View Full Size Inter-Active Travel Map at

The Winter of 2022 – 2023 in Thailand

  • We are flying from Victoria to Bangkok on Oct 27th. We are in Bangkok for 4 nights to decompress.
  • November 1st we fly to Phuket to stay at Nai Yang Beach Resort for 16 nights.
  • November 19th, we fly to Chiang Mai to stay at the Kantary Hills Hotel for 32 nights. It will be a reunion of sorts after a 7 year hiatus… so looking forward to that.
  • December 19 fly to Siem Reap for 8 days for Christmas.
  • December 27, fly to Krabi and make our way to Siboya to stay til January 19th.
  • Then we are going to check out Koh Phangan on the east coast. A new adventure.
  • We depart Koh Phangan > Koh Samui > Bangkok > Singapore > Vancouver > Victoria… Home February 23rd.
2022-10-28 – A LONG 26 HOURS DOOR TO DOOR
2022-10-30 – BANGKOK FOR 4 NIGHTS

October 24, 2022


So this is me (Bob) packed and ready to hit the dusty trail once again. Each of us has a “Spinner” Hard-side carry-on size, a day pack and a personal item bag. Still seems like too much.

Last time we were in South East Asia was February 2016, that’s 6 years and 9 months. I hope we can remember how to speak some Thai.

We fly out of Victoria at 10:00am on Thursday, October 27, transit Vancouver and board Air Canada to Tokyo. After a 3hr 25min layover we board ANA to Bangkok.

We have timed the escape seeming quite well… after a very dry, warm and sunny fall… the forecast is for one of those atmospheric rivers to come roaring in as we leave.

Stay tuned…

October 28, 2022


Three flights… Victoria (YYJ) to Vancouver (YVR) – Vancouver (YVR) to Tokyo, Narita (NRT) – Tokyo, Narita (NRT) to Bangkok (BKK)

We left home at 8:00am Thursday and arrived at our Bangkok hotel at 2:00am Saturday. It’s been a while since we did the long haul… exhausted. Lucky for us, we are traveling business class. (we’ve been saving points for the last 6 years, so it’s treat time) We enjoyed the lounges during our transits in Vancouver and Tokyo.

Watched our luggage at every turn… we AirTagged ours, so we could see where it was in real time… good tech.

Remember I said there was an atmospheric river coming to BC’s west coast… well we definitely were surfing from Victoria to Vancouver.

Had a SLIGHT snag when transiting Tokyo (NRT)… As always, Bob opted for a pat down going through security. (pacemaker) He had his wallet in his pocket… security took it in a little black tray to scan separately… we gathered all our stuff and proceeded to the ANA Biz lounge. Got on the plane and were Bangkok bound… 6 hours later as we banked right enroute to BKK, Bob suddenly patted his pocket… NO WALLET… WTF!! 😱

Went through the total recall process, checking under seats and washrooms. Finally came to the realization that Japan security had not returned it… duh!

Shit! 💩 Now we would have to deal with major language issues at BKK airport and ANA (All Nippon Airways) to figure what next… and all at 1am. So we were in Thailand and our wallet was all alone in another country! Holy Cow!

As we deplaned, at the top of the skyway, a lady from ANA was holding a big sign… “PATCHETT/MR ROBERT”
As you can imagine, it was smiles al around, big time. So surprised and relieved.
Got our wallet 2 days later. Still smiling.

Forgotten what a big struggle jet-lag is.

October 30, 2022


Found a great deal at the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam in downtown Bangkok. 27th floor with futuristic views of the huge skyscrapers all around. Felt drawn to the views. Bangkok has certainly exploded… the population is now 14.6 million.

Rather than do the in-house full on buffet breakfast at our hotel, we opted to hit the streets in search of Bangkok’s famous/infamous street food. Found a small breakfast street down a local side road for some fish curry, fried egg and a banana leaf cup of steamed fish custard (Hamuck)sp? So good to be back in the Land of Smiles. It is thankfully amazing how strong the body is, because street food hygiene here is always dicey in the exposed kitchens. But we do love the street food and greasy spoon small family operations.

Took a canal boat for a couple of kilometres along the khlong and walked back to a coffee shop/bakery that we saw in passing that over looking the canal. Enjoyed a pricey, but delicious iced cappuccino up on the canal-view terrace. This upscale place was decorated with fabulous antique furniture and art pieces everywhere. Rosewood shophouse… like stepping back in time. Great find.

