My excitement of being in Thailand can only be compared to that of a child at Christmas…leaving for the airport straight from work, two four-hour flights and a long stop over at Mumbai Intl had all been worth it.
Nam and her father, Somsak, met me at Bangkok International airport, before driving south to their coastal house in Cha-am. En route we stopped off to refuel and I was finally reunited with flossy pork ❤ if you haven’t tried it, do.
Eventually we reached Cha-am, where we paused briefly at the beach to pick out our seafood for dinner. Nam also introduced me to a road-side food vendor selling a SUPER sweet pancake-type dessert. I have a sweet tooth, but this was something else.
Later on, having been for a quick dip in the pool, we enjoyed a proper catch up whilst eating some of the tastiest seafood I’ve ever had. They then dropped me at the apartment I would be staying in (just down the road) and gave me a flying tour of the condo before parting ways. Nam couldn’t stay as she had to be back in Bangkok for work, as did Somsak – to this day I am so grateful that they went so far out of their way to accommodate me.
The following morning, breakfast had been served!! Before driving back to Bangkok, N&S had bought steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves, each with a different style of pork and left them on the kitchen table. They were SO delicious, I could easily eat them every day.
A quick dip in the pool, before driving down to Hua Hin. As if Nam and her family hadn’t already done enough in the 24 hours I’d been in the country, they also arranged for one of their trusted drivers to take me where I needed to go. That certainly seems to be the way things are done by many Thai people – much like an ongoing taxi service where you arrange when you need them, agree where to meet, then pay their petrol costs. It definitely ended up being hugely beneficial and far cheaper than the alternatives I had researched previously.
Hua Hin itself is a beautiful town. I quickly found the market that led down to the beach, passing many street vendors who were selling local produce amongst the usual touristy things. It was fascinating to watch an elderly lady prepare cubed pineapple like a ninja. It was as though she was cutting through butter.
Stopped off for a bite to eat and ordered what I thought would be regular chicken and vegetable noodles (really adventurous for my first meal out, I know). What I had actually ordered was a soup-like broth of diced chicken and vegetables, with sheet noodles. Lasagne-style, transparent sheet noodles. They had a slimy consistency, but grew on me and in the end I actually quite liked them! I’d later come across such noodles many more times. Accidentally.
One of the perks of booking a driver to take you from A to B is that they know the area; when asked if there was a vineyard nearby (having seen signs for some on the journey down and coming from a bit of a wino family) he knew the best one…and promptly drove me there! Driving away from the coast, you encounter the agricultural belt…and it’s nothing like the fields of sheep, wheat and barley we get back home. Aloe vera, pineapples, rice, bananas, mangoes…it’s a different world, and one that I was quite happy in. Stark contrast to the lifeless dust bucket of Kuwait ( it’s so hot there they can’t grow produce. Apart from dates).
We reached the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard where I spent a short time exploring whilst admiring the view, before returning to the lodge-style restaurant for a few tasters. Well it’d be rude not to. Enjoying a few glasses of Thai wine (and an interesting take on sangria??) as the sun set over the hills was something not to miss.
So concluded my brief encounter with the Thai coast – touristy in places, as you would expect, but beautifully preserved in others. I’m already planning my next visit. For now though, it was on to the Jungle…