We’re trying something. It’s called Your Oyster (as in “The world is…”) and we want it to be your source for pearls of travel wisdom, as recommended by people just like you. This is a newsletter with the things you’ll never find through a travel agent. Amazing places to visit, unbelievable food and drink experiences, places to shop, things to do, and anything else that makes you want to hop on a plane RIGHT THIS INSTANT.
Everything comes via recommendation from other readers and is then vetted by Fly&Dine editor/professional food + travel writer Jason Kessler and award-winning producer Lauren Lexton. Every week, we’ll send you a few of our hand-selected pearls to inspire your next journey. If you have a pearl from your traveling, send it over so we can share it with all the other shuckers! The process is simple: you’ll email in your pearl and we’ll follow up for more details via email. Once we have enough information, it becomes a pearl to share with the group.
Think of Your Oyster as the conversation you have at that dinner party where someone says “I just got back from Namibia and you won’t believe what I did…” The “you won’t believe what I did” part is Your Oyster.
Travel. Thailand. The Four Seasons. Tents. Elephants. All-inclusive.
Where: Just outside of Chiang Rai in Thailand, near the border of Laos and Burma.
Why: “The night I arrived, it was monsooning and so I did what I always do when it’s storming: I had pad thai delivered. The difference is that this one was made in the jungles of Thailand and arrived via tuk tuk to the nicest tent I’ve ever seen. Best pad thai of my life!”
What makes it special: You probably don’t think “tent” and “Four Seasons” go together, but that’s where you’ll be sleeping in this ultra-remote resort in the middle of the jungle. These aren’t the tents from a sporting goods store, though. They’re amazing with hand-carved bathtubs that will make you never want to leave — except to go use the outdoor rain shower. Privacy is key here and there’s a good chance you won’t see anyone else on property unless you want to hang out in the tranquil Burma Bar or dine atNong Yao, which specializes in Thai, Laotian, and Burmese food. You won’t have to leave your tent, though, because this place is all-inclusive which means you can have Pad Thai delivered right to your room in an adorable tuk-tuk and it won’t cost you another dime. One activity that does come with an additional cost is the spa, but don’t miss it because you’ll be getting a massage in the middle of a secluded open air treatment room. Did I mention that there’s an elephant sanctuary on-site? You can wake up and ride an elephant to the top of a mountain where an amazing local breakfast will be served. After all, it’s still the Four Seasons.
Submitted by: Jason Kessler. Favorite city to visit: Bologna. Favorite food while traveling: dumplings.
Learn. England. Gin.
What: The Ginstitute
Where: London (Notting Hill)
What makes it special: You can take a class on almost anything anywhere. All classes aren’t created equal, though. At The Ginstitute, you first learn the fascinating and sordid history of gin (over cocktails, of course). Then you get to learn how to make your very own gin blend. Not only do you create your blend, you get to see it bottled and have it sent to your home so you can break out a bottle at your next dinner party and be like “Um… that’s my gin.” The Ginstitute also lets you reorder your own blend whenever you run out, so you’ll be drinking your gin for as long as you can click “order.” Masterclasses (without the gin making) run £60.00 while The Experience (the gin making!) will set you back £120.00.
Submitted by: Lauren Lexton. Favorite city to visit: New York. Favorite airport: Bob Hope/Burbank!
Would your best friend/sister/yoga guru/ex-partner/dogsitter love Your Oyster? Probably. Send them a link to Your Oyster by clicking here!
Shop. Bali. Ceramics in the Jungle.
What: Gaya Ceramics
Where: Ubud, Bali
What makes it special: Californians have Heath. Indonesians have Gaya. Well, that’s not true. Most Indonesians can’t afford Gaya. But ceramic fans all over the world know the studio as world class and it just so happens to exist on a non-descript road in Ubud. This small shop and design studio supplies 100% handmade tableware and serving pieces to some of the world’s most well known hotels, restaurants, and shops. Bulgari, Aman, Ritz Carlton, Armani Casa — they’re all clients. The pieces are gorgeous and it’s hard to decide if you want to actually use their plates or just present them as art. If you’re not heading to Bali in the near future, you can still check out Gaya for your collection thanks to their website.
Submitted by: Pearl O’Wisdom. Favorite place to visit: Oyster Bay. Favorite destination restaurant: Hog Island Oyster Company.
One last pearl: Don’t worry about booking a flight to Tel Aviv the next time you’re craving fluffy pita and creamy hummus. There’s a huge trend in modern Israeli taking hold in America. Bavel (LA), Shaya (New Orleans), Zahav(Philadelphia), Ema (Chicago), and Safta (Denver) have all captured the sabra spirit with a delicious taste of the Promised Land.
Got a friend who’s caught the travel bug? First, send them to a doctor. They may need antibiotics. Then tell them to sign up for Your Oyster emails by clicking here and forwarding a link!