We have been to Lanzarote many times, being a 4 hour flight, and with flights available from most airports in the UK, making it very accessible. It is a year round destination, but especially popular for those seeking winter sun, as they have “good weather more or less guaranteed.” It does get windy sometimes, and with only an average 18 days per year of rain, therefore most of the time it is sunny with an average temperature of around 22C. Even in July and August, when the island is at its hottest, the temperature is usually only in the mid-twenties centigrade. Whenever you go, it is nearly always warm enough to sunbathe.

Porto Del Carmen Old Town Harbour

The island lies just 78 miles off Africa’s Saharan Coast and is the most easterly of the Canary Islands. The island is 38 miles long and 12 miles wide, making it the fourth largest island in the Archipelago. One of the first things that visitors notice is that nearly all of the buildings are white – this is largely thanks to the work of local artist César Manrique, who worked tirelessly to protect the island’s traditional architectural style and avoid over-development, and he managed to persuaded the local government. They banned the building of high-rise hotels and advertising billboards which have blighted the neighbouring island of Tenerife. One of its only high-rise structures is the Arrecife Grand Hotel, which was built before the ban was in place.

Timanfaya National Park

The island has some spectacular volcanic landscapes, so otherworldly that the Timanfaya National Park, whose moon-like terrain is one of the key reasons the island was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1993, was used as a training base for NASA’s Apollo 17 crew. Around 360 volcano cones rise up from the granular black sand of the national park. The focal point of the vast black landscape is the Islote de Hilario volcano. Due to the fragile nature of the rocks, you can’t walk around unaccompanied. Buses take you around the park to see the extraordinary striated rock formations. As even today, temperatures just below the surface reach over 400°C. Unusually for a volcanic island, and unlike Tenerife, Lanzarote’s beaches are of golden sand. As you might expect, much of the outdoor activities are based around the sea, with great surfing at Famara, windsurfing at Costa Teguise and several great scuba diving locations around the island.

If you want to catch a more modern and metropolitan side of Lanzarote then visit Arrecife, the island’s capital. Here you will find a lively port city, which is home to around one third of the island’s inhabitants, with a population of some 45,000 and boasts shopping galore, beaches, parks, promenades, cafes, restaurants, nightlife and all of the urban hustle and bustle.

Teguise was the capital of the island for hundreds of years, until it lost this title to Arrecife. Now largely ignored by tourists, that’s why we like it — other than for the Sunday Market — it remains a great place to visit during the week, as it boasts some excellent architecture and remains relatively tranquil, with boutique shops selling local crafts as well as some great local restaurants.

Playa Del Papagayo Beach

There are 3 main resorts on Lanzarote, However we prefer to stay in the quieter Old Town of Puerto del Carmen, Puerto Calero or Teguise.

Puerto del Carmen is the oldest and largest resort on Lanzarote and the spot where modern tourism first took off. Originally built around the old town harbour it has now extended along 4 miles of golden, sandy beaches. It offers a wide range of holiday styles from studio apartments overlooking the lively beach road to luxury private villas in the exclusive Los Mojones area perched on a clifftop overlooking the harbour and out to sea.

One of the island’s longest established resorts, Costa Teguise was first developed in the 1970’s under the aegis of César Manrique and was purpose built as a tourist resort from the start. As a result the one criticism that some visitors have is that Costa Teguise lacks an organic heart – with nothing to match the atmosphere of the Old Town harbour in Puerto del Carmen or indeed the small centre of Playa Blanca, which was once a tiny fishing village. That being said there are plenty of great beaches in Costa Teguise and the resort is ideally located for exploring Lanzarote’s many attractions.

The resort of Playa Blanca has seen rapid development over the last few years, although thankfully due to the islands strict planning laws, none of this has involved high-rise developments. Although it continues to grow, it has retained its more relaxed atmosphere.  Playa del Papagayo beach being one of its highlights.

Puerto Calero is much smaller than Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca or Puerto del Carmen — and definitely more upmarket.  There’s no beach here, but a selection of designer shops cafes restaurant and bars around the marina. It represents one man’s dream and is definitely a place to visit if you appreciate the finer things in life or have a love of boats.

Shopping in Puerto Calero

There are too many restaurants to list that we have dined in, and the island has such a choice from McDonald’s to fine dining, but try the villages of El Golfo, or Playa Quemada as their restaurants specialise in fresh Seafood. Teguise is great for local cuisine.

The island gastronomy as you could imagine has been influenced by Spanish and South American cuisines. The dishes stand out for their simplicity, as the ingredients are more important than the processes, but the results are very tasty. Excellent meat, fresh fish, vegetables and virgin olive oil all have their place on Lanzarote’s tables. An important role is played by local wines and cheeses.  And we must not forget to mention the most popular dish: papas arrugadas (potatoes boiled in their skins). Accompanied by mojo (a local chili and garlic sauce), they are must have during any visit to Lanzarote. In the area around La Geria, you will find several bodegas (wineries) where you can taste local wines and enjoy the unique volcanic landscape of the vineyards. You can find The El Faro shop on the road between San Bartolome and Teguise for wonderful local cheese.

So our overall assessment of Lanzarote is we keep returning year after year in our quest for accessible winter sun. There really is something for everyone, if you are looking for peace and quiet or raucous nightlife, Sandy beaches, cheap and cheerful “British Bars” to authentic local tapas bars it’s all there if you look.



Paris is a global centre for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Its 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine. Beyond such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques. With 10 different airlines flying to Paris from the UK it is easily accessible making it the perfect weekend getaway destination. We had never visited so decided it was time we spent a weekend and discovered what the city had to offer.

The city’s most iconic landmark

The first decision was to pick a hotel and with over 600 to choose from in the centre of the city, that choice alone was no mean feat. We prefer “Boutique Hotels” with character and charm rather than large “branded chain” hotels which we find to be rather bland and dull – we started the task of trawling through http://www.booking.com.  As we were flying into Charles de Gaulle airport on a Friday we also wanted a hotel that was on the Metro that we could access direct from the airport via the train. We booked the Hotel Le Relais Des Halles, and were not disappointed with our choice. It is a small luxury hotel where the staff are warm and welcoming, there’s a great choice for breakfast, the rooms were perfect and the décor was stylish and offer an elegance in true Parisian style that was in keeping with the building. It is in the Halles district of the city, and is a 5 minute walk for Halles Metro that you can find within the Halles shopping centre that has an abundance of shops cafes etc. It is also well situated for cafes, bars, restaurants and only a 15 minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral. We would definitely recommend it and it will be our choice when we return to Paris on our next visit. https://www.hotel-relais-des-halles.com/en/chambres.

Les Relais Des Halles Hotel

A weekend in Paris only allows you to see a snippet of what the city has to offer. Rather than try and ram everything into our visit we decided what we really wanted to see and do. So our list consisted of a visit the palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Catherdral, a cruise on the Siene and a drive up the Champs-Élysées to circumnavigate the arc de Triomphe roundabout. Other than sites we planned to eat snails in an ethnic Parisian restaurant and sample fine French cuisine in a Michelin star restaurant.   

The Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 1979, it was formally Louis XIII’s old hunting pavilion and was then transformed and extended by his son, Louis XIV, when he installed the Court and government there in 1682. Today the Palace contains 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 m2. The rooms of the Palace are now devoted to housing collections of paintings and sculptures representing great figures and important events marking the history of France. You can also visit the gardens and estate of Marie Antoinette which encompasses the Grand and Petit Trianon as well as its own gardens.

The Arc de Triomphe roundabout

The Palace of Versailles is 10 miles South West of Paris and can be reached by train or bus from the city. We decided to take a taxi as we wanted to drive the Champs-Élysées, and experience the Arc de Triomphe roundabout, they say the rule is to give way to the traffic on the right – all we can say is it was an experience and we were glad we were in a taxi.

We were fortunate that we were able to see the Notre Dame Cathedral before it was devastated by a terrible fire in April 2019. One of the easiest ways to see the city is to use the Batobus. It has nine stops along the Seine River giving you easy access to the most beautiful sights in Paris including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre. You can hop on and hop at your leisure on any of their river boats with a day pass. It is also a perfect way to enjoy the relaxing ride on the water as you visit the city’s must-see spots. https://www.batobus.com/en/discover-batobus.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Paris is famous for its food and café culture and its art of preparing and serving rich or delicate dishes of wonderful appetising food from not only the regions of France but from all corners of the world. There are 114 Michelin star restaurants in the city, as well as many traditional French restaurants and an abundance of restaurants serving international cuisine.

