Koh Samui, Jewel of the East Coast

It is quite disheartening to see the unrest in Thailand. I have been there two times and have formed a connection to the beautiful country that cannot be described in words. Being in constant touch with my friends there provides some relief and as my friend said…”Life goes on..” I visited Koh Samui, an island in the Gulf of Thailand and it was undoubtedly one of the best vacation of my life. I realized the true calling of my life and hope I get an opportunity to go back to this beautiful island which has given me innumerable fond memories.

Nathan, Samui's port and administrative centre

Nathan, Samui’s port and administrative centre

Samui has many beaches with Chaweng having the reputation of being the most commercialized with amazing luxury hotels and spas. I decided to stay at Mae Nam beach, a decision I am so glad of. The owner of the beach cottage was extremely friendly and even gave me a lesson on stuffed omelette, thai style… 🙂 The beach was clean, and one of the most beautiful I’ve seen so far. There is no greater pleasure than doing nothing, just soaking in the views.

At Chaweng Beach

At Chaweng Beach


Mae Nam, Koh Samui

Mae Nam, Koh Samui

Koh Samui

The lovely waters at Koh Samui


Mae Nam beach

View from the Mae Nam beach

The day would fly by unwinding on the beach, meeting new people and having a good chat. I definitely enjoyed the variety of good food at Chaweng beach, a 15 minute ride from Mae Nam. Taking a pit stop to taste some local green mango salad proved to be a great start to the night prowl.. 🙂 I ended up getting a Thai massage done and every muscle of my body was twisted and turned. It turned out to be very relaxing!

Lamai, Koh Samui

Lamai, Koh Samui

Apart from Chaweng, Lamai beach is quite beautiful and a bit less crowded.

At the Lamai Fresh Food market

At the Lamai Fresh Food market


A woman with her portable food shop.

A woman with her portable food shop, Nathan Town


To visit Thailand and not see the temples is inevitable. Wat Khunaram Ko Samui is a must visit with its mummified monk. Wat Phra Yai offers great view of the sea.

Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple)

Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple)

At the famous Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks, Lamai Beach

At the famous Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks, Lamai Beach

Not only can you enjoy the beach, there is also an opportunity to have fun at the waterfalls. Though, they are nothing special, they prove to be a good exercise to trek up. Elephant treks, zoo and aquarium are a fun thing to do if you are with a group of people. Not to forget diving, it is a great activity to enjoy here.

At Na Muang Waterfall

At Na Muang Waterfall

Pretty as a picture.. ;)

Sawadeekap 😉

I cannot forget the breath taking views that Jungle Club has to offer, being situated on a hill, Chaweng.

Jungle Club overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.

Jungle Club overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.

Jungle Club overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.

The sun shining over the Gulf of Thailand.

View of Gulf of Thailand

View of Gulf of Thailand


Pure Bliss!

Pure Bliss!


A visit to Thailand is unimaginable without mentioning the food. I have no words to describe, it other than I ♥ THAI FOOD I had the best Tom Yum Soup of my life, everyday I was there and miss it a lot! The salads, curries are mind blowing and nothing compared to the thai food we eat outside Thailand.. 🙂 The nutella banana crepes sold on the street are quite delightful as well!

Trying my hand at Thai :)

Trying my hand at Thai 🙂

Missing in Pictures : kaeng khiao wan, Khao Phat and Banana Fritters

Missing in Pictures : kaeng khiao wan, Khao Phat and Banana Fritters

It was a power week for me and I hope to continue the story Koh Samui Part 2 sometime in this life again!

The famous Songteows

The famous Songteows

Au revoir!

Au revoir!

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“Paris of the East”

BUDAPEST, one of the most beautiful cities I have had the good fortune of visiting. It’s picturesque landscape and charming architecture leave no doubt in my mind about the tag that fits it aptly.

Danube River

I was quite surprised by the fact that Hungary was the first European country to embrace Italian renaissance. This was a result of a matrimonial alliance between King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrice of Naples and the presence of history can still be felt today. Striking examples that come to my mind are Hungary’s renaissance architecture remnants, Turkish baths, the Opera House commissioned during the Austria-Hungarian empire among others. I also had the chance to travel in the oldest metro in the world, I was a bit scared initially by the look of the trains to be true. 🙂

St. Stephen's Basilica in the background

St. Stephen’s Basilica in the background

The Castle Hill, Buda, a part of the World Heritage Site offers great views of the city that shouldn’t be missed at any cost. It has been corrupted by commercialization with the presence of restaurants and cafes in the Fisherman Bastion’s towers, but no one’s complaining. There is a certain “je ne sais quoi” about enjoying a coffee in the royal palace overlooking the serene Danube river. 🙂

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion

Matthias Church, Situated at the center of the Buda Castle

Matthias Church, Situated at the center of the Buda Castle

Parliament, as seen from the Buda Castle. It houses the millenia old Holy Crown of Hungary.

Parliament, as seen from the Buda Castle.
It houses the millenia old Holy Crown of Hungary.

