The long awaited Tour de Asia 2017 has begun. Finally! It feels like the whole year revolves around this tradition. We book the trip in June, start counting the months in September, book restaurants and tours in November and then fly off in December. January to May we ponder if we should return to the same hoods again or try out something new. Every year we conclude that there is no better destination than South-East Asia. Its warm, the food is good and the price level reasonable taking into account that we want to be away for four weeks. There is the occasional temptation of returning to Hawaii, but the strong US dollar has kept us from going. So here we are again, in Cha-am Thailand, starting our vacation from the same resort we visited last year, the Veranda.
Even though we return to Asia every year, we rarely stay at the same hotels. The Veranda is a exception. We have concluded that it fulfills all of our needs. Its a kid friendly, well thought out and stylish. The beach is calm with less salesmen and banana boats than in central Hua Hin. We don’t really eat at the hotel, as there are a few good beach restaurants just a stone throw away (with better Thai food and much better prices). And last but not least, the hotel has an espresso bar that serves decent cappucinos and lattes. We bring our own coffee, but it is nice if someone else makes it for once and a while.
Usually the exact destinations vary. At least every year there is something new, and in 2017 it will be the next stop on our journey, Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I have been longing to visit for such a long time, I think from they day I saw the first Lara Croft movie (I know, embarrassing). Today, I don’t dream about adventures that much, but photography. I have booked a private photography tour of the ruins, to be able to get as much out of those few days as possible.
But back to Cha-am, Hua Hin and the beach. There are some interesting things here for the winecurious too: a winery up in the mountains called Monsoon Valley. Thailand is known for many things, today even for coffee, but definitely not for wine. Monsoon Valley vineyard grows grapes in 3 locations: Hua Hin, Tab Kwang and Chiang Mai . Hua Hin Hills, the largest of the three, spans over 110 hectares of uncultivated land. They make 12 different wines from Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Viognier, Shiraz, Sangiovese and Muscat. We will be visiting them tomorrow, so I should have some interesting stories to share the coming week.
Otherwise beach life in Cha-am is pretty calm. We have mainly slacked off at the pool, eaten fried rice and drank coconut milk (and champagne). We bought four bottles of bubbly from Arlanda airport to make sure we will not be wine-deprived at least during the first week of vacation. There is an offer if you buy four bottles you only pay for three. That’s pretty good if you are buying champagne.