L’Escargot Montorguiel Restaurant is a Parisian institution. It has been a restaurant for over 200 years and is classified as a monument of France. With its crafted wooden ceiling and its sand blasted windows it offers a hushed and trendy atmosphere. In addition to its architecture, this restaurant is also famous for its cuisine, which honours French specialities where the famous gastropods are insuperable. You can also enjoy classics like Duck with Orange, Beef Bourguignon and Frogs legs. We had the slow cooked Lamb Shoulder which was a delight to the taste buds. A must when you are in Paris. How do you pick just one restaurant to dine in from the 114 Michelin Starred available – I guess that’s what “google” is for and it took us to Anne-Sophie Pic. She is the daughter of Chef Jacques Pic, and granddaughter of Chef Andre Pic, who first gained Maison Pic the family restaurant its three Michelin stars in 1934. However, Anne-Sophie initially decided not to follow in their footsteps and instead trained in management. Only later she found herself drawn back to the restaurant for her “passion”. So in 1922 at the age of 23 she returned to Maison Pic to train under her father who unfortunately died just three months later. In 1995, the restaurant lost its third Michelin star, for which she felt she had lost “her father’s star”. In 1997, Anne took control of the restaurant and in 2007, she regained Maison Pic’s three Michelin stars.

The Venison at Le Dame de Pic

We then discovered her Paris restaurant La Dame de Pic was within walking distance of our hotel so we booked a table for the Saturday evening. From the moment we arrived we were spoiled. Her vision is for you to discover her universe and using her culinary imagination, offer her guests a taste of Valence. So she has created a place with a gentle and feminine setting offering a place to forget the bustle of the city, somewhere to relax and enjoy her culinary delights. We choose the set Gourmandize Menu, which was a wonderful way to experience her delightful cuisine and with the sommelier pairing it with an excellent wine it was truly a dining experience.

So our overall assessment of Paris – is it is a city you could never tire of visiting and would want to return to as often as you possibly could.



We have been to Croatia twice and plan to return in June of 2020. It is a country we have fell in love with and so it made perfect sense after reading about Montenegro that we visited it as it sounded idyllic. Montenegro is a Balkan country with rugged mountains, medieval villages and a narrow strip of beaches along its Adriatic coastline. The Bay of Kotor, resembling a fjord, is dotted with coastal churches and fortified towns such as Kotor, Herceg Novi and Perast. The Durmitor National Park is home to bears and wolves and encompasses limestone peaks, glacial lakes and the 1,300m-deep Tara River.

Lady of the Rocks Island and Church Perast

With only two airports in the UK having direct flights to Tivat, Gatwick and Manchester, we decided to fly to Dubrovnik, hire a car and drive to Perast where we had rented a villa. According to Google maps this was a 30 minute drive to the border then a pleasant 1 hour drive round the picturesque Bay of Kotor. Checking google for weather in May, it should have been on average 24 °C with little rain. As we all know sometimes not everything goes to plan. It was raining when we left Dubrovnik and it rained every day we were in Montenegro which was somewhat unfortunate. The drive to the border was easy and did only take 30 mins, then it took us another 30 mins to get through passport control and out of Croatia. Thinking that was it we were surprised to have to queue again for passport control to get into Montenegro which, another 30 mins, so much for free travel within the EU. As for the pleasant drive round the bay of Kotor – it’s not that pleasant in the rain, and the 1 hour queue for roadworks in Igalo didn’t help. The road was also packed with day buses from Dubrovnik so in the end the 1½ hour drive was closer to 4 hours. Not the best start but hey ho we are on holiday and just get on with it.

The View from Villa Violica

We booked villa Violica via home and away website. https://www.homeaway.co.uk/p1961456.  The villa was perfect, it had been fully modernised and was complete with everything you could need as well as a pool, BBQ and wonderful views across the bay. In only a 5 min walk via some steps you’re in the centre of the village. Perast had a wonderful local store, as well as quite a few bars and restaurants for a small village and in our opinion is the prettiest village on the bay. However, it does get busy during the day with day visitors from Dubrovnik, but reverts back to a very friendly, local village after 4 pm.

Cruise Ships in the Bay of Kotor

Kotor is a lovely, old walled city however, the day we visited 3 cruise ships were docked in the bay and the car-park was full of buses from Croatia. With the towns population of 10,000 it certainly struggles to accommodate a further 10,000 tourists. The best time to visit is after the day visitors leave as it does have some lovely restaurants and boutique shops as well as a thriving local market.

Porto Montenegro

Porto Montenegro is close to Tivat airport and has a very high-end marina, luxury apartments, designer shops, top end restaurants as well as wine and cocktail bars. It is worth a visit even if it just to see the super yachts but I am not really sure Montenegro is ready for high end tourism quite yet.

Montenegro, like Croatia, prides itself on its family run restaurants serving local fresh food and one thing it does have in its favour is, for Europe, it certainly isn’t expensive and is overall a great value destination. We were not disappointed with any of the restaurants we ate in and as I said, Perast has quite a few for a small village.

The first night we visited Café Armonia, initially only to have a drink and decide where we would dine however, the weather changed that decision as soon as we arrived it started to “chuck” it down. The waiter was very friendly and looked after us, he also had good English so we decided to stay for dinner. It was a good decision as it kept us dry and the lamb was delicious and to cap it off the owner drove us back to the villa. So it became our bar of choice, we also dined there on another night and the food and service was excellent. The Otok Bronza Restaurant is situated at the far end of the village and is also the most authentic restaurant in the village which the locals use. The service was great, we had lamb under the bell and our first taste of Montenegrin red wine, which was surprisingly good.  The authenticity and local feel was evident when the bill arrived as it was the least expensive restaurant we dined in.

Stari Mlini Restaurant

Our favourite Restaurant was the Stari Mlini Restaurant which is in the village of Dobrota on the road between Perast and Kotor. It started out in the 1700’s as a flour mill and has been a restaurant for over 3 decades. It is built around the former mill and feels like it is in a fairytale setting oozing charm. It is worth exploring the gardens and grounds, it even has its own dock. But behind the charming setting there is a culinary delight with the restaurant specialising in fresh sustainable seafood, the waiters are on hand to explain the catch of the day and the different ways it can be cooked. We settled on the grilled mixed platter which was wonderful, it really is a dining experience.

We had catch of the day at the Admiral Restaurant, it was one of the few days the rain held off and we had lunch on the terrace. The service was great and the waiter took time to explain what fish was available and provided his recommendation, so we shared a grilled seabass and a seabream both were excellent. 

The Restaurant at the Conte Hotel is the fine dining option in the village with wonderful fresh seafood, excellent wine and great service.

So our overall assessment of Montenegro – it is a small country trying to come to terms with tourism and the financial benefits that brings. It is a fine balance that, at the moment, they haven’t quite got right. So even with the weather and the drive would we return to Montenegro anytime soon? The answer would have to be no as we think Croatia has so much more to offer.


First Time in Thailand?

Thailand a country we have visited so often and love so much we keep returning year after year.

It has so much to offer, a rich culture, excellent food, you can get lost in the mountains of the North, and the crystal clear waters of the South are excellent for exploring what lies beneath. With over 1000’s islands it is a beach lovers paradise. As Thailand has two seasons, “the wet”  May to October and “the dry” November to April, which is the best time to visit.

So what area of Thailand is right for you, if you want to party, there is Koh Samui, Phuket or Phi Phi, and so many other blogs cover the backpacker trails, as we tend to enjoy the quieter areas and island hopping, so we will cover Krabi and the Andaman Sea Islands here. 

