I’ve been in Thailand for over two months now and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only written one post that has to do with being in Thailand and that was the bum gun article. By the way, I’ve come to love the bum gun, but I think an update on other things Thailand is overdue.
As many of you already know I came to Thailand to practice Muay Thai for 4 months but I wanted to give my body sufficient time to get acclimated with the time zone and temperature before starting that challenge so I chose to arrive in Thailand 2 weeks before the actual start date at the camp. The hunt for the perfect place for me to stay was on. First stop: Airbnb.
The criteria I was looking for in a guest house was something not too far from the camp, a tranquil location conducive to relaxation, and getting my mind psyched for the big challenge of camp life that were ahead. Most importantly I needed something affordable that would fit my tight budget.
The Universe obliged my request with the Zen House, Yoga and Meditation Garden; it was definitely affordable at $12/night, it was situated in rural Hua Hin only about 25km from the camp between Pranburi and Hua Hin City. And Julien, the French yogi who lives in the house and rents out the rooms promotes and spreads a sense of peace and well being with his positive attitude, buddhist values, and daily yoga and meditation sessions.
Julien was a helpful host starting from before I even arrived. He gave me directions on how to get to his place from Bangkok airport, and instructed me to get a SIM card right away at the airport as the easiest and quickest option to get connected right away. Something I probably would have never thought to do on my own. He even offered to pick me up from the Hua Hin bus station but that would have only worked had I been travelling with a backpack instead my overpacked duffle bag, as his primary mode of transport is a scooter.
Julien shares the house with Garfield and Wavy; two very social, affectionate and sometimes annoying (I remember Wavy scaring the shit out of me by jumping into my bedroom through the window in the middle of the night a few times as I slept, and bringing a dead gecko into my room on another occasion) cats.
Although you are in a rural area you are still close to amenities; you have a 7 Eleven, a market that is open twice a week and several Thai restaurants and coffee shops along the main highway that connects Hua Hin and Pranburi, there is also a place to rent scooters and access to a washing machine within a very small hotel, all within walking distance of the guesthouse. It may sound like a happening place to be but it really is quite quiet as the house is located on one of the unlit back roads behind the 7 Eleven. These backroads off the main highway are inhabited by local Thais, and wandering dogs on roads lined with pineapple fields and coconut trees giving you the feel of experiencing real Thai life.
Turn left at the front gate of the house and within a km you will find Wat Khao Din (pictures to come); an impressive temple that is still in operation.
The closest beach area is about 5km away but that was okay with me because although I love the water as a landscape backdrop I’m not really a sit on the beach all day kind of gal. Still for those of you that are into the beach thing it’s nothing to take quick scooter ride to the beach and just chill.
The rooms, the grounds and the house in general were very clean, and for a little extra you could have the bedroom with air conditioning (I didn’t take that one). The cooking facility is outside covered by a tin roof as most cooking areas in Thailand are. There is one full bathroom inside the house, and another in a separate building right in the backyard. There are coconuts on the palms in the yard that you are allowed to pick, with a hatchet nearby so you can pick, open and be tasting the sweet nectar immediately.
If you do need a break from all the peace and quiet Hua Hin City is only about 14km Northeast of the guesthouse. There you will find everything a Westerner could ever need or want; restaurants of all ethnicities, bars, coffeeshops, boutiques, a big modern shopping mall, and lots happening along the beach, but elements like: food carts bordering the streets, scooters being driven recklessly, night markets and electrical lines connecting poles in a big jumbled mess keep that Asian feel within the Westernized tourist town.
To the West of the Zen Guest House about 15km away is the town of Pranburi, where you can find dilapdtated 3 story buildings with different merchants on the ground floor like mechanics, insurance companies, massage parlours and apartments up top. The streets are lined with vendors selling Thai meals, snacks and fresh fruit for really cheap. The British chain store TESCO (like a Walmart) is at the main intersection once you reach Pranburi, I’ve never been beyond the TESCO though so can’t speak too much on Pranburi.
All in all Julien was an excellent host, with a sharing and inviting personality. He’ll offer you a cup of tea or share his fresh market fare with you, he’s social inviting you to local excursions (he brought me and another couple at the guesthouse to Pranburi beach and brought me to Hua Hin City for some delicious crepes at Cafe Crepes) without being too in your face or overbearing.
The only thing I thought was missing was a desk in my room so that I could work on my laptop but the big room with the A/C was equipped with a desk. I would definitely recommend this guest house to anyone looking for a quiet time in the country, close to the beach, and not too far from action in the adjacent city. Thanks Julien!!