The Rabbit Resort Pattaya: A Touch of Class in an Unclassy Town

The Rabbit Resort Pattaya: A Touch of Class in an Unclassy Town

Things have been a bit quiet around here, and on the writing front in general, as I’ve been on leave the past few weeks. I’m in Thailand, and while it’s not entirely a leisure trip, I made a little time for R&R in Pattaya. Why Pattaya? It’s a city about two hours’ drive from Bangkok (where I’ve been staying) that’s known as a hub of sex tourism. Ugh. Why would I head here when Thailand is famous for its many superior beaches? Essentially, because I needed a beach break that was close to Bangkok. Travelling with a newborn baby meant that the bus was out of the question, so accessibility by taxi from Bangkok was important. Fortunately, I found out about the Rabbit Resort Pattaya. In a city full of damn ugly high-rise hotels and condos, the Rabbit Resort is a delightful breath of clean air. The four acre oceanfront property on Dongtan Beach, Jomtien, south of Pattaya, is made up of 49 rooms, all housed in traditional style Thai buildings. Think Jim Thompson’s House. It’s covered in lush palms and tropical flowering trees, has two gorgeous swimming pools (one for kids and families and the other for adults), and is utterly peaceful. The beach is just metres from the Chef’s Company restaurant. While Dongtan Beach isn’t the most spectacular beach in the world–the water isn’t very clear, and the high rises of Pattaya city spread out along the coastline–after living in a landlocked country, it was still a bit…

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A Weekend at the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu

A Weekend at the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu

A couple of weekends ago I got the chance to stay at the lovely Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, a five-star hotel in the Boudhanath neighbourhood. Aside from the luxury, I was happy to explore Boudha a little bit more, as it’s a part of the city that I haven’t spent much time in. I wrote about the weekend on Inside Himalayas. You can read the full article on the site, or an extract below. You can also read my review of the Club Oasis Spa here. “Although most visitors to Kathmandu opt to stay in Thamel—the central neighbourhood full of travel companies, hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants—a calmer alternative is Boudhanath, or Boudha for short. The area is known especially as a Tibetan enclave. The Boudhanath stupa is the holiest Tibetan Buddhist site outside of Tibet itself, and has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. Although the golden pinnacle was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, swift fundraising within the local and international Tibetan community meant that restoration was complete by the end of 2016. In November 2016, a grand re-consecration ceremony was held, which was an important day for Tibetan and Nepali Buddhists. While there are accommodation options in Boudha to suit all budgets, a stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel is a real treat, and worth the 5-star price tag. A great thing about this luxury hotel is that its range of facilities provide a full experience, rather than just a comfortable night’s sleep. As well as the 280 elegant,…

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Million Dollar Views at Rupakot Resort

Million Dollar Views at Rupakot

The Pokhara region of Nepal is known (among other things) for the beautiful Fewa Lake. But lesser known is the fact that Fewa Lake is not the only lake in the area. About forty-five minutes before you reach Pokhara is the turnoff to the lovely Lakes Begnas and Rupa. There is a sign at the highway that reads ‘Begnas Tal: 3.5 kms’, but it doesn’t seem that many tourists go there. There are just some small villages scattered around the lakes. I stayed at the Rupakot Resort, which is a very bumpy, dusty drive up the hill overlooking the lakes. The location is absolutely perfect, especially when the weather is clear, as it was in the first week of December when I visited. December isn’t a busy season for tourists in Nepal, but I think it should be. The weather is fine, if a little cold overnight, and the mountains are out in all their glory. This was my third visit to the Pokhara area, but the first time that the full range of the Annapurna Himalayas were out for the whole time (I had previously been in October and April). Sunsets were especially gorgeous from Rupakot Resort, as the white snow of the Himalayas was drenched pink. I spent two nights at the resort, and while I wouldn’t actually recommend staying there, I recommend making a day trip. You can make a detour on your way to or from Pokhara and spend the day at the resort, having lunch,…

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The Sanga to Panauti Community Hike

The Sanga to Panauti Community Hike

On a Sunday in late November, a throng of 40+ Nepali and international tourism-industry professionals undertook the new Sanga to Panauti Community Hike for the first time. This new ten kilometre route has been established by Royal Mountain Travel, CommunityHomestay.com and Travel Social Good (TSG+) as a way of bringing visitors to this under-trekked area just outside the Kathmandu Valley, and to provide the local Tamang communities with another source of income. Back in September, I stayed at the Panauti Community Homestay, in the town about 40 kilometres from Kathmandu. One intention with this new Sanga to Panauti (or, in reverse, Panauti to Sanga) hike is to tie it in with the homestay initiative. Guests can spend the day hiking either way, and then spend the night at a homestay at the end of the day, or be picked up at Sanga for onward travel to Kathmandu. I walked with a group of about 40 others, so progress was a little slow and the hike took all day (from 10am until about 4.30pm). But I think it could be done much faster if you were in a smaller group. For more details on the Sanga to Panauti Community Hike, read my article about it on Inside Himalayas.

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Eclectic High Tea in Penang at the Macalister Mansion

The island city of Penang, Malaysia does several things to perfection: hawker food, icy cold air conditioning, charmingly dilapidated Chinese shop-fronts and renovated mansions that once belonged to rich and powerful local tycoons. The Macalister Mansion is the latter, and combines the grandeur and elegance of Penang’s Chinese and British colonial heritage with quirky modern design, all in a luxury setting. Set in a spacious plot a little outside the boundaries of George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage designated area, the Macalister Mansion comprises the Living Room, the Dining Room, the Cellar and the Den–all serving different types of food and beverage at different times of day–as well as Eight Rooms, eight luxury and individually designed guest rooms. There is also a sparkling pool surrounded by fragrant frangipani trees, exclusively for guest use. After several days of sampling the cheap-and-very-cheerful street-side and food-court cuisine of George Town, I enjoyed a change of pace (and palate) with high tea at the Macalister Mansion. The Living Room is bright and white, elegantly decorated with hanging pot plants and the wrought iron window grilles and English tile floors that are so characteristic of Penang. I was presented with a tea list so long that the waiter clearly perceived the confusion on my face and recommended something to me, whisking the menu away afterwards. I still don’t know what I ordered, but I was brought a pot of sweetish fragrant tea that resembled a mild jasmine tea. The life of a travel writer… notebook and pen…

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