Thailand, Malaysia · 224 Days · 108 Moments · November 2018

Last stop this town, Bangkok


14 June 2019

Friyay! This weekend starts with soba noodles with veggies in soya sauce and a home movie. I need to chill out and get some energy back after a super busy week.

13 June 2019

When your hairdresser is a cat lover with the most lovely bunch of cats you’re going to have a wonderful afternoon of pampering and cuddles.
Today it was Wai Kru Ceremony at school. “Wai Kru" is a Thai ceremony which usually takes place in the new academic year and expresses the deep respect and gratitude students have for their teachers. On this day, always a Thursday which is considered to be auspicious, students come to school with flowers and gifts to thank their teachers for the knowledge they have given them, for the gift of learning, and wish them good luck in the future school year and in their future lives. Teachers stand on the stage and bless the students in return wishing them to be successful in their studies. If you are a teacher in Thailand, on this day you’ll be mobbed by students with flowers, go home with plenty of sweets and gifts and also probably realize that no other country in the world shows teachers the level of respect that Thailand does. I was almost moved to tears in seeing how proud and happy my lil students were in taking part in Wai Kru.

9 June 2019

At Marriot the Surawongsee Sunday mornings smell of orchids and fruits.
When in doubts, try them all! I’m sure my hero Tony Bourdain would have approved of my Sunday breakfast choice. One year today since he’s gone, deeply missed. 💔

8 June 2019

A weekend above the clouds, in Bangkok. When good friends come visiting, I always discover different sides of the city. Up here is spectacular! Thank you Antonio 🥂
Me dressed in the ugliest outfit ever, and a security guard watching a Muay Thai match inside the Grand Palace.
I still enjoy my sightseeing weekends whenever I can show the city to those who appreciate the culture and beauties of this country.

2 June 2019

The rainy season has officially started, and yet Bangkok still shows its sunny side. With temperature often reaching 38 degrees, one of the best spot to be at weekends is the huge jungle-like Lumphini Park. Named after the Buddha birthplace in Nepal, this park is a heaven of tranquillity, clean air and shade, and the habitat of acrobat squirrels, and curious and brave water monitor lizards who love to walk among people. Bangkokians come here to cycle, rollerblade, read and nap on the grass, or paddle and row in swan-lookalike boats. On Saturday afternoons there are jazz bands and orchestras playing free concerts.

20 May 2019

Today is Visakha Bucha Day, a public holiday in Thailand, and I’m catching up on Game of Thrones, comfy on my coach. She just burnt King’s Landing with most of its people, and nevertheless she’s still my queen: Team Daenerys, forever! how I wish I had Dracarys at hand, when dealing with assholes.... About the Visakha Bucha Day: it commemorates the three major events in the life of Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment, and his death. In Thailand people celebrate by visiting local temples to “make merit,” by giving donations and taking part in various rituals. Some set birds or fish free as a means of eliminating “negative karma”.

9 May 2019

Celebration for the opening of our new campus at school involved dances, monks coming in to bestow a blessing, and, of course, a banquet! ❤️🌟 When a new building is completed in Thailand, according to the Buddhist traditions monks ( always in an odd number) are summoned to give their blessings. The ceremony starts in mid morning so that it’s finished -and the monks fed- by noon, their cut-off time for food. The ajaarn ( the leading monk) guided the chants, and then moved around to sprinkle us all with holy water. Once the evil was warded off, the feast started. There were Thai dances, a lot of chatting and joking and gossiping and a delicious buffet lunch which involved Tom Yam soup, fresh noodles, veggies and desserts.

8 May 2019

How do you like your snack, Nobell? That’s his answer.