One evening we ventured out to one of the local Super Malls that Bangkok is famous for, centralwOrld. Exiting it at night was like being on set for the Blade Runner Movie. Fifty storey skyscrapers emblazoned with laser lights and videos flashing with sparkling lights everywhere and 5 story jumbo-trons flashing the latest BMW ads. Totally awesome. Bangkok has some of the most innovative architecture on this wonderful planet.

Took a couple of taxies and tuk-tuk’s with altered-state drivers speeding and weaving wildly down the jam packed Bangkok streets… somehow you just trust you are not going to die. Thailand is the world record holder for road fatalities.

November 12, 2022


Quick flight to Phuket… met by the resort for a short 10 minute drive to the Nai Yang Beach Resort and Spa

We haven’t stayed in Phuket since 1988, so we are way out of the loop with where/which areas would suit us best, not to mention that the prices for most of the resorts are shocking. Our YouTube research led us to Nai Yang Beach which looked to be just about right.

Well, we are so happy with our accommodation choice. Imagine Turtle Nai Yang Resort has been here for 20 years and have been tending an ever maturing tropical garden paradise. Every tree has ferns and air-plants, including orchids, growing all the way up to the top of the trees. There are 3 swimming pools. Our spacious room looks out over a garden and swimming pool. We are a 1 minute walk to beach which is sublime.

The actual village of Nai Yang is only about 3 blocks long situated between 2 national parks. No through traffic. The beach road has street food venders (like food trucks) who have tables on the beach. We sat and had delightful Thai food and watched the sunset and just lived in the moment. With a vast beach, a shallow sea, and many trees to provide shade, this place has not been overly developed and has kept a bit of the old Phuket atmosphere.

Nothing like a beach fix.

There are lots of brick and mortar restaurants along the beach but honestly we prefer our table right on the sand so we plan to enjoy this dining most of the time. It’s like having a personal chef.
Feel so grateful to live this life (thanks to my dearest Dr. Shaw).

Across the tiny street that runs parallel to the beach, you’ll find the inevitable tailor, a mini-mart, a diving shop, and a few shops selling batik clothing and beach toys. Like on any beach in Phuket, a little group of ladies stands by chit-chatting all day, waiting for the opportunity to give you a beach massage (300Bt/CA$12). The vast majority of tourists here are young Russian families… lots of toddlers and strollers.

As I swim my daily laps in the Turtle pool, the tall canopy spreads over the entire pool giving dappled shade. Running through the foliage are lots of squirrels and myna birds. I saw a 4 foot monitor lizard the other day which was a treat. Siboya has 5 foot monitor lizards running all over the place (love those lizards).

We opted out of our resort’s included meals, so the first night we kinda went eeny-meeny-miny-moe… and settled on Mr Oody BBQ. Mr. Oody is the front man and Mr BBQ, while his wife, Phen does the woking. We enjoyed a great meal at one of his half dozen cloth adorned tables on the beach. All are under the canopy of many large mature trees. Looking sunset west, the beach extends flatly for about 50m before sloping gradually to the lapping waves of the Andaman Sea. Next stop India. Mr Oody and crew are super friendly people and have really good food. For the next 4 days, we had breakfast and dinner ON the beach.

Hired a Tuk-Tuk this morning for a few kilometre jaunt into the actual town of Nai Yang and had a delightful dim sum breakfast. Was fun to speed along chatting in Thai and broken english with our young driver. He initially refused our tip but humbly accepted when we insisted… been hard during Covid for many here in Thailand.

Poof…💨 we’ve been here 10 days already.

Feel so grateful to be able to live this life (thanks to my dearest Dr. Shaw).

November 19, 2022


Today we flew from Phuket to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. When we originally booked this flight back in February it was a nonstop from Phuket to Chiang Mai. Due to the Covid situation, flight schedules are in total flux as all airlines fine tune. First the nonstop went away, leaving us to transit Bangkok. Then the two legs changed three or four times. The last one giving us a very short 45 minute transfer time at Bangkok. We opted for a very early checkin in Phuket, and luckily we were able to sweet talk the agent and snag an earlier flight giving us oodles of time to hangout out in the Bangkok executive lounge. ☕️

Yes, Chiang Mai has seen a lot of business closures over the last 3 years, but the demographic, having a huge (36,000+ 2015) University student body, and because it continues as a favourite weekend getaway for middle class Bangkokians, it’s meant that many businesses have been able to weather the storm.

