We spent New Years at Ko Lanta, a large island in Southern Thailand which has coral rimmed sandy white beaches, a fabulous coastline dotted with over 70 small islands, blue waters and miles of green virgin forests and hills. Unlike the more famous Koh Phi Phi, Ko Lanta is relatively less known to tourists. After spending Christmas in Bangkok, Laveena and I, along with our dear friends from Germany, Lydia and Oliver Kirchel, flew to Koh Lanta to celebrate New Years eve.
Tucked away in Chharabra, Mashobra, near Shimla, lies Wildflower Hall. Surrounded by fragrant pine and cedar trees, this mystical Oberoi property is situated on 22 acres of virgin woods and is located at a height of 8350 feet above sea level. The former abode of Lord Kitchener, Wildflower Hall has been grandly restored and is now a luxury hotel.
An evening at the magnificent Taj Mahal Palace never disappoints. And if that evening is followed by a nights stay at this architectural marvel of a property, you are sure to feel special. With its hand woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, a cantilever stairway and tall columns and archways, the Taj Mahal Palace is a perfect venue for any grand occasion. And yes, they do make you feel like a true Indian Maharajah. We were here to celebrate Laveena’s birthday.
On Day 6 we were up before sunrise. Although we were not scheduled to leave until 9:00 am, we deliberately woke up early as we wanted to feast our eyes and soak in the last of the unimaginable beauty that made up the Punakha valley.
On day four post a fabulous lunch at the Gangtey Goempa Lodge, we started on our journey to Punakha. En route we drove by Lobesa where we noticed that the local homes done up in the typical traditional Bhutanese style, had one glaring difference. They all had paintings of phalluses on the outside walls. Vijay our guide explained that we were in the fertile valley of Lobesa which borders Thimphu, Punakha and the Wangdue Phodrang districts.