South East Asia
Views From My Window
Memories of waking up to the sound of boats chugging along the river; mist swirling around mountaintops; rice paddies cloaked in fog; the soothing refrain of nets being raised and lowered into the water; and the call of birds. I grab my camera, draw the curtains, and immerse myself in the beauty of the view from my window. What a way to start the day!
Kampot – Cambodia – Les Manguiers
I had asked for a cottage on the river. We were given a cottage in the river that stood on the edge of the resort, where our only visitors were geckos and frogs, all of which resembled squishy toys. As the sun rose and bathed the landscape in its golden light, I would awake to the put-put-putting of fishing boats heading upriver. I’d wave and watch until they were out of sight then dive into the refreshing, gently flowing water for an early morning swim.
Siem Reap – Cambodia – Angkor Village Hotel
Lotus ponds; the sounds of water skipping over rocks; walkways that meander over pools and past little cottages tucked among banana and mango trees and upholstered in flowering vines; the open-sided restaurant that “floats” on water. I feel that we have been transported overnight to an idyllic village that exists only in my dreams.
Vang Vieng – Laos – Elephant Crossing Hotel
Early morning sunshine caresses the jagged peaks of towering limestone karsts. Guests linger over an early morning breakfast in this idyllic setting. When the sun is up, kayaks and paddleboards cut soundlessly through the calm waters of the Nam Song River. The peace and tranquility are absolute. A slice of paradise!
Hoi An – Vietnam – Vinh Hung Resort
Locals – wearing traditional Vietnamese Nón Lá (leaf hats) – drift silently past our garden cottage in their sampans. Most of them are on their way to or from the bustling, Hoi – An market.
Hue – Vietnam – Pilgrimage Village
In the early mornings, a fine mist would hang like a delicate bridal veil over the gardens and swimming pool, creating a soundless, almost mystical aura. I loved the rustic, uncluttered design of the landscaping: glazed ceramic Vietnamese pots; thatch swimming pool umbrellas; and lily ponds that would burst with color after sunrise.
Halong Bay – Vietnam – The Halong Ginger
Unfortunately, we had two days of grey skies during our visit to Halong Bay. But cloudy skies could not diminish the magnetic beauty of the bay. The view from our window of the bay scattered with boats and sampans, islets, and sculpted limestone karsts, was like an ever-changing painting.
The Mekong River – Vietnam – Le Bassac
As the sun rose slowly above the horizon, we awoke to find Le Bassac – our “junk boat” – surrounded by an early morning floating market. Several hours later, the buyers and sellers drifted away, and it was as though the scene that greeted us at dawn existed only in my imagination. Our expertly outfitted, compact cabin was equipped with silent, efficient air conditioning and an oversized glass window, which allowed one to observe life on the Mekong. I would take refuge in our cabin during the hottest and most humid hours of the day and delight in watching families going about their daily routines.
Northern Vietnam – Topas Ecolodge
After two days and two nights of trekking through the majestic mountains of Northern Vietnam and enjoying the hospitality of the Hill Tribes, we cocooned for a couple of days at Topas Ecolodge, in a cottage built of white stone, with rich redwood windows and doors.
From our windows, we had unbeatable views of clouds swirling around the mountain peaks and rice paddies draped in mist. Fortunately, we had experienced glorious weather during our two-day trek.
Bangkok – Thailand – Ibrik
We arrived at night at a tiny, three suites, boutique hotel on the river. The staff had drawn back the drapes of our spacious, upper story suite to reveal a jaw-dropping floor to ceiling views of the illuminated Royal Palace, boats, and city skyline casting their reflections into the river. Breakfast was served on the deck leading off our patio, as was afternoon tea and a glass of wine at sunset.
Inle Lake – Myanmar – Treasure Resort
The cottages of the Treasure Resort stand in the lake encircled by mountains and lily ponds. They are flooded with natural light that cascades in through windows in every conceivable spot – including the bathroom and shower – treating guests to a kaleidoscope of exquisite views.
There is much to explore on Inle Lake, but the views from the cottages beckon one to linger and soak up the beauty of one’s immediate surroundings.