Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Bangkok is one city that i'll never be sick of dropping by for a chill weekend of food, massage, and cheap shopping! As we usually do relatively short trips, i've finally accumulated sufficient food content (ones worth sharing) for a proper Bangkok eats post. This post focuses on Thai food but if you're looking for brunch options, check out this other Bangkok brunch post.
Best Bangkok Pad Thai Thip Samai
313-315 Maha Chai Rd
I've heard of Thip Samai for the longest time but i've always been too lazy to travel to just one spot for simple street food. Plus, pad thai is great almost everywhere in Bangkok no? Apparently the locals love this and there is always a queue (that is very fast-moving thank god). 
Charcoal fire is used to produce the scorched smoky flavor of the noodles, which are fried in shrimp oil for that lovely orange appearance. Toppings such as tofu, little shrimps (like sakura ebi), leeks, egg, and bean sprouts are added. We went with the superb Pad Thai wrapped in egg (THB90), which comes topped with 3 chunky deep sea prawns. 
There's another version which has bits of fried egg instead of the egg crepe. They are the same essentially, except for their plating. I really enjoyed the chewy rice noodles. Make sure you add on more crushed peanuts and some chili flakes for texture and flavor!
Woke up late for brunch in Bangkok and haven't done your research on where to go? Well well, my suggestion is to head to theCOMMONS at Thonglor, which is still the hippest district in BKK (i believe). The eco-friendly mall houses artisan cafes and eateries and also cool shops. Plus the architecture is interesting enough for you to just wander about and appreciate it. Oh and it houses Roast, which is BKK's favorite cafe.
The Commons is divided into 4 sections – Market, Village, Play Yard, Top Yard. Most of the food offerings are at the Market, while Roast is at the top level. 
Since this post is about brunch, i'm gonna focus more on the brunchy, wake-me-up kinda food. Do note that there are other heartier, meatier, savory options available at The Commons. 
Mon-Thu: 10am-11pm / Fri-Sat: 9am-11pm / Sun: 9am-10 pm
Possibly the kick-starter of Bangkok's love affair with brunch, Roast nailed it with their all-day breakfast. The chunky crab cake eggs benedict left us wanting for more. How is one crab cake even enough! Oh and the strawberry waffle is another must order. You could also have burgers, steak frites, roast chicken etc. should you dine later. Coffee here is such as lunch (burgers) and dinner (steak frites B890, roast chicken B480). Thanks to carefully-sourced beans roasted in house, the coffee here is excellent. 02-185-2865

Daily: 9.30 am - 10 pm
Egg, egg, egg, and more eggs! I don't know about you but i think egg is a superfood, plus it's so versatile! Egg My God uses eggs on their own, as an ingredient, a side, a main, and in their desserts. Oh and they also have it in its preserved form- think salted egg yolk angel hair pasta with truffle and chive oil, shiitake.
If you're young and strong and are in for some fun and play in your yoga practice, then Vikasa Yoga Retreat Koh Samui will be perfect for you. This cliff side 'resort' will give you a stair master workout, which i think is great for that perky butt (werk it girls and boys) but may be pretty straining for some but hey, that's why you're going to a retreat right? 
After focusing on my Ashtanga practice for a week at Samahita Retreat (read review here), i shifted over to Vikasa Yoga Retreat (because i didn't want to leave Samui and so i extended my stay). Vikasa is a depart from the quietness that is Samahita. Read on to find out the difference. 
A quick run down on how to get to Vikasa Yoga and what to do. 
Step 1: Book a room
Morning Ashtanga self practice instead of Meditation class
Vikasa is an all inclusive yoga retreat, which means that you only need to pick your choice of accommodation, and you'll get access to all the group yoga classes conducted, facilities, and 2 daily buffet meals. Creatures of comfort should go with the Superior Ocean View Rooms (the ones facing the pool, near the Big Shala, are the best). Also, they are slightly nearer to the top, which means slightly fewer steps, but it guarantees you a nice ass still. Somehow i didn't book that one and i ended up in a less inferior standard Ocean Room (with balcony and semi outdoor shower). BAH. 
My semi outdoor shower, which i shared with my pet lizard which terrorized me every night. Where is the bathtub that i was promised?! 
The Zen bungalows
The Beach Bungalows are kinda really far out and i think the steps are pretty jagged and dangerous especially when navigating around at night. If you're a fan of A Bug's Life, then the Zen Bungalow would be your thing. College backpacker type can go for the Yoga Caves, which are essentially cubes with shared shower facilities. 

