Wednesday, 4 January 2012
Thailand Wish List
Another year, and 365 more excuses to visit Thailand! My resolution for 2012 is to spend considerably more time in the Land of Smiles, perhaps to even live there for several months, gathering material for my blog. And with so many gorgeous pockets of paradise to explore, I think I’m in for a busy year!
Here’s what’s on my Thailand wish list for 2012:
Trang: Give me powdery white sand, turquoise water, a hammock strung between two palm trees and fresh coconut juice, and I’m a happy camper. My quest to find Thailand’s most idyllic beach will undoubtedly lead me to the southern province of Trang, where a cluster of islands form part of the Hat Chao Mai National Park. Koh Ngai (technically in Krabi province) Koh Kradan, Koh Libong and Koh Mook all appeal to my inner Robinson Crusoe, while there’s 119 km of mainland coastline where the jungle meets the balmy Andaman Sea. On Koh Mook, I’m told the star turn is Tham Morakot, or the Emerald Cave, a lagoon surrounded by soaring limestone cliffs located at the end of a 80m cave tunnel accessible only by kayak or swimming (surely a challenge for the claustrophobic, like yours truly!); while Koh Libong is apparently one of the last remaining bastions of the elusive dugong.
Nan: Having just gained my scooter licence (see my previous blog), I’m itching to hit the road to explore the misty mountains of northern Thailand. The remote eastern Lanna province of Nan is being touted as the new Pai, combining ancient heritage and natural beauty with the colour and vibrancy of ethnic hill tribe cultures. As well as numerous temples to admire, the region offers jungle trekking, white water rafting and visits to Hmong, Khamu and Thai Lu villages, each with their own unique handicrafts and cuisines.
Koh Phangan: Hard to believe I’ve never actually been to this island, famed for its backpacker culture and Full Moon Parties. If it’s anything near as beautiful as neighbouring Koh Tao, I can’t wait ... and I have no qualms about roughing it along with kids half my age in a rustic bungalow, enjoying the hedonism of beach by day, bar by night. But then again, there is a new Anantara resort on the island, which may be worth popping into for a dose of luxury...
Koh Kood: My favourite discovery of 2011, I constantly daydream about a return visit; chilling in the sun, strolling barefoot along palm-lined Bang Bao Bay or floating in that gin-clear water. With very little development, and no traffic, taxis, ATMs or shopping centres, there’s nothing to do on this island gem located in the Gulf of Thailand but relax, swim and recharge your batteries. Tropical bliss, and a difficult one to top.
(The beach at Bao Bang Bay, Koh Kood. @ Julie Miller)
I will keep trying, however – and of course I’ll be writing about my experiences along the way. So Happy New Year, and keep checking in for my weekly dose of inspiration, Kao Jai style!