Thai Hammam Spa at Amatara Phuket

Thai Hammam Spa at Amatara Phuket

What do a luxury wellness resort and Anthony Bourdain splayed out on a marble slab being pounded by a Uzbekistani man have in common? Not much other than it explains my (unfounded) expectations from a Thai hammam spa treatment. What is a Hammam Spa Treatment My knowledge of traditional hammam treatments is pretty slim. I’ve seen some of the very traditional treatments on travel TV shows, like that scene with Anthony Bourdain that is etched in my brain. Bourdain was, well, near tortured, on a hot, wet slab, in Uzbekistan. His therapist twisted him into pretzel, while his friend watched.   When traveling in Istanbul several years ago, I passed on exploring the hammam scene because I was a little intimidated by the notion. A hammam is a Turkish bath. It is inspired by the traditional Roman baths. Whereas Roman baths focused on the use of steam, Turkish baths focus on the use of water. And, a hammam spa gets wet. Very wet. The only hammam I’ve experienced was one at a luxury hotel in Dubai. At the Palace Downtown Dubai a few years ago, I was placed on a warm stone table, and was hosed and scrubbed until I was ready to pass out. I was alone in the hammam, just me an the therapist. It was a unique experience, and I have always wanted to try it again. It was pleasant, and wet, and relaxing. Once I heard there was a Thai hammam spa at Amatara Phuket, I was indeed intrigued. What is a Luxury Thai Hammam Spa The Thai hammam spa at Amatara took things one step further...
How To Fly Nok Air Thailand

How To Fly Nok Air Thailand

We’ve flown a lot of the low cost carriers, or budget airlines, while living in Southeast Asia. For us, it doesn’t make sense to splurge on a more traditional airline, or use our miles, for a quick one or two hour flight within the region. One of the benefits of spending time living and traveling in this region, is that there are so many great budget airlines in Southeast Asia. During a beach break from Bangkok we finally had a chance to experience flying Nok Air Thailand. How to Fly Nok Air From “DMK” On the surface, Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport, or DMK, isn’t much to look at. Built in the 1930s, the terminals are concrete and drab,. They are far from the modern glass and steel aviation palaces found around the world. Look outside the dirty and streaked windows and you’ll see something worth looking at. And, Nok Air Thailand has a lot to do with this. Nok Air operates a fleet of Boeing 737-800s, Bombardier Q400s, and ATR-72 500s, for the #AvGeeks out there. Nok means bird in Thai and the airline carries the bird theme through just about everything. Nok Air Thailand is known for its bold, and certainly eye-catching livery. A signature bird beak nose is painted onto the nose of every plane. And, the main scheme of each plane is interesting and unique, some painted purple, and others looking like Nemo. Because DMK airport is such an unpleasant airport, the best way to fly any airline from DMK is to keep your focus on the fun Nok Air planes outside, rather than the drab...
Thai Luxury Wellness Resort – Amatara Phuket

Thai Luxury Wellness Resort – Amatara Phuket

We were drawn in by the award-winning wine cellar. In the end, we were intrigued by the wellness resort. That’s what happens when a couple of gluttons spend a long weekend at a Thai luxury wellness resort. We learned about Amatara Wellness Resort during our recent trip to Singapore. The pictures of the property looked amazing, but most luxury properties in Phuket do. Particularly for folks living in Bangkok. They offer a perfect break from the noise and congestion of the big city. And, with a flight to Phuket costing about $30 and only taking an hour, it is the easiest place for us to grab a beach break. What caught our eye about Amatara Phuket, though, was that they have an award-winning wine list. That is somewhat a rarity in Thailand, as it is hard to find good wine. And, yes, we enjoyed a luxury dining experience at The Grill, with perfect wine pairings off of their award-winning list. But, fine wine and dining were not the focus of this particular visit, even if it is the focus of so many of our trips. In this case, our focus was on relaxation and wellness. Eating Healthy at a Thai Luxury Wellness Resort Amatara Phuket is a top Thai luxury wellness resort, and wellness was indeed our goal. We ate most of our meals at The Retreat, a healthy eating venue that works in conjunction with the spa manager at Amatara to offer alternative dining. I will say, after being assaulted by vegan and raw cuisine during our time living in Bali, I was skeptical. The Retreat is a small and peaceful...
A Luxury Khao Lak Resort in Thailand