Step 2: Go for yoga classes
With 4- 5 classes a day which includes a meditation class every morning and a mix of powerful vinyasa and restorative yin kind of classes, there will be a class suitable for any yogi, from first timers to more advanced practitioners. I enjoyed the guided practice after all that Mysore at Samahita (though i did continue with my own Ashtanga practice on top of the Vikasa classes). Manduka mats are provided at each of the 3 outdoor shalas and they're pretty new and clean (yogis clean them using sanitizing spray after every class). Be covered in strong insect repellent or let the mosquitoes test your yogic concentration. Oh they bit through my Liquido leggings. Yea. If you're looking at becoming a yoga teacher, Vikasa provides a 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification. The crowd? It's mostly 20ish Caucasians looking to have fun, and maybe some purpose in life. 
Teachers wise, George and Alisa were great! Both are strong teachers and give tough classes but both are friendly, positive and humble. I was amazed at myself for completing the effortless transition from bhujanbikasana, flying crane, to bakasana, held it there and then jump back to chaturanga during the Vikasa class with Alisa. 
George also does a really fun acro yoga class if you managed to try it. I certainly had fun being spun around. It's all about building trust here- trust that your base doesn't drop you, and that your spotters will catch you when you do. For an interesting class, try Simon, a trippy yin yoga dude with a British sense of humor. Sergio did a great guided meditation and i felt myself focusing despite my horrible attention span. 
Step 3: Eat
I was rewarded with healthy tasting food at breakfast and dinner (both included in the per night price). Buffet style is done here and maybe i did overeat a little but hey, it's all vegetables and clean stuff which were mostly vegetarian with vegan options. 
Breakfast favorites were the muesli, chia seed pudding, mashed pumpkin (because i love), crepes with some of that yummy maca chocolate sauce. 
Dinner is a huge amazing spread with 1 seafood (fish/squid) option and 1 serving of dessert (they dont't give seconds). I could not resist that zucchini noodles with pesto sauce, edamame beans, thai stir fry zucchinis and the sourish cold rice vermiceilli. Be prepared to eat very well. 
Between meals, if you feel snacky, the Vikasa cafe is a great place to lounge and grab some juices, smoothies, and energy balls (those were amazing). Fuller options like burritos, salads, and Thai food are available too. 
Step 4: Chill
There may not be a nice flat sandy beach, but you can lie on the flat rocks if you want to. The view is quite spectacular and it's possible to swim (if you're a strong swimmer). That or laze by the gorgeous infinity pool. You know it's the perfect place to strike your yoga pose in that IG photo because they even have blocks for you to balance on. Yea...
The spa is pretty amazing too with great ocean views by its cliff side location. It's super private as well. I enjoyed my Deep Tissue massage and they even have a special Thai Yoga Massage created specially for yogis. 
Step 5: Repeat
I can definitely do this all day err day man. Of course, you can also get out of the retreat to one of those night markets, just so you can say that you actually visited Koh Samui. The convenient location of Vikasa makes it easy to get to Lamai or Chawang Beach on a tuk tuk or taxi. 

A tip for you on getting to and from Vikasa from the airport. The taxi/minivan service (approx THB200/way) is much cheaper than the Vikasa transport (THB500/way) so you may want to consider that if the timing is right. 
Friends have asked which yoga retreat i preferred. Well.. I liked both actually so it really depends on whether you prefer variety (Vikasa) or serenity (and the punishing Ashtanga- Samahita). But whatever it is, Koh Samui is definitely another yogi heaven.

