“Welcome to Amanpuri”; the voice echoed as a beautifully handcrafted fragrant heart-shaped jasmine bracelet slipped onto your wrists as soon as the car door opened. With the sight of endless coconut palm trees shooting out from the horizon, just like the fireworks but in a full broad daylight. The sound track of whispering ocean as the calming wave kisses the shore. The dramatic staircase leading the way to the seemingly infinite stretch of powdery white sand beach with a mesmerizing backdrop of crystal clear turquoise Andaman sea, and the view of the stunning 40 villas. All designed to echo the Buddhist Zen and architecture of ancient Ayutthaya, gently cascading down the oceanfront hillside. We know we have arrived here in heaven on earth. A true place of peace, living up to its name, “Amanpuri” in Sanskrit.
It is so good to be back, the last time was 8 year ago when we were celebrating our 1st year anniversary together. Despite the long gap between these visits, Soneva Kiri has always been one of our top favorite three resorts in Thailand. In fact, Soneva is also one of our top favorite chains; we have been to every single property ever built. At Soneva, we always find the simple life at its very best; the kind of barefoot luxury meets secluded lush green tropical paradise. One of many things we like about Soneva Kiri is the swift and the ease of the travel, with 80 minutes direct flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnnabhumi Airport on the resort’s private jet. Time flew by so quickly, we hovered over many different beautiful islands of the Gulf of Thailand, the scenery that you normally would never see from Bird’s eye view (as there is no flight to Koh Kood or even our neighbor islands like Koh Chang or Koh Mak. After cruising down the turquoise clear water via our private speedboat, upon our arrival on this idyllic island, we were welcomed by our Miss Friday (as butlers are called here) on the jetty. She said, “Welcome back”. Let the holiday begin!
Sweet dreams are made of this; coconut trees stretch as far as your eyes allow them to, crystal-clear turquoise blue water reflecting the endless horizon above, where pure white satin sand beach is your private playground. This is definitely a homecoming, to our all-time favorite brand, Four Seasons. Koh Samui is where we call home for the week to celebrate our 8th year anniversary together on this romantic getaway.
A place with the true beauty and vivid memories of Asian yesteryear dating from well before colonial times, Luang Prabang, is rightfully the town with best preserved colonial architecture in Indochina. Walk down the memory lane to discover the authentic charm of this city which is hidden away in every corner of every street and every alley. Best things to do in Luang Prabang are the enchanting “Tak Bat ceremony” where hundreds of Buddha monk in beautifully-vibrant-saffron-colored robes are traveling down the street of Luang Prabang before the break of dawn to receive food offerings, cruising down the Mighty Mekong River to experience first handedly the local way of life during the golden hour of the sunset with sundowners, walking through countless exquisitely hand drafted monasteries and temples including the majestic glass mosaic Three of Life at the famous Xieng Thong Temple, hiking those steps up to Mount Phousi to witness the panoramic view of Luang Prabang, and making the journey to Laos’ most beautiful waterfall, Kwang Si, swimming in the crystal clear turquoise natural water, staying at the wonderfully renovated 100-year-old former governor’s residence paradise, Sofitel So Luang Prabang, and having authentic Laos cuisine at Manda des Laos.
Santorini welcomes you with its greatest charm, the volcano embraced by the Aegean, multi-colored cliffs, whitewashed homes, the famous blue dooms, the view of caldera, white sand beaches, dazzling panoramas, and picture-perfect-sunsets. The scenery is unbeatable. The island is immortalized by painters and photographers. We plunged ourselves into our private infinity cave pool that flirts with the the endless golden horizon, here at Charisma Suites, our home away from home. With beautiful quiet morning like this it’s hard to believe that this is summer in Europe in mid July. And we are finally crossing this our of our bucket list! <3
Next stop is Luxor, a place where people referred as world’s most impressive open air museum, and even that an understatement. Luxor is a paradise of pharaonic temples and grandeur monuments – The spectacles of the ancient civilization. The setting of the city is perfect with the Nile river flowing in between, dividing it into west and east banks. Here are the temples that you must visit; Temple of Hatshepsut, Temple of Karnak, Valley of The Kings, Luxor Temple, The Ramesseum. We spent two nights there and staying at the beautiful Sofitel Legend Winter Place. I was so happy to be woken up into by birthday blowing candles, eating the surprise cake, and popping champagne from our balcony perched on the Nile River against the background of the valley of the kings with colorful hot-air balloons gracefully flying by. Then at 11.00 AM our driver from Nour El Nil cruise came to pick us up from our hotel, Sofitel Legend Winter Place. Birthday celebration continues on the cruise, I’m the luckiest!