Portugal 2024

First week of April seems to be a good time to travel to Portugal. It’s Joao’s birthday and of course we would like to be there. A good option is the spend 3 days before visiting Setubal …. staying in Porto. Since we prefer Porto over Lisbon it’s the perfect plan. Flight was early morning. And TAP airlines becomes more and more my second worst favorite low cost carrier. The price per person to pick a seat in advance is 30€. Each. No service during the flight and an unfriendly crew makes your TAP experience complete. Well unfortunately there are only very few other options from MUC to LIS. Last time we stayed at the Curio by Hilton Boiera Garden. This time the new Hilton is ready and we booked ourselves a 3 days stay. As an overall summery… pretty nice and worth to stay.

After the ride from Lisbon to the north with rain all day long the next day was sunny and warm and dry. Mandy showed her belief and took a ride at the cable car. View was great and we crossed the huge steel bridge to the city of Porto after arriving.

We used the local bus to Boavista coz I wanted to see the concert hall. Looks like they turned the building upside down 🙃

Crossing all the small lanes and got a lot of sun ☀️ we had the best food Porto is famous for. Francesinha. Google yourself :) Tasty food and a lot of calories… yeah. The old tram made it together with the ferry boat an awesome day.

Stay tuned….

Bangkok – Europe

Spent 2 nights at Doubletree Sukhumvit. I stayed there last year and it was good. Usual business: pedicure, shopping and food. MBK rules. Taxi to BKK airport was 500 THB and 5 am it takes less than 30 mins. Since we knew that we were booked on Finnair I was curious about their new business class. You can find a lot of reviews through the internet. Finnair decided to it use one of the usual seats with reclining functions and lounge positions. No they have a seat that is already a lounge chair. I put myself on the side: what a great thing.

We had a double seat and once the small wall was set away it was like a sofa feeling. Amazing. Enough room to store your belongings. The cabin doesn’t not have overhead compartments in the middle which gives you the feeling of so much space. (ok knew that from the old business class already…) The crew was top notch, the selection of food and beverages as well. IFE is fantastic. Which makes it a 5 star flight experience.

Landed in HEL after 12:03 hours and surprisingly it didn’t feel like that. Short stopover for the transfer to Stockholm. What a difference, coming from a jumbo to a good old ATR turbo propelled aircraft :)

Found our way to the pre-booked airport hotel and …. got trapped here because of the weather conditions in MUC … At the moment we have no idea how to get home. :)

Koh Phayam – Bangkok

Guys time to leave the island. We had a relaxing week, too mich rain 🌧️ but god food , nice sunsets and peaceful views of the beach.

We talked with JJ about MM25 and made a huge progress. If everything worked out… then we will have a great time together with family and friends next year. Remarkable fact: it all french people matching the prejudices. Katherine did not and so we had some good times together. On the way to Ranong there was no rain , we made it in time to the airport and had some lunch… freshly baked bruschetta from Japanese bakery. And the pain in my body is a little better thanks to Pha massage.

Back in Bangkok the impossible happened.. a metered taxi from DMK to Doubletree Hilton Sukhumvit!!! What a luck. It’s Christmas time and at the Emporium they have the most horrible christmas tree ever . The angel, if this shall be one on the top reminds of Chucky . How creepy is that!!!

Koh Phayam – invited to attend dinner

JJ has invited us to join dinner with him. He mentioned that he bought a Tuna which has arrived a couple of hours ago. Question to us was : do you like sashimi? Answer: yes. Result:

I have to admit that i have not eaten such a fresh fish. Unbelievable tasty 😋 Accompanied with a spicy wasabi and soy sauce. so great. And when it was over we said thank you and tried to leave the table. JJ has said before it is just the appetizer and no one of us believed it. Wrong. It was an appetizer….

Followed by a whole fried fish (no bones!!) , jelly fish marinated) which is really good, chicken Hongkong style (means a cold dish ), and a very aromatic Tom Yum Gung soup. Wow. And finally, when we tried very hard to finish the table (without success ) a huge plate of mango slices and sticky rice was served . The desert. No way. White flag above our heads, we said Khop-Khun-Mah-Khrap and rolled out into the night. Someone made the suggestion to visit the Hippy Bar at the end of the beach. So we did a walk for digesting the food. Later one it seems that Mandy is not untalented in Yenga game 😊 What an outstanding evening….

Koh Phayam – Loy Khrathong

One of the most important events in the buddhist cycle of the year. People give their krathong to the river or the sea for happiness. Mandy built those for us…..

As you may know put some personal things on it (hair , finger nails…) and hand it over

But only if you not sick … happened to me again, didn’t clean my Nalgene water bottle properly and the heat and bacteria did the rest. I slept for almost 18 hours, had some tea and a rice soup and the life saving Flying Rabbit.

Koh Phayam – temple event

The small temple at the island is still operated by monks. JJ invited us to participate with him and his staff. Event is for happiness and joy A lot of people showed up and the small temple looked really overcrowded. Our task was to make the money tree growing

people step by and donated money for Buddha . And got blessed by us afterwards. It seems we had a farang bonus. and so a lot of people were happy to donate and take a picture with us. A lot of food was served. JJ decided to offer Pad Thai to the crowd.