Getting to Thailand, there are lots of airlines that fly to Thailand, and both Krabi and Phuket in the South are international airports, however our days of long haul economy travel are over, so we fly Thai which have great times as you leave the UK at 21.30 arriving in Bangkok at 16.00. With business there are no queues at check-in, fast track security, airport lounge, premium boarding, great choice of food, wine and movies onboard, but the best of all is the bed so you can have a decent sleep and get to Bangkok reasonably refreshed. Fast track through passport control, we stay at the Nova Airport Hotel, then travel onwards the next day, certainly not the cheapest option but the most relaxing. The return flight leaves Bangkok around 01.00 getting you into Heathrow just after 07.00. UK citizens don’t require a visa to enter, you are allowed 30 days as a tourist, just need to fill in a landing card “you should be giving one on the flight” if not you can pick one up at the visa on arrival counter” then present your landing card at the passport desk along with your passport.

Currency is the Thai Baht approximately 38 Baht to the Pound, there is an abundance of ATM,s and currency exchange booths in most areas but if you are going off the beaten track or visiting some of the smaller islands make sure you have enough cash in your wallet. Credit cards are accepted in the major hotels and restaurants but cash is king in the smaller family run establishments.

Thailand is quite a safe country, but the same as the UK, petty theft, mainly pick-pockets does occur, be vigilant and keep your valuables safe and out of site. If you are unlucky and have been the victim of theft, contact the Thai tourist police they have a 24 hour hotline 1155. By far the biggest safety concern is road traffic accidents, the question to ask yourself is “would you ride a scooter in the UK without a helmet, would you take your children on the back of a scooter in the UK without a helmet” then why would you do it in Thailand.

Thailand’s medical services are truly world class if you use the international hospitals, but they are pricy so make sure you have good travel insurance. For minor ailments we found the local pharmacy to be very helpful, even in the remotest areas, they are very knowledgeable and speak good English.

Wi-Fi is common in most hotels and restaurants, and local SIM cards can be bought at the airport or local convenience stores.

Traveling within Thailand is very easy, it is well served with domestic airlines, taxi’s, songthaews, “ a pick up truck with bench seats in the back” tuk tuk’s, 

and the islands easily accessible via ferries and speedboats during the dry season, the service is less frequent out of season. If you are arriving peak season, I would recommend you book your internal flights and speedboat tickets in advance. Tiger-line Ferries service the islands in the Andaman Sea, and there website has all the routes and times.


Dublin (Malahide)

With 9 flights a day departing Birmingham for Dublin it makes Dublin very accessible for long weekends. We have been to Dublin many times, the first few visits we stayed in hotels in the centre of the city. That was until we discovered Malahide.

Malahide Marina

Malahide is an affluent coastal settlement in Fingal, County Dublin, situated 12 miles north-east of Dublin and it’s only a 15 minute drive from Dublin Airport. It also has a direct train link so Dublin is 30 minutes away putting all of Dublin’s attractions within easy reach. Malahide is designated as a national heritage town. The town is very attractive, with its streets lined with colourful individual shops, merging with terraces of graceful homes, as well as a beautiful Marina. The town’s major tourist attraction being Malahide Castle and Gardens. But it is the many restaurants and bars that give the “village” its special vibrant social life. There are shops to suit everyone taste; fashion boutiques, book shops, hair & beauty salons, florists, chemists and a local butchers. We have to give a special mention to Donnybrooks Fair, we so wish our village at home had one, they are focused on bringing their customers the finest quality food. It’s sourced from the best of local suppliers and it is prepared daily by their team of 75 chefs to deliver an extensive range of fresh homemade products that you can find on their delicatessen, in their pre-made meals as well as their cafe. You really need to visit if you are in Malahide. The 4 star Grand Hotel is the only hotel in the centre of the town, but there is a choice of guest house and B&B accommodation. However we book “Brooklands” which is a wonderful little cottage right in the heart of town making everything very accessible. You can book the cottage via –www.hogansirishcottages.com/cottage/County-Dublin-Dublin/Brooklands-924011.html.

Brooklands Holiday Cottage – Malahide

The 800 year old Malahide castle dates back to 1185 and is located within 250 acres of parkland and gardens. The Talbot Gardens were created by Lord Milo Talbot in 1948, and display almost 5,000 species in its plant collection, which is the most important plant collection of its type in the British Isles after Kew Gardens in London. It also boasts a kid’s playground, suitable for all ages. As well as a 9 hole, par 3, Golf Course, an 18 hole pitch & Putt Course, tennis courts, basketball courts, plus a cricket ground, currently being redeveloped to an international standard. It also hosts international concerts with The Killers, Gerry Cinnamon and Lewis Capaldi playing in 2020.

Malahide Castle and Gardens

What makes us keep wanting to return is the abundance, choice and quality of the restaurants as well as the Irish welcome and “craic” in the pubs.

There are 4 pubs in the centre, Gibneys which is a traditional Irish pub which prides itslef on good beer, it offers food and live music and shows live sports on multiple screens. It also has the added advantage of a large screen in the courtyard. Duffy’s has a more contemporary feel serving cocktails, it has live music upstairs, and in our opinion serves the best Sunday lunch as well as showing live sports in the bar. Fowlers is deceiving as it doesn’t look much from the outside, but inside it is a local pub with style and charm serving good food as well as live sports. Gilbert & Wrights is a relaxed bar with a retro vibe, more of a local pub, it doesn’t serve food but you can order from the Italian restaurant upstairs.


One thing Malahide isn’t short of is places to dine, it has an abundance of restaurants and a wonderful variety of different cuisines to choose from. There are that many that even though we have been to Malahide numerous times now, we have still not managed to visit them all as yet. The last time we visited, a new restaurant had opened in Old Street, so another one to add to our list. We have ate in Duffy’s, Gibney’s and Fowlers pubs which all serve quality pub grub. Here is a brief description of the 10 restaurants we have visited so far, all are worth a visit for different reasons. However we have noticed that the Geisha Asian restaurant in the marina is now closed.

Siam Thai, we haven’t been since it has been refurbished as it now also boasts a cocktail bar upstairs. The two times we have been the food and service have both been excellent. It is a mix of modern and traditional Thai food and the restaurant also has a nice vibe to it, you certainly need to book if you want a table- you won’t be disappointed.  

Il Sorriso is a traditional Italian restaurant serving quality authentic home cooked food in a relaxed and comfortable restaurant, you are well looked after and it has a great wine list.  

Jaipur is a contemporary restaurant set in the basement of an old Georgian House, it serves creative updates on classical Indian cuisine, with a nice ambience and great service.

Kajjal is a more traditional restaurant serving classic Indian food, always busy with good service and friendly staff, definitely need to book if visiting at the weekend.

Bon Appetit offers a choice between classic French cuisine with a Irish twist in the contemporary and stylish restaurant located on the lower ground floor or their chic Wine and Tapas Bar, located on the ground floor. All under the watchful eye of Michelin starred Chef Oliver Dunne. A must visit if in Malahide.

Pan Fried Hake at Bon Appetit

The Greedy Goose is a family run restaurant which has broken away from the formal structure of dining out, it has set menus and you choose 3 tasting size dishes, rather than a starter, main and dessert which creates an innovative dining experience in a causal relaxed setting. When accompanied with a nice bottle of wine, it makes for a great dining experience.

Deja Vu Restaurant is our go to restaurant for breakfast, brunch or lunch. It offers a choice of Eggs Benedict, Florentine, Royale, scrambled with Smoked salmon or omelettes as well as their Deja Vu Breakfast. Also their soup and sandwich combo is great for lunch.

Cape Greko is a traditional Greek Cypriot restaurant, the menu is planned with influences from different regions of Greece and Cyprus while using fresh local suppliers creating a dining experience with great food and service.

The only disappointment is the fact Malahide has some wonderful restaurants but, for a coastal town, it does not have great seafood restaurant. We have heard good reports on the Seabank Bistro on the coast road but have not visited as yet. There is the Fish shack which is a contemporary café serving quality fish and chips. However, it is fortunate enough to have Howth just down the coast which has an abundance of seafood restaurants on the pier. We have had lunch in the Oar House and the Brass Monkey and both were excellent great choice of fresh seafood.

So our overall assessment of Malahide – we keep returning year after year so that says it all really.


Klong Muang Beach

Klong Muang beach is only 10 miles from Ao Nang but in reality they are a million miles apart. Walking around Ao Nang feels akin to a touristy European town. It is brimming with Western-style restaurants and the amount of souvenir and tailor shops all touting for business is disappointing. The overall vibe of Ao Nang is not one of an authentic Thai town.

