My visit to Cambodia was simultaneously intoxicating and exhausting. Each morning, rested and ready to tackle a new day in no-holds barred Phnom Penh, crumbling Battambang, or mind-boggling Angkor Wat, I stepped from my air-conditioned hotel room into the summer’s suffocating heat and humidity. Within minutes I was drenched from scalp to toes, clothes stuck to me and sweat running down my glasses. By the time I had climbed to the top of my 18th temple at Angkor Wat I needed a rest. Fortunately, I had a perfect place in mind to kick back and recover; Caranee Thianthai, the owner of Nern Chalet Beachfront Hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand had invited me to stay a few days. I packed up and hopped a bus to Bangkok and the following day caught a shuttle for the 2.5 hour ride down to Hua Hin.
Upon arrival, the smiling front desk clerk checked me in and toted my small suitcase up three flights of stairs, apologizing as we climbed. “Sorry, it is a long way up but a very nice room.” He threw open the door and led me into the gigantic bedroom. My jaw dropped open. Khun Caranee had arranged for me to stay in the top floor Seafront Suite, the most luxurious room in the hotel. On the opposite side of a king-size bed where towels were twisted into kissing swans, wrap-around picture windows framed a stunning view of a brilliant beach and the sparkling turquoise Gulf of Thailand. Continue reading