Monday, 3 December 2012

{New Site}: A Nomad's Dream

You may have noticed it has been very quiet on this blog in the last few months. We have since moved out of our house in Krabi, Thailand, down-sized tremendously and visited Malaysia, Singapore, Bali, Laos and Northern Thailand.

Nowadays you can find us writing about our travels at

A Nomad's Dream

With the new site we aim to share our adventures, the lessons we've learned over the last year in SE Asia and our passion for traveling. Why not hop over and have a look?

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Thai Living: Drinking Water

Although tap water in Thailand always looks fine to me, it is not recommended for drinking.

But fresh drinking water is cheap and easily available, so everyone - even locals - buy it. Some restaurants even get their ice cubes delivered. Sometimes several times a day.

This is how we get our drinking water.

From a little corner store a few doors down we purchased a big 20 Liter water bottle (as seen in the picture). Now, when it gets empty, we put it out on the side of the street in front of our house.

The water delivery trucks go down our street several times a day. When there is an empty bottle put out, they stop and exchange it for a new and full bottle of drinking water for just 12 Baht, which is less than $0.50 USD.

We have even gone as far as putting the 12 Baht on top of the bottle - just in case we don't hear them coming/stopping and have never had any issues with that yet (as in someone stealing the bottle or the money :)

Pretty neat system, eh?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Trip to Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

We just returned from a great trip to Malaysia. First, and foremost we went because we had to cross the border to get a new Thai visa, but ended up staying in Georgetown for almost a week for strictly vacationing purposes. I guess it goes to show just how much we really enjoyed the place.

Georgetown is quite different from Krabi, Thailand. It used to be a trading town of the British and the colonial influences are still very apparent. At first, we noticed how everyone speaks almost perfect English. British English that is. Example: There are no signs of places for rent but rather "To Let".

Another very obvious influence were many colonial style buildings and architecture. It was a nice change coming from Krabi, which boasts amazing landscapes and nature, but doesn't really have that many traditionally beautiful buildings.

We stayed in a guesthouse in a part of Georgetown that is called Little India. It is the place were Indian immigrants first settled and they are there to this day. Many shops sell traditional Indian clothing, religious house altars, as well as Bollywood (Indian movies) and Indian music. In fact, we could hear them play their music in our room - from morning until late at night. We wonder if this is what it is like in Mumbai? We will definitely have to check it out sometime to make a comparison :)

Aside from British and Indian influences, the majority of Penang's population is actually of Chinese decent. Many little shops have Chinese writings at their entrances and Chinese lanterns decorating the exteriors.

With all these different cultural influences, there is also a wide variety of food available. Very good food at that. From rice dishes - like Nasi Goreng or Nasi Kandar (famous Penang dish of rice with assorted curries) - to Indian Butter Chicken with Naan bread,and even a great availability of Western food. In fact, a few local street vendors were selling burgers and fries.

Aside from its rich history and culture diversity, Georgetown is also a very modern metropolis. In fact, next to Kuala Lumpur, it is the second biggest in all of Malaysia. They have a fantastic public transport system, with free bus services going through historical downtown. High-rise buildings, enormous condo complexes, and sparkly malls with all the latest fashion and up to date technology in it. We even managed to get our cracked iPhone display repaired here within just a couple of hours. Super cool!

This is definitely a different side of Asia than we had gotten to know over the last 6 months. And we have a feeling this is not the last we will see of it.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Fish Spa in Krabi Town

A few weeks ago we treated ourselves to a spa experience of a different kind.

It involved treatment by fish!

We went to a little place on the local weekend market.
While we were waiting our turn we could order any kind of drink and listen to the performances on the market stage.

When it was time for our "treatment" we had to rinse our feet off, then walk to a long row of aquariums with little fish.

These fish nibble on the foot soles and pretty much any skin immersed into the water, and thereby remove any old skin cells.

I admit, it took a while to get used to it. The intensity of the experience depends on how hungry the fish are. The fish in my aquarium seemed to be very hungry, so that almost all of them were nibbling on some part of my feet.

It doesn't hurt at all, but can be very ticklish. After a while however, one gets quite used to it.

The fish in Konrad's pool didn't seem quite so hungry and only some of them were actually nibbling away. We switched half-way through. This way I could also prove to him that all my squeaking and jerking in the beginning wasn't just me being overly ticklish ;)

After half an hour we got handed a little foot towel to dry off with and got to walk away with nice and smooth foot soles.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Bananitos and Mini Mangoes

This week we got to enjoy miniature versions of two favorite fruits of ours: small bananas also called bananitos and mini mangoes.

To prove to you how small they really are, here you can see how lost it looks in the palm of my hand.

Another visual proof. A bananito + a mini mango still fit comfortably into the palm of my hand.

Here in Thailand mini mangoes are called Ma Prang, but they are also known as plum mango and Marian mango.

Over on my cake blog I put together a longer write-up describing the features of these little fruits in further detail. You can check it out here.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Chinese New Year in Thailand

January 23rd marked the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Here in Thailand festivities weren't limited to one day, but rather the entire weekend before was celebrated.

There are a lot of traditions, many food related, connected with the Chinese New Year celebration.

Another tradition is greeting family, friends and neighbors with auspicious greetings wishing luck, happiness and prosperity for the new year.

In the supermarket I came across these apples that are combining a food related tradition with auspicious greetings.

I was so intrigued and really curious how the writing was brought onto the apples. So I picked up a couple, ready to do some online research once home.

Turns out to bring the writing onto the apples a sticker is put on before they fully ripen. The sticker blocks out the sun so that where it is placed the apple does not redden. Pretty cool.

I believe that the top apple says something like congratulations, but I have no clue for the writing within the heart.

Chinese New Year is a family holiday, and here in Thailand it is mainly celebrated within the homes. So we can’t observe too many of the details.

What we have noticed are the beautiful lantern garlands decorating the town streets and some homes and stores, as well as the extensive use of fire crackers. Really loud crackers. At any time of time.

On the first day of celebrations, both of us half jumped - half fell out of bed from the noise of the first crackers by a neighbor. They sound an awful lot like gunfire or like hail on a corrugated iron roof, depending how close you are.

Although it was quite a rude awakening, I still have to chuckle thinking of us jumping out of bed terrified and ready to run for cover ;)

On the actual New Year's Eve we went out to eat at a restaurant. It was a busy night for the owners, and they actually had to turn guests away. Several other eating locations at the markets, run by locals, were closed for the festivities. Resulting in more, or too many guests, for the places that stayed open.

We enjoyed some great shakes and this fantastic fruit salad that was served in a hollow pineapple half.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

New Year's Market in Krabi Town

Ughh... we are 15 days into 2012 and I am still talking about New Year's.

But...we made it to the 2 weeks lasting New Year's market and actually had a camera along.

Thais are masters of "food on the go". You can get almost anything on a stick, be it sausages, meatballs, chicken, or also fruit like watermelon, pineapple, and grilled bananas.

Don't like wearing in dress shoes? How about the pre-worn alternative?

Conny, the following shoe pictures are for you. You would love the market here :)

A calculator, the bigger the better, is an essential of market life here. Even if customers don't speak Thai and merchants not much English, numbers punched into a calculator bridge any language barrier.

Not so big on food on a stick? How about some bite-sized delicacies?

A smorgasbord of fried insects: crickets, worms, larvae...

I almost got in trouble for taking a picture of these little rabbits. Only after taking it did I see the sign asking for "no photo".

The skilled artwork displayed in a huge variety of teak wood furniture was really impressive, and also inviting to sit down for a breather.

The natural growth of the trees is used to create tables and benches.