The Parliament building is quite impressive with an astounding use of half a million precious stones and 40 kgs of gold! We stayed in an apartment quite close to the Parliament and had an enjoyable early morning stroll towards this tallest building in Budapest.

At the Parliament.

At the Parliament.

It would be a crime to not mention the bridges that connect Buda and Pest, the oldest being the famous “Chain Bridge”. Taking a river cruise is a great way to soak in the delightful views that these bridges impart to the beauty of this gem of a city.

Margaret Bridge

Margaret Bridge

The Liberty Statue in the background as seen from the Liberty Bridge

The Liberty Statue in the background as seen from the Liberty Bridge

One can still witness the scars of the war left behind on a visit to the Citadel located on the Gellert Hill.

Citadel walls

Citadel walls

It offers unmatched views of Buda and Pest and definitely worth spending some time up there!

Elizabeth Bridge, Danube

Elizabeth Bridge, Danube

Pest as viewed from Garrett Hill, Buda

Pest as viewed from Garrett Hill, Buda

A trip to Budapest is unquestionably incomplete without witnessing the nightlife. Some of my friends had a gala time at the famous bath party and came home in the wee hours of Sunday morning. 🙂 The Jewish quarters has a lot of bars in its vicinity and one in particular stands out. Szimpla Kert, the ruins pub is a must visit with its unique recycled funky interiors to say the least. 🙂 We had the best french fries ever in a cafe close by, the name of which has just slipped out of my head!

Budapest, is a city where the old and youth co-exist in harmony and a city with its own heartbeat!

 On my Mind!

On my Mind!

A day in Vienna

Travelling for food is one of my quirks I derive great pleasure from. When we decided to go to Vienna for the weekend, I was thrilled with the thoughts of trying the famous Viennoiseries, pastries, the coffee, wine. The list is just endless. An interesting point to note is that no other city in the world has larger vineyards within its boundaries than Vienna! ooh la lah!

We had a few hiccups on the way to Vienna from Wroclaw. A 5 hour drive stretched into an eight hour journey with unexpected traffic jam and the oh not now!…the van breaking down.

Wroclaw to Vienna

Wroclaw to Vienna


Anyways, I decided to get out my camera and click click click… 😉

In Austria

In Austria

The view was simply breath taking as we entered Austria. We passed a wind mill farm which was one of the largest I’ve seen yet.

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Catching a glimpse of a hot air balloon reminded me to add it to my bucket list…rather our list..my hubby and I.

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We reached Vienna later than expected, nonetheless we headed for the city center to enjoy the view at night.

Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral)

Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral)

The city during the day was a complete contrast to what we saw at night. The city seemed alive during the day which made our walking tour simply enjoyable. I feel that walking is the best way to discover a new city. There are undiscovered jewels waiting to surprise you if we could just see and not look.

Votivkirche. After the attempted assassination of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1853, the Emperor's brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian solicited the creation of this church to thank God for saving the Emperor's life.

Votivkirche.
After the attempted assassination of Emperor Franz Joseph in 1853, the Emperor’s brother Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian solicited the creation of this church to thank God for saving the Emperor’s life.

I was hugely impressed by the Parliament architecture. The Hofburg Palace
is impressive with its huge complex, which serves as the office of the Austrian President among other establishments.

Pallas Athene Fountain, Parliament.  The four figures lying at the foot of Athena are representations of the four most important rivers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Athena, Greek goddess of Wisdom, is dressed in armour with a gilded helmet, her left hand carries a spear, her right carries Nike.

Pallas Athene Fountain, Parliament.
The four figures lying at the foot of Athena are representations of the four most important rivers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Athena, Greek goddess of Wisdom, is dressed in armour with a gilded helmet, her left hand carries a spear, her right carries Nike.

If stone could speak....

If stone could speak….

The Man with the Accordion, Hofburg Palace

The Man with the Accordion, Hofburg Palace

There are so many sights to soak in, so much of history to unlearn that a day and half proved to be a real dampener.
The architecture is simply brillaint and makes one wonder of the things man is capable of achieving.

At Rathaus ,Town Hall

At Rathaus ,Town Hall

The Schönbrunn Palace is an excellent monument giving a glimpse of royal life during the Hasburg monarchy.
Under the reign of Maria Theresa, it became the focus of court life. It is quite a sight to watch the elegantly decorated state rooms, which offer a sharp contrast to the extravagant interiors of the Versailles Palace, France. My hubby pointed out to me, “Now you have seen glimpses of Marie Antoinette’s (Maria Theresa’s daughter) life before and after she got married.”
Widely debated amongst scholars is the theory attributing the start of French revolution (18th century) to Marie Antoinette.

Schönbrunn Palace (means "beautiful spring") with its huge garden.

Schönbrunn Palace (means “beautiful spring”) with its huge garden.

Vienna is a place I’d like to visit again and watching the Opera is on my list next. Another post coming up on the food which is a must try in Vienna…. 🙂