Thursday, November 21, 2019

Hua Hin - Amazing retreat near Bangkok

Hua Hin:

'Hua Hin' - heard of this place before?

Well, I had not. I thought we were going to Phuket this time as we had already covered Krabi and Chiang Mail  on our last trip here. But my husband pointed out that this is where we were headed to, to kickstart our vacation in Thailand.

Hua Hin is a seaside resort town just 3 hours away from Bangkok and therefore a very popular weekend destination for the Bangkokians.  We spent 4 days in this idyllic town at Hyatt Regency Resort catching up on the lost art of relaxing :) An ideal break from the daily grind of our lives, especially, after kind of starting all over again, by moving to Pune. We had planned for a packed itinerary in Bangkok after Hua Hin and so this was our place to rejuvenate for the tight trip ahead.


A bit about our Resort:

The Hyatt Regency Resort is a perfect place for relaxation along the sea. Impeccably maintained, it has a positive vibe to it. Immaculate lawns, sculptured fountains,  a family pool extending along the rooms of the resort replete with a water slide, lend it an serene aura. The ocean view with the lashing waves adds manifold to the beauty of the resort.

It has three restaurants on its grounds serving delicious dishes to satiate our hunger pangs. - A casual pool side restaurant and bar (You & Mee) providing the light bites while relaxing in the pool. An authentic Thai restaurant (Talay Thai) serving delicious meals in a relaxed setting where one can even sit cross-legged; and an European restaurant (McFarland House) situated across the Barai resort (sister-resort) near the kids club.






I spent hours by the pool munching on snacks taking in the views of the vast ocean before me. (Yes, I prefer to be by the pool rather than in the pool ;) My husband and son; however, love water and are swimming afficionados). Kindle in hand, I happily finished a couple of books by Priti Shenoy. I have  started liking the author with her realistic and quite relatable style of writing.





The resort was partly under renovation near the reception area but it hardly mattered as the site was well concealed and quiet.  We were set up in a cozy and spacious room across the pool with complimentary supply of water, fruits and some fruity tidbits.

The reception hosted my son's favourite game of foosball. My son is too good at the game and I had to maintain a smile on my face inspite of losing game after game to him in a row :(  In a way it was desirable that I lose or  I would have had to face the wrath of my son otherwise! We also regaled ourselves playing lawn tennis and football on the resort grounds to burn off our extra calories which one invariably puts on during such gluttonous vacations.


Sightseeing in Hua Hin:

Hua Hin has a few sight seeing places around it - namely the 20th century beach-front royal palace, an elephant park and a few temples. Bangkok too has plenty of these and many more. Hence we decided to skip the exploration here and just hang around at the resort. If anyone is interested in what Hua Hin has to offer, they can check it out at: https://www.tripadvisor.in/Attractions-g297922-Activities-Hua_Hin_Prachuap_Khiri_Khan_Province.html


Cicada Night Market:

The famous Cicada night market of Hua Hin is just a minute's walk from the resort and is a delightful place to spend one's time. It had all kinds of shops displaying various arts, crafts, clothing, decor, entertainment, and of course a variety of delicious food items to try. They are open every Friday-to-Sunday between 4pm to 11pm.













Shopping Malls & Food Options:

Shopping is better done at Bangkok with all the options of malls and weekend markets there. It is also easier that way too lug your goods from Bangkok to the airport while on the return journey back home. But then who can resist the urge to splurge a bit when you are in Shopper's Paradise!


We had been to a couple of malls near the resort: 1) Market Village and 2) Bluport

where we shopped  at Miniso , a Chinese low-cost variety retailer and at Uniqlo, the reliable Japanese fashion clothing brand. It was fun to explore these places and do some window shopping as well. The malls also housed some popular eating joints like the The Pizza Company which had some delicious vegetarian pizzas on their menu.






Although we ate in mostly at the resort, we also tried a good Indian restaurant by the name - Kwality Indian Restaurant nearby, run by a Punjabi family. The food was homely and quite delicious. The owner and his wife took great care to cater to our requirements of taste and spice and were quite affable.  They do deliver food at your hotel/resort as well at a charge of THB 100.


Transport:

The resort provided shuttle service at specific times from the resort upto the Clock Tower of Hua Hin at 50 THB per person each way. Tuk-tuks are also available which charge THB 150 for a small ride one-way. The costs are a bit on the higher side but there are always other options. :)

We later rented a two-wheeler for our occasional outing at THB 250 for a day. Not that we saved much but it definitely added to our convenience.

There are public transport buses/trucks available as well to commute within the town and to-and-fro from the airport as well at a reasonably cheaper rate. We did not explore these options though.


Massage in Hua Hin:

Thailand is famous for its massages and arguably so, because they offer world-class massages at nominal prices. I do not understand the finer nuances of the massage but I do know that I and my family love the sheer varieties of massage on offer here.

Chillax Health Massage - One of the better rated massage spas at Hua Hin at nominal rates. I opted for the feet-legs-head massage for 90 minutes to soothe my sore muscles after a rigorous session of Suryanamaskars in the morning ;)

The masseuse was so good that I fell asleep while she was at her work. My son who was next to me in the same cubicle, also enjoyed his dose of health massage, giggling half the time.

Totally recommend this massage spa if you want to experience a good massage, the Thai way. Prior reservations are required as they are quite popular.  https://chillaxmassagehuahin.business.site/.

We loved our stay at Hua Hin.  An ideal place to visit if you do not want to travel extensively from Bangkok and yet experience the sea. 



Saturday, November 9, 2019

Upperi (raw banana chips)



Made upperi today after a long long time. They are nothing but fried raw banana chips simply marinated with haldi, chilli powder and some salt. I added some rawa today to get that crispy texture. 

Upperi was always prepared in our house on festive ocassions. I remember my avva (grandma) slicing the bananas and dipping them in turmeric water to prevent them from turning black. The thinner you slice the bananas, the crisper you get the upperis. There used to be a tussle between the family members as to who gets the crisper ones served on their plate. However, I always preferred the softer ones which are cut thick. No tantrums ;) 

A simple, nutritious raw banana preparation associated with memories galore...do try making upperi at home.