8 April 2019

An island for myself and I! Today I brought my friends to visit Hong Island, one of the most famous in Krabi province. We left Klong Meuang beach late in the morning, at around noon, and reached Hong in 20 minutes by long tailed boat. It was crowded, but I knew that everybody would be going back to the mainland at around 2 pm ( all the standard tours run this way, and people keep booking the standard tours, luckily for us). From 2 to 4 we had the whole place for ourselves. Monitor lizards came out to walk on the quiet beach, eagles started circling the lagoon and swooping down in the water to catch fish, birds gave their best concerts. We left Hong when the Marine Park closed, just before 5.

4 April 2019

On the way to the floating market we stopped at a coconut plantation and spent some time visiting the owner’s traditional Thai household. Private pictures and altars to Buddha and the family’s ancestors were displayed in the main room, and the landlord showed us the kitchen and the music hall, where the whole clan gathers to play at evening.
The Mae Klong market where vegetables and fruits are only inches from the railroads: eight times a day, when the train comes through, vendors must quickly remove their goods, in some cases putting them in between the tracks, close the awnings and retreat in a corner. The whistling train slowly goes through, grazing people and goods, and the minute it’s gone life resumes.

3 April 2019

Walking in Baglamphu, the ancient neighborhood that’s still a postcard of the Bangkok that used to be. Leafy lanes, buzzing markets, golden temples and family-run shophouses stand together with the backpacker’s mecca of Khao San Road.
I’m so tired I could sleep 1000 years.
The Grand Palace, once again. This time with friends, though, and friendship makes sightseeing more fun and interesting.

2 April 2019

More friends, and more food. More adventures to come too, soon!

30 March 2019

Food adventures with my dear friend B., let the holidays start!

24 March 2019

The W district in Phra Khanong, where I sometimes grab food after work.

22 March 2019

Last day of Summer school. Are you excited? 🥳Well, I am! I can’t wait for my friends to come to Thailand and show them around Bangkok and the south.

11 March 2019

March is “Summer school” time of the year in Thailand: regular schools close from the end of February until mid May, and sports or language day camps are held in most schools as extra activities for the kids who are not going on holiday. These are some of my cute students.

2 March 2019

Yes weekend! Friyay! Krabi here we come! A beach weekend with my Mom, drinking, sunbathing and making faces.

17 February 2019

A friendly squirrel snacking with nuts.
The glittering Grand Palace are a complex of buildings, gardens and courtyards at the heart of Bangkok, the official residence of the Kings of Siam from 1782 to 1925. Within the walls of the palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is one of the most popular attractions to visit, however avoid the weekends if you can help it, because the crowd is insane!
The first Santa Cruz church was built by the Portuguese in the neighborhood of Kudi Chin, in Thonburi, around 1770, and it was later replaced with the actual building. This plot of land had been given to the Portuguese by king Thaksin in recognition of their military support in his efforts to drive the Burmese out of Ayutthaya. It is nestled among old wooden houses, mosques and temples, in a district that still has the charm of the past.
The Yai neighborhood in western Bangkok.
Built on the Thonburi West Bank of the River Chao Praya, its design is unique and its location in the traditional Yai district make it for a great spot to catch the sunset ( despite its name, sunsets are top!). Or you can go in the morning to beat the crowds, then climb the central stupa for a stunning view of the Wat Po and the Grand Palace on the opposite bank. A group of Indonesian tourists dressed up in Thai style gifted me with a lovely shot.
Wat Arun, the temple of the Dawn, is one of my favorite in West Bangkok.

16 February 2019

Saturday morning, no matter where I am, is Coffee treat day. I have a walk in the neighborhood and look for a new nice cafe to try out. When I spot the right one, I like to sit there and spend a few hours drinking my Cappuccino ( or Black Americano, always the first choice), reading and breathing in the lazy weekend vibes. So far, outside of Italy, the best coffees I’ve tasted have been in Indonesian shabby, dusty cafes, yet I can’t resist bohemian, hipster places like the LAFF cafe. Speaking about coffee heavens, Saigon is a great city to sip tasty blends in hip cafes.

