Thailand varies in its context depending on the viewpoint of the perceiver or, at times, the property. Journeying into the heat for the texture of the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, Anantara Resorts, whose Golden Triangle property ranks among some of the best around, highlighted their Hua Hin property where the event was held as well as two key hotels in Bangkok: Riverside and Sathorn.
Arriving in the darkness of night, the Anatara Riverside lurks on the shores of the river, its breath occurring wavingly. The brightness of the morning shows its reprieve as The Market incurs one of the most wonderful traditions of Southeast Asia that sometimes gets lost in America: breakfast.
The interrations of soups specifically make this undeniable, specially an aspect of congee and chicken with a bare amount of soy and sugar. Chiles are readily available but as many as Thai chefs will specify, certain dishes are made for spice and some are not.
Taking a tour through the back canals of Bangkok, the inversion of drinking from coconuts as kids jump from bridges shows the degree of playfulness still prevalent in the city. The floods of last year still leave their marks that can be seen along the banks and the influx of a newly seen large lizard (not unlike the neighboring komodo — although this one has no venom and only eats fish) shows that nature takes it own back.
Reciting into the night, the Manohra dinner cruise (offered as a package from the Riverside aboard a rice barge) highlights the brightness of the river energy. Offered within a multi-course meal, the appetizer plate mixing wonton, satays and spring rolls waxed fantastic while the soft shell soup reveled in its chunky demeanor.
Heading two hours east to the coast, the Anantara Hua Hin welcomes all with its beachfront serenity as the tides move back and forth. The arriving area ushers in with a sense of old school wonder while the rooms paint themselves chill in a very rustic demeanor.
The intensiveness of the pitch itself at a nearby military base served as the focal point for the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament. Different teams battled back and forth with distinction blending competitiveness with a sense of the greater. As shown by the elephant fruit buffet which occurred twice during the four-day event, it is literally about these majestic animals and raising awareness of their survival and well being while also having a bit of fun.
The charity dinner at the center of the 4-day festivities was held black-tie style underneath a tent on the Anantara Hua Hin property and raised money to help care for the animals with a distinctive differential of bids on items ranging from paintings and getaways in the Maldives and Bali to one-of-kind watches valued at over $40,000.
The food itself also belayed itself with a texture of the grand. While the jumbo prawns and vestiges of curry made their way in balance with the smoothness of Ketel One shots, it was the full lobsters flown in from Maine at full texture that truly highlighted the night.
Returning post-Tournament, the Anantara Sathorn in Central Bangkok functions contemporary in comparison to Hua Hin’s more spread-out estate mechanism. As the thunderstorms of the afternoon blaze through the steel jungle of downtown, the spacious suite at the hotel boasts a full kitchen, sunken tub and an inviting bed balanced by wonderful balconies that encompass the beauty of the city.
Sathorn’s signature restaurant 100 Degrees East angles to international cuisine but the inclusion of its requisite Thai dishes resounds the necessity of its calling, Beginning with the necessary springs rolls, the tradition of Tom Kah Gai mixing galangal, lemograss and coconut milk with chicken dumplings truly hit the spot.
Pizza also figures into the process with a stone-visioned oven set into the kitchen allowing for a new approach in the Thai Minced Chicken which included red onion, mint and pomodora sauce. However the Teao Wan Phad Hoi Shell mixing local and visually interesting scallops with green beans and oyster sauce ravished with an experience of true originality.
In experiencing the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament through the vision of Anantara Resorts encompassing their three properties of Hua Hin as well as Riverside and Sathorn in Bangkok, the possibilities of Thailand continue to wax both prevalent and intensive.