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Amaaaaazing Thailand… Bangkok and Koh Yao Yai


We love holidaying in Thailand and keep coming back again, and again….

Last time, we chose to fly from Copenhagen on Qatar Airways, via Doha.
It was nice with halfway break at the new airport in Doha. Great facilities like free (fast) wi-fi, great shops (like Lindt chocolates pick & mix… and Tiffany…), good food variety and very, very clean bathrooms 🙂
The Qatar Boeing 787 aircraft was also very nice with lots of space, a huge selection of movies, tasty food and excellent service – not a bad combination at all!
Mobile reception/coverage and wi-fi onboard as well.


Being huge Anantara fan(atic)s, we were not in doubt where to stay this time,….obviously at the  Anantara Bangkok Riverside.

Happy tourists on the Anantara shuttle boat from the hotel to Saphan Taksin pier and skytrain station.

We always make the reservation on the excellent Anantara website (to see website, click here) and to our surprise and luck, they often have a promotion (low season) on their site when we book. The promotion reads, that when you book a room category, you’ll automatically get an up-grade to the category above the one you booked.
So, during our previous stays, we booked a Junior Premier Suite, and upon arrival…. we end up in room #763, which is one of the cool corner Anantara Premier Suites. Needless to say, every single one of the approximately 110 squaremetres were breathtaking – especially the corner balcony, which boasts a magnificent view of the Chao Phraya River. I am stunned by the different lights during the day…the morning mist, the sunrise, the afternoon light, the just-before-sunset light, the sunset light, the night-light with all the lights from the city….just simply amazing!

A small part of the view from our huge corner balcony at the Anantara Riverside
A very spacious room with a priceless view – and a shower with enough water to drown inside…..

The location of the hotel is “on the other side of the river”, however, there is a shuttleboat service running throughout the day/evening and it takes about 15 minutes to reach the sky train station, Saphan Taksin – and from here, the rest of Bangkok. The sky train is by far the fastest way to transport yourself in Bangkok. It’s the cheapest as well, a 1-day ticket with unlimited trips costs only 120,- baht (approx. 3,70 usd).
The boats that takes you across the river are charming teak wood boats, and of course, on your way back – you get a cool refreshing towel from the cooler box – yet another small “extra” that shows Anantara’s constantly and natural attention for detail…

The shuttle boat
Picture by Anantara Bangkok Riverside.

The hotel also offers a free “Handy” in all guest rooms.
This is a truly genius idea that we’ve never seen anywhere else.
The “Handy” is an Android mobile with a local sim card, that allows you to make free local calls as well as go online. It’s also possible to share the data on the phone, which is great, as you can share it with your own mobile and that way stay be online also when leaving the hotel.
There is also lots of useful information in the handy, such as maps, shopping- and sightseeing advices and a lot more.
Just love this!

Anantara really knows how to personalise your stay... The handy being no exception....
Anantara really knows how to personalise your stay… The handy being no exception….

Food at the hotel is also very, very delicious…. 

After recommendations from friends, who had stayed at the hotel before us, we went to the Italian restaurant, BRIO.
Being lovers of Italian food, our expectations were quite on the high side….
The restaurant itself was really, really cosy and also represents one of the things I like most about Anantara – the mastering of combining luxury and warm cosiness…. Very few hotels and restaurant master this rare combination.
Apart from Anantara hotels, only Serena Hotels in East Africa knows this combination, that we always look for and value highly when traveling.
The service in Brio restaurant was excellent, the friendly waitress had her full attention on our table and we started off with an extremely tasty bread basket….sinfully good bread!!! And yes, definitely homebaked. The menu had lots to offer and it was really hard to decide on what to order.
We opted for the antipasti for two and OMG….must be one of the best antipasti ever  consumed anywhere. Extremely well prepared and tasted heavenly!
for main course I had the Hand rolled tortellini filled with chicken and porcini mushrooms.
Brian had the pizza with prosciutto and rucola.
Both dishes extreeeeemely tasty and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients used.
To have a look at the menus, click here.
No words can describe how well all the dishes tasted!
This meal was, without any doubt, the best Italian meal I ever had.
The only thing I missed was dessert….my fault. There was simply no space left.


