Travelling from Hong Kong to Thailand with family, and eating along the way
Over the Christmas holidays, my family and I went on an intimate 14-day cruise that began in Hong Kong. We sailed to Vietnam (Hanoi, Danang and Saigon) and progressed through Thailand (Bangkok and Koh Samui) while docking at ports for durations of 48-72 hours.
The highlight for me on this trip was entering Bangkok from the Chao Phraya River in Khlong Toei District. The view of pagodas, plantations, skylines, the urban sprawl and barges, sailing at 7 knots over a two-and-half-hour journey. It was a real glimpse into the past, the present and future of Bangkok. And as we travelled by sea, no traffic congestion! This was the most beautiful entry and departure into Bangkok I have ever made.
We were very fortunate that the food onboard the cruise was good and there was sufficient variety to keep the whole entourage satisfied over two weeks. The trip did make me think about how others could make the most of the dining aspect of their travels by sea, and I’ve provided four tips below for you to chew on.
1. Select the right ship
Choose a ship that is food-centric and creates food and beverage menus like they mean it! There are ships who take food seriously and are not afraid to market their restaurants, chefs and dining areas. Do your due diligence before you book.
2. Limit buffets and eat at restaurants on-board
Ensure you book the speciality restaurants at least twice. Buffet should be limited to breakfast and revel in exceptional restaurant and room service.
3. Eat local on shore
If there is a planned docking, make a reservation at a local restaurant or home-dining experience in advance. Be guided by the reviews of experts published in local newspapers, or search out recommendations by seasoned and discerning travel writers (Horacio Silva is one such culture maven).
4. Check your numbers
When choosing a market tour and cooking class, remember it takes a lot of stamina for one person to facilitate, so ensure the group size is no larger than four. With an intimate group, you will be able to ask questions, hear and learn recipes and techniques that you will be able to replicate at home.