8 February 2019

“Happiness is only real when shared” (Jon Krakauer). A bus ride with two happy fellas. It’s Friday afternoon and it has been a busy, productive week; it’s almost sunset, the air quality improved a little over the past two days; my mum is visiting in less than two weeks and I’m ready to start the weekend. Many reasons to share this children’s happiness.

5 February 2019

I thought that last year Spring Festival would have been my last one, instead the Chinese New Year brings big celebration in Thailand as well. Today at my school it was all about dragon dances, songs and Chinese food.

2 February 2019

Back to Krabi, and then Bangkok. Three days is not enough to enjoy Penang, but it’s time to go back to work.

1 February 2019

The indigo-blue walls of Cheong Fatt Tze mansion are my new favorite color. In an ideal life I would be eating samosas for breakfast, drive a motorbike and ride a boat for fun everyday, and live in this house with a monkey pet, ten cats and a guy who can cook. The Cheong Fatt Tze mansion was the creation and nest of one of the wealthiest Chinese man in the island, and it has been turned into a boutique hotel by the present owners. It can be visited three times a day, and the one hour tour is led by the landlord herself.
“Little girl in blue” is a 20-foot mural by Zacharevich in Muntri street. Ah quee street, Armenian street, Lebuh Leith and Weld quai are some of the streets with worth-to-see street art.
The “Boy on a bike” and “Little Boy with pet dinosaur” are two of the most famous and fun street art painting in Georgetown, both from the Lithuanian artist Zacharevich. “Little children on a bycicle” is a variation of the former, with a real bike instead of the motorbike.
Chinese New Year (known as Spring Festival in mainland China) is approaching in three days, and the city is embellished with red lanterns and decoration all around. Most of the Malay Chinese that live in Penang come from Guangzhou and the Guangdong province, or from Fujian. Today 40% of Penang’s population is of Chinese ethnicity, so no wonder that the Spring Festival here involves large celebrations.
Penang street art 4

31 January 2019

The food in Georgetown reflects the mixed nationalities and cultures that call the city home, and restaurants (hole-in-the-wall restaurants as well as coffee bars and haute cuisine) are thriving. After a full English breakfast I ventured out for a walk in little India, and I couldn’t resist to have a second breakfast of freshly cooked samosa from a street stall.
Penang street art 3
The vibrant, colorful street of Georgetown are a combination of art, business and colonial heritage. It’s such a pleasure to walk in this pedestrian friendly city where time stands still. It’s China meets the Brits, meets Malay, meets India, meets the Dutch, meets Portugal, and for sure I’m forgetting someone else.
Penang street art 2
Georgetown, Penang island, Malaysia
Penang street art is displayed in many Chinese shop houses in downtown Georgetown, and it’s the perfect excuse to go on a treasure hunt by foot, by bicycle or trick show. It all started in 2012, and I remember how old fashioned and depressed Georgetown looked on my fist visit, many years ago. Things have changed for the better, now, with on going art projects that attract young artists and artisans, and new galleries and boutiques opening every month.

30 January 2019

Live from the Nok Air flight to Krabi, with free WiFi and a stunning view, one hour before sunset. It’s my first flight with this low budget airline, and I really appreciate their service and extra care. It doesn’t even seem a low cost.

25 January 2019

After work, in the middle of the week, is this the real life or is this just fantasy? I’m still not used to have such great weather all year round, and I’m grateful for every single day. Having a pool where I can relax after work makes the week pass by in a heartbeat.

19 January 2019

Shop until you drop. Luckily, I wasn’t carrying much money on me when I entered this shoe store.
I haven’t got any fascination for cars, normally. However these beauties made me think of a lost America and of Dean Moriarty speeding up on a Californian highway, burning “like a Roman candle”, drunk with life and youth and hopes and dreams.
Carabao are The Rolling Stones of Thailand, a bunch of long haired old school rockers with die hard fans, quite a few foreigners among them. At Rot Fai market there’s a Carabao cafe.
The street food here include barbecue stands, noodles stalls, ice cream and coffee spots, and tens of makeshift bars.
Soaking up Bangkok’s night market culture in the vintage heaven of Talat Rot Fai. Here you drink mojitos out of a Volkswagen car turned into a cocktail bar, get haircuts at al fresco barber shops straight out of “Happy Days” and wonder at second hand retro and vintage goods.

