Cities have their charms, but I always find myself drawn to the open landscapes and nature, mostly to recuperate and clear my thoughts. One of my commendable spots for such an activity is Hua Hin, a haven of serenity in a town of Thailand. Walk around Hua Hin and you can find people, sometimes with a book in their hands, sitting by the shore and watching the waves, and listening to the tranquil soundtrack of the ocean.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, located an hour away from Hua Hin, is heaven on earth with waterfalls, caves, white sand beaches, and limestone caves that will leave you wanting more. Laem Sam Beach, accessible either by foot or by boat, gives you plenty of space to roam freely with its perfectly white sandy beach under your feet. The accent of the place seen in its combination of tropical palm and pine trees. En route to the beach, we hiked around the shore to the peak of the smaller mountain and marvelled at nature’s beauty. In front of me, stood the vast ocean and its tiny boats ferrying locals to and fro. It was a sight to revel in.
There was a restaurant located at the bottom of the mountain that was surrounded by shady trees. It was the ideal location to just sit back and sip on chilled coconut juice before continuing our exploration of the national park. With bungalows and campfire sites peppered along Laem Sam Beach, one could rent a place to stay in or pitch a tent to soak in all the raw beauty the national park has to offer.
Climbing up the steep mountain to get to Phraya Nakhon Cave proved to be an arduous task, probably due to the fact that our physical fitness states were not that exceptional. It was well worth it, though. As we descended into the caves, the sunlight cascaded from the partly open ceiling of the first cave. It was beautiful, however, that was not even the main attraction. There were numerous caves in the park, but Phraya Nakhon is the most famous. The Kuha Kharuehat pavilion stands in the middle of the cave bathed in sunlight from the hole above and perfectly framed the trees and stalagmites inside. Looking up at the pavilion in a hushed environment, you could hear the water droplets from the stalactites as it dripped down on to the ground.
I feel that memorable moments of travel occur either in silence or in nature’s soundtrack. A combination of such was the level of tranquillity that I witnessed in Hua Hin. Such was the charmed time I needed to renew and inspire me.
Words & Photography by Kamal Tung