Checking in to Kantary Hills was “like déjà vu all over again”… sublime. Haven’t been here since 2016, but it felt like coming home. Still a lot of the same staff still here. The kitchen manager, walked up to me at breakfast and said… Mr Bob? Noom?

Ross and Joyce had been in Chiang Mai since Nov 3rd or 4th… John, Larry and Glenn flew in from Cambodia 3 days after us. Gettin’ the gang back together.

The weather is always a big plus for Chiang Mai this time of year, with daytime around 28-31°C, and nighttime around 20-24°C.

Enjoying the Nimman area again, some Covid casualty closures, but quite a few new ventures rising from the ashes. SEAsia is so amazingly resilient.

As we wandered around our old haunts… Joann headed out for a 1k walk down to the Thon Phayom Fresh Market to pickup a few household items for our month at Kantary. Limes, more hangers, some great local green tea and fresh flowers.

Walking along Nimman, the same deep fried chicken and pork vendor was still doing a steady business. Literally right on the sidewalk, the pungent greasy aroma made me think, that could be the same cooking oil all these years later, and the motor cycles still did the quick stop to grab some of this culinary delight topped with the signature garnish mixture of deep fried onion, garlic and kafir lime leaves — on their way to or from work.

The same 7-11 was as busy as all ways, with one addition. Now 7-11 deliver via uniformed scooter drivers. The scooter delivery model has become ubiquitous as a fallout from Covid keeping everyone isolating. Almost anything is available, delivered by scooter. Instant gratification abounds right from your cell phone app.

One of our favourite restaurants has survived, “Organic Vegetables”. A super small hole in the wall greasy spoon, where it’s still easy to get 2 Thai dishes, rice and 2 soda waters with ice and lemon/lime slices. Albeit the cost is now CA$8.50 as apposed to the previous CA$6.00. Even the more upscale Anchan Vegetarian fed us 5 with gourmet drinks and too much food for CA$38… and Soooo good.

Now it’s 10 days later and we’re Love’n just livin’ in Chiang Mai, relaxing, discovering old and new friends, having Tequila parties and eating at fabulous boutique eateries. Gloat!!

Oh ya, did I mention, cannabis is now available on every street corner. There are even cannabis kiosks at the mall.

December 19, 2022


Today we left Chiang Mai enroute to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Our month in Chiang Mai was great. Enjoyed basically just hanging out with good friends, full relax mode, enjoying all the food choices that are on offer.

The only fly in the ointment was Covid. Even after being the most careful we could have been, we both got it. Glenn too. Seeing that purple line indicating a positive test was jarring. Our apprehension of what we were in for was the big scary unknown, but we all tested negative within 12 days without any apparent lasting issues. Whew!! Lucky for us we had a wonderful serviced apartment and we subscribed to Food Panda for food delivery by motorcycle… often only 80 cents plus tip for delivery.

It was so very nice to be back in Siem Reap. We haven’t been here since Christmas 2013. All our friends have survived both Covid and the extremely severe economic challenges. Mr Kat picked us up at the airport in his Tuk-Tuk and delivered us to Beyond Yangon. What a great reunion and we were welcomed like we were long lost family. Hugs, smiles and emotion all round.

Siem Reap is in recovery from the economic catastrophe that comes when tourism is your main stay. During the ride in from the airport it became shocking apparent that an amazing number of large hotels are still not open or obviously abandoned. The tropical jungle takes back quickly with vines and trees growing up the buildings. Lot’s of evidence of closed shops but also new ventures springing up all over. SE Asian resilience right in front of our faces. Difficult to witness such hardship.

We’re here for 8 days so we got a 5 day pass for the Angkor complex (special deal at the moment, buy 3, get a 5 day pass – US$62/person). Angkor info) All 5 mornings Kat picked us up at 6:30 for the 8k drive to the Angkor complex entrance. We were all bundled for the brisk 20C ride, but layered because it would be 28-30C by 11am. Riding through the manicured roads that feed into the complex is very special. The serene sounds of the awakening jungle bird song. Smells of morning cooking fires wafting into your senses.

We never tire of wandering through the staggering number of ruins that fill the more than 400 acres of Angkor city. In the 13th century a million people lived there (the biggest city in the world at that time) Unbelievable carvings and awesome beauty. We never tire of learning about history of this amazing civilization!