Later on the honor was on us to hand over the money to the monks. We were the only foreigners among all the local devotes. Kind of special feeling and some mighty. If I got an orange dress, they would feed me on the streets every morning.

What a crazy day .

Malaysia – Thailand- Koh Phayam

Last hotel in Malaysia: Hotel 99 Sepang. Chosen just because it’s close to KLIA.

Transfer :

  • Ferry from Pangkor to Lumut
  • Bus from Lumut to KL sentral bus station
  • walk to KL sentral for KLIA express
  • KLIA express to Salak Tinggi
  • Grab to hotel

I booked the cheapest room category and here is what we got offered

And no window.. so finally we paid 30 Ringgit more and moved to a better room.

For food , we had a lot of options, nevertheless it was (again) the most worst we had chosen. MarryBrown. A mixture of KFC and something else. Bad taste, freaking atmosphere. As the only foreigners we have been starred by all local people.

Our advice: don’t go there.

Set the alarm clock for 4 am. Wasn’t able to sleep but Grab was waiting for airport transport. Immigration and security check was fast so we had an early coffee at the lounge. first one after a couple of days. Air asia provided a full self service check in even for luggage. But hey it works. 2:10 to Bangkok , DMK. Since we calculated 3 hrs layover already enough time for breakfast at Miracle lounge. The Coral Forest Lounge was nice but a little …. well, small but nicely organized. Landed at DMK , passed immigration easily and got prepared for the flight to UNN. Ranong welcomed us back with rain and a cloudy sky. Pons place picked us up and the speed boat left somewhere in the fishermen’s village. Just because of low tide. Even the island didn’t shed any sun rays…. but we had a warmhearted welcoming at JJs. So nice to see them again and be here.

Koh Phayam has healing powers….

Malaysia – Pulau Pangkor – Nipah Guesthouse

A very warm welcome. We stayed here 2019 for last time. And nevertheless, the door was opened by Alicia and it felt like coming home. Even there is no do yourself breakfast any longer it is still the same nice and quiet place as we kept it in our memories. The kids grow up of course. Cottage 2 was prepared for us. No need to show any documents since we are considered to be VIP guests ;) For some moments we were talking about everything and anything. Both glad that this little jewel still exists. for breakfast we had mainly instant coffee, locally typical, three in one and ready to eat oatmeal porridge.. this came along with some crackers and plastic cheese. Not bad for starting a day. we rented a little scooter to move around. Pangkor is as it used to be. Less European tourists as Alicia said. But still enough local tourists to keep the business going. Anuar said that too many Malaysian people travel to Thailand instead of spending their money here. And we told them about our plans for retirement, since Malaysia is still on the list. Both recommend Ipoh to settle down. We’ll see how it goes. Sunset at Nipah beach. Food offers all over the island are ok. Best dinner : Indian food. best lunch: Maggi bowl TomYam flavored. Rain was hitting us every day but more sun than rain makes our stay pretty much good.

Today we’re going to KL by bus. I picked a hotel very close to the airport since our flight to DMK is 06:50 am. 3 hours layover at DMK airport and catch the flight to Ranong at 11:05.

Malaysia – how to (not) book a ride….

I tried to use my newly installed Grab app to catch a ride to KL Central. Well, it did not work out.At any time I try to do the face verification I got a server error back. Finally, we used a normal taxi and the fare was incredible. 50 Ringgit instead of 12 Grab. Taxi driver offered us to bring us to Lumut for 550 Ringgit. The next hurdle was to get to get a train ticket. We were 40 minutes prior to departure at the train station, but we will not able to get a ticket. The trick is you need to get a slip and wait for the counter officer, or you try to do itself check in at the kiosk both failed. We were not that happy and since even grab was not working correctly, I tried to chat with the support guys from Grab, but no solution. Mandy installed Grab on her phone and it worked with a charm. She ordered the taxi and the driver offered 330 ringgit to Lumut. Three hours by car, and we arrived at the jetty just in timeYes it was cold due to aircon operating.

Singapore-Kuala Lumpur

being on a short flight from Singapore to Lumpur Kuala Lumpur for 40 minutes. Interesting fact, there is no Uber any longer business was taken over by Grab. so we took a normal taxi which is 40 Malaysian ringgit to the Doubletree Hilton at Landmark Shopping center. As a Hilton Honors Member we got an upgrade on our room, and the hotel itself is quite busy but it comes with all amenities we need. It is the second Doubletree by Hilton with an executive lounge.

King Executive Room with Mountain View

Executive Lounge provides a huge variety of food. Highlights: fresh green salad which you can cut out with a scissor.

chicken , pasta and Nasi Lemak
tasty small pieces
Sweet stuff

And, since we are running out of shirts we bought some at Direct sport shop. End of season sales and cheaper than black Friday offers in Germany.

I installed Grab so me be we get a cheaper ride tomorrow.