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Asian Favourites Winter 2009-10

My Asian Favourites
This is to save me writing out these lists over and over again for people who are following in my footsteps as well as for my own reference. Happy travels!!

Favourite Travel Gear
Clothing- North Face cargo pants and vapor wick tshirts, Exofficio underwear
Electronics – Toshiba NB200 netbook, Creative Zen mp3 player
Misc-Jade Yoga mat, Klean Kanteen water bottle

Thailand
Bangkok:
Favourite hotel- Stable Lodge. It is a little pricey at about 50 $USD a night but it is quite decent and in a very handy location right off the Skytrain. A testament to the good value here is that you have to book well in advance to have a hope of getting in. Sukhumvit Soi 8, Skytrain Nana, tel 66 (0) 2653 0017-9.
Fantastic street food- Sukhumvit Soi 8. I have tried all but a couple of the street vendors on this soi and the food is always fantastic. Don’t miss the ice coffee, this woman is a caffeine delivery genius.
Good French Restaurant- Bonjour. Great French food and lunch prices are affordable. Sukhumvit Soi 59ish, Skytrain Ekamai, tel 66 (0) 2714 2112. www.bonjourbangkok.com.
Gigantic weekend market- Chatuchak Market. An awesome market that is fun just to meander around and look at oddities and snack at the great food stands.. Skytrain Mo chit

Chiang Mai:
Great guesthouse- Vanilla Place. Mr. Kem and wife Kat are the most accommodating hosts you could ever hope to find. The beds are super comfy. Ask for room at back of hotel, standard rooms are just fine. Cost 900 baht. 66 (0) 53 233925-6 73/2-3 Charoenprathes Rd. T.Changklan A. Muang.
Good Guesthouse in the old city- Parasol Inn. Good quality rooms about 1000 baht. Tel 66 (0)53-8141011
My Second Home- Banilah Good rooms with wifi/AC/private bath. Staff are super and they make a great cappuccino . They even loaned me a bicycle. About 500 baht Www.banilah.com Tel 0 5322 3683
Thai Massage- Nina Lanna Great massage , very comfy, clean, affordable and Nina is a sweet lady. Two doors down from Vanilla Place 73/7 Charoenprathes Rd . T.Changklan A. Muang. Tel 053-232158
Thai Massage- Nerve Touch Massage Founded by Lek Chaiya, this is Thai traditional massage with the added healing benefits of steamed herb packs. I had a massage here and liked it enough to sign up for the basic training. Located on Ratchadamnoen Rd. near Thapae Gate
Thai Massage- Ajarn Sinchai Mr. Sinchai has over 40 years massage experience. You can come for a great therapeutic massage or for massage training, 400 baht for two hours. 50/1 Chang Phuak Rd just north of Chang Phuak gate. Tel 08692 43210
Ice Cream- Iberry Gourmet ice cream and chic décor. soi 17 area off Superhighway
Great little breakfast joint- Kai Kra-Tha. Tasty breakfast and Thai coffee served cheerfully. 37 Prapokklad Rd. the old city.
Thai Fusion-Nasi Jumpru Way off the beaten path but worth the trip tel. 053-345-362
Classic Thai Food Restaurant- Antique House. Northern Thai cuisine with traditional musicians playing in the evening. About half a block from Vanilla Place
Yoga- Chiang Mai Yogasala. The instructor William is a bit of a rebel and he has some great techniques for getting the most from your practice. He had Paddy McGrath there for a back-bending workshop while I was there and it really was helpful.

Nong Khai:
Favourite guesthouse, end of- Mutmee Lodge. It’s really a destination unto itself. Nestled on the banks of the mighty Mekong, I have yet to find a better place in the world to chill out. tel 66 (0) 4246 0717. Make sure you call to confirm the morning you are due to arrive www.mutmee.com/
Best Barbq- on the main street evening food market look for the stand with many chickens on rotisserie. Get the bbq pork, it is thee best. During the day there is great grilled fish along the river.