211 Bontji Moo 4 Koh Samui 84310, Thailand
Phone:+66 77 422 232
When i visited Koh Samui last yeari was in a mess. Like literally. I was sick, tired, and was in a terrible shape (too much eating in NYC). I knew i had to get away from the horrible haze in Singapore (no thanks to Indonesia), even if it was for a short bit. So i found myself a yoga retreat just 2h away from home, packed my bags and mats and an entire wardrobe of lululemon and liquido yoga gear and left. Samahita Retreat and Vikasa Yoga were my top choices and they are great, both with a strong emphasis on yoga, wellness, and clean eating (plus more).
Samahita Retreat is a quiet spot on Laem Sor beach and they are exactly what they described themselves to be- a wellness resort where someone traveling alone can meet like-minded yogis (yogis and foodies are the best kind of people).
I love the openness of the space, be it airy indoor shalas with high ceilings, or the huge window panes that allow the sea breeze in. It would be lovely to practise on the beach shala but it was under renovation then (bummer). That said, the smaller beach cabana was available during morning classes. 
It is also here at Samahita Retreat that i went deeper into my Ashtanga practice. Ashtanga has got to be the most punishing practice ever (IMO). I had some led classes in Singapore (until my teacher gave up on teaching us ho ho) and have been hopeless with memorizing the sequence (the primary series alone could take up to 2 hours to complete). But within 3 days of the Mysore practice, i committed the sequence to memory (ok i still mix it up sometimes). You'll see progress in less than a week really.

Beginners do not have to worry about not knowing yoga or ashtanga. Led classes (guided class) are conducted at the same time as the Mysore class (self practice with a teacher to correct students individually). I'm really grateful for the practice, and the positive vibes from my fellow yogis. There's no judgment, no competition, only kind words #blessed.
Let me bring you through a typical day at Samahita Retreat on their all inclusive Yoga Daily program, which includes all yoga classes, use of facilities, and 2 meals a day.
7am: Light breakfast is served. I'd grab some hill tribe organic coffee to perk myself up before Breathwork/Mysore. The pranayama class helps to wake you up gently but I like to shock my system. While the LED class begins on time, the Mysore practice is free and easy and you could join anytime.  
10am - 1pm: Brunch buffet. During low season, residents pick 2 - 3 cooked dishes with some toast, fruits, juices, and oatmeal served buffet style. The menu changes daily so you get a variety of dishes. Vegetables is the mainstay here but you get 1 fish option for each meal.  Honestly I did not miss having meat at all because the food is really damn good. I would be a vegetarian if i can get food like this every day. It's all about healthy and nourishing food. Eating clean never felt so satisfying really. 
Here are some of my favorites from brunch- Cinnamon whole wheat pancakes/ French toast/ Oatmeal Porridge (they alternate between a bread/porridge for brunch). And definitely PEANUT BUTTER and BERRIES JAM with the lovely carb or yogurt. Oh and that spinach cheese crepes were amazing too! 
There are also heartier options for brunch which includes carbs dishes, stir fried veg and fish etc.
The Tom Yum fried fish and soup were soooo goooood! So was the stir-fried pumpkin/zucchini with egg!
Free and Easy Afternoons: I would recommend a swim in the salt water chlorinated pool or in the sea which is steps away. You can also take the stand up paddle board out anytime as well (it's complimentary) and you can really work on balancing in your yoga poses, or working on your upper body strength, or just lie on it and get a tan! 
Or go for one of the massages at the Spa. I had the Touch of Ayurveda and opted for a strong deep tissue therapeutic massage to go with the Ayuvedic oil. It was superbly good in relieving the tenion on my upper body from Ashtanga practice.
Feeling peckish? The kitchen is open all day long so you can get fuller meals like Thai or Western food, healthy detox juices, and raw snacks. I love their Goji Bliss ball and the Cashew Nut cup. Fresh Thai coconuts are also available and they are just so perfect for an afternoon by the beach.
5 - 6pm: Restorative Yoga Class. This is typically a yin yoga class to balance the yang energy from the Ashtanga practice. I was surprised that i actually liked it because it's so relaxing and easy. It really does help with easing some tensions from all that strain from the chaturangas and jumping. 

