|Dugongs - thriving on land at Si Kao|
Si Kao is all about the magnificent picture postcard outlook across the waters of the Andaman to the signature knobbly limestone karst upthrusts in the middle distance that characterise this bay. The waterfront is lined with dugong statues and seafood restaurants, many looking more like a tent city than fine dining on the Riviera. But excellent local seafood and beaming acquiescent smiles even though you may not be fully understood.
Just beyond this, over a mangrove-lined river, an imposing entrance opens up to the Anantara Si Kao Resort and Spa. The drab olive buildings lend it a sympathetic edge with its surroundings. It almost blends in too well with the abundantly growing palms, casuarinas and frangipanis on the property.
Choices, choices, choices. Go for a swim in the bath-water-warm ocean to the west. Lie on a hammock near the bar and Beach House facing the islands. Swim in the pool (surrounded by dugong figurines). Play at the Dugong kids club. Excursions to the Emerald Cave at Koh Morakut or other parts of the Chao Mai National Park. Ride a bike into town. Enjoy a Spa at the Anantara Spa.
She also asked me regularly 'Is the pressure OK, Mr Lloyd?' Gee, I wish some of my former bosses had asked me that question from time to time, jing jing.
They also offer an extensive range of wellness and holistic programs with specialist consultants, some of these 'journeys' lasting up to 5 days.
Hua Hin here ... especially with its elevated outdoor deck. The Acqua Italian eatery is fine in style yet casual in atmosphere, and we enjoy a table on the decking outside in a perfectly balmy evening, with the slightest rustle of breeze in the coconut trees adjacent. Fine white wines accompany the freshest seafood. This sort of setting would suit a honeymoon perfectly; or could easily lead to one!
Speaking of which, over dinner, the hotel's genial general manager, Morten, tells us that the location scouts for Hangover 2 had come to the Anantara checking it out for suitability for the wedding reception scenes. As it had been the off-season, of course he asked them to use their imagination and visualize the usual cerulean waters and mirror-like ocean. He accompanied them to some of the islands, such as Koh Morakut, and the sea that day was so bumpy and they were so shaken about by the choppy water.
Coming off the boat, the producer shook his hand and said: 'We probably won't use you for the movie, but I will never forget this day.'
I fell immediately into a deep sleep and dreamed of -- aaaaaarrgh! -- dugongs.