11 January 2019

Wan Dek, Thailand Children’s Day, happens on the second Saturday of January. Various activities, such as field trips and schools’ fairs, are organized in school’s compounds and kids are gifted with small toys, sweets and snacks. No school uniform is required on this day, and students can choose how to dress up. This is what my students opted for. And, seriously, aren’t they the cutest thing ever??!
Heading to work in this vintage oldie from the Fifties, this is Bangkok!

6 January 2019

The first night in my new house. It’s you and me now, Bangkok!

31 December 2018

According to (my) tradition, I’ll be flying on New Year’s Eve in the hope that the next one will be another year of traveling. Happy New Year to all those who drift and dream. 🎆 Might 2019 bring you whatever you wish for.

29 December 2018

“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under” ( C. JoyBell C.) The day ended with a purple dusk from Phra Nang Beach, 5 minutes by boat from Ao Nang, and yet another world. A wedding had just being celebrated in a corner of the beach, and while the staff was removing white ribbons and flowers, a bunch of kayakers went out to sea; in hammocks and swings among the trees, others were drinking-sleeping-smoking-dreaming, and the sun performed its show of crayon painting the whole horizon. After that, still one last wonder of nature: we went swimming in luminescent plancton in a nearby bay, and it was like flying in space during a cosmic snowstorm.
The third and fourth stops of the day have been Koh Kai, also called Koh Chicken ( cause it’s clearly a giant chicken stuck in a rock, isn’t it? ) and Tup island. At low tide the two are connected by a sand bank which completely disappears at high tide. Another sand bank connects Tup with a tiny islet that has no name. The turquoise sea and the two long beaches with water on two sides are already a lot to be grateful for, but today the highlight has been the small rainbow that appeared like a magic trick in one of the driest, sunniest day of the month.
This time in Krabi is almost at the end, and my way of delaying the departure is to make the days last forever. Like today. It has been a long long one, with the first two stops in Koh Poda and Boya bay for snorkeling and a little bit of climbing. The high season brings here thousands of people, and still it’s possible to time the tours to enjoy some peace and almost deserted islands. And even in Poda, walking south from the main stretch of beach where everybody stay let you experience a corner of paradise.

28 December 2018

Another early wake up with an Impressionist sky to go diving in Bida Nok and Phi Phi Ley with Seagypsydivers. I love their big, slow boat and life attitude, I love how they take care of you with yummy breakfasts of bread and Nutella, on top of the usual scrambled eggs, I love the feeling of being part of a family, and naturally I love to go diving in Phi Phi.

26 December 2018

When the sun goes down in Klong Mueang beach, everything and everyone turn quiet: the kids stop playing, the fishermen come back to shore, the birds rest among the frangipani trees, and all together we stare at this exciting wonder of nature.

18 December 2018

Rain rain go away, come again another day! But if you do come, be always inspiring and beautiful as today. When the sky melts with the sea, colors soften and everything becomes dreamy all around.

15 December 2018

Wat Bang Thong
Day trip to Wat Bang Thong, a 13yo Buddhist temple in Ao Leuk, a few kilometers from Phang Nga. This Putthakaya-style temple has one of the tallest golden pagodas in Thailand, and is rarely visited by tourists. Many Thai families gather here at weekends and I spent some time playing with local children who approached me to say Hello and take photos.

