Travel Talks: Anchalika Kijkanakorn on how best to explore the world

Discover secret bars in Bangkok

When deciding on your next superyacht vacation destination, it always helps to have some insider knowledge. Anchalika Kijkanakorn, owner and founder of the Thailand-based Akaryn Hotel Group, has lived and travelled around the world. As the first female chairman of the board for the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group, she has plenty of tips to share with us. Hotel Group, has lived and travelled around the world. As the first female chairman of the board for the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group, she has plenty of tips to share with us.

1.Discover secret bars in Bangkok

Bangkok is fun, you have everything that you need and there are new things to discover all the time. It has developed into a really international city with lots of different kinds of people, making it a must-see for anyone discovering Thailand on a luxury yacht.

Head to the Thonglor neighbourhood for all the coolest bars, restaurants and shops – I think of it as the Notting Hill of Bangkok. There is a bar called Black Amber – you have to know where it is. It’s a barbershop combined with a whisky and cigar bar. You can go in, get your hair cut and have a cigar afterwards. It’s very cool, decked out in black leather and they have live jazz music.

There’s another place called Havana Social Bangkok and it’s hidden behind a phone booth. You have to know the right number to dial, and the back of the booth opens into a Cuban bar.

You can stay at our hotel in Thonglor, the Akyra Bangkok, after your night out. For those who love shopping, there are some really unique shops on the ground floor. We have couture Thai designers with ready-to-wear collections who can make bespoke pieces too. There’s also a vintage second-hand shop in the hotel, as well as a kitchen store – it’s eclectic!

Picture courtesy of Facebook.com / Andrey Sitnik

Don't bother with the night market in Chiang Mai

Those heading further north in Thailand should check in at the Akyra Chiang Mai, which is in a really hip neighbourhood, the Nimmanhaemin Soi 9.

Most people who go to Chiang Mai go straight to the night market. Why would you want to go to the night market selling knick-knacks from China? You want to go to Nimman. You have live music, bars, local people and there is incredible street food from all over the world. Don't miss the Thai coffee bars – there's one that doubles up as a bike shop and cocktail bar.

Picture courtesy of The Akyran Hotel Group

Opt for something a little different

Last year I took my kids to a ranch in Colorado. We lived in log cabins and played cowboys for seven days, which was so much fun. My boys live in Bangkok so it's important for them to get into nature every now and again.

Next year I want to go sailing in Croatia – when I lived in London I’d go sailing in Mallorca, Turkey and Greece, but I haven’t been out on the water in a long time. I love catamarans, especially the nets across the bow.

Take every opportunity to make exciting memories

Around 26 years ago I was in Uzbekestan when it first broke off from the Soviet Union. I was living in Singapore at the time and was about to move to the US.

I had a friend working for the French Embassy and they were able to get me an invitation, as at a time when it was an invite-only destination. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I went and travelled the Silk Road, heading to Tashkent, Samakand, Bukhara and back again. It was incredible, I felt like Genghis Khan!

Picture courtesy of Facebook.com / The Royal Silk Road

Get back to nature in Phuket

My flagship hotel, the Aleenta Phuket, is a five minute walk along the same beach as the Akyra Beach Club Phuket, so guests can enjoy live music at the Beach Club as well as the wellness centre at Aleenta. Don't miss the Linda Meredith facial or the oil massage, the are both amazing.

You can take cycle from the hotel out to a small village and explore the nearby rubber plantations. You’ll see water buffalo, the white birds that live on their backs, and the truly amazing countryside.

You should also visit the hot spring or, if you're the more adventurous type, go white water rafting in the Khlong Panom National Park in Phang Nga, just north of the Aleenta. There’s also great snorkelling there if you can take a long tailboat out onto the water. Plus, you can visit a beautiful lake and one of the oldest forests in the world.

Picture courtesy of The Akyran Hotel Group

Look out for your eco footprint

We work with the fishery department to protect the turtles in Phuket, so whenever there’s been injured turtles the locals bring them to us. Last year there were two turtles that came to our beach by themselves. Guests are welcome to come and visit this sanctuary.

In Hua Hin, we have a farm-to-table system. We have an organic farm with fruit, vegetables and chickens, so guests can go and choose their own eggs for breakfast.

We also run the Elephant Foundation in Chiang Mai to raise awareness and to protect elephants, in conjunction with the well-known Elephant Parade charity.

The Akaryn Hotel Group brands are some of the best luxury resorts with eco-consciousness at the forefront of guest experience and are home to spas that are among the best in Asia. With its five hotels stretching from Phuket up to Chiang Mai, there are plenty of options for those wanting to explore Thailand in style and comfort.

Picture courtesy of Facebook.com / Akyra Manor Chiang Mai

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