunch wasn’t the best combination so I think I will come back for dinner next time instead.

We got a table next to the window with the view of the yachts. Compared to The Fish Shack, Cardero’s actually looks like a “fish shack” with nets hung around the walls and polished dark wood from top to bottom. The fact that it is also next to the water only enhances the atmosphere. This was definitely a fancy fish shack. On the down side, srvice was slow and they were under staffed. I was also a bit disappointed with how dusty everything was; I was drinking dusty water and I didn’t dare use my napkin from all the dust giving me the allergies.

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To start off, we shared a Wok Broccolini (CAD8) with garlic, red chilli and soy. I didn’t find this spicy but it was a good healthy addition to our brunch.

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Kevin had the Cajun Chicken Burger (CAD14) with bourbon BBQ sauce with a side of fries. Burgers for brunch was definitely something I couldn’t do. The chicken looks dry in this picture, but I saw that juice was dripping off the other end when Kevin was eating it so I’m assuming that it was quite tender and juicy.

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Cath went for the Westcoast Fish Tacos (CAD12) with fresh local snapper, onions, peppers, cucumber salsa and spicy yogurt for her brunch. This looked delicious and just about balanced for a brunch without too much fluff.

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As for me, I wasn’t up for seafood or burgers for brunch so I had the Shanghai Noodle Bowl (CAD11) with chicken, broccolini, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and bean sprouts. I felt like I should have ordered something that has seafood since Cardero’s is a seafood restaurant because this dish was dry and tasteless. Again, I think I’m going to return for dinner next time. Seafood for brunch has always been too heavy for me.

Cardero's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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