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Touring Thailand: Best in South East Asia


Picture of Brian Kennett

Brian Kennett

Amateur Chef and Boozy Traveling Foodie Extraordinaire

Touring Thailand Trip: 2016 Day 1

Touring Thailand, does it get any better as a culinary and cultural adventure? I’ll challenge those that say no. With its diverse culinary influences, Thailand offers an unparalleled opportunity to indulge in the depth of flavours that a country has to offer. It’s an experience that resonates on all levels of culinary exploration – with each dish having regional, and individual variation. 

Thai food has captured the attention of the world, thanks to the vibrant food culture of its capital city, Bangkok. Bangkok boasts some of the best street food experiences the world has to offer, and the city’s street food experiences have been recognized as some of the most authentic representations of Thai cuisine. But, get out there into the rural reas for just the most authentic experience… that’s where the action is, folks…

Thailand now has Michelin-starred restaurants showcasing the incredible depth of Thai cuisine, to the humble street food vendors showcasing how beautifully simple ingredients can dazzle when paired together. Thailand’s culinary scene leaves such an impression that will forever be in my memory and foodie heart as the best food on the planet.

touring thailand temples

Beautiful little temples all over this amazing country – this one next to us as we ate lunch

This will be a number of blogs about our recent trip to Thailand – my second home, one of the love’s of my life, and my food mecca. I so love Thailand. It is such a beautiful country. The people are warm and caring. The food is also warm, but perhaps not so caring to certain parts of your body… 

So this is Thailand Trip 2016 Day 1, but why were we here? Well because a very great mate of mine was turning 50 and his lovely wife had decided to ship him off to Thailand, accompanied by a few of his close mates – hey presto there was The Semi-Naked Chef with family and mates enjoying Thailand again – so here is a short review day by day for you = Thailand.

This will be restaurant reviews, hotel review, and other snippets.

We were staying a Centara Karon Resort, Phuket, Thailand. I tell you what if you have kids and want to stay in a nice family hotel, full of amenities, with big bedrooms, kids clubs, baby-sitting, constant entertainment, great value, and good food also at reasonable prices, then look no further. Centara Group it is for you. 

This was chosen already by Dawn, the wife of the turning 50 year old, so it was Hobson’s Choice for us – but what a choice it was. The only knocking I would give was the food, it was OK, it was reasonably priced BUT, I was in Thailand and I wanted Asian – the menu was sparse to he honest for Asian and Thai, come on Centara make it perfect beef up the menu for that food.

But the place is awesome believe me, let me start with a few bullets of relevance to yours truly family situation;

  • Two Queen sized beds in our room;
  • Lovely balcony overlooking the pool;
  • 3 swimming pools;
  • 3 bars in said swimming pools;
  • One very kid oriented pool with 2 slides, and a kiddie paddling pool with fountain;
  • Kids club,
  • Kids sandpit playing area;
  • Staff wandering around organising fun and games for the kids;
  • 3 restaurants;
  • 2 of them doing breakfast independently so no overcrowding;
  • A really nice spa;
  • A bar;
  • Buggies to drive you around;
  • Right in the heart of Karon;
  • 5 minutes walk from the beach; and
  • Reasonable food – although I would have really preferred more Asian on the menu personally.

Centara Karon Resort

I think you can see what I mean. A great hotel for family and friends. Absolutely we will be going to stay again with Centara Group wherever they are in the world. Just a top experience.

touring thailand the hotel pool

The Semi-Naked Chef living up to his name with son, enjoying the amenities.

Touring Thailand Amy's hot dog

Amy goes completely of the Thai track with a hot dog and mayo…

touring thailand spring rolls

Nice little Thai Deep Fried Spring Rolls – with some unknown green vegetable, not bad though these

touring thailand chicken cashew thai curry

My, so called, spicy chicken and cashew curry – more like black pepper, but needing way more pepper, or maybe some Chili padi

As I said I would I will knock the hotel a little for the food. I really wanted Thai food, that’s why I am there in the country, amongst other things. But on the menu was hardly any. Loads of Russian and Eastern European, pizzas, pasta etc. and only about 5 Asian dishes. I asked if my curry was spicy, it was confirmed as so. 

What came was more like a very light black pepper chicken that even Jude ate. Sorry Centara up the ante here guys pretty please. I have stayed at hotels before where they whip out the secret Thai menu from under the desk if someone wants it, come on you can do it, you even do Thai cooking classes – bring on the menu please!!!!

touring thailand coconut Amy

Still, Amy certainly enjoyed her food and her fresh coconut too…

Papaya Karon Beach Restaurant

So there’s the review – but now to a few more photos and things of interest on Thailand Trip 2016 Day 1. Basically for this day, we sat at one of the gorgeous swimming pools and then showered quickly and then off to dinner. Dinner tonight was at Papaya Karon Beach Restaurant. Not a bad little place – food was OK, price-wise also good, staff were very nice and so was the place itself. 

All sort of terracotta courtyards, so you sit inside but you’re outside type thing. Very nice indeed. I’ll only review my food as I cannot remember what the others had.

touring thailand jude with ice

Baby Jude just as cute as ever – not enjoying food but clearly enjoying his ice

touring thailand laab gai

My favourite Thai dish – laab gai – or pork salad

I go my traditional route of first day in Thailand with Laab Gai #1. I’ll likely be having this dish every day for this trip. I just have it is truly my favourite and I have made my own version of laab gai and even laab gai pizza as you may have seen from my previous recipe blogs. Have you??? 

Not enough chilli for me by far – only a few little flecks of red gold in there. I’d like way more than this – I think the white face syndrome of; “don’t make it hot for him, he’s not Asian and probably can’t handle too much spice.” Little do they know…

touring thailand tom ka gai

Tom Kha Gai – or spicy coconut chicken soup by another name

Now this was a really really good version of this soup I have to say. Seriously nice in fact. This should be sweet, sour, salty, spicy and zesty all in one – quite tough to get the balance to an individual’s liking but these guys nailed it for me. 

Slightly spicier and a little more sour than normal – NICE. This soup has the lot, galangal, lime leaves, lime juice, coconut milk, coconut cream, coriander, dried chili, chili oil, chicken braised, and maybe a little fish sauce, and onion. Oh man this was a cracker indeed, well done Papaya.

touring thailand amy flower hair

Beautiful daughter #1 – using some of the flowers from the food to great effect.

touring thailand papaya restaurant karon

Family dinner at Papaya, Karon, Phuket

A very nice dinner at Papaya in Karon. Not a bad first night indeed. Worth a look for sure if you happen to be staying in the area. We enjoyed it, as you can probably tell. Maybe just ask to whack the heat up if you are a chilli lover – I think they really played this down because of the Western faces.

touring thailand painey 50th

The reason we were here for this trip – my life long mate Andy was turning 50 and boy did we surprise him

And to close Touring Thailand Trip 2016 Day 1 a nicely positioned arm to cover my gut with my mate Andy. The birthday boy. Two reviews in one here folks, clearly the hotel and the restaurant and using my family fun and photos to show that off. 

Beautiful sunny skies, no clouds, just beautiful. Hope you don’t mind that. Both were very good. We all thoroughly enjoyed, and I think you will too – ENJOY!!!

Check out all the blogs on our Trip of Touring Thailand:

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