travel

Asia ThaiLand : Live and Let That

The southeast Asian jewel is a mix of natural delights and wondrous animals, and the hedonistic bustle of its capital city

Description: Phuket

Phuket

Two hours’ drive borth of Phuket is a rainforest thougt to be older the the Amazon. Here, on the edge of Khao Sok National Park, a GERman entrepreneur recently truned his Thai pavillion- style country estate into a nine- room luxury retreat called Thanyamundra (thanyamundra.com) with an infinity pool and  Olympic- worthy gym. Wake up to the sounds on tiny apes, known as lar gibbons, playing as the mist reses up jagged karst limestone moutains from avalley dense with cocounut palm trees. The nascent resort takes its name, meaning ‘nature’s abundance’, from the surrounding organic farm.

Dharma- influenced Ashtanga retreats are scheduled regularly here with popular Phuket yogi Kimberly Roberts bringing the benefit of her knowledge at Uma Paro and Amankora in Bhutan to this Thai riverside sanctuary where participants meditate while dusky leaf monkeys swing between the trees.

Also on the activity schedule, treks into the park with well- known naturalists like Kenny Peavy will spark the interst of enven the most reluctant out door adventirer. His simple yet enthralling tales of the park’s wildlife fit succinctly between his uncanny ability to indentify the calls of the park’s vastly diverse animal life including long- tailed macaques, rhinoceros hornbills, Malay sun bears and wild elephants.

Description: the Bangkok Night Bike Hike

the Bangkok Night Bike Hike

In the That capiyal, Bangkok, well known for lascivious adventures afterdark, the Bangkok Night Bike Hike (thailandinstyle.com) ofeers a more wholesome alternative. Starting at sunset along the Chao Praya River, pedal through riverside communities along extremely narrow paths, gaining up- close access to traditional village life without leaving the throbbing motropolis.

Description: Temple of the Dawn

Temple of the Dawn

Cycle on to Wat Arun, the gilded Temple of the Dawn, after the crowds have departed. Listen to saffron- robed monks  chant in the duck, the onward to Pak Klong Talad flower market, the most fragrant spot in town, filled with the scents of lotus flowers, marigolds, orchids and jasmine.

Asia Malaysia: Malay any Tensions

Whether you kick back on sugar white beaches or envolop yourself in jungle landsapes, Malaysia soothes the senses

Description: This cable car is placed at Mount Mat Cincang

This cable car is placed at Mount Mat Cincang

Start at the top by taking the cable car up Mount Mat Cincang, Langkawi Island’s second- highest peak, and then walking across the Langkawi Sky Bride, suspended between this 708- metres high summit and a neighbouring peak. The exhilarating walk over lush tropical forest and the Andaman Sea puts the Langkawi Archipelago, with its 104 jagged- edded limestone islands, about 20 miles off the northwest coast of mainland Malaysia inyo glorious panoramic perspective.

Come back down to expkore Unesco’s first Geoparl in Southeast Asia with Four Seasons Resort Langkawi’s Aidi Abdullah, the company’s only resident naturalist (fourseasons.com)

Description: Dayyang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park

Dayyang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park

The loquacious and entertaining Malaysian native knows every inch of the tree geo- forests that comprise Langkawi Geopark: Manchincang (which dates back 450- 550 million years and has the oldest rock formations in Malaysia) boasts scenic waterfalls and beautiful beaches; Kilim to the east, offers dramatic limestone pinnacles where the Brahminy kite likes to alight; and Dayyang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, which showcases some of the world’s finest marble formations around Tasik Dayang Bunting, or ‘Lake of the Pregnants Maiden’, a freshwater lake said to enahnce the fertility of those who dive in then enjoy a luxurious night on four seasons’ sublime pillow- topped beds and rise with the sun to meet Irshad Mobarak of Junglewalla Tours (junglewalla.com). eight am is like midday in the Malaysian rainforest, according to Mobarak, who will explain the daily rituals of jungle life between calling out to Asian fairy blue birds, racket- tailed drongos and the elegants egrets flying between the highest braches of Indian ironwood trees and breadfruit trees

These trees were brought here from Tahiti by Captain Bligh on the infamous HMS Bounty. Keep an eye out as well for the four long- tailed macaque monkeys and the beatiful yellow beaks of the great horbills.

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