How I Travel: Anchalika Kijkanakorn Of Akaryn Hotel Group
You probably don't know the name Anchalika Kijkanakorn—but you've definitely felt the impact she's made on Thailand's hospitality industry. The hardworking yet humble founder of Akaryn Hotel Group started her career by renovating her family's beachside residence into a luxurious yet laid-back retreat; the Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi, which was hailed as Thailand's first ever boutique resort.
Never one to do what everyone else is doing, Anchalika's business has blazed the trail for countless innovative concepts. Just last month, she opened Akyra Tas Sukhumvit Bangkok, the first single-use plastic-free hotel in Asia.
We caught up with Anchalika at the iconic Captain's Bar at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong to find out how she travels.
I was skiing in Courchevel, France.
I’m going to London for work.
What do you love most about travelling?
Discovering new things, seeing new places and just having that time to enjoy with my family.
Most memorable travel experience?
Getting lost in central Asia alone, 20 years ago. This is when there five states governed by the Soviet Union, during the time it was all kind of falling apart. At the time, you had to be invited to go, and a friend was working for the French embassy and invited me. I thought, if I don’t go now, I probably won’t get another opportunity. So I went.
It was an interesting place to be alone in. They’d never really seen a foreigner and I’d never seen anywhere like it. They were looking at me and I was looking at everything… it was all so foreign.
Three things you always travel with?
I’ve always thought that as long as I have my passport, a credit card and my phone, everything else can be more easily replaced.
What do you normally read on the plane?
The last two books I read that I really liked are Sapien and Homo Deus—they're both by the same author, Yuval Noah Harari.
Favourite travel companion?
My fiancée. Have you seen that show The Amazing Race? I’ve always thought that a person I could get through The Amazing Race with, and not kill each other, is the perfect travel companion.
Aisle and window seat?
Favourite travel app?
Technically not an app, but Google.
Any tips on overcoming jet lag?
I start adjusting my time from when I get on the plane. If sleep is a problem, melatonin helps. It’s an effective, natural way to help you get to sleep.
What are the latest travel trends?
I don’t