The Benihana
Restaurant is another favourite at the hotel.
During my years in Kenya, I came to love tepanyaki dinners and Benihana is just as good as good old Misono back “home” in Nairobi.
There are different menus to choose between and some yummy starters and desserts as well.
The tepanyaki chefs are good and always perform a little show for you as well!


We also love dinner on the Riverside Terrace, overlooking the river, enjoying the sumptuous buffet.
The variety here is very, very impressive and with so much to choose between, you mostly end up taking small samples from just about every single dish.
I must admit though, that the spicy beef salad and the tepanyaki styled beef (prepared by the chef as I was watching) were my favorites 🙂
Service here is excellent as well and again – I wish I could have eaten more…..


Trader Vic’s 

This is another lovely restaurant at the hotel that we really enjoy.
The restaurant serves Pacific Rim cuisine, including unique tastes cooked in Bangkok’s only Chinese wood fired oven.
I must admit that the “Ahi Poke” is probably the best raw tuna I ever had….. Raw tuna with avocado, soy-ccili dressing and taro chips….. Sooooo yummy!!!
Service in the restaurant was absolutely amazing and probably the best we experienced so far at the hotel.
A couple of nights every week, there’s a liveband performing – very good music and not too close to the dining area. The bar is also very nice for cocktails! 🙂

Total yumminess!

Needless to say, the Anantara’s breakfast buffet was also a feast.

Anything you could ever imagine as a good start of the day was represented on the buffet. A great variety of western and far east asian temptations as well as really good service by the waiters.
I did love the waffles….and the pancakes a lot…. 🙂

Again, I must say that this was the best hotel we ever stayed at in Bangkok.

-The combination of luxury, warmth, and cosiness that Anantara masters so well
-The food
-The relaxed atmosphere
-The food
-The convenience of the shuttle boat to the sky train
-The great service
-The food 🙂

We simply can not wait to return to this gem! The sooner the better.


For those of you who know me well, you know that I love (good) food and, obviously, being a woman…. shopping!
SHOPPING in Bangkok is still good. We didn’t have much time this time around but we did manage to visit some great shops.
I had some fabrics from my dear friend Maria in Kenya and I had promised her I’d have some tops or dresses stitched when I got to Thailand.
The tailor, Harry’s Boss Collections, was recommended by a friend as it was nearby the hotel, just close to the Shangri-La hotel across the river.
Bobby and Harry managed to convert my African fabric into 2 gorgeous dresses that I already love! Brian also got some shirts and some really nice summer trousers.
All fitted just perfectly and we’ll definitely return for more goodies when visiting Bangkok again.


We also love CAELI JEWELRY shop, located at Central World shopping centre. The shop, CAELI , is filled with beautiful things and I can highly recommend the shop.
The selection is enormous and has a lot more jewelry to offer than what’s displayed in the shop. Whatever you want – they can make it for you as well! Isn’t that just great?
It’s also possible to shop online on the website and your order will be shipped by courier.
Caeli is specialised in diamonds and stones and yes, what can I say other than Marilyn was right – diamonds are a girl’s best friend…. 😉

Central World is located close to Siam Square, where my other favourite shopping mall, Siam Paragon.
All very easily reached via the sky train (stations Siam or Chit Lom).
I also simply love the Vuudh shops and Harnn shops in Thailand. There are plenty of them and mostly located at leading shopping malls and at the airport as well (both Bangkok and Phuket).
Their spa products are to die for. The candles….the interior room spray (GREAT for the bathroom!), the shower creams and so on…..and so on. Lovely products of very high quality. Slightly expensive compared to the general Thai price level, but so worth it!

At the Siam Paragon, it’s also possible to buy the beautiful Jaab Cards,
I simply love these cards! A bit pricy yes, but beautifully handmade and at the same time you support the Queen Sirikit Centre fo Breast Cancer Foundation as well as fair trade employment for women.
The cards can also be found at the airport.

