Why did you choose the destination?
I’ve wanted to see Thailand since I was a little girl…it was ‘Siam’ then, and sounded so exotic! When I was invited by Tourism Thailand and Trikaya Tours to join a small group for a golf tour, I jumped on it.
What were the highlights?
Every day was something new. The Andaman Sea off Phuket was breathtaking…the little islands were nothing like I’d seen before with the sheer limestone crags popping out of the sea in all sizes. Getting up close to one of them, I could see under the tropical forest to the roots of the trees that disappear under the water. It’s a whole new world under that forest!
The Patara Elephant Farm was also quite the highlight…getting to know my elephant for the day, Champu, giving her a bath in the river, feeding her by hand, and feeling so rewarded when she gave me a hug with her trunk when we said good-bye
What was your most memorable experience?
I won’t ever forget the excitement I felt looking out the window as we were flying in to Phuket from Bangkok and seeing the hundreds of islands in the Andaman Sea. I didn’t realize what I was seeing until we got a bit closer…this was the moment I knew I was actually living my dream.
There is nothing like the feeling of Thailand, where your eyes try to absorb all the colours and textures; you inhale the scents of exotic spices and lemongrass, you hear the bicycle bells, motorbikes, and embrace the warmth of the humidity and heat, bringing it all together. Whenever I think of Thailand, this feeling comes back to me.
Tell us about your itinerary.
Our itinerary started in Bangkok at the magnificent Sukhothai Hotel, where we spent two nights. After settling in, I walked through the gardens to the spa and had my first Thai massage. The feeling of decadence here was almost overwhelming with the treatment, service and special surprises (oh! The mascarpone!) we were offered.
The day after our full day of visiting temples and palaces, touring the canal, and enjoying a delicious lunch at “Never-Ending Summer” in Bangkok, we drove out to the gorgeous Nikanti Golf Club, where you can play 6, 12 or 18 holes. Stayed at the beautiful Movenpick Asana Resort & Spa in Hua Hin following our round of golf.
Our second round of golf was at the Black Mountain Golf Club, which was another beautiful course. After a quick clean-up, we headed out to the night market in Hua Hin for another foot massage (with a beer) for about $3 CAD.
The next morning, from Hua Hin, we flew back to Bangkok and took our next flight to Phuket. We stayed at The Pavillions Phuket for the next two nights. I’ll never forget this resort (I get goosebumps, thinking about how much I enjoyed this place!) My suite had a private pool just off the bedroom (walk out the sliding door, down a few steps, into the private infinity pool) with a magnificent view of the tropical hills. We enjoyed a special, private dinner at ‘The Plantation Club’ with the owners of this resort, which was probably the best meal we had overall.
Our last round of golf was at Red Mountain Golf Club. From the first hole, I was in love with this course! So well maintained. The fairways were like velvet. This was my favourite of the three courses we played. After golf, we drove back to the Bangkok airport and flew to Chiang Mai (yes…very long day.) We stayed at the Raya Heritage Hotel, on the Ping river. Very peaceful with amazing rooms and a wonderful breakfast. I would absolutely stay at this resort again.
Our last few days in Chiang Mai consisted of a tour of the Old Town (including a tuk-tuk ride and a visit to Monsoon Tea.) We spent the afternoon at the Patara Elephant Farm. Our last evening was spent at the famous Chiang Mai Night Market.
What surprised you the most?
The food. I’d always heard how good it was, but it was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It really awakened my taste buds to all new fresh spices and flavours I’ve never experienced. From the TomYum soup to the many varieties of curries, it was a new adventure with every meal. There are so many restaurants, from Michelin-starred to the neighbourhood local restaurants, the food was all incredible. One of the best reasons to visit Thailand…but there are so many!