A Taste of Thailand
The adventure begins, first stop is the south of Thailand, Phuket. Our first meal on route, I cannot say transpired much culture – The Boots Meal Deal – however this was probably the best food we consumed for the first 24 hours. As you know, plane food is not the finest and during our 24 hour flight from Manchester to Phuket, via Abu Dubai we experienced some questionably edible food, including a bread bun that was more likely to be used as a brick than eaten and a chocolate mousse containing your daily allowance of fat in 4 mouthfuls (Ash however thought it was worth it).
Not the prettiest place in the world however, it was full of helpful and smiley people! Our hotel, Sina Imperial was basic, but clean and equipped. Call it fate, but our hotel was located opposite a pancake shop, ‘Pancake corner’ – ££
So obviously, our first breakfast had to be pancakes! Cultural I know. We weren’t disappointed, we had two amazing stacks followed by the most delicious green tea lattes. Green tea lattes are great alternatives for coffee junkies. It gives you that alertness without the bitter aftertaste and the coffee come down.
Lifters Tip: Thai people have the ultimate sweet tooth. So make sure in any shakes, coffees or fruit juices you ask for NO SUGAR. We’ve made the mistake of forgetting on a couple of occasions which resulted in 1. HYPER SOPH 2. SOPH PASSING OUT. (As we rarely have sugar Soph is ‘quite’ sensitive).
Short after our breakfast pit-stop we went in search of a gym and found an awesome old school body builders gym in the centre of Phuket Town. This was no gym for the faint hearted, this was a place where the smell of sweat and metallic rust echoed hard work. During our sessions at the Phuket Gym we met some interesting characters, some of which thought Ash was my ‘BIG MAN’ body guard – I’ve always thought of myself as royalty – so I’ll take that.
We soon fell into a little routine in our two day stay in Phuket town, Gym followed by Uptown Restaurant – £
These guys were brilliant in that they accommodated their menu to suit us. It was simple but proper Thai food. Don’t get me wrong, to get the first order correct it came with a few confused expressions, giggles and pointing whilst suddenly sounding like the queen in order to try and communicate, nonetheless, we became almost regulars ordering XTRA XTRA steamed chicken and boiled rice. It only took around 2 meals to realise that in order to get unfried food in Thailand you had to use a baseline of which they could relate to. So each time we would point at the steamed rice and say ‘1 steamed rice … and 1 steamed chicken’ – from this they could relate the cooking method of the steam rice to that of chicken. 9/10 times it’s worked – except from a little restaurant in Koh Lanta that was that disastrous Ash forbids me from talking about it. Let’s just say that it involved an aggressive cat and a chicken.
Phi Phi – £££
Phi- Phi or what we like to call Phi-ful – i.e AWFUL. Both the hotel, location and food was pretty awful hence our 20 hour turnaround from arrival and departure. Yes if you’re 18 perhaps with little inhibitions and 100% single then by all means experience the ‘realms of Phi Phi’. However if you’re planning on staying conscious during your stay I would say don’t bother. Your time is much better spent elsewhere.
We could finally take a breath. This island was untouched and raw. Our first night was spent at Riverside Resort in Klong Kang. Oddly, in such a remote place, it was surrounded by the most amazing restaurants.
Keen Keen – £
A firm favourite was Keen Keen a little shack run by a hipster Thai family. The Thai Mother welcomed us with open arms and we soon become her little English children. We ate there 4 times in 3 days because she accommodated to Ash’s rather large portion sizes and cooked with zero oil as requested. The place roared with indie music and hustling in the back was the Dad making handmade jewellery. If you passing through make sure to mention the crazy chicken man Ash and his girlfriend – you’ll be guaranteed extra chicken or at least a big smile!
Kunda – £
On the same strip was a vegan café, Kunda where we had breakfast on the second morning. Although it was nice it was a little ‘out there’ for Ash. Nonetheless the homemade linseed bread was unreal. If you’re a veggie travelling through Koh Lanta then make sure to visit – we would recommend the muesli in coconut cream! Although make sure you go on an empty stomach and have little fat for the rest of the day – its extremely filling and luxurious.