A tiny selection of the Jaab Cards selection

Another great restaurant you simply must visit when in Bangkok is the Admiral’s Pub and Restaurant at Sukhumvit, Soi 24 (Oakwood building residence). It’s located just few steps from the Phrom Phong sky train station so very easy accessible.
I’ve known the hosts for just about 20 years and Khun Bent and Khun Na are lovely people and their restaurant really, really good – and cosy!

The menu consists of a good variety of Thai and international food. Am sure that the western orientated food is delicious, but I know for sure that their Thai food is amongst the best there is on this planet earth! I’ve always loved their Thai food and it hasn’t changed one bit throughout the years – still as yuuummmmmy!
More pics here and here as well 🙂
This great restaurant is open from early morning until late night and the service is outstanding, as are all the members of staff – definitely a MUST visit eatery in Bangkok!

Can’t wait to come back here!

I can also recommend the Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin at the Siam Kempinski Hotel.
Being a huge fan of Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen, it’s a must to try this one when in Bangkok.
The gourmet experience is outstanding (just like in Copenhagen) but the surroundings more exotic – however, I must say that the service is a lot better in Copenhagen.
Food was really lovely though and the dessert (banana cake, salted ice cream and caramelised milk)…. just heavenly!



If you want to visit a less developed island, I can highly recommend Koh Yao Yai outside Phuket.
We flew to Phuket on Bangkok Airways, which provides excellent service on a one hour flight. Hot towels, hot meal and free drinks 🙂 Full value for money!
From here we were heading toward the resort SANTHIYA KOH YAO YAI.
We had booked transfers via the hotel and were picked up at the airport and driven to the Ao Po Marina, which is about a 25 min. drive.
Not a bad place to wait for the speed boat.
We waited here for about 2 hours before it was time to board the speed boat to the island. The restaurant was overlooking the marina and with excellent facilities like nice, very clean toilets and free wi-fi. What more can one wish for?!
The boat ride took about half an hour and despite a bit of wind, quite an experience 🙂
Brian found this place on the internet during one of his famous surf sessions, where he finds places you and me never find….
Santhiya Koh Yao Yai (click here to learn more) is hard to describe in words, simply because there are none that fully describes this beautiful, amazing, pretty place.
It’s built on a mountain with reception, main swimming pool (with an amazing waterfall and nice, boat-like-sunbeds-in-the-pool) and restaurants down by the beach.
The most important part of the hotel, the spa, is almost on top of the mountain with beautiful views.
Upon arrival, you get a 10-min shoulder/neck massage in the reception while registering and that’s when I knew for real that I’d love this place….. :0))
The resort is very genuine Thai and despite being a 5-star resort, it’s a very laid-back and relaxed place with a very warm atmosphere. Absolutely no need for evening gowns, stilettos or anything fancy-like. I wore nothing else than flip-flops during the entire week and would have felt overdressed wearing anything else than that.
The pool villa  we had booked was located very high on the mountain and just about 100 metros from the spa reception – very convenient…
For more details on the villa, click here.
Being a very hilly place, there are small, open “shuttle cars” that takes you up and down the mountain. You just dial 0 and a car will come. However, during “rush hour” (meal times), you just stand outside your villa and a car will come almost immediately.
Our villa, 1201, had the perfect location!
The villa was beautiful and by far the most amazing pool villa we stayed in.
It’s rare that something looks better than on the website or in a brochure, but that’s definitely the case here.
The villa was huge! Enough space everywhere! The interior and decor is typical, traditional Thai with beautiful woodwork and details just about everywhere.
A sitting room with chairs, a huge sofa bed, satellite tv, minibar, wine fridge (guess who must loooooved that detail…?!).
Inside sitting/lounge area
The view from the bed, overlooking our pool and the sea
Part of our pool, as seen from the bedroom
Bathroom too big to fit into one picture – this was about half of it
A big dressing area with 2 wardrobes with plenty of space with 2 desks, more than enough space for your suitcases, safety box, hair dryer and so on. A huge bedroom and then – the bathroom.
