One of the bigger holidays in Thailand is Father’s Day. It is celebrated every year on December 5th, and it is the perfect time for a teacher to run out of town for a couple of days to recharge the batteries to make that final push through the end of the first semester. There are many places to go around Bangkok, but the one we landed on was Hua Hin, a beach resort town about a three hour drive from our school. It is a great town with some beautiful hikes, a fun bar scene downtown, and a beach that stretches out for miles. It is a weekend destination site for many people in Bangkok and I had a feeling that this weekend would not be any different considering it is a long weekend for many people due to the holiday. Little did I know that there was another reason that this weekend would make Hua Hin an even bigger destination, the Hua Hun Jazz festival. We got down here late the night before and drove to our hotel to find that cars parked all up and down the skinny streets and many people walking to the beach to go and partake in this event. We were able to catch a bit of the show last night, but were a little too tired to stay up late enough to watch the whole thing.
I am glad that this was the decision that we made because I needed the rest and it made for a beautiful day as we explored the ground of the hotel that we stayed at, the Centara Grand. Most of the time, I do not really care much about the place where we stay because it is only a place to rest my head while I get ready to take on whatever adventure awaits me the next day. But being a short weekend run, and the fact that I knew I would be spending a lot of time at the hotel while I got caught up on my grading for the end of the semester, I was very happy with the choice that Christine had made. It is right next to the beach, and has at least three pools that I have found, but there are probably more hidden in different corners of the place. There are also a couple of bars and restaurants on the grounds, not to mention one of the best breakfast buffets that I have ever run into.
My favorite part though so far has easily been the expansive gardens that surround the rooms. It is something right out of Stephen King’s The Shining as there is a topiary of wild animals carved into the trees and bushes out there. It has to be quite the feat to make sure that these plants maintain their look and there were a couple of them that were starting to grow extra limbs out of their heads and stomachs.
But for the most part, I was really impressed by the way that they maintained the garden. I only saw one person working on it while I was walking through it, and I would think that they would need more than one person to maintain this botanical zoo. But it had to have been a full time job for this individual and he must have a regular rotation to make sure that the plants never get too far our of control.
I am not usually impressed by gardens when I have come across them, but the one on the grounds of the Centara Grand really came as a surprise. I enjoyed the breeze that blew in from the ocean to cool down the temperature in Hua Hin to make it one of the more pleasant experiences I have had since moving out here. It made the perfect environment to enjoy this place, and it made this hotel a great find in Thailand. It has enough character to make it more of an experience rather than the impersonal rooms that come with most hotels I stay at. It makes it a place that I don’t mind hanging around as I enjoy my weekend away from the rat race.