Klong Muang Beach

Klong Muang is the polar opposite, especially as we prefer to stay in areas that aren’t too touristy. Klong Muang Beach is the perfect fit. It has to be one of the most gorgeous beaches in Krabi Provence. While the area isn’t the most booming in comparison to Ao Nang, it is quaint and inviting and has a vibe that many travellers, not interested in pumping house music and cheap buckets of spirits, are seeking.

Klong Muang at Night

Klong Muang is certainly becoming more popular with tourists, but it hasn’t lost its charm or authenticity. It is expanding, but it seems that the investment is all high end, with the Dusit Thani, Sofitel, Beyond Krabi Resort, The Pelican, Sofitel and Nakamanda, as well as the Ritz-Carlton on nearby Tupkaek Beach.  All share the same characteristics: private, luxurious and self-contained. However, if you look there is some budget accommodation available away from the beach. Then there is our secret hotel “The Bliss Resort”, a small boutique hotel right on the beach. The rooms are excellent, with friendly staff, a great choice of breakfast and massage on-site. There’s also a tourist office that can arrange pick up from the airport, excursions as well as motorbike rental. With rooms starting at £45 and a deluxe double room with sea view and balcony for £100 it’s no wonder you have to book early now. Looks like our secret might have been discovered!

Deluxe Seaview Room at the Bliss Resort

Klong Muang Beach is idyllic with many small bars and restaurants where you can watch terrific sunsets while enjoying a drink and listening to live music. We have dined at Little Jamaica Bar, Jamin Rasta Café, Bamboo Bar, Sunset Bar, and Reua Thong Bar, all serve fresh local dishes and most have great choice of fresh seafood. The Saing Bar has great Pizzas, Burgers and English breakfast as well as Thai food. If you are looking for more of a dining experience on the beach then we recommend the Krating Tree Restaurant.

For Western food and live premier league football the Irish Embassy on the main road is the bar to visit and is also open late. If you are looking for a late drink on the beach then the Freedom Bar is the place.

Sunset at Klong Muang

The views of the offshore islands are spectacular, Hong Island isn’t that far from the mainland and can be easily reached by a longtail boat in 25 minutes. An island trip is easily booked via any of the tourist shops or by just asking any of the longtail boat drivers. We booked a private tour of the islands with lunch which was a great day out. Hong Island is very popular and you can only get on for 1 hour at a cost of 300 baht per person, it is the only island with a restaurant, however most boat trips supply lunch and stop at far quieter, isolated islands.

Hong Islands

Tupkaek beach is just along the coast from Klong Muang, and easily reachable either on a scooter or Tuk Tuk, and it is even quieter. It is famous as it was the beach used in the movie “Hangover 2”. There is also a great seafood restaurant on the beach, which is great for a cold beer and lunch.

Tupkaek Beach

So our overall assessment of Klong Muang is that if you are looking for authentic Thai food, a slower paced nightlife, but still want to be close to all the attractions of Krabi then it is certainly worth considering. We have been twice and will certainly be returning.


Koh Klang

Koh Klang may be only a 10 minute boat journey from Krabi town, but it feels like you are stepping into a different world, as Koh Klang has preserved the old ways of southern Thai Muslim culture. There are no cars on the island, and Islam’s traditional moral guidelines are strictly adhered to, and this includes tourists. There are no dogs on the island and you need to show respect in the way you dress. Signs which are posted throughout the island make this perfectly clear – “Calm, Quiet and Traditional”

The sea is the primary resource of the island with the majority of fishermen catching prawns, fish and crab from the local waters. Batik fabrics are produced locally. You can stop off and try your hand at painting them. It is said that the longtail boat was first built on Koh Klang. Although I can’t confirm if that is fact, there are quite a few men who specialise in the construction of miniature longtail boats, most of which are sold to tourists as souvenirs. You can book an island tour which will cover the batik fabric painting as well as the boat building, with lunch at Baan Ma Yhing Seafood Restaurant, it looks like a shack but the seafood is excellent.

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Baan Ma Yhing Restaurant

Rice fields cover much of the interior, where they grew khao sang yod, a prized organic purple grain rice, we were told that Koh Klang is the only place where it’s cultivated.

Football Field for Buffalo

The island is connected only by longtail boats from Chaofah Pier (centre of Krabi town). However as we were staying at the Islanda Hideaway Resort (the only hotel on the island). We arranged to be picked up from the airport and came across from the Marina in the hotels own longtail.

Ocean Front Bungalow at the Islanda Hideaway Resort

As we were looking for a place just to relax for a few days it couldn’t have been better. It isn’t for everyone, but if you are looking for a few days in a wonderful beach location, in a traditional island then we would recommend it. 

The hotel is excellent, slightly expensive but was worth it just to relax, we had an ocean front bungalow right on the beach. The hotel has everything you would expect from a high end resort. A salt water infinity pool, Sea Breeze restaurant which has local, as well as western menus and the food was excellent. The Village bar (the only on the island). A small gym, free bikes and kayaks as well as a tour desk. All run under the watchful eye of “Mr. Big” who is not only a character but also a great host.   

So our overall assessment of Koh Klang, if you are looking for peace, tranquility and just want to relax it is certainly worth a visit and as it is so close to Krabi town it’s definitely worth a day visit. If you are staying on the island and, like us, are looking to do things rather than just beach bum then it only has 3 days in it.


Koh Libong

Although Koh Libong is the biggest island in Trang Province, it has a real local feel where the traditional Muslim culture is still followed, fishing is the main industry and tourism secondary.

The island only has three resorts and all are situated on the western side of the island on Haad Lang Kao beach. The Libong Beach Resort, the Libong Relax Beach Resort and the Andalay Resort.

Libong is accessible via longtail boat from Hat Yao Pier, you can either get a shared longtail to the local pier at Baan Maphao, a small village on the east coast. Then pick up a Tuk Tuk that will take you to Batu Bute before crossing the island to access the resorts. Or as we did hire a private longtail at the pier that takes you directly to the resort and drops you of on the beach.


One of the major attraction of Koh Libong is the opportunity to spot an endangered Dugong who are close cousins of the manatee, and commonly known as “sea cows” as they feed on sea grass, they are protected as part of the Libong Archipelago Wildlife Reserve around Ju Hoi Cape. We were fortunate that the day we went out with the local longtail boat that we actually spotted one, the boatman said we were lucky as usually there is about a one in five chance of spotting one.                

Beach Front Bungalow at the Libong Relax Beach Resort

We looked at all three accommodation options, and decided to book a beach front villa at Libong Beach Relax Resort. The only down side was the lack of extras like a fridge, but these are good options for couples seeking a bit more style than the rooms available next door in the Libong Beach resort. The Andalay is certainly the high end resort on the island and the only one with a pool but we thought it lacked character.  

The Libong Beach Resort has a large open-sided restaurant and the only bar on the island, which is worth stopping by for sundowners even if not staying here, the resort also rents out motorbikes, bicycles and kayaks, and offers a wide range of boat tours and transfers.

In fact we used all three hotels, which are basically next door to each other, we had lunch in the Andalay, sundowners and breakfast in the Relax and dinner in the Libong Beach resort, as they certainly had the most authentic and wonderful food and the service could not have been better in fact all three hotels had great staff and couldn’t have been more helpful.

The Island is not all about dugong’s, hire a motorbike and just explore. The east is like a savannah with cashew trees and long grass. Dense jungle covers the inland hills, with the west coast is graced with long golden sandy beaches.

The village of Batu Bute is worth a visit there is a long walkway takes you hundreds of metres out over the sea, ending at an observation tower that was built for dugong spotting. Remember when out and about to be respectful of the local customs by covering up when you’re away from the beach. There is no ATM on Libong to our knowledge so ensure you have enough cash on you when you leave the mainland.

Libong Sunset

So our overall assessment of Koh Libong is if you are looking for peace, tranquility and just want to relax then it is certainly worth a visit and certainly worth it is you are lucky enough to spot a dugong. If you are staying on the island and like us are looking to do things rather than just beach bum then I recommend you spend 3 days and continue on your island hopping tour.