THE Bathroom! About 15 metres long and about 3-4 metres wide. Half closed, half open aired. Two showers, one inside and one outside… Double sinks.
And yes – a bathtub as well, but located outside so you could enjoy THAT view while taking a bubble bath.
The open air shower in the bathroom. And behind the blue door …….
………..the outside bathtub
A bathroom so big that you could play hide and seek in there. So big that I was almost scared to walk out there alone at night. Hmmm, not almost…. I actually had to send Brian out there first when I had to go for my in-the-middle-of-the-night-pee…….haha. (Yes, I did reach that age!)
The area is beautiful and the island very untouched.
If you want to do boat trips, snorkeling trips or diving, there’s plenty to choose between with many different islands nearby.
You can also rent a motorbike or a car and drive along the island, which is about 10 km. long.
The beach at the hotel is really good. Sand and clear, warm, very salty water, about +29 degrees (my kind of water! 🙂
Morning walk from the villa to the breakfast. 20% increase down/uphill…
Both of us being food lovers……we must admit that food on the hotel was really, really yuuummmyyy and very delicious.
Thai food was amazing, as was the western orientated food. We loved the 3-course set menu that had different options every day and it was always very well prepared and with fresh ingredients. And yes – plenty of food! Generous portions.
Service at the restaurants was very, very good during all meals. All members of staff were very attentive at all times, no matter where and when.
Price level? Slightly above average Thai level, partly because most (if not all) of the food and beverage must be transported by sea.
There was a small, local beach restaurant some hundred metres away from us though, and am sure the prices here were lower. However, we loved the food at the hotel so saw no need to “risk” not getting another delicious meal 🙂
The Spa at the hotel was fantastic!
So fantastic that we could easily spend 2-3 hours on an almost daily basis.
Located very close to our villa, we could easily walk uphill and reach the grand spa reception. Upon arrival you were served jasmine ice tea while deciding on which treatment to have.
We went through most of the spa menu and enjoyed every second of all the treatments we had.
Very skillful staff and me being very ticklish, it’s sometimes hard to enjoy a massage, but therapist Tost was really, really good at massaging “difficult”and fussy clients like myself.
Just heavenly!
However, all the therapists were really good though.
All the treatment “rooms” are for 2 persons and all spa villas with an inside and outside area. And of course – with pleeeeeenty of space as well.
The spa manager and her staff took very good care of us during al our visits and on the day of our departure day – the spa manager even called and said goodbye, wishing us a good trip back home.
Needless to say, I was impressed. And amazed.
Prices at the spa are very, very reasonable and if you become a regular, like some people…, you do get a discount 🙂 My kind of spa!
Spa entrance
On the way to the treatment villa
Enjoying post-treatment snacks
We really loved the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai. Why?
-The fact that there are very few tourists
-Genuine Thai style
-The pool at our villa
-Great service
-The thai food
-The pool at our villa
-The very relaxed bare-foot atmosphere, yet still very high standards and quality
-The villa pool…..
Brian swimming in our pool with the sea and sunset behind
We will definitely return to Khun Danny and his team at Santhiya Koh Yao Yai – and hopefully soon!
Leaving was soooooo hard.
Very few places made such a great impression on me that I left with tears in my eyes.
However, this was one of them.

6 Responses so far.

  1. Charlotte says:
    Åhhh hvor ser det dog bare dejligt ud!! Sikke en skøn skøn ferie, og sikke 2 vidunderlige mennesker 🙂
  2. Really loved this post about Thailand. I have cycled around Phuket island 2/3 times. Really awesome beach bars, cafes and yummy food, which I loved a little too much. Excellent place to stay.
  3. Misty Waneka says:
    Enjoyed the post about Thailand. I have trekked around Phuket island a few times. Magnificent beach clubs, cafes, and the street food (Fried chicken) is great, which I love eating. Slightly worrying about the crocodile found in a marsh in BangTao, Phuket due to I used to live there, but still a wonderful place to vacation for a while.
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  6. Amazing article. Couldn’t be write far better!

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    Thompson Cannon