Laos
Vientaine:
Decent guesthouse- Saysouly. Good location and the rooms are OK. 23 Manthatulath Road, Tel (856-21) 218383 110,000 kip for dbl room with fan and attached bath www.saysouly.com
Good restaurant-Makphet. Good food, free wifi and they are helping street kids make something of their lives.
Lively Bar-???? Don’t know the name but this bar is next to the InterCity Hotel along the Mekong. It is on the rooftop about three floors up. Good atmosphere with a mix of locals and farang. Pool tables.

Luang Prabang:
Good guesthouse-Seng Phet. Located on soi right by Joma Bakery. Decent dbl room with fan and attached bath only 50,000 kip. tel. (856-071) 253 534
Rewarding LPB activities- Watching the novice monks procession at dawn when they receive alms, climbing Mt. Phousi, visit the waterfall, night market, volunteer at Big Brother Mouse literacy center, visit village just across the Mekong, take Lao cooking class .

India
Kolkata:
Good Restaurant- Peter Cat. On Middleton Row just off of Park Street by Flurrys. Try the chelo kebab.
Good Restaurant- Red Hot Chilli Pepper Good food and beautiful decor. 26/2 Ballygunge Circular Road tel. 2474-4108
Good Restaurant- Oh Calcutta. Posh restaurant that serves up high quality, authentic Bengali food. Pricey by Indian standards but the food is great. Top floor of the Forum Mall, Elgin Road.
Good Resaurant and Bakery- Flurry’s. Thee place for a weekend breakfast in Cal. The bakery counter has great treats to take away. The chicken puffs are heavenly. On Park Street.
OK hotel- Roland Hotel. It isn’t the greatest and is not cheap but that seems to be the norm in Kolkata. 28A Rowland Road, close to Minto Park tel. +91 2454-6948
Best transportation deal- Subway. At 4 rupees a ride on this fairly modern subway system you can’t go wrong.

Bangalore:
Great Restaurant- Sunny’s. Tres chic with great food. I highly recommend the tenderloin with Bearnaise, for dessert frozen meringue cake . 34 Vittal Maliya Road tel. 2224 3642
Best way to Mysore- Shatadbi Express Train#2007. This train is comfy, clean and they serve a decent meal. The journey takes about two hours. Rs. 305

Mysore:
Indian home cooking-Nagarathna’s (Yogic Supplies). Sweet lady who has been feeding yogis for 24 years. Veg. Her breakfast is the best and you can just show up. Call the day before for lunch/dinner. Just off Double tank Road tel. 0821 2333876
More India Home cooking- Sandhya’s House. Very popular, wonderful tomato chutney. Veg. Book lunch the day before. Tel 0821-2332648 close to Mahesh Prasad.
Cafe-Mahesh Prasad. Great atmosphere, this place does a booming business with both locals and Westerners. The grape juice is fantastic and helps make up for the food which has a strong curry flavour and is often oily (sadly this typical in South India). Veg
Breakfast cafe-Santosha. They make ggreat bread. Located in Gokulam, close to P. Jois Shala 398 3rd Stage Road tel 0973 9126008
Breakfast cafe-Anokhi Great chilled out atmosphere and nice western style food.. In Gokulam, turn left at the coconut stand. 408 Contour Road. Tel 0821 4288923
Breakfast cafe-Vivian’s. Just up the street from the P. Jois shala. Try the hearty Tibetan brown bread. Free wifi.
Breakfast cafe- Tina’s. It’s a tough call but I think this is my favourite of the Gokulam breakfast joints. Breakfast is served from Tina’s home. Don’t confuse it with Tina’s Cafe which is only open for lunch and dinner and is also good.
Banana Loaf and Nut Butters- Prabha’s. He serves meals in his cozy front room too.tel 97391 26011
Non-veg Restaurant- Hotel RRR. Very good chicken and mutton biryani. On Gandhi Square.
Tailor-Rashinkar. Very reasonable prices on tailor made clothing and also many yoga books and supplies. Near main market tel 2422622
Silver- Silver Nest. Very relaxed atmosphere to buy silver trinkets. Meena’s home is just a block over from the P. Jois shala. #279 7th Cross tel. 0821 4257320
My Yogashala-Mysore Mandala. Offers a wide array of classes, Mysore classes usually small with many gentle adjustments. Will arrange accommodations. Tel 0821 4256277. 581 Dewan’s road, Lakshmipuram, on street right by double tanks.