12 December 2018

Not even clouds could spoil this place: Koh Rok, what a beauty! This lush island is a 2hrs speed boat travel from Krabi and it hosts the best snorkeling you can find in Thailand -besides Similan perhaps. Day tours usually stop in Koh Rok and nearby Koh Ha, and the way from and back to Krabi might be bumpy due to the sea conditions, but I love these blue waters and the beach lunch at Man Sai.

10 December 2018

Having three weeks to kill before my job starts, I flew to Krabi, on the Andaman coast, where I’ll spend Christmas with friends. Coming back to Krabi felt like coming home, because I used to travel to the south of Thailand with my family when I was a kid. This time I’m staying in Klong Muang, a laid back, tranquil beach location a 20-minute ride from busy Ao Nang. Shopping and nightlife are modest, but I’m looking for natural beauty and this is exactly what makes Klong Muang charming.

9 December 2018

It began like a perfectly relaxed day and it ended in near madness. This morning I wanted to show my friend the Grand Palace, but we got there only to discover that it was closed due to a memorial bike race in honor of His majesty the King who had passed away last year. So we went to the Wat Pho, also known as the Reclining Buddha. We had a good time, a delicious lunch and then we tried to go back to Asok because my friend had to catch her flight to Cambodia. There’s when our troubles began: all ferries had stopped along the River, and they would restart after 5 pm, too late for us! With the help of one kind Thai man we managed to get a mototaxi ride to the closest metro, but because all the roads were closed for the Royal parade we couldn’t reach our destination. Two policemen then were moved to compassion and drove us on their bikes all along the way! It was surreal: we drove through empty roads in between two wings of crowd cheering for the procession, like two queens 👸🏻 👸🏻.

8 December 2018

A robot palace, strolling with friends on a rainy day and the madness of Soi Cowboy.

7 December 2018

What a day! Minburi, in the north outskirts of Bangkok, is a long long way now that a new metro is being built and constructions heavily impact the already crazy traffic: it took me almost 3 hours to Silom by bus. On the way north, this morning, I passed through the White Elephant building. To kill the day and start the weekend, the Radisson Blue’s rooftop bar is always a great choice.

6 December 2018

City life. What a weather so far! Hot and sunny, and with skies as blue as the Indian Ocean.
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is the newest art space in the city, and with the Biennale going on until next year is not to be missed.
With its unique junk shaped chedi, Wat Yannawa is surely Instagrammable, however it seems to be little known to foreign visitors. I wasn’t prepared for the striking contrast with the ghostly abandoned skyscraper in the background, either.

4 December 2018

Another friend is in town, and we had dinner together at The Issaya Siamese Club. Chef Kittichai’s unique signature Thai cuisine of traditional ingredients and seasonal specialties is set in a lush tropical garden you’ll never want to leave. Ask for The Broken Bucket when you get to desserts, it’s not on the list but they make it for returning clients and friends.
City life. My temporary house in front of the Maha Nakhon in Silom.

2 December 2018

We ended the weekend with a pricy-but-worth-it cocktail at the Sky bar of the Lebua State Building in Silom. Above the Chao Praya, with an almost 360 degree view over Bangkok, everything is simply stunning, and so peaceful!
A lazy afternoon at the Anantara pool
Strolling in Sathorn
A dear friend came to visit me over the weekend, and we decided to take it easy and enjoy the city without following any “to see” list. We started our day at the Jim Thompson’s house and spent the afternoon relaxing at the Anantara pool in Sathorn.

29 November 2018

The TESOL course is almost at the end -two more days to go!- and today we went to teach at the temple school of Wat Ban Ma, in Ayutthaya province, a two-hour drive from Bangkok. The place is a lush tropical garden where birds come flying into the classrooms and lunch comes from the school’s farm. The students were extremely welcoming and excited, and everybody went out of their way to make us feel at home. After class we had a delicious lunch in the principal’s office ( chicken soup, red rice, Thai omelette, pork, fish, vegetables and fruit).