Kwans Cooking Restaurant – £
Soon sitting on the floor, eating with our hands started to feel ‘normal’. So when we visited Kwans Cooking Restaurant with proper chairs we knew this was going to be something out of the ordinary. The food was sensational. Ash is actually still going on about it and has looked up flights directly to Kwans Restaurant. How we wished we’d visited before the eve of our departure. Ash ordered cashew and pineapple chicken. I know what you’re thinking, Uncle Bens Sweet and sour sauce with pineapple. Forget it. This dish was out of this world, I mean come on it was served in a pineapple! The sauce was spicy yet sweet leaving a heavenly after taste. My soup was flavoursome and packed with lemon grass leaving me feeling refreshed. What we did really love about Koh Lanta is that at the end of each meal you were served with a complimentary platter of fruit. Simple but a lovely touch. If you ever do visit Koh Lanta make sure to say hello to our hipster family at Keen Keen and book a cookery lesson on Kwans cookery school – we only wished we had.
Our second and third night we stayed in Kantaig Bay, Ko Lanta. We stayed at a beautiful beach resort called Bann Lanta. We stayed in a beautiful beach bungalow overlooking the pool and beach. The cost in low season was reasonable at 1200tbh per night. However if you’re like us and very active/ restless then in low season, when the weather is mixed and many places are closed, it’s probably not for you. After two restful nights we were ready to move on.
Koh Toa – £££
After a 12 hour day of travelling we finally made it to this haven. We rocked up to Sairee beach a relax surf town with an Asian twist. Within the hour we had fallen in love. We were surrounded by bustling restaurants, trendy bars and located 3 gyms in a 500msquared radius. Of course we had to seek out the best one. So the first day we tried both Cross Fit Koh Toa and ‘Gym and Fitness’.
Crossfit Koh Toa – £££
We were put through our paces by booking on to a partner class. We were trained by crossfitter Claire who started off the session with some dynamic stretches and playful exercises. We then went into the super partner session where we had to complete the following as quickly as possible – yet all reps had to maintain form. ‘FORM OVER EGO’. (After leg day this was probably not the wisest idea)
100 Pull ups
200 Press ups
300 sit ups
We really enjoyed the session and would really recommend if you’re a keen cross fitter to go and do a course or sign up for a week. The one off session was a little bit pricey at 500tbh each but Claire was awesome and we couldn’t walk for days! So it must be good right?
Gym and Fitness – ££
We loved the feel of Gym and Fitness and Ash was made up when he saw a row of Protein Powders and Supplements be hide the counter – that was him sold. We signed up for a 12 day pass that was really reasonable at £1200 for both of us. And if you wanted to do two sessions in one day it only charged you the one. The guys here were really friendly and it was located next to the islands fitness café ….
Fitness Café – £££
Our first visit we had the Lumberjack pancakes. These were made from cottage cheese and oats and covered in low fat greek yogurt and berries. We just asked them to go light on the peanut butter! This was the perfect post workout meal. And better yet it even had MACROS on the menu – although it didn’t have the amount of fat but close enough. We stopped here for our post workout meal again on our last day and met the owner, Morgan. A down to earth businessman who we ended up chatting with for a couple of hours. If there is one thing we have learnt so far from our travels is that you never know who you’ll meet or where you’ll meet them – but everyone has a story and perspective.
Some more foodie pit stops:
Living Juices – ££
A little shack located next door to Cross Fit Koh Lanta. If you want a shake on the go or raw protein bars then heres the place. We stocked up before out journey from Koh Toa to Chiang Mai and the bars kept really well.
Note: In low season it’s only open 9 – 2pm so get there early!
Barracuda Grill – £££
One of the islands more expensive restaurants. We met a lovely Irish couple and went for dinner and had lovely seafood. The prosecco was also lovely. Expensive but if you fancy a treat then book a table. The only thing they need to work on is the service – no one cracks a smile at Barracuda.
New Heaven Café – £
Very reasonable café with good tasting good! Highly recommend the porridge with cinnamon and honey!
Lifters Tip – Take your protein powder and get them to add it to their fruit shakes!
Butters – ££
Homemade ice cream as fresh as they come. Highly recommend the blueberry yogurt or strawberry sorbet – for a healthy sweet treat!
Portobellas, Italian – ££
If you love a mixed grill – go here. No questions just go. On a serious note it was the best service we’ve had on the island.
Hermanosa – ££
Basically a bigger and better Nandos. The biggest and freshest organic chicken breasts which you can have 1 of 4 sauces and 2 sides. Perfect for protein monsters!
Sairee Cottages – ££
For one of the busiest scenes in Ko Toa the prices were very reasonable. They do chicken kebabs to go or take out for 120tbh for 2 including salad and a jacket potato. They also were one of the restaurants who were willing to do steam chicken with rice for us!
Next blog…. We finish our Thailand tour in Chang mai and Bangkok! Get ready to hear about cookery lessons and our exploration around the largest Asain market in the WORLD!