Sign up for the complimentary use of the Herbal Steam room before 5pm and it'll be ready for use from 6 - 8pm. If you're not that hungry, by 6pm, i'd say get yourself hot and steamy, then go into the pool for a bit, and repeat. It's really good for blood circulation. There will be enough time for dinner after that.
6 - 8pm: Dinner Buffet is served during this time. Again, it's ala carte choice during low season. My favorites are the Yellow curry (with sweet potato and potato) and roti, stir fried veggies are always yummy, Pad Thai, Spaghetti with rocket (black pepper style with olives and feta!!). The cooking is done Thai style by the way. You're in Thailand afterall. Oh and i inhale their Thai zucchinis all the time. I really look forward to the meal times. You can always go light with the steamed veg and salad options so it's really all up to you. You'll also get 1 small portion of dessert each night (it's rationed)!
7.30pm: Optional daily night activities. Meditation classes offered on Sun, Tues, and Thu. I avoided it because I'm terrible at meditation but the shala is really peaceful and beautiful at night.
If you're serious about detox, Samahita Retreat also offers several personalized and guided Detox, Healthy Weight and De-Stress programs. They do colon hydrotherapy and fasting etc. as well. Be rest assured that you'd be well supported by the Samahita team. 
Samahita Retreat is also home to Centered Yoga, which offers the 200h and 500h Yoga Alliance certifcation at the 200h and 500h. They get really good guest teachers over there and i'll definitely be checking one of those out. Kino is probably going in 2016!!
Accommodation wise, the rooms are spacious and clean and there is WIFI. There's no TV but i guess you can always watch something on your gadget. I used their laundry service and it was efficient and very affordable (THB120/kg). 
Some downsides. It can be fairly noisy sometimes with the human chatter as the indoors shala is just across the kitchen During the morning session, you get the whole brunch preparation going on and in the evenings, it'd be the dinner prep. So.. Anyway, i guess it'd be better at the beach shala once it's ready again since it's slightly farther from the chit chat. 
I loved Samahita Retreat and I would not mind staying here again for an extended Ashtanga practice. Till the next time!

Thailand 55/20-24 Moo 4, T. Namuang, Suratthani,, Thailand


You will never go hungry at Point Yamu by COMO (read the full review here) even though it's located at the far end of the island. Oh trust me it's not worth the 1h trip from here to Patong for anything. You're better off relaxed and feasting in probably the best Thai and Italian restaurant in Phuket, Nahmyaa and the La Sirena at Point Yamu, with the best sunset view to boot. 

Impeccable service right from the time you step onto the premise and to the time you depart. That is what is expected at any COMO Hotels and Resorts. A recent visit to Point Yamu by COMO in Phuket Thailand sealed my love for this luxury chain. Located at the tip of Cape Yamu overlooking the Andaman Sea and limestones karsts of Phang Nga Bay, Point Yamu is the perfect island getaway.
Bangkok, the enigmatic gem in the Land of Smiles, the budget shopper's paradise and a non spicy eater's nightmare. From the indie to plebeian, high class luxury to ghetto queer, there's everything and anything for anyone. Following my post on A different kind of traveling, this post will provide some specific tips and things to do in Bangkok in a weekend. I will follow up with other posts on my eats soon!
It's been a while since the boy and i headed back to the start of our travel adventures. Bangkok was our first travel destination as a couple. Back then I don't suppose we thought it would have been this long. Haha. Even as poor undergraduates, our spending power was multiplied (thanks to our strong currency) and we lived like kings and queens. Every long holiday or during breaks, this would be our home. That was before we started exploring the other continents. It's been what.. more than 5 years since we last had our awesome bowl of tom yum gung? So anyway S & i decided it was time to drop by for a visit and so we did, over a weekend in March! Gotta love weekend escapades. 
Tip 1: Location Location Location
One thing that we remembered about BKK was the horrendous traffic jams. We had to factor at least 1.5h to get to the airport by cab previously. Now say hello to an efficient airport train that brings you right into the heart of the city (it connects with the Subway as well as the BTS sky train). It took us about 30mins to get to the Siam area. 

If you only have a weekend to explore Bangkok, Siam is the best place to base yourself. We stayed at Holiday Inn Bangkok which was just in front of the Chit Lom BTS. It is a station away from Siam Square and Siam Paragon shopping area and shopping starts right outside your door stop. The other plus point is that you can walk anywhere from here and it's all sheltered. 
No time for sightseeing? It's alright. The Thao Maha Brahma, a famous 4 face Buddha temple is right across the hotel. That is usually my dose of sightseeing in Bangkok. We tried to visit a temple this time round but we didn't have the luxury of time considering how we wanna just enjoy and soak up the Bangkok atmosphere. :P 

Tip 2: Plan for a mid day break
The dust and grim, soot and dirt could be quite annoying and uncomfortable after a day of shopping. So why not take a break and head back for a mid day break? Taxis are readily available and even with the crazy traffic at times, it doesn't cost much to cab from anywhere in the city. (Make sure the meter is set to run when you board the cab). We used to head back to the hotel mid day to wash the dirt off ourselves and reward the aching feet with a soak in the jacuzzi. Trust me, it's the best break you can get. Make sure you factor in the mid day hot tub relaxation time. Can't go wrong with that. 

