Green Gecko, Udon Thani, Thailand
Green Gecko is situated approximately 40 minutes from Udon Thani, the gateway to northern Isaan, in a region of Thailand where very few tourists ever venture. Traditional practices and the rhythms of daily life have remained unchanged from western influences. This is a unique spot to unwind in a rural setting with a backdrop of rice paddies and gentle rolling hills, and a delightful family on hand to look after you.
Your every need will be catered for by Ten, a local man who runs the villa on behalf of the owner, and Ten's family who all help out. Some of them speak little or no English but there are smiles all round and a great family atmosphere! This is a perfect place to learn more about the traditions and beliefs that of the local Isaan people.
The villa is set amongst fields of tapioca, eucalyptus and rubber trees and the herb garden kept provides many ingredients that are used in freshly prepared dishes. Quench your thirst with a freshly squeezed lime juice, sweet iced lemongrass tea or freshly blended chilled mango juice (knowing these have all been picked locally and prepared just for you). The local village is a five minute walk and the perfect silence is only broken by the dawn chorus and the evening calls of frog and cicada.
Sumptuous Isaan cuisine will be prepared for you and a fully stocked fridge is available for your own use. It is also possible to help Ten prepare your dishes and learn a little about Thai cookery. Local attractions include the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ban Chiang where the history of the region is still being discovered. Remains have been found dating civilisation in the area back as far as the ancient Chinese settlements and the archaeological dig is still active today.
For nature lovers there are some stunning national parks close by with arid lowlands giving way to lush green hillsides, dramatic cliff formations and trickling streams. These are home to all manner of tropical birds and butterflies. However, you might simply wish to enjoy the privacy, lazing with a good book beside the bubbling clear waters of your small, infinity-edged swimming pool.