The other indulgence for us is sampling the vast array of such good restaurants in Siem Reap. During our 8 day stay we enjoyed Cambodian fusion at JOMNO – Modern Khmer Cuisine, western fare at Spoons Cambodia, a teaching restaurant, first time flavours at Caucasus Georgian Restaurant, middle eastern at EASTanbul and the last evening we were invited to Mr Kat’s home where his mom and sister fed us with a traditional Khmer meal straight from the heart. Fabulous. We felt quite honoured to have a feast in a Cambodian home. Just love our Cambodian family.

Saying “See ya later” is hard to do as we leave these good friends. The Cambodian people are so very friendly and cheerful… always brilliant smiles.

In 48 hours we will be back at Siboya Bungalows.

January 21, 2023


Every morning as we walk across the 200m palm tree punctuated field to the restaurant, we can hear an all encompassing hum of bees. At first we thought it sounded like a migrating swarm, but on closer examination we saw that thousands of small bees were landing on the tops of the fresh seed ends of the grass sprouts. We speculated whether they were harvesting pollen or drinking the beads of morning dew..?? Maybe both… the bee in the centre of the photo appears to have saddle bags of pollen. A wonderful hum backdrop to the raucous morning birdsong and bird squabbles.

January 28, 2023


We have crossed over to the east coast of Thailand to Koh Phangan. The island is famous (infamous) for “The Full Moon” parties on Haad Rin. We haven’t ventured over this side of Thailand for a very long time. January 1980 was the last time, back when Koh Samui was thee place to be.

We’re on a new adventure and booked this beach side accommodation just to have a look see. Happily ensconced at Thanompol Haad Salad. We have a very nice studio style villa 50m behind The Crystal Day Restaurant. The living area is just under 40sqm with 4m vaulted ceiling, king size bed, nice bathroom (fabulous hot water), work counter, couch, large flat screen and full size fridge plus plus the deck is 3m x 5m… Perfect! Maid service and linens every 3 days. Also perfect!

The vibe at this beach is way more “beautiful people” than we are used to. If I was to say Avocado Toast is on all the menus and thong bikinis adorn the ladies, would you get the idea? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in for avocado toast, home made yoghurt, etc… and I’m not complaining about the thong bikinis either.

Haad Salad (translates to Pirate Beach) is 600m long, the sand is cornstarch fine and the ocean is ’56 Chev, tropical turquoise. Wow!

There are about a dozen resorts here. Some are a little tired looking which is very indicative of their struggle to transcend the last three years of zero tourists. Some of the owners with deeper pockets are actually actively adding more upscale facilities. Optimism is the Thai way.
We’re here for three weeks and are way enjoying it.

The beach faces (sunset) west so all the restaurants have beach tables, very nice way to end the day. Every morning we trek up the hill about 300m to our go to for breakfast… Thakrus Cafe is the beverage part of the Pham Nam Kitchen. It’s an aunt/niece run restaurant.

We’ve settled into a very sustainable routine, 6am CBC National News on our ChromeCast, 9am breakfast up the hill, back to the villa for laundry/email/details, about noon (tide dictates) swim, 2pm short nap, relax on the deck till 6pm, then head off to the beach for dinner and top it off with a few YouTube clips and Spotify music in air-conditioned splendour. Whew… I know!!??

We haven’t ventured very far afield as transport here is thin unless you hire a car or scooter.

February 23, 2023


The road home is always a love/hate situation. This year we tried to make sure we didn’t get caught in a flight delay, cancellation or general screwup.

We left Koh Phangan on Monday Feb 20 by ferry to Koh Samui. Originally we had planned to ferry and fly to Bangkok the same day. We revised that to include an over night on Samui. Case in point… when we arrived at the Phangan ferry, they said our rebooked ticket did not exist. AND they were sold out… WTF!!! Luckily a different company had seats and the boat was leaving in 10 minutes. Whew!

A lazy over night on Samui… taxi to airport… checkin and head to the lounge… have a 1 hour luxurious foot massage each. Short 1 hour flight to Bangkok.

Shuttle to one of the hundreds of transit hotels on the periphery of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK). Again a lazy overnight and back to BKK for a 2 hour flight to Singapore.

Arrived at Changi. Overnight at the short stay Aerotel Hotel in terminal 1.

07:00 flight on Singapore Airlines was a non-stop, 14 hour flight to Vancouver. Piece of cake in business class.

08:30 flight to Victoria was announced as 11 minutes in the air. They also announced 50k winds for our welcome at YYJ. Yikes, welcome to Canada, and a balmy -3C.