the POSH guide
The best of Southeast Asia

Checking In: Phunacome Resort, Dan Sai

8 August 2011
Filed under: Site News — Tags: , — Michael @ 9:35 pm
Resort Buildings and Grounds

The lobby building (left) and one of the guest wings of the resort.

"What’s a nice resort like you doing in a place like this?" This thought occurs to me quite often in my travels, especially around Thailand. I arrive in some out-of-the-way, middle-of-nowhere small town, and there it is: a completely out of place resort that’s very nice if not downright luxe. Such was the feeling I had when arriving at Phunacome Resort just outside of Dan Sai in Loei province.

Dan Sai really is a small town; not much more than a wide spot in the road, high up in the mountains near the Lao border. The only reason it’s on the tourist map at all is due to a singular annual festival called Phi Ta Khon, or the "Ghost Mask Festival". If you’re taking in the event, the resort is the best place to stay. For the rest of the year, the only reason you would come here would be to use the resort as a base for exploring the rather spectacular natural scenery of the province.

The resort is laid out in a small valley just about 10 minutes from town. The floor of the valley has been formed into a series of ponds. On one side are the standard guest rooms, lobby building, and the meeting rooms. The other side of the valley is devoted to what the resort calls its "Isaan Village", a group of medium to large traditional style wooden houses which form the resort’s suites.

Standard room bed

The bed of the standard room at Phunacome

I had one of the standard rooms. It was very large, with wood floors, a king-size bed, balcony and large bathroom. Wireless Internet access was freely available throughout the hotel. Breakfast was served in the small dining area off the hotel lobby. There wasn’t a lot of choice, but most everything was well done. Guests could also enjoy complimentary coffee or tea at any time of day in the dining room.

The resort also had a few mountain bikes for free use by the guests. I used one on one of the days during my stay. It was easy enough to get around to the other sights of Dan Sai, although the ride back uphill to the resort is going to leave you huffing and puffing a little. During the festival, the resort offered a free shuttle serve to take guests into town and bring them back.

You can find more information and links to booking sites at the Phu Na Come Resort details page.

New POSH Guides to Penang & Langkawi

7 April 2009
Filed under: Site News — Tags: , — Michael @ 12:26 pm

I’ve expanded coverage to Malaysia, with the addition of mini-guides to Penang and Langkawi. Penang warrants consideration for it’s well preserved historic old town, along with two very distinctive hotel options. After spending several days wandering through the colonial streets of Georgetown, you’ll probably want to relax for a few days on a tropical island, and Langkawi certainly fits the bill. Spectacular scenery featuring eagles, white sandy beaches, and some of the region’s best resorts, what more could you ask for?

These are "mini" guides only, featuring suggesting on where to stay and an overview of what to see. For complete details on where to go and what to see, visit the Malaysia travel guide at AsiaForVisitors.com.

What’s This “Make-a-Loan” Box About?

17 March 2009
Filed under: Site News — Michael @ 1:00 am

You may have noticed the box at right that says "Make a loan Change a life". It’s on every page, although the borrower will change from page to page. I discovered Kiva a few months ago, through a travel forum I check in on from time to time. The concept amazed me, as I’ve been hearing so much about micro-finance the last few year, but never knew there was a way I could personally get involved in it. Until I discovered Kiva.

For those unfamiliar with the term, micro-finance "is the supply of loans, savings, and other basic financial services to the poor." Micro-finance offers poor people access to basic financial services such as loans, savings, money transfer services and micro-insurance. People living in poverty, like everyone else, need a diverse range of financial services to run their businesses, build assets, smooth consumption, and manage risks. See the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) for more information.

The attraction, for me, of micro-finance is the fact that it goes directly to people who are trying to improve their lives. It’s not just a hand-out, which keeps poor people poor, but it helps them work themselves out of poverty.

So, it’s a great idea, but how do we get involved? That’s where Kiva comes in. Kiva connects potential lenders with entrepreneurs in the developing world. Each month, Kiva posts hundreds of loan requests by budding entrepreneurs around the world, some of whom are highlighted in the box I carry on this site. You select which ones you want to loan to, and the loan amount. The typical loan required is around $1,000 but you don’t need to fund the entire amount. Other Kiva members will contribute as well until the entire amount is raised. In February, Kiva distributed a total of US$3.5 Million in loans, which considering the times we’re in is quite amazing.

If you’re still not sure what a small loan can accomplish in a developing country, then watch the video below about a recipient in Nepal:


Kiva in Nepal: A Field Visit from Chris Baker on Vimeo.

By the way, I fund my Kiva loans from the proceeds I make from my web sites, so every time you book a tour or a hotel, or click on a Google Ad, you’re also helping to fund poverty alleviation in the developing world.

Sharpening My Focus

14 March 2009
Filed under: Site News — Michael @ 5:11 am

You may have noticed that I’ve been making a lot of changes to the POSH guide lately. These changes range from a few cosmetic tweaks to the look and feel of the site to more significant changes, such as the addition of this news feed. But the most significant change is a lot more subtle.

When I first conceived the POSH guide, I envisioned it as a complete stand-alone travel guide highlighting the best of Southeast Asia. In many ways, that’s still my goal, but replicating – and more importantly maintaining – a second complete guide alongside my Asia For Visitors guide simply isn’t sustainable. So, I’ve decided to focus the POSH guide exclusively on selecting the best hotels, finding the best private tour guides, and other luxury travel secrets. As such, the POSH guide will form a complement to Asia For Visitors, which will continue to work at being the most complete travel guide to Southeast Asia.

I’ve already updated the Bali, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hanoi guides to reflect this new focus. The rest of the guides will be updated shortly, and then I can set about expanding the guides to include more destinations.

Announcing the POSH Guide News Section

4 March 2009
Filed under: Site News — Michael @ 9:46 pm

There’s so much happening in the “POSH” area around Southeast Asia that it was getting impossible to fit them all into the guide format of the site, so I decided to add this “blog” to keep you up to date on the latest openings, promotions, and other news in the travel market.

 

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