Apr 9, 2013

Insider Program at IC Hua Hin

I am always amazed at how easy it is to navigate the world.  We arrived in Thailand from and stayed at the Amari Don Maung Airport Hotel for the night. We could walk to from the airport via a overhead walkway. In the morning, after a great breakfast, our driver from Sawadee-Travel picked us up for the three-hour drive south of Bangkok to Hua Hin. He even stopped along the way so I could take pictures of the area where salty water is evaporating leaving just the salt.  The InterContinental Hotel Hua Hin is a beautiful property with a very unique pool – many levels, in-water lounges, and Jacuzzi spots between the covered lounges that jut out into the pool. The first night we went to the rooftop lounge by the beach. The sky was black but we were dazzled by large, candlelit lanterns that had been sent aloft and went slowly drifting by. The staff said they were for wishes people made on Monkey Mountain where there is a Buddhist temple.

There are many things I like about the hotels in the InterContinental family, because they have a wide range of hotels – price wise – and they are found all over the world.  But that is not all.  The InterContinental Hotels love to offer “The Insider’s View” to help their guests experience the local culture.  One morning I got up at dawn and walked down to the beach to “make merit” by following a practice that many faithful Thais follow daily. They offer Buddhist monks “alms” of foods, drink or basic provisions, thus earning merit which adds to a person’s spiritual growth. The hotel had prepared a package of food in a special woven basket for the monks that walk along the beach in the early morning.  In return I received his blessing. When I returned to my room and looked out I noticed people doing yoga on the lawn.  I guess I missed that!  Next time.

Actually there are a lot of things to do in the area: shopping for bargains at the night market, playing
golf, and visiting local religious sites.  During the day we noticed many colorful kites in the blue skies.  There were from the kite surfers.  John walked down the beach to check it out.  He’d like to try it out but we were not staying long enough to warrant taking the lesson so I guess that is another reason to return.  John learned that it is easier than surfboarding an he thought it sounded like fun.

One day we took a cooking class and make three Thai recipes including Mango Seafood Salad. The lesson started with a trip to the wet market in a tuk-tuk. However, trust the InterContinental Hotel to have a “fancy” tuk tuk not the usual three-wheel, motorcycle type vehicle.   A trip to a wet market is always fascinating.  We expect to see fresh fruit, vegetables and fish but we always see things we have never seen before.  This time we saw fresh turmeric, taro root, and other items that our guide Chef Worawut, was able to identify and also explain how they were used. He then bought fresh prawns for our cooking class. Later in the day we met Chef Worawut in the hotel’s Thai restaurant for our cooking class. Cooking classes are a great way to experience a local culture and tasty, too.