Most holidaymakers travelling to Thailand will plan to spend some time at one of its numerous beaches, perhaps on the international jetsetter island of Phuket, in one of Koh Samui’s many hotels or in the hedonist’s nightlife capital of Pattaya or the Northern Thai capital of Chiang Mai. But frequent visitors to the country are often keen to get behind the façade of the tourist centres to explore the soul of the country, or at least to combine a beach stay with an unusual experience of the nation’s true heartlands.
Today, the countryside of Isan may be experienced in comfort and style at a small number of fully catered holiday villas, where guests are welcomed and looked after by local villagers, who are also keen to share their region and traditions with overseas guests. Offering unusual experiences and a genuine insight into Thai village life away from the tourist crowds, these villas boast private swimming pools and all modern conveniences such as air-conditioning and satellite TV, yet manage to retain a real sense of individuality and authenticity in what they offer. Rather than just photographing the rice paddies, join in and help with the harvest or seedling planting! On the dramatic pink lotus lake, where a boat is essential to immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the scene, there are no tourist boats for hire, but the villa owners will take you out in their own traditional fishing boat. And rather than ordering food off a menu, go with the villagers to the local markets to see the awe-inspiring array of fresh ingredients, before selecting what is required to head back to the villa and learn how to rustle up some truly genuine Thai dishes!
Khun Got and his family run two such properties out of Udon Thani in the Northeast. Indigenous rice-farmers, they felt that guests would be keen to get away from it all and to discover a whole new way of life in the countryside. They first established Gecko Villa, a 3 bedroom pool villa for holiday rent, and then, some ten years later, the traditionally Thai pool villa Green Gecko, and have not looked back since.
“Holidaymakers in Thailand have a huge choice of beach resorts or city hotels at their fingertips on the internet or in glossy tour operator brochures” says Got, “but we felt that more and more visitors are keen to experience a more authentic side of Thailand, getting to experience its cuisine, meet its people, and participate in its traditions. Our pool villas aim to cater to this need, providing unusual experiences, tasty food, a genuine interaction with the locals, yet with full comfort and privacy.”
Whilst his two eclectic and delightful villas appeal to romantics, couples, honeymooners and foodies, many families also book a stay there. “I think they appreciate the privacy and facilities of their own villa, without the hassles of self-catering properties: here, all their meals are prepared for them, and we can arrange for babysitting, do their laundry and more so they have a truly relaxing holiday instead of feeling as if they still have the chores of home whilst on vacation,” says Khun Got.
Domestic flights to Udon Thani (airport code UTH) are inexpensive and may be booked online via the various airlines flying there, including Thai Air, and the local budget airlines Nok Air, Air Asia and Orient Thai. Direct flights to Udon Thani leave form Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Guests are met at the airport and transferred to the selected villa free of charge.
For more information about rural Thailand and to book a villa online, visit the Thai holiday villa Green Gecko at http://www.thaivillarent.com and the original Thailand holiday home Gecko Villa at http://www.geckovilla.com for details, photographs and availability calendars.
In addition, both properties are featured on the selective Thailand holiday villas directory at http://www.thailandholidayhouse.com, which specializes in recommending award-winning or perennially popular and well-reviewed holiday villas across Thailand for the discerning traveler looking for a different holiday experience.
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Ferreting out unusual and authentic Thailand villa experiences for family holidays, couples, romantics and more, with an emphasis on getting away from the crowds.