A Luxury Khao Lak Resort in Thailand

I’ve become a little picky about where we stay when we visit the Thai beaches. Part of this is a direct result of our stay in some luxury villas in Koh Samui. That experience was fabulous and hard to replicate. Some of it also revolves around our recent vacation to Ao Nang, which was no vacation at all, and ended in a bout of food poisoning. Even as travel bloggers, we want to make the most of the time we spend at the beach. That is why I was so happy to have found a fab Khao Lak resort, which ticked off all of the boxes for a perfect Thai beach stay. The JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort Beach Within minutes of arriving at the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort, our bathing suits were on. We wanted to make the most of our late afternoon arrival to explore the property before dark. This is not that much different from any other time we’ve stayed at a beach resort. The difference here: we explored the resort via water. Bathing suits on, no shoes. We had a pool access room, which meant that we were two steps away from an enormous pool, over two kilometers long, which snaked across the entire resort, in front of our room, past two swim up bars, and pretty much up to the beach. We jumped in and started to explore, ultimately ending up at the edge of the pool with a view of the beach. We returned back to our room amazed at how far we swam without even making it all the way around. But, happy...
Why I Love Pad Thai

Why I Love Pad Thai

Ah, Pad Thai, you either love it or hate it, particularly when traveling to Thailand. There are plenty of articles that decry Pad Thai. Imploring tourists to look behind the famous noodles when traveling in Thailand. I agree. Tourists should not limit themselves to the safety of Pad Thai when traveling in Thailand. Explore some of the best of Thai food. We’ve had fabulous tom yum, a spicy and tangy prawn soup, from the guy who owns the restaurant closest to our apartment in Chong Nonsi. We don’t know the name of the restaurant, we merely call him “The Beer Guy.” But he makes a great tom yum. Across the street, we can eat pork glass noodle salad and, surprisingly, pork neck salad, each mixed with coriander, lime, and crunchy rice. There are so many fabulous Thai dishes to try, some more approachable than others, but I do recognize that Pad Thai is the easiest, the most approachable, and so it is what tourists tend to focus on. That said, I don’t think tourists, or expats, should be burned at the stake for eating Pad Thai when traveling to Thailand. After all, I love Pad Thai, and I eat it all the time, at least once a week. I am not alone. The History of Pad Thai A photo posted by Amber’s Food Travel Blog??? (@withhusbandintow) on Feb 19, 2016 at 4:12am PST There is a long complicated history of Pad Thai, which involves colonialism, coups, royal power, and a lot of topics that I don’t want to get involved in. But, there is one part of the history...
Unique Foods – What We’ve Eaten in 2016

Unique Foods – What We’ve Eaten in 2016

There are loads of blog posts out there talking about unique food challenges. In fact, I wrote one before we left the US almost 4 years ago. I should mention, we’ve eaten virtually none of those unique foods. Where once we wanted to seek out these dishes, now, we are more interested in continuing to eat the foods that we love around the world. Many people limit the foods they eat because they are picky and don’t like a lot of foods. For us, that’s not the case. We like loads of different foods, so we have a lot of variety to choose from. The thing is, when we are in Hong Kong for 4 nights, I want BBQ pork and wanton mee. When I’m in Hanoi for 3 nights, I want pho bo and bun cha. I want the dishes that I’ve come to consider as comfort foods in those countries. What Are These Unique Foods? That said, in the last few months, we’ve eaten some unique foods, even without seeking them out ourselves. Now, this isn’t scorpion on a stick unique food. Instead, they are just foods that are a little strange, and ones we would not order ourselves. So, how did we end up eating these unique foods? Many times when we travel, we are at the mercy of tasting menus or chefs who put all sorts of foods in front of us. We oblige. Most we end up loving. Some, we end up tolerating. Some, we eat to be polite. What are some of the unique foods we’ve eaten so far this year? Liver in...
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