Ao Nang

Ao Nang is probably the first place that people landing in Krabi visit as it is by far the biggest tourist spot. It also caters for all budgets from backpacker hostels to five star hotels. Idyllic it certainly isn’t, for such a popular beach destination, Ao Nang beach leaves a lot to be desired. However there are a fleet of longtail boats available to shuttle you to nearby Railay beach which is spectacular and can only be reached by boat. Unfortunately the amount of longtails tells its own story, when you get there you will not be alone, unless you book one of the hotels on Railay and come out after the day tourists have long gone.

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The Hilltop Restaurant and Bar at Sunset

One thing about staying in Ao Nang is that everything is accessible, I think there maybe even more tourist offices than laundry’s. It also has a lovely sunset, best seen from The Hilltop Restaurant which is set atop the hill accessible just off Khlong Haeng Road but If you book they will pick up and drop off from your hotel.

Ao Nang has a lively atmosphere and enormous selection of food and drink and if you tire of the beach it makes a good base for hitting Krabi province’s inland attractions as well.    

Unfortunately most of Ao Nang’s restaurants are made-for-tourists with pushy “hosts” who try to persuade you to come in for an all in one Indian/Italian/Thai. They seem to rotate with the pushy “hosts” at the tailor shops. However authentic Thai food can be found if you look mainly on the side streets off the main drag. There is also a selection of seafood restaurants at the western end of Ao Nang beach. There are also a few decent western food outlets.

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Center Point Bar Complex

There are countless bars most with happy hours and live music, just follow your ears. The most raucous nightlife is located in centre-point, just off the beach road that has live bands and DJ’s and is open till late. This is also where the ladyboy cabaret is situated, before the shows the performers hang out along the beach road dressed in their elaborate costumes.

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Peace Laguna Hotel

Our favorite hotel is the Peace Laguna which is set down a small lane, and its cottages are dotted around a lagoon with great views of the towering limestone cliffs, you would never think you were only 200 metres from the hustle and bustle of the main drag.

So our overall assessment of Ao Nang is, if it is your first time in Krabi it makes a great base. Would we return year after year – not with Klong Muang Beach just up the coast.


Koh Jum (Pu)

Koh Jum is 18 miles from Krabi Town, 15 miles from Koh Lanta and only 12 miles from Phi Phi, but in reality it’s like a million miles away. The nightlife is very low key and mostly around beach bars which are closed by 11pm. It has a real local feel where the traditional Muslim culture is still followed, fishing and agriculture are the main industries with tourism being secondary. However unlike most of the Andaman Seas predominantly Muslim islands where alcohol is only sold in the resorts it is freely available in bars, some of the restaurants and some of the shops on Koh Jum.

Most of the islands resorts are on the southwest and west coast of the island. Ranging from back-packer huts to mid-scale resorts. There is one high end resort Koh Jum Beach Villas on golden pearl beach which consists of fancy villas with swimming pool, restaurant, and a sophisticated lounge. We chose a Seaview teakwood villa on the mid-scale Koh Jum Resort on Ting Rai Beach. The resort is well cared for and the villas were spacious with direct access to the beach. The resort has a small swimming pool, restaurant with excellent food and a small beach bar.  There is also a tour desk and motorbikes for rent.

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Koh Jum Resort looking up from the beach

We arrived via the tigerline speedboat that now stops at Koh Jum on route from Koh Lanta to Krabi Town. You can get a Tuk Tuk from the pier to your accommodation or as we did arrange pick-up via your hotel.

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Khao Ko Pu

If you are really active you can hire a local guide and climb Khao Ko Pu.  We hired a longtail that took us snorkelling to Ko Phi Phi Leh, and Bamboo Island stopping for lunch on Ko Phi Phi Don, think it was 2001 we were last there, all I can say is what a relief we were heading back to Koh Jum after lunch.

The best way to see the island is just hire a motorbike and explore, we came across Mr. Boy’s Koh Jum Talay Seafood Restaurant and bar near the pier and the seafood was excellent.                    

Remember when out and about to be respectful of the local customs by covering up when you’re away from the beach. There is no ATM on Koh Jum to our knowledge so ensure you have enough cash on you when you leave the mainland.

So our overall assessment of Koh Jum is if you are looking for peace, tranquillity and just want to relax then it is certainly worth a visit and for the more active you can climb Khao Ku Pu, there are a few snorkelling trips that are worth going on as well as exploring the island. If you are staying on the island and like us are looking to do things rather than just beach bum then I recommend you spend 4 days and continue on your island hopping tour.



Mallorca is an island we have visited so often and love so much we keep returning year after year.

It has so much to offer, a rich culture, excellent food, you can get lost in the mountains of the North, and the scenery on the North West coast is breathtaking.  We spend all of our time in the North West of the island; Soller, Pollenca, Alcudia Old Town and Deia, but our favourite part of the island is Fornalutx. A hire car is a must to allow you to explore.

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Deia, is an idyllic village and has become a “millionaires” hideaway, it could have just been another pretty Mallorcan village if the poet and novelist Robert Graves had not moved to the village.  

Today Deia is still very much an artists village with a number of art galleries, gift shops, a good selection of restaurants and top end hotels. It is now a popular haunt with the rich and famous, with Princess Diana, Bob Geldof and Andrew Lloyd Webber having visited.  

As you can imagine the hotels in Deia are all high end, the most famous being the Belmond La Residencia which was formerly owned by Richard Branson and provides luxury accomodation on the outskirts of the village. Es Moli on the other side of the village is another high end establishment that has everything the discerning visitor requires for a relaxing holiday. The Sa Pedrissa is a boutique hotel and offers a more low key intimate vibe.  

Deia is home to some fine dining restaurants The Michelin Star Es Raco d’Es Teix, The El Olivo within the Hotel Belmond La Residencia. For rustic Mallorcan cuisine try the Restaurant Sebastaion or the El Barrigon Xelini. Or if you want to dine in a film set head to the Ca’s Patro March, which is famous for featuring in the TV series the “Night Manager”.

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Hotel Belmond La Residencia

Soller is a typical old Mediterranean town set in a lush valley of orange groves between the mountains and the sea. The main square has plenty of cafes and bars, and it has a large local market on Saturdays.

Soller lies a few miles inland from its port, Port de Soller, there is a vintage tram that connects them. There is also a vintage train that runs between Palma and Soller, which is an attraction in its own right.

Soller has a few stylish boutique hotels and quality restaurants, our favourite hotel is the Hotel Finca Ca Nai, which is in the middle of the countryside between Soller and Port de Soller, but has its own tram stop making both very accessible. The rooms have a rustic decor and large balconies or patios with views of the mountains. The restaurant offers excellent Mediterranean cuisine and guests can enjoy its spectacular views.

Port de Soller, is still a picturesque village situated in a large horseshoe bay, its isolated location at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains meant that, before the Soller tunnel opened in the 1990s, it was a very difficult place to get to. As a result, unlike many other seaside destinations on the island which were subject to overdevelopment in the 70s and 80s, Port de Soller remained a charming seaside destination. 

The bay has a sandy beach and a pedestrianised promenade lined with endless bars, cafes and restaurants. Remaining true to its traditional fishing harbour roots, seafood restaurants are in abundance. Two worthy of a mention are both next to the marina at the far end of the bay, The Kingfisher and Xelini and both serve excellent seafood.

A restaurant or other place to eat at Hotel Finca Ca N'ai - Adults Only
Hotel Finca Ca Nai

Alcudia, is a perfectly walled medieval town, it sits on the peninsula that separates the bays of Pollenca and Alcudia.

Alcudia provides a real contrast to the tourist beach resorts of Port d’Alcudia and Port de Pollenca. It offers an authentic Mallorcan experience, it has a large twice weekly market on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There are many boutique hotels and excellent restaurants within the walled town. Saying that, we have always booked a town house when we have stayed just for the ease of having space.

There is a cycle path to Port de Pollenca which makes for a nice relaxing day out and a great restaurant Can Cuarassa on the way which is well worth a stop for lunch. Restaurants we recommend in Alcudia are Osteria El Patio and Restaurant S’Arc which are well worth a visit.

