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Thailand - 2008


We were slightly worried about going to Thailand in September / October.

We needn't have worried though! We have friends in Hua Hin and, as it was Janet's birthday, we decided to throw caution to the wind and go out of season, especially as we were able to pick up some great flight and accommodation offers.

We flew Thai Economy to Bangkok (we have never flown economy to Bangkok before) and were not overly impressed with the outbound flight. No seatback entertainment, little in the way of fluids provided through the night - although you could go to the galley for refreshment. Despite the aircraft being only about 2/3rds full, people wandering about to get drinks caused disturbances and little sleep could be had. The food however was quite reasonable.

Suvarnabhumi airport seems to be getting its act together and we were through immigration and had our cases in under 40 minutes.

We had pre-booked a transfer a before leaving UK and this went very smoothly - we arrived at the Anantara, Hua Hin, over an hour earlier than we had expected - great we could meet up with our friends on the first night!

Anantara Garden - Simple Beauty
Our Sunbeds - Anantara

Simplicity - Anantara Gardens

Simplicity - Anantara Beach

At the Anantara, where we had stayed several times before, we were provided with a complementary upgrade to a Lagoon Room (a lovely gesture) and wine and flowers for Janet's birthday. The room was excellent.

As usual the combination of excellent service, great food, beautiful gardens, pleasant pools and quiet beach made us realise why we returned to this hotel in preference to others. Its peaceful location and pure simplicity make this a relaxing place to stay, whilst being only a few minutes by tuk-tuk from the town. Although the hotel restaurants are on the expensive side we did eat in both the Italian restaurant (Baan Thalia) and Thai restaurant (Rim Nam) on two occasions each. The food was, as usual, excellent.

Hua Hin is becoming very built up with new developments everywhere, but the town centre has changed very little - bright lights, a mixture of bars and a good night market. It is still a pleasant town which holds sufficient interest and atmosphere to make us want to return.

With the exception of one 10 minute shower, in the evening on our third day, the weather was extremely good - varying from partly cloudy to full sunshine, with the temperature in the 90s!

Fresh Towel Delivery
Boats in the Evening - Anantara

Fresh Towel Delivery

Anantara - Boats in the Evening

One restaurant that was new to me in Hua Hin was Coco51 (Soi 51). It was by far the best meal we have had (outside of hotels) in many visits.

Our couple of weeks of R & R were over too soon and we were travelling back to Bangkok, way, way before we were ready. We decided to go for an upgrade on our seats (Thai allow a standby Business Class upgrade for USD 750 per person per sector). On enquiring we found that the returning flight was approx. 25% full - so we didn't bother. We both had a row of 3 seats to ourselves, the food and service was excellent and I actually managed to
sleep - heaven.

We may have been extremely lucky with the weather, but I would definitely consider October in future. Excellent prices on flights, rooms half the price of February and many fewer tourists than in the peak season (although this may also be because of the political and civil unrest). Numbers were bolstered in our first week by people who had visited the Singapore Grand Prix and then taken a vacation in South East Asia, following that event.

We returned to UK, batteries fully recharged, to the chaos that is Heathrow Terminal 3 (2 whole immigration desks open for UK passport holders - slower than Bangkok!) and traffic moving at a snail's pace on the M25!

There's nothing quite like England, is there?

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