Kovalam Beach, Kerala:
Good restaurant-Fusion. This restaurant actually lives up to the name with equal East, fusion and West portions to the menu. Great drinks and food though I found it better to lean towards the Eastern side of menu. 2nd floor overlooking the beach and always seems to be graced with a cool sea breeze.
Good restaurant-LonelyPlanet. Located the next block back from the beach alongside a fish pond. Good Indian veg
Good Hotel- Golden Sands Resort. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Located off of the beach with a nice pool. Good sized room with balcony and hot water. Special yoga rate Rs. 850
Coffee Shop-Junction Cafe Art Gallery. The best coffee I had in Kovalam. It is at Kovalam junction just down the street from the ICIC ATM, handy place to stop if you are on a cash run.

Varkala:
Guesthouse- Silent Valley. Guesthouse on quiet south cliff of Varkala. Nothing fancy but room was clean with nice linen. Far from the north cliff action so you will have to use rickshaws at night. Pleasing rate of Rs. 500. Associated with Pachnagni Ayurvedic center, call 9447279552

Pondicherry:
Decent Hotel- Hotel Surguru. Good room, a little far removed from the beautiful French quarter. Hot water, satellite tv and all. Rs. 1300
Breakfast spot-India Coffee House. Rustic cafe serves Indian breakfast, good coffee and Bombay Toast (French toast). On Nehru Street close to MG road
Coffee shop-Hot Breads. Good breads, including croissants, and nice coffee. Along canal
Good Restaurant- Cottage Restaurant. This restaurant is associated with the ashram with cheap, good quality food and lovely décor. Limited hours. Along the canal.
Good Restaurant- Dion Giovanni. Of all the European places in Pondy I tried this one was the best with the Italian owner watching closely over proceedings. On rooftop of Hotel Corbeli,Mission St.
Health Food Store-Bon Apetit. On the canal, great for stocking up on snacks
Sites-Auroville and area quite lovely. Aurobindo ashram has several enterprises based around it and the ones I checked out like the paper factory and batik shop were quite good. If you plan ahead you can stay at one of the many ashram accommodations and eat at the dining hall, good and very affordable.

Goa:
Wonderful Hotel-Hotel Bougainvillea (Granpa’s Inn). Very nice hotel, reasonably priced for Goa with decent food and lovely rooms. There is a very good yoga facility on the grounds called Brahmani Yoga with two large yogashalas. Also a lovely pool. Tel 0832 3271 Anjuna, Goa
Favourite Restaurant in India-Villa Blanche. Run by German couple who can really cook up a storm. Main courses I tried were all home runs and desserts,baking and coffee were fantastic. Nice chill out music too. Tel 9822155099 283 Socolwaddo, Assagao, Goa
Ayurvedic Massage- Chavutti Thirumal. Very firm Indian massage by foot pressure tel 09922179530

Shillong:
Good Hotel- Hotel Yalana. The rooms are comfy and clean with the upper floor newly constructed. Like most people in the Shillong, the staff are friendly and honest. In Laitumkhrah, a nice student area.
Good Restaurant-Eee Cee Restaurant. Newly reconstructed with a bright, airy dining room. The pizza, tandoori kebabs and momos are excellent.. Located by Police Bazaar.
Good Restaurant-Hotel Broadway. Good Chinese food, try the Lung Fung soup. Down the street from Center Point.
Good Cafe-Delhi Mistan Bhandar. Very good chai, puri subji and jalebis. On Police Bazaar.
Good Cafe- Matter of Taste. The food menu is not large but what they do make is good. Excellent place for cake and coffee in hip surroundings. By Laitumkhrah police point.
Good Cafe- Cafe Swish. Good coffee and nice decor. Laitumkhrah.
Good Cafe- Crossroads Cafe. Student hangout with good chow soup. Laitumkhrah by Don Bosco

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Brad the Nomad

Your guide to the good life

I love to live a healthy lifestyle, learn new things and travel extensively without spending a fortune.

Happy Travels,
Brad

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