24 November 2018

A lazy Saturday in Ekkamai, where I’m shopping for healthy stuff at the farmers market, and drinking coffee in every little place I see on the way. This area is heaven for coffee lovers. [色]

22 November 2018

Happy Loy Krathong! I love this annual festival during which crowds gather near rivers and ponds to pay their respects to the goddess of water. Along with the release of the traditional lanterns, people send small baskets made of banana leaves and adorned with candles, incense, coins and flowers down the rivers to symbolize the exchange of life’s hardships for good luck in the future. Today we show gratitude for what we’ve got, let it go of the bad, and move on.

17 November 2018

It’s been a schizophrenic Saturday catching up with the Bangkok Art Biennale and experiencing this city crazy weather ( one minute is heavy rain, then comes the sunniest sun you can imagine). Btw, I wish I could live in a Yayoi Kusama’s world.

11 November 2018

This is not my first tropical Christmas, not even the first Thai Christmas, but it has bene a while since the last one and I’m looking forward to see how Bangkok will get dressed for the occasion. The first Christmas trees I spotted this year are at the entrance of the Emporium department store, and they look beautiful despite the contrast with the tropical surroundings.

10 November 2018

For dinner -and some shopping!- I went to the Train Market in Ratchada. The original Rot Fai market was in Chatuchak Park, then it was moved to a remote area in the easter part of Bangkok, and because of its popularity a second branch was opened in Ratchada, closer to the center and only a few minutes walking from the Thailand Cultural Center MRT station. Despite its name, there aren’t any trains, but the arty vibe, delicious snacks, vintage shops and lively atmosphere make it a very enjoyable place.
This morning I woke up lazy and didn’t feel like exploring, so I planned to have a short walk south and eat brunch at the Esplanade mall in Ratchada. But the short walk became a long one, and I ended up in Sukhumvit! While looking at the map to figure out what was around, I found out about the Kamthieng house, truly a gem in the hearth of Bangkok, since original Lanna houses are rare in Thailand nowadays. It is the headquarters of the Siam Society, whose mission is to preserve and promote Thai culture and heritage. Among the sarongs and amulets displayed inside the main room there are some shirts embroidered with magic spells and drawings, and the bamboo needles men used to tattoo yantra.

8 November 2018

Today, together with my course mates, I went to visit a kindergarten and primary school in Lat Prao district. We had the chance to sit in a classroom and observe two English lessons for two hours. The kids were too cute for words, especially the kindergarten ones, and I got excited at the prospect of working here. The school, which is private, has lots of facilities compared to government schools: a swimming pool, a large courtyard, a huge hall and canteen, and interactive boards, tv and computers in most of the classrooms. Having the afternoon free, I then went for a walk in Ratchada.

4 November 2018

How can one not be happy when winter feels like this? Bangkok has been rated by the World Metereological Organization as one of the hottest cities in the world (and by my standards this is a lovely cool season, indeed! ❣️)
Walking the skywalk between Central Chidlom and the MBK. This clean and wide footpath saves you from the crowded and unsafe sidewalks at street level, and it’s lined with road signs that gives you plenty of information about the shopping malls, temples and interesting places around. What I love about Bangkok is that it keeps growing but never loses its old charm. Just turn around the corner and you’ll see people living on wood tiny houses along the railways.
After a healthy breakfast on the street in Ratchada, I rode the MRT to Phasi Charoen district to see the Wat Pak Nam, a royal Buddhist temple which was built in the Ayutthaya period ( about 400 years ago). On the 5th floor, the beautiful psychedelic blue ceiling it’s a show on its own.

3 November 2018

Street food and a longed for mango juice on Ratchadaphisek Road, near the Thailand Cultural Center metro station.
So, it happens that I finally left China to follow my dream of living and working in Bangkok. I’ve been an enthusiastic visitor for many years now, but never had the chance to stay more than a week. Now it’s the time. A new adventure begins, and I desperately want to make it here.