Alcudia Old Town

Pollenca is an ancient rural town at the tip of the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains, although we have never actually stayed in Pollenca we have stopped many times on route between Fornalutx and Alcudia. 

Pollenca has kept its local charm, and there are more locals than tourists, the square Placa Major, is filled with market stalls and a wide selection of restaurants and cafes.

It is certainly worth stopping for a gentle stroll around the square or a climb up to the church for lunch, there are also a few boutique hotels in the centre of town. The Restaurant Bar Nou serves excellent hearty Mallorcan cuisine, this is the first restaurant that we tasted “Tumbet”. We enjoyed it so much that we now cook it at home.

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Fornalutx is our favourite destination in Mallorca the charming village just draws us back year after year, the village sits deep in the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains and claims to be one of the prettiest villages in Spain.

The village is well worth a walk through with its pretty lanes filled with potted plants and old Mallorcan charm. It also has some wonderful walking trails. One of our favourites is to walk to Soller via Biniaraix, stopping at the café Es Barranc for coffee.

The village has a laid back atmosphere with a great selection of cafes and restaurants with wonderful views of the orange groves and Puig Major, the highest mountain in Mallorca.

For a small village it is well catered for with a bakery, a well-stocked Spar, chemist, a bank with ATM, a few souvenir shops and three café / bars located in the square.

We had always booked villas when staying in the village, as the views were stunning and all had private pools, the only downside was that they were outside the village or set so high into the mountains that the trek back after dinner and a few glasses of wine were better suited to a mountain goat.

Then we stumbled across the Sa Taqueta de Fornalutx Hotel, which is a 4-star adult only apartment hotel with 14 separate apartments on the edge of the village, being a five minute easy stroll to the village square. It has a wonderful pool, breakfast is served on the terrace and it has an honesty bar, if you want afternoon drinks by the pool.

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Sa Taqueta de Fornalutx Apartment Hotel

The village also has a great choice of restaurants, Can Nantuna and Es Turo are at the top end of the village, and both sell hearty traditional Mallorcan food, the fact that they are packed with locals tells you how good they both are.

Calzone Pizzeria produces great pizza, while across the road Can Nantura has a great selection of local produce, as well as five or six fresh seafood dishes on its daily menu.

Two new restaurants have just opened the New Red Fort which is Indian as well as Molon which looks like a classy tapas restaurant, we have also still got to dine at the Restaurant Café Med. So we will being trying all three in 2020.

So our overall assessment of Mallorca is, it has some magical effect that draws us back year after year, we are returning to Fornalutx in 2020 but also for the first time we are going to visit the east coast so we will update this blog after our next visit.


Koh Muk (Mook)

Although Koh Muk is a medium sized island in Trang Province, and within easy reach of the mainland, it still has a real local feel where traditional Muslim culture is followed, fishing is the main industry and tourism comes second. This is what makes it one of our favourite Thai islands.

The island has a few resorts with most situated on one of the two beaches, Sivalai Beach on the east coast near the pier or Haad Farang Beach (Charlie’s Beach) on the west coast.

The speedboat between Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe stops at Koh Muk, and tuk tuk’s are 50 Baht per journey with Charlies beach located about 20 minutes from the pier.

One of the major attractions of Koh Muk is the Tham Morakot or Emerald Cave, it can only be reached by swimming through a cave for approx. 100 metres (you can no longer Kayak into the cave). There are ropes on the walls to help guide you if required and all of the guides have head torches. An emerald shade grabs the water, brightening as you approach, with a strip of sand rimmed by vertical cliffs. The beauty is dramatic and unforgettable, so it’s no surprise that boatloads of travellers venture here from Koh Lanta and the mainland in high season. Staying on Muk makes it possible to hit the cave when it’s not crammed full of people. Either first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon you may find you actually have it all to yourself.

Emerald Cave

You can snorkel around Muk but the nearby island of Koh Kradan is easily reached by long tail boat and is a far better option. However, one thing to be aware of if visiting Kradan, is it is a day visitors island with boats coming and going from Lanta, so can be very busy at times. This also reflects on the food and service, we had lunch at the Kradan Beach Resort and I think I can safely say it’s the worst food and service we have ever had in Thailand. On the way to Emerald cave, if you leave from the pier, you will be able to stop for a snorkel and discover giant star fish on route.

De Tara Resort

We had a look at different accommodation options, The Sivalai Beach Resort looked the best option but when we took a look around it felt soulless but we wanted to stay on that side of the island. In the end we came across the De Tara beach, a small resort where you can get one of the sea view rooms for great value, it is a lovely, friendly family-run hotel. The restaurant seemed to only open for breakfast, but they own the De Local restaurant, a great BBQ restaurant on the strip that you can book via the hotel. The beach bar is also great for a drink. We found that there was more restaurants on the little strip at night but Charlie’s beach was the better beach during the day.

There is a surprising amount of good restaurants on Muk for its size…De Local BBQ restaurant, Team Restaurant, The Hilltop (beware as they have giant portions for Thailand), all are reasonably priced with good local food and great service.

As for bars – Mong Bar on Charlies beach is our favourite; great curry, cold beer, cheap cocktails and great service. If you are lucky enough to be on the island when Job2Do is (Thailand’s answer to Bob Marley), you will hear his hit Doo Doo Doo played regularly at all the Rasta bars, he is friendly with the owners so stops by and plays Muk when he is touring Thailand. It is worth checking him out as he is very professional and puts on a great gig. Ting Tongs bar is always busy, The High bar also seems to draw a crowd but we have not had the chance to visit as yet.

Charlie’s Beach

So our overall assessment of Koh Muk is that if you are looking for peace, tranquillity and just want to relax then it is certainly worth a visit. It is becoming one of our favourite islands as it has got the balance right between being a working and tourist island. Also, it has the emerald cave as well as decent snorkelling but is also great if you just want to beach bum. We recommend you spend 3 or 4 days and then continue on your island hopping tour.


Koh Lipe

This is one of our favourite small islands but, if you are looking for a party island, you will be disappointed as Lipe is a laid back tropical island, where you will find vibrant coral reefs. As it is one of the best locations in Thailand for snorkelling and diving, beach lovers will not be disappointed as it has wonderful white sandy beaches. What you will find on Lipe is that people are more interested in yoga, relaxation and beach clean-ups than in cheap cocktail buckets.

Sunrise Beach

Koh Lipe is the most Southern island in Thailand, and is closer to Langkawi in Malaysia than it is to the Thai mainland. While on Koh Lipe, the best way to explore the neighbouring islands is to book a longtail boat, there is a kiosk on sunrise beach were you can rent a longtail and they all have snorkelling equipment if you don’t have your own. To explore the Tarutao National Park you will need a parks ticket for 200 baht, you can usually purchase one when you land at the pontoon off Pattaya beach on arrival. Koh Lipe is part of the Adang Archipelago, which is a cluster of uninhabited islands, Koh Lipe being the only inhabited one.

Koh Lipe can be reached by speedboat from Krabi Town or Langkawi, the journey time from Krabi is approx. 4 hours, so take a good book. There are 3 main beachs on Koh Lipe: Pattaya, Sunrise, and Sunset. We think sunrise is the best, it’s the largest with good accommodation options and a few great beach bars plus it’s quiet. Pattaya is the busiest and liveliest beach and can easily be reached from Sunrise beach via walking street. Sunset is the furthest away but since Lipe is only 2km x 1km nothing is far. Sunset beach is the quietest with only a few hotels and bars, but definitely worth a visit to watch the sunset.

Beach Front Bungalow and Ten Moons Resort

If you are looking for luxury look no further – The Ten Moons Resort is right on Sunrise Beach, we stayed in bungalow No 1 right on the sand. Located at the end of Sunrise beach, it is like having your own private beach and is only a 10 minute stroll to walking street. They have happy hour from 4–6pm each day where drinks are two for one. The restaurant sells wonderful food and, for a 5 star resort, is extremely well priced and it’s open to non-residents so definitely worth a visit. This year we have the family with us and will be spending Christmas on Lipe staying at the Cabana Lipe Beach Resort which is on Sunrise Beach. Will update in January.

