Mars on Earth – Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

Entering Wadi Rum was a slow motion experience of leaving earth and entering a totally different world.  The sand slowly starts to turn a deeper and darker hue of red and the surrounding dramatic sandstone and basalt mountains jut out of its sandy floor.  Camels walk about the desert with or without accompanying owners under the bluest of skies as they have for thousands and thousands of years….

Continue reading “Mars on Earth – Wadi Rum”

Sicily

Thankfully our almost 10 hour ferry ride from Malta to Catania Sicily was cancelled due to strong winds (we heard that the journey is pretty treacherous even without the wind).  We grabbed a cheap flight right into Catania and arrived just in time to rent a car and hit the road.   The Priority Pass lounge in the Malta airport (international departures) is called Lavalette Club and is definitely worth a visit – good food and drinks.  We booked a car through www.holidayautos.com which provided us with free 3rd party insurance and since we paid with our Citi Prestige credit card we received free primary insurance.  Most credit cards do not offer free primary car insurance in Italy. Continue reading “Sicily”

Koh Tao

We arrived to the small island of Koh Tao by Lomprayah ferry from Koh Samui – the journey is quite painless (even though I do get sea sick, the vessel was quite large and glided through the water seamlessly).  We were picked up by our hotel (most hotels on the island provide free transport to and from the ferry – there is no airport).  The Aminjirah hotel is quite funky and set on the side of a cliff overlooking the stunning northwest coast line and Nang Yuan Island.  The rooms are quite basic, but have all the necessities – I highly recommend upgrading (a few dollars) to the ocean view rooms as the view from the balcony and the room is beautiful.  The infinity pool is a lot of fun with its colorful floating beanbags that 20 somethings sunbathe on (as did I shamelessly).   Very fun young vibe in this hotel.  I would highly recommend getting the short boat ride to Nang Yuan Island for snorkeling and sunbathing.

Continue reading “Koh Tao”

Koh Samui

We flew on Air Bangkok from Phuket to Koh Samui and took a Grab from the airport to the Sheraton Samui.  We booked a basic room knowing that with our Platinum SPG status we would get a nice upgrade and we did!  We paid for the stay with the Citi Prestige card which automatically deducts the 4th nights stay cost.  All in we were only paying $135/night for this incredible hotel.  The ocean view suite was amazing.  We had  a living room, reading room, small kitchen and huge bedroom and bathroom along with a double deck overlooking the ocean.  With the status we also received a free breakfast every morning which was spectacular – more like a Sunday brunch at a 5 star restaurant than a regular breakfast.  All the amenities were well thought through – 2 large pools, a great beach and a well stocked fitness room.  The prices for food in the hotel were hotel prices so we took advantage of the nearby restaurants and dined like kings for pauper prices.  Our favorite restaurant was just outside of the hotel and is called Mamas – great flavorful food at very good prices.  We could have stayed for weeks! Continue reading “Koh Samui”