White Party Bangkok

After a very cold couple of months I was really in need of some winter sun and so when one of my best friends Andrew suggested Thailand and more specifically White Party in Bangkok for New Year I jumped at the chance. Andrew and I have known each other since uni, now a fully qualified doctor he moved to Australia several years ago to continue his medical career so unfortunately I don’t get to see him very often. Thus a cheeky break in Thailand. seemed an ideal chance to catch up with him and also have a fun holiday.

 

I flew to Thailand just after Christmas on December 27th. The only non ridiculously expensive flight I could find to arrive in time for the first party was with Kuwaiti Airways. I didn’t know much about that airline, but it was cheap. Like most Middle Eastern airlines I realised the chance of getting a bacon sandwich on board was pretty unlikely, what I hadn’t reckoned on through that it would be a completely dry airline. Big mistake. I wasn’t looking to get wasted on the flight, but I do like a pre-meal G&T and maybe a glass of wine with my food, particularly as I was stuck in economy. Emirates, Ethiad, Qatar and Oman all serve alcohol so I was pretty surprised that Kuwait didn’t. The rest of the flight was ok, but pretty basic, so I was glad when I arrived safely I’m Bangkok. 

I was tired, had all my bags with me and the taxis are super cheap in Thailand compared to London, so I skipped public transport and hailed a cab to the hotel. I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, my friend booked the hotel and chose if mainly based on the proximity to the White Party venue. It was a pleasant enough hotel if a little non descript.

The White Party is actually a series of parties over four consecutive days, all with different themes (military, jock, all white, New Year’s Eve) so I only arrived literally the afternoon of the first party so I didn’t really have much time to relax or unwind before hitting the club. From landing til New Years Eve it was pretty much eat, sleep, rave, repeat as the song goes. By the final party I was shattered. Apart from the hotel and Central World, the convention centre where the parties were held, I pretty much saw nothing of Bangkok. Thankfully I’d been before and was also planning to spend some time back in Bangkok later in my trip.

The White Party really was amazing though, the parties were brilliant and the production values of the events was stunning. I had so much fun, so worth doing if you have the chance, I’d definitely go again.

Halloween make up

This halloween I was attending the Sink The Pink Halloween Special at the O2 so decided to get my make up done professionally for the occasion. After a quick google search I found Hayley at the Facebar in Shoreditch. I think she did an amazing job!

 

 

 

Back to Split and ferry to Ancona Italy

From Dubrovnik I got a bus back to Split to meet my friend Rup who had been staying on the party/ festival island of Obonjan. Not the best bus, the air con had broken, which didn’t make for the most comfortable journey. On the way we passed through the border of Bosnia Herzegovina.

In Split I met my friend and we had an early dinner at Zinfandel. I’d wanted to dine here when I was last in Split a couple of weeks ago, however it was fully booked at the time, so glad I got a chance to go this time. The food was excellent, worth the wait.

From Split the plan was to head to meet our other friends who were in Italy. We got the overnight ferry from Split to Ancona in the Le Marche region of Italy. We’d hired a villa together in the countryside near Mondavio.

The queue for the ferry was pretty horrendous, a packed no air conditioned departures building with a massive crowd of pushing people. Absolutely no sense of order and passport control was really slow.

As there was two of us we upgraded to a cabin. My expectations for the ferry would pretty low, but actually it was ok. In no sense was it luxurious, this was no cruise liner, but it was cheap and clean. No ice on board though, so after one round of warm G&Ts we retired early to bed. Despite setting off late, we arrived on time in Ancona the next morning at 9am.

Zagreb Croatia

I started my Croatia trip by flying from London Heathrow to the Croatian capital, Zagreb, on Croatian Airways. The flight which I only booked less than a month in advance was less than £80 (one way) and was significantly cheaper than the normal budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet. Plus unlike those airlines I got served a free drink and snack on the flight.

I stayed at a delightful little B&B called Studio Kairos, which was recommended in the Lonely Planet guide book. They kindly sent a car to pick me up from the airport. I’d really recommend this place it’s tiny, just four rooms, but it’s centrally located, the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful, and they do an excellent breakfast. 

Zagreb is a a really pretty little city, the main centre is compact and it’s easy to walk around without the need for public transport of any sort. It’s got a beautiful historic centre with a wonderful cathedral and lots of pretty pavement cafes and bars, ideal for a little coffee break or to sample some of the great local beer.

My first night I was keen to try some local Croatian food so I went to Vinodol, a pretty restaurant with beautiful vaulted ceiling and an ivy covered outside terrace. They serve traditional central European food, including many Croatian delicacies and local wines. My waiter was lovely and explained through all the menu and recommended dishes for me. The food was delicious and the Croatian wine surprisingly good.

On a side bar can I just say that I ate REALLY well in Croatia, I was expecting the food to be quite heavy/ very meat and potato based, quite Eastern European, filling but maybe a bit stogy. Anyway I couldn’t have been more wrong, the food in Croatia was stunning. If anything it was more influenced by Italy, than other Eastern European food. I had wonderful meat, fish and seafood. Great pasta and pizzas. Just really wonderful food, some of the best I’ve ever had in Europe.

My favourite meal in Zagreb was at Mali Bar though, I had a wonderful pate and also one of my favourite dishes, Vitella Tonnato, veal in a tuna sauce. Delicious, you must go here if in Zagreb. 

At a the other end of the price scale I had excellent pizza at Karijola. It serves authentic crispy, thin crust pizza cooked in proper wood fired clay oven. Great value, washed down with local beer. Both Mali Bar and Karijola are on the same terraced street and are conveniently just a short walk from Studio Kairos.

My personal Zagreb highlight though was probably the Museum of Broken Relationships, a quirky museum that explores the mementoes that remain after a relationship ends. The exhibits were on a world tour for many years before settling up at this permanent site. Apparently it’s been so successful that they recently opened a second site in Hollywood. It started quite light and then went really dark with items to do with suicide, rape, abuse and even murder. Thankfully it ended on funny break ups. It’s not often you go from crying with sadness to laughing out loud. Some of the stories were genuinely heartbreaking. I felt quite drained afterwards.

 

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Hoppers, Soho

Hoppers is the cheaper sister restaurant from the people behind the Michelin starred Trishna and Gymkhana. It’s named Hoppers after the traditional Sri Lakan egg pancake bowls that they serve. It’s another of those annoying no reservations restaurants. So they put your name down on a list and they give you a rough time a table will become available and then give you a buzzer that lets you know to come back when you’re table is ready. The buzzer works over quite a distance so you don’t have to stay at the restaurant, we actually went for a drink several streets away and it worked fine. We waited about an hour for a table, which given it was a Friday night we didn’t think was too bad. We had a couple of delicious Indian inspired cocktails to start and then on to the food. Obviously we had to go for the the classic Hopper which the restaurant is named after. We had it with two karis (curries) one lamb and one black pork and  a rather spicy sambal (chutney). All utterly delicious with some really unusual flavours, pretty good value for Soho as well. I will be back.