Cabana Lipe Beach Resort

Snorkelling is certainly one of the highlights of Lipe, as is scuba diving and there are numerous diving centres on the island. It is said that 25% of the worlds tropical fish can been spotted here. There is also a relaxed feel with Yoga classes, chilled beach bars, and trash clean up days. The island has a sense of paradise about it, you can see why it is called the Thai Maldives. 

There is an abundance of restaurants and bars to suit all tastes and budgets. Our favourite, if you can afford to indulge yourself, is On the Rocks by Serendipity. It’s situated at the far end of Sunrise, beach past Ten Moons Resort and you’ll climb a few, well about 50, stairs. The setting is spectacular with amazing views and the food is of a really high quality. Restaurant staff are very welcoming, attentive and go above and beyond to make sure you have a truly great dining experience. We have booked Christmas dinner here with the family so will update in January.

The Elephant Bar and Coffee shop situated on Walking Street, our place to go when you want some great western food. The menu is full of great choices and here are a few of our favourites; Avocado Toast, Smoked Salmon Toast, Eggs Florentine, Eggs Benedict and of course, the classic Full English. For lunch its Wraps, Burgers, Pizza and Salad. It also has live music in the evening. Both the Nee Papaya and Rak-Lay are good Seafood BBQ restaurants on Walking Street, get there early as both are very popular.

Walking Street

As for beach bars Sea La Vie, Happy Vibe and Castaway are all worth a visit on Sunrise Beach if you want to just chill. Poohs on Walking street was the only bar we found that had live premier league football on, as well as live music. We will certainly be trying out a few more with the family this December also.

So, our overall assessment of Koh Lipe is that if you want to have a real snorkelling experience then it is a must, if you are looking for peace, tranquillity and just want to relax then it is certainly worth a visit. It is not a party island but there are enough bars and restaurants to keep you entertained. So overall is it worth four hours on a speedboat? Yes if you do as we do and island hop.


Koh Lanta (Yai)

One of our favorite islands, as it has distinct area that are all different, and is big enough to return to year after year without the full blown over development of Phuket or the pure party feel of Koh Phi Phi. There is a real mix of Muslim-Thai, Chinese-Thai and Urak Lawoi (Sea Gypsies) that all seem to live in harmony.  The West coast of the island is nearly one continuous beach where all the hotels, bars and restaurants are located. While the East coast is sparsely populated and is manly mangroves, with just the Old Town and the Urak Lawoi village of Sang Kha U.

Ao Tanod Beach in Mu Koh Lanta National Park

Visitors arrive at Baan Saladan, the largest settlement on the island, either via the Sri Lanta Bridge from Ko Lanta Noi and the car ferry connecting to Hua Hin Pier on the mainland, 70 km south of Krabi town. There are rumours of a second bridge connecting it to the mainland but there is no sign of construction as of early 2020. Alternatively, visitors can take one of the various ferries or speedboats that service the island.

There are two roads that run the length of the island, one serving the West and the other the East, with three cross over roads linking them. The main west-coast road is being widened and, as yet, is not completed so beware of major construction. It begins in Saladan and runs directly south past Khlong Dao, Phra Ae (Long Beach), it continues south past Relax Bay and Khlong Khong . At Khlong Nin the road narrows as you head towards Kantiang Beach, it gets steeper towards Khlong Jak, finally reaching the island’s far southern tip – the Mu Koh Lanta National Park. While the East coast road, which has far less traffic, runs past the Mangroves before the turn for the old town and ends just past Sang Kha U village. Unfortunately, there is no cross-over road in the south of the island.

Koh Lanta was discovered by Scandinavian backpackers in the 1980s, and there is still a large Scandinavian presence today. However, you will meet different people from all over the world on Lanta, from back-packers to high end luxury travellers. Lanta has a large yoga scene and Saladan has numerous diving schools, whilst snorkelling around Lanta is nothing special there are lots of day trips to nearby Koh Mok, Koh Kradan and Koh Ngai for better snorkelling opportunities.

We have not stayed at all the beaches on Lanta as yet but have visited them so below we will cover where we have stayed where we intend to stay in the future, and where we have only just visited.

Saladan, is a small town but has its fair share of shops, banks, dive operators, travel agencies and pharmacies, there is also an interesting night market. One of Saladan’s biggest attractions is its choice of restaurants. We stayed here in December at the Twin Bay resort, which was situated outside Saladan on Kho Kwang Beach. Dining if you are craving western food then you get a great burger at the Fat Pig, and we have also had wonderful fresh grilled fish at Laanta Seafood restaurant. We had heard great things about the “Table” but it was closed when we looked in 2019 we heard they have returned to Sweden. We did discover a great little seafood restaurant, Kaw Kwang Seafood, which has a great view great service and great fresh seafood, couldn’t ask for more, well they give you a free Tuk Tuk home after your dinner. It was so good we dined here twice.

Kho Kwang Beach lacks restaurants and bars as it is mostly resorts however the friendly bar sells good Thai food, and is great for sunsets. The Frog is probably the best restaurant in Saladan it has a beautiful walled garden, excellent service, food and a great wine list, definitely worth a visit, especially the nights it has live music

Saladan at Night

Klong Dao Beach, is the most developed beach on Koh Lanta, but it is far from being over-developed and still preserves a relaxed atmosphere it is the most family orientated beach on the island even though it does have accommodation to suit all budgets. 

Phra Ae (Long Beach) and Relax Beach, We are not actually sure where Long Beach ends and Relax Beach begins or are they just an extension of each other so we just grouped them together, Long Beach’s resorts, bars and restaurants are scattered all along the length of the beach and set back amongst the trees, which gives a beautiful sense of space along the beach which gently slopes towards the sea and the water gets deep quickly creating the perfect place to swim. The bars on the beach also provide the perfect location for watching the amazing sunsets, which do make for spectacular viewing. The beach seems rather empty of bars during the day, as they are set back in the trees but just before the sunsets they seem to appear if by magic all along the beach. Long beach has a good choice of accommodation to suit all budgets. We stayed at Lazy Days Bungalows & Restaurant which is at the Sothern end of relax beach. It consists of just nine beach bungalows and a small beach front restaurant and is run by a very friendly Swedish family. The bungalows are of a very high standard and have everything to ensure you are well looked after, the restaurant has got it just perfect, lunch is fresh salads and wraps where the evening is fresh Thai with local high quality meat, fish and vegetables even if you are not staying it is definitely well worth a visit for either lunch or dinner.  We have also stayed in a beach front villa at Long Beach Chalet Resort, which again was an excellent resort, “But why do they put a bath on the terrace”. The local Lyms bar and restaurant has excellent locally sourced food and also a great place for sundowners.  One restaurant that is worth visiting is at the Layana Resort even though for reasons only know to them you need to have trousers to get into the main restaurant, “its Koh Lanta so really” but the staff were very polite and we eat in one of the other restaurants in the resort and the food was excellent. You can also get good Thai food all along the beach and there are plenty of bars for an evening drink.

Lazy Days Bungalows

Khlong Khong Beach is another beach we have only visited, it looks a bit less developed and more peaceful than the neighbouring beaches. The beach has a small collection of bars and resorts, but there does seem to be some beautiful private villas for rent, definitely one we will look to stay at in the future.

Khlong Nin and Coconut Bay – We have rented a villa at Coconut Bay Villas, the villa was great, modern with its own pool but felt a little out of the way. At night you needed a tuk tuk to go anywhere. There is a small tourist office with motorbike rental at the entrance on the main road. There is also a nice friendly Swedish restaurant/ bar on-site that we did eat at once and the food was nice (but in Thailand not sure how often you want to eat Swedish). You could cross the sand bank and use the beach bar and restaurant at the Moonlight Bay Resort next door. We did however have great grilled fish at the Shanti Shanti  Beach House which was walking distance just down the hill, take a torch with you for the walk back. If you are missing the Premier League Bobby Big Boys restaurant and bar shows all the games live. We did like Khlong Nin as it had a village feel to it and returned in January 2019 booking into the Andalay Boutique Resort. We had a beach front Talay View room, the room was spacious and well laid out with a small terrace, the resort had a nice swimming pool, the staff were excellent and the beach BBQ was also great. Tourist desk at reception will arrange transfers etc. Klong Nin has ATM’s, Pharmacy, a Seven Eleven and lots of tourist offices with motorbike rental. The south of the island is easily reachable as is the Old Town. The Viewtop restaurant on the way to the old Town is worth stopping at for the view alone. The beach has a good selection of bars and restaurants. A few we would recommend are Roi Thai, Otto’s, Cook Kai and the Blue Moon.

