At Journeys Within, we are dedicated to custom designing memorable experiences throughout Southeast Asia. We especially love it when we hear back from our guests who have had first class travel experiences, and are excited to share their photos and adventures. This letter and these photos are from Journeys Within guests, Kristine Janda & Ken O’Grattan.
We just returned home from our Asia trip. I just wanted to tell you what an unbelievably amazing experience we had with Journeys Within! Thank you for making our trip and anniversary extra special. We love the gifts, and we will be hanging the picture in our house as a memory of this great adventure.
Photo Credit: Kristine Janda & Ken O’Grattan
We loved all our guides. Mr. Sina and our driver were both wonderful. Mr. Sina is so kind, patient, attentive, and has such a great knowledge of Siem Reap and it’s many temples. He was in tune to our interests and made sure we had a great experiences. Our driver was also great, drove safely, and attentive to us. Our cooking class was a blast! We enjoyed every minute of it. We did not end up doing the bird watching due to the conditions, and we appreciated the change to ensure a great experience. Our trek on Mt Kulen was such an adventure! We’ve never trekked through a lush jungle like that. Our guides were great, patient, very knowledgeable of forests plants and animals, and very attentive to our needs.
Photo Credit: Kristine Janda & Ken O’Grattan
We also had the most wonderful stay with Jaya House! Wow. They were so sweet and treated us like royalty. They made us feel very special in celebrating our anniversary with flowers and cake! The hotel grounds are so beautiful we didn’t want to leave. The entire staff was very nice and attentive to us and all their guests.
We are so amazed by Siem Reap and its people. Everyone we met was very kind and hospitable. We enjoyed all the food and loved all your restaurant recommendations. Thank you again for helping us with our unforgettable adventure in Siem Reap. It’s become one of my favorite places in the world!
Kristine Janda and Kevin O’Grattan
By Jay Austin
Royal Sands Koh Rong is getting ready to open a new 67 villa luxury resort on Koh Rong Island in Southern Cambodia in October 2017, and is already accepting bookings starting in October. The villa options include Oceanview Villas, Beachfront Villas, Ocieanview Pool Villas, Beachfront Pool Villas, Two-Bedroom Oceanview Pool Villas and a Three-Bedroom Beachfront Pool Villa.
This luxury property intends to compete with Song Saa Private Island and will also offer a variety of activities such as snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, romantic picnics and excursions by private boat to neighboring islands where you can explore untouched beaches
The Bliss Spa will offer a full range of spa treatments and therapies, along with an outdoor yoga studio for yoga and meditation classes.
The main pool will be located by The Chill Beach Bar and Grill which will offer fresh and delicious lunches, along with more refined dinner options.
This property certainly promises to be a highlight in Cambodia’s South!
By Nicole Long
We have a new signature hotel partner in Chiang Mai – the Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort. This resort offers everything our guests are looking for – a charming boutique property near the historic part of Chiang Mai along the Ping River waterfront, with good service, and a traditional aesthetic.
Nestled down a small soi (street) on the Ping Riverside, next to the Chai Mongkon Temple and a 5-10 minute walk from the Night Market, is a charming hideaway – the Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort. This newly opened boutique property (Dec 2016) is half-wood Lanna-Colonial style and reminiscent of the traditional Thai house design from the late 19th century. Forty-one out of the 45 rooms have a private balcony that overlooks the hotel’s tropical gardens and tranquil swimming pool, which is in view of the 100 year old Rain Tree. The rooms are beautifully decorated with wood and rattan furniture, with accents of local textiles and handicrafts. The four colonial suites are located in a heritage style house, with a private infinity pool and overlooking the Ping River. They are individually themed (British-Indian, Burmese, Chinese and Siamese) and provide a private balcony, separate living space and a giant, luxurious bathroom with dual sinks, a rain shower room and a freestanding claw-foot bathtub.
In addition to the pool, the resort’s facilities include a full service spa, outdoor gym, library, conference rooms and laundry services. The Time Riverfront Restaurant, which includes a 360 degree rooftop bar, offers afternoon high tea and Thai Lanna/International fusion cuisine. The restaurant, located next to the 100 year old Rain Tree and the Ping River, gives guests one of the best views for breakfast. Make sure to arrive early in the morning to sit at one of the much sought after riverside tables – you won’t regret it. The majority of the staff have worked at 5 star properties in Chiang Mai so you can be assured you will be receiving excellent, personalized service.
The resort is definitely what it claims to be – a romantic boutique hideaway. Guests are given the opportunity to feel and experience the surrounding nature, traditional Lanna culture, warm Thai hospitality and ultimate relaxation.
By Courtney Ridgel
To begin with, I LOVED the Marndadee Heritage River Village. Fair enough, this particular property suits my personal tastes, but I feel confident that I will not be alone in appreciating this beautiful hotel.
This property seeks to encompass the feeling of ‘Old Thailand’ so there is a mix of colonial- style buildings and traditional reclaimed wooden houses with tiled roofs. The property is situated right on the Ping River, so the setting is very peaceful and quiet, and in the spirit of a Thai village, there are small decorative rice paddies on the grounds. The owners are avid collectors of art, sculptures, and antiques so the property boasts quite a collection displayed throughout the grounds, with unique pieces showcased in each room. In addition, the original old trees and wells (now filled in and serving as flower pots for ferns) are interspersed between the buildings, as none of them were removed when the hotel was constructed.
In general, this property will be an excellent fit for travelers who are planning to spend more time in the countryside around Chiang Mai, visiting elephants, sightseeing, trekking, etc., and is perfect for those seeking relaxation, a beautiful view and peace and quiet with a romantic nostalgic ‘old-world’ feel. The Marndadee Heritage River Village can accommodate families, family groups and couples. The Rice Barn Villas in particular were designed for families, groups of friends or extended families with a three-bedroom option where three separate villas share an outdoor space together in the center, and a private outdoor space to relax beneath each villa.
All that said, this hotel falls in the category of ‘outside of town’. I’m told that the hotel is normally about a 40 minute drive from the airport but while I was visiting, it took us a bit longer due to Loi Krathong traffic and the bridge along normal route was undergoing repairs which have since been completed. This property is not particularly well suited for travelers who prefer to be situated at the center of the action in bustling downtown Chiang Mai. Going out to eat frequently may also be problematic, as there isn’t much nearby besides the river, the scenery and the local neighborhoods along the river. That said, this property does offer a restaurant, spa, pool, fitness room, and free shuttle service to and from downtown Chiang Mai 4 set times a day to keep guests entertained.
By Jay Austin
The new boutique Fusion Suites Saigon is now open! We are excited to offer this new Saigon hotel option to our guests, as we also book their sister property, the Fusion Maia in Danang. This property includes a unique ‘all-inclusive’ and restorative philosophy, so all of the rooms are suites, daily spa treatments are included with each stay, and the Fresh Restaurant and Zen Rooftop Restaurant offer healthy, fresh and delicious food and beverage options with great service. (We love their breakfast menu!) In keeping with the relaxing and restorative concept, calming music plays down each hallway.
This is a great mid-range hotel option for young couples and families on a budget. Although the property doesn’t have a swimming pool, they have a Family Suite which has a bedroom just off the parents’ room with bunk beds for younger children – a very unique feature in Southeast Asia! The suites also include a kitchenette with spacious and bright rooms. This property overlooks Tao Dan Park and the Bitexco Financial Tower, and the property offers good views of the fireworks shows from their rooftop.