Whenever I am in Thailand, I regularly visit an authentic Thai massage parlor. Thai massages are quite intense and in some cases you are even thrown around and walked on. The contrast between intense and relaxing feelings really makes me feel exhilarated when I walk out. Every muscle feels loose and back where it should be. For years, I’ve been looking for that experience in Belgium, but have never indulged as I am always put off by a possible shady nature of local massage. When I was assured by a friend that Thongfaa Thai massage (website currently down) could be trusted, I decided to give the parlor a try.
When Thai Food Café Yam Thai opened in 2013, it immediately received a lot of media coverage due to its owners: Flemish actors Nathalie Meskens and Jeroen Van Dyck. Even though they repeatedly claimed that they are not earning any income from the food bar (*rolls eyes*) reservations need to be booked three months in advance and a second location has been opened. With a Thai partner and a partial residency in the land of smiles, yours truly is always interested in all things Thai in Belgium.
Phimai remains a village that choses to divulge its secrets at a slow pace. From the secret hipster bar, past the hidden big-box retailer, to the hard-to-find gym, the town has much more to offer than one would assume at first glance. My latest discovery is Manatsana Massage. Like most of the hidden treasures, it is located slightly out-of-the-way and no website or Facebook presence is available. To make Manatsanan Massage easier to find, I have included a map at the bottom of this post. Here is my review.
One of the best known farang-style eateries in Korat is Swiss restaurant Chez Andy. Even though more and more restaurant chains (and even food courts) are promising Western dishes, I have yet to find one that gets it right. Chez Andy gets it spot on both with the atmosphere (you feel like at an eatery in the Alps), and choice of dishes
One of the attractions in the vicinity of Pattaya (Thailand) that is growing in popularity is the Silverlake Vineyard. Opened in 2002, it received a lot of domestic media attention and visitors, due to the fact that one of the investors is actress Supansa Nuangpirom and the winery was featured on the popular soap Soot Saneha. All of the surroundings (buildings and landscape) were remodelled to look like Southern Italy. This sounds quite cheesy but is really breathtaking, especially as seen from the main visitor center and the path leading up to it. This view in itself justifies a trip to the site.
That is were the praise ends, however. The expensive guided tours bring no added value: most stops of the little train reveal nothing extra, the voice-over is Thai-only so non-Thai speakers get no additional information, no explanation is offered when visiting the production facility, and the wine is … not up to par, let’s say. So do drive up there, enjoy the sights, but don’t spend your baht there.