Andalay Boutique Hotel Beach BBQ

The Southern Beaches – Kantiang Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, the Pimalai Resort and Houben Resorts ensure their high end clientele are well provided for. Further south Klong Jak and Bamboo Bay beaches are also spectacular, but there is not a lot of accommodation available unless you really want that away from it all feeling. For us they are great for a day visit to have a beer or lunch in one of the beach bars – You’ll have the beach nearly all to yourself for the afternoon.

Lanta Old Town

The Old Town – We love the old town, it is like stepping back in time, and we still visit every time we are on Lanta. It has some lovely specialty shops that sell handmade local products, from jewellery and curry pastes to one shop that only sells hammocks. On the way to the old town on the main road you will see a sign for “Silver Jewellery” the designer is Swedish and the jeweller is a local, you can pick up some one off designed pieces and they are cheap. We have stayed overnight in the old town at the now closed “Mango House” but the town is really a daytime place as it was closed up by 9pm. This may have changed a little as last year there was a new bar opened “Tel’s Old Town Cowboy Bar” that was advertising live music on weekend nights. Sunday is market day and it does get busy, there are lots of restaurants on stilts offering Thai food and fresh seafood. Our favourite is the Pinto Restaurant, Grandad was on “front of house duties”, well he was at the entrance on his white plastic chair. How could we resist, when we asked what type of fresh fish was on the menu, he replied “Good Fish” and he wasn’t wrong, I would have to say it was the best seafood we had on Lanta.

Grilled Garlic Prawns at Pinto Restaurant

So, our overall assessment of Koh Lanta, we love it! It is big enough to visit year after year but far from being over-developed, it caters to all budgets and tastes and we are still finding something new every visit. There is also something nice about revisiting restaurants and bars that you have enjoyed before to discover that you enjoyed them the second time just as much.  


We first visited Singapore in 2000, and have returned a number of times since, spending 3 months there in 2012, but until 2018 we have only every visited for work however we did visit again in 2017, as our son who is in the navy was stationed there. Working rather than holidaying you look at a destination differently, so here’s our take on Singapore.

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore is a truly modern metropolis, the city state is unlike anywhere else in Southeast Asia. Founded as a trading post for the British Empire, its rapid development as one of the busiest ports in the world as well as being a global financial hub. Its western style are a counterpoint to the more “raw” Asian cities of Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Nowhere showcases the city’s modern heart better than Marina Bay, where the spectacular vertical gardens of Super tree Grove nestle alongside the Marina Bay Sands resort, home to one of the world’s top hotels and best rooftop bars.

Singapore is one of the safest places to visit anywhere in the world, with nearly zero crime, this may have something to do with their strict laws, as they still practice corporal punishment and for the most serious of crimes “Drugs” being the most common they still have the death penalty which tourists are not exempt from. It is also one of the cleanest, smoking is only allowed in designated areas, no snacks etc. are allowed on public transport, chewing gum is illegal, and on the spot fines for dropping litter, but in no way does it feel like a police state, in fact you very rarely see a policeman, it is just a law abiding country, with friendly, honest residents.

Clarke Quay

From the moment you enter Changi airport Singapore seems surreal, it is the 7th largest airport in the world and it is currently rated the World’s Best Airport for the seventh consecutive year since 2013. How many airports have a pool, a Jacuzzi, and a poolside bar which travellers are invited to relax and enjoy while waiting for their next flight. Passport control is seamless, your bag is already on the carousel when you arrive at baggage claim, and the taxi captain is opening the taxi door when you arrive at the rank.

Changi Airport

Singaporeans don’t demand the best they just expect it. So we have never had a bad meal in any restaurant, never had a bad hotel room, never had bad service, but this comes at a cost one thing Singapore is not is ‘Cheap” it reigns as the world’s most expensive city for the fifth year in a row, based on a report by The Economist.

Sunday Brunch at the Fullerton Hotel

As we can’t name all the restaurant we have dined in, the bars we have drunk in, so we will just give an overview of the highlights and the places we think you should visit. Sentosa is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. As well as top end hotels, numerous bars and restaurants it main attractions are: S.E.A. Aquarium, one of the largest on the planet, this attraction is home to more than 100,000 marine animals, allowing for up-close encounters with fascinating creatures from the deep. I-Fly, which is the world’s largest wind tunnel for indoor skydiving. The 18-foot-tall acrylic ‘glass walls’—allow you to enjoy panoramic views of the South China Sea and the state-of-the-art technology will lend you wings in an experience that simulates free falls from heights of 12,000 to 3,000 feet.  For more high-octane activities is the Mega-Zip which is Southeast Asia’s steepest zip wire. Those courageous “or mad” enough to hop on this adrenaline-pumping ride will get to experience a whole new perspective of Sentosa’s lush jungles and white beaches from 450 metres in the air. Other activities include a high ropes course, rock climbing wall and a 15-metre free fall simulator.

Universal Studios Singapore

Of course the star attraction is Universal Studios which is set in 20 hectares, and boasts a total of 24 attractions, of which 18 are original or specially adapted for the park. The park consists of seven themed zones surrounding a lagoon.  Madagascar, Far Far Away, the Lost World, Ancient Egypt, Sci-fi City, New York City and Hollywood. Each zone is based mostly on movies and/or television, there are over 30 restaurants and food carts, and 20 retail stores located around the park.

We have never visited but for nature and animal lovers there is the Night Safari, Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and Jurong Bird Park, the only complaints I have heard is the Night Safari can get extremely over crowed.

The Singapore Grand Prix forms part of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The event takes place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and was the inaugural night race and first street circuit in Asia designed for Formula One races. Also has concerts with various international artists during Grand Prix week, my advice unless you are actually there for the grand prix stay away, traffic is a nightmare and hotel prices quadruple.  

Dining and Nightlife, One thing Singapore isn’t short of is dining options, bars and nightclubs. If you follow the locals you will find the happy hour bars. There is usually a deal to be done between 5pm and 10pm if you know the right places. With Singapore being the 6th most expensive country on the planet for beer, the walk can turn out to be well worth it.

Clarke Quay is a favourite amongst locals as well as tourists, it is gifted with one of the best locations in the city. With row upon row of swanky bars and restaurants which line the colourful boulevards offering great alfresco dining, while clubs like Attica and Zirca appease the more late night crowd.

The iconic, 3-pronged Marina Bay Sands is a real focal point of Singapore, and it’s visible from miles around. Not only does it look the part, Highlights of Marina Bay Sands include the uber-cool CE LA VI bar on the 57th floor or the 24-hour casino.

Roof top bars Altitude is the highest of the bunch, and as the night progresses it offers more of a club-vibe than that of its main rival, the more laid-back and luxurious KU DÉ TA at Marina Bay Sands. Others that are worth a mention are Level33 (highest craft brewery in the world), and Kinki to name a few worth visiting. Then you have to sip on a Singapore Sling at the renowned Raffles hotel which is a quintessential experience.

Raffles Hotel

Dining highlights, the famous Chili Crab at Boat Quay, Breakfast at the Marriott Hotel Café, Sunday brunch at the Fullerton Hotel with free flowing champagne, Chinatown for authentic Cantonese, Little India for the best curry, the Brazilian Steak House for the best steak, the list is endless.

Orchard Road

As for shopping Orchard Road is 2km of pure retail therapy, with over 30 shopping malls, and I would guess every designer worth their salt has at least one outlet, and in some cases more, I counted 12 official Rolex stockists alone.

So our overall assessment of Singapore, well if you are staying in a 4 star hotel or a serviced apartment on the company dime and dining out on the company Amex card, then Singapore is a  wonderful vibrant city, but saying that after 3 months we were ready to leave, all that dining, drinking and partying wears you down.

If you are using it as a hub for a few days then it is a great stop over destination, if you are looking for authentic Asia or you are on a budget it isn’t the place for you.