Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Places to be Slothful in Thailand

On Saturday March 22, I contributed to an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age on the Seven Deadly Sins of Travel. For the full transcript of that article, click here. My wise words were about the sin of sloth, or laziness, which I argued can hardly be considered a sin in the context of travel. After all, isn't chilling out what travel is all about?

And what better place to be lazy than in Thailand? Here are my favourite places to blob out in the Land of Smiles:

Koh Kood Resort, Koh Kood: I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it until I fall asleep ... Koh Kood is the most idyllic, unspoilt island I've visited in Thailand. With just one paved road, very little development and no 7-11s, ATMs or traffic lights, this is the Thailand of yesteryear, with pristine white sand beaches, gin-clear water and hammocks swaying from palm trees. And while flash resorts have sprung up here (Six Sense Soneva Kiri, one of the most expensive resorts in Thailand, is located here), you can still get reasonably priced accommodation for less than the price of a round of drinks in Sydney. By chance (or luck), I made landfall at the Koh Kood Resort and was thrilled with its stylish garden bungalows, good restaurant and waterfront location on beautiful Bang Tao Bay. For three days, I just lay on a sun bed, went swimming, strolled along the beach and indulged in beach massages. True bliss.

Sunset at Koh Kood

Malibu Beach Bungalows, Koh Phangan: Located on the northern tip of the party island of Koh Phangan, this is about as far from the Full Moon Party as you could possibly want, in every respect. There's nothing much to do here expect for sleep, eat and swim in the bay. There's a chilled beach restaurant and bar that plays Bob Marley 24/7, a massage sala run by the delightful Mien, and a swimming pool in case you want to cool off after cooling off in the bay. The fishing village of Chalokhlum is a whisper away, with good seafood restaurants, a couple of bars and a tranquil temple. If you want to join the parties in the south of the island, you'll have to travel to them ... but at least you'll know you will have a quiet night's (or day's) sleep when you get back.

Malibu Beach Bungalows, Koh Phangan

River Kwai Jungle Rafts, Kanchanaburi: I recently spent three days here doing f*&*-all ... I hardly got out of the hammock, literally. Mind you, it was raining, so there seemed little point. But it is also the perfect place to indulge your sloth, a tranquil haven on a mesmerising river deep in the jungle near the Burmese border. If you can be bothered shifting yourself, a walk to the Mon village that backs onto the raft houses is recommended ... or let them come to you, with the elephant herd coming down to the water to bathe every morning around breakfast time. Some visitors here like to jump in the fast-flowing river and float to the end of the resort. Frankly, I couldn't be bothered...

River Kwai Jungle Rafts, Kanchanaburi

The Siam, Bangkok: Who says that being lazy is just for budget travellers? This lush hotel in the northern realms of Bangkok is so divine, I didn't want to leave. True, there is everything here, even for active tourists - a pool, a shuttle boat that will transport you to the shopping hubs, and even Muay Thai lessons which are the antithesis of being lazy. And while I admit to shifting my lard-ass out of bed to indulge in said activities, I would have been happy to stay buried under the doona, doing what I do best - sleeping. Cloud-like bedding equals a lovely, lovely dream.

Bed time at The Siam. Pics: Julie Miller

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