Tip 3: Street Food FTW, Tom Yum Gung ALL THE WAY!
The best food are eaten off the streets (Not literally off the pavements! The 5 second rule does not work ANYWHERE my friends). We used to head to the Suan Lum Night Market at Lumphini for local designer shopping in much cooler weather and also to enjoy the street dishes at the alfresco food court with live entertainment. Damn the closure! :( Anyway, i have yet to taste any bad tom yum gung in Bangkok, so this dish is safe to eat anywhere. Some good options are those little eateries hidden in the alleys in Siam Square. We saw long queues and the food smelled awesome. This particular tom yum soup is from a seafood restaurant at Siam Paragon and it was pretty good too (we were really too tired to walk and hence it was a convenient option).
Yummy huge ass juice crunchy prawns! Love love tom yum gong. You simply gotta have this at every meal. Really. If you don't, i guarantee you immediate regret the moment you plonk your behind on the plane seat back home. There is never too much tom yum. Period. 

Tip 4: MacDonald's Pork Burger

A must eat for you phatty Chinese girls and boys out there because this will never appear on the shores of our sunny island. The MacDonald Samurai Pork Burger is a simple snack in between meals or as a late night snack. The Thais aren't that big on supper i feel. Perhaps we just didn't explore the supper spots. Do tell me if you know any! Holidays are meant for overeating. It's our prerogative.

The pork patty is very tender, even more so than our grilled chicken burgers. Glazed with a light teriyaki sauce and simply served with lettuce, a dollop of mayonnaise and sandwiched between 2 soft sesame buns. Somehow the bun is more fluffy than those we have in Sg. Boo.   

Tip 5: Forgo the touristy Chao Phraya Boat Tour
Maybe it's just our bad bad luck but this is the 2nd time we tried to take the boat down the Chao Phraya River and we still failed! The first time round we decided to explore the Khao San area and then find our way back to Chinatown by the ferry. We walked through workshops and deserted alleys and had to ask for directions a million times. Not sure if they understood us in the first place. When we finally got to the dock, they told us that the river was closed for the rehearsal of the King's birthday. Bad luck. 

So what happened this time? We decided to play smart by cabbing to the Sathorn-Thaksin pier. Can't possibly get lost right? Wrong again. Cabby dropped us at the private tourist boat area but we wanted the authentic local experience! After figuring how to walk to the right pier, we boarded the wrong ferry which took us across the river. Ferry trip FAIL. Never again will i do this. Anyway we checked out the right queue and it's crazy. Moral of the story? Don't waste your time taking the ferry. Take the BTS. Take a cab. Or walk. Better still, take a pink Tuk Tuk. 
Tip 6: Cafe hopping at Thong Lor
Sick of all the shopping and squeezing with the impossible crowd at the Chatuchak weekend market or the air conditioned Platinum Mall? Need some indie chill out place to soothe the raw nerves? Head to Thong Lor then (be prepared to walk though). There are some really really cool cafes and shops and a very strong Japanese culture brewing here. 
Some high end boutiques and stores selling branded second hand goods. I was lusting after a particular brand new Hermes Cuff and AMQ clutch and Chanel ear rings. It was quite funny because S and i were wearing matching singlets that I bought from Vietnam and that didn't go very well with high fashion. 

Another cool restaurant that we chanced upon while walking to our cafe destination. Reminded me of the cool boutiques opposite Harajuku shopping street. Will be back to explore this area more thoroughly soon. Indie and luxury is more up my alley and i'll be posting my indulgent eats in Bangkok soon. Watch this space!

Tip 7: Check out the full service flights
For weekend trips, you obviously wouldn't want to be spending too much on the flights. BUT, do not immediately book yourself on a flight on Jetstar (that's the bare minimum i can accept and only for short flights). Do check our the full service flights because for a little more ka-ching, you will enjoy better service, better food and better entertainment. I think it's very reasonable to pay about $50 extra for full service. Sometimes, budget airlines end up charging close to or more than full flights. For this particular trip, we went with Thai Airways which is comfortable enough. Nice food. Friendly service. Not too bad entertainment system (acceptable for short trips). I've taken Cathay to BKK before (it's really great of course) and TA comes close. :))

My 7 cents worth of tips for a faboosh BKK weekend. Do check back on my indulgent eats soon! Till then, BKK my love.