Places With Benefits
There are a lot of things to not like about living here in Singapore. The isolation from family and friends, the lack of good cheese at decent prices, the horribly expensive wine. There are, however, quite a few things on the plus side of the equation as well. The weather (once one gets used to the heat), the diversity of people and food, and a perk we recently took advantage of.
Singapore’s location on the end of the Malaysian peninsula makes it a great jumping off point to visiting other places. It is a three or five hour bus ride respectively to Johor Baru or Kuala Lumpur. A mere six hour flight to Bali. And as we found out a pleasant two hour flight to Thailand. Spending only about seven hundred dollars US we spent from Saturday to Wednesday in the beach town of Ao Nang. That figure included flight and hotel. It was a great long weekend.
If you have ever visited Rhode Island, Ao Nang is reminiscent of Narragansett or Block Island in the summer. Plenty of souvenir shops and little cafe’s along the beach. Plenty of people selling advice, tours, and trinkets. Where it differs is the multitude of tailors and massage parlors. Also the food which was plentiful and very good.
The restaurants in particular were interesting. The menus resembled more something Hemingway would turn out than a dinner selection. They were thick, heavy, and confusing….in a good way. Almost every place had such a varied selection that I pitied the kitchen staff and buyers. Almost every place advertised wood fired pizza, in addition most had a selection of Thai and Indian dishes. The more ambitious few included pasta. One had all these plus steaks and burgers. It was mind boggling. At the same time it was a delight. On our short stay I had Green Curry Seafood, Pad Thai, Gorgonzola Gnocchi, and Braised Lamb Shank. An absolute delight for the taste buds.
We also took the opportunity to take a boat ride to one of the pristine islands for the day. Beautiful scenery,clear water, tropical fish swimming around you, and beers on the beach. Apart from the wait for the boat, we had apparently picked one of the less popular islands and had to wait for six people before they would take us out, it was a perfect day. The next day we visited the Tiger Temple. It was a breathtaking display of Thai Buddhist architecture and history. There is supposedly another temple at the top of the mountain that the one we saw rests against. It is one thousand two hundred and thirty seven steps to the top. The steps are knee high on me and shallow. We made it about two hundred before it was decided that this was not a kid friendly pursuit, no matter how awesome the view and temple at the top would be. I went out one night by myself to the night market in Krabi town. It was pretty cool, lots of things to eat and see. The best part of the market was getting to pet and feed an elephant that was hanging out with her handlers on one corner.
We spent the next two days hanging around the town, window shopping, and playing in the pool. We also got to go out one night and have an adult dinner, thanks to the hotel babysitting staff! The wife and I each took some time to go out separately and get massages on the beach. I can’t wait to be able to visit again, even if its only to sit on that beach one more time!