Last week I took time out from my still ‘un busy’ schedule here in Thailand, waiting for the world to reopen, for some quality me time.
Are you the same and not entirely sure where the last four months have gone? Have you also been managing Covid issues for your family across several continents and in several time zones? I found most of March, April, May and June went by in a flash and now it’s our summer holidays – not! Did your original plans for endless lazy days with family in your homeland long disappear? Do not fear Thailand is here!
Much has been written about the golden opportunity to explore Thailand without tourists. Thailand was hoping for 40 million arrivals in 2020. Now the most optimistic research is indicating that it will be the end of 2020 before visitors return in any number. The consensus is, that it will be years before Thailand will reach the glory days of 2019 when 39.8 million foreign visitors spent 1.93 trillion Baht in the country.
It’s been exhausting hasn’t it? As women, many of us has spent a lot of energy concerned with the welfare of our family where ever they might be. Perhaps you too are spending the nights hoping that the resilience you tried to instil in your (adult) kids would be enough to maintain their sensibilities during this global pandemic and into our second waves. It’s hard knowing that if anything goes wrong, there is little that we can do about it. Hands up who needs a break – me!
Stop the world I want to get off!
Travel companies all talk about the rise of the solo female traveller as being one of the biggest areas to watch in travel. I’m wondering what impact the recent months of the pandemic will have on this market?
Hmmm, I’m thinking it’s about to explode, what about you? We have all proven that we can spend weeks in social isolation, some of us in testing times locked indoors with our loved ones. Maybe others have enjoyed this time… aren’t we for instance preparing for a baby boom? Whilst Covid may not be the birth name of choice, I’m certainly hearing of a pug dog in England that is called Covid, or was it Boris?! I forget, oh whatever…
I digress, the point is let’s go on some Thailand domestic adventures. To make it really fun, let’s go exploring on our own and give ourselves some precious time to take our own breath, regroup and recharge. We so deserve it!
There has never been a better moment in history to go off on your own. For those of us (happily) marooned in Thailand, we can’t leave the country without the fear of whether we’ll be able to come back. Why would we want to, when Thailand without tourists is this luxury not to be missed. The prices are good and for many of us, our partners are clamouring for their own me time too.
For those of us living freely and independently there is a whole returning tourism sector that is desperate to welcome you. For those in a relationship and in close quarters during the height of Covid, I’m sure each one needs time on his/her own… we go with our spouses’ and partners’ blessing!
Did you know that a booking.com survey resulted in a Solo Travel Report that revealed that 72% of American women are taking solo journeys. The biggest demographic was in my age group the 55 years plus. The next biggest was the under 25 years. There is something that I love at this stage of my life getting out there travelling with the under 25 years! It makes me feel youthful again!
They say that during Covid, more marriages than ever before dissolved and weakened. If you were one of the lucky ones that actually saw your relationship strengthen, then own that success and travel solo to reinforce the message. If you are one of the unfortunate masses and have now announced your Facebook status to the world as single, embrace going solo. It’s the new you and you’d better enjoy it!
Last year I was invited to attend a product test for a Tourism Authority of Thailand e-publication Me, Myself & Thailand. We travelled to Nan, one of the five destinations highlighted for solo female travellers to consider, along with Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Kong Khai and Phuket.
I loved all the extensive research and consideration that had gone into this e-book publication. TAT have identified that Solo Female Travellers in Thailand want:
- To conquer mountains
- Search for my soul
- Live like a local
- Make a difference
So as soon as we were able to travel between provinces I knew I needed to follow up with some solo travel.
Friends had told me about a wonderful beachside boutique hotel called Aleenta Resort and Spa in Pranburi district, that they had enjoyed previously. When I saw that the hotel, just 30 minutes South of Hua Hin, offered a deluxe solo female package, I knew I had to check it out.
I spent four nights in a beachside villa with my own hammock, Jacuzzi and sun loungers!
My mornings were spent walking along the wide, sandy beach. Whichever way you walked there was something of interest. I was almost lost in this new world. As I paddled in the warm shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand, looking for curious seashells and loving the colourful fishing boats. I found myself wanting to walk on and on and on.
I walked 10,000 steps daily, oh how free and liberating it felt after all those pent up weeks inside my apartment block. I set up my own mini yoga and meditation studio in the room. The room included yoga mats and an iPad which offers a choice of mind, body and soul activities.
I enjoyed long lazy breakfasts, which arrives rather quaintly, on a tiered stand, almost like an afternoon tea experience! It was all calling out to slow down and take your time. So I did. I lazed around reading my book, and in between I set up a little office for some writing. Oh if ever there was a place to get my writing mojo back it was here in Pranburi!
When I felt the need to get out and see the world, I took one of the hotel’s free bicycles off to explore. I was up before dawn and the security guard pointed to the left and I ended up on an epic bike ride to the next bay. I found an enchanting temple for a wander, just me and some temple dogs.
I visited the organic farm that the hotel uses for its wonderful restaurant, I love these sorts of things. I am all for nourishing every bit of me, from the inside out! Whilst there we spotted the butterfly pea used for the welcome drink and all manner of Thai herbs used in my Thai herbal medicine ball, later in the week.
I could have tried kite surfing, famous in the area, but for me the spa was calling. My afternoons were spent resting and rejuvenating with pampering massages and body scrubs in the open-air spa area to the gentle sound of the ocean waves.
The General Manager Alle kindly took me out to show me the area. Do you know Pranburi?
It’s impressive and about to become the next big thing! Once the high-speed train link from Bangkok opens, and the marina are completed, and a proposed ferry direct from Pattaya starts to operate, it will shine in the region. (The ferry car park is ready and waiting…)
It is definitely worth the extra drive on from the crowds of Hua Hin. At present all the drive-to locations from Bangkok are doing well. Pranburi was three hours travel time door-to-door to my Sukhumvit apartment bypassing Hua Hin.
Thank you Aleenta and all the staff in Pranburi. I loved my stay with you.
I hope that maybe I’ve inspired you to consider some solo travel. Much as I love the companionship of travelling with my husband and friends and family. My solo trips are so memorable, I cherish these days away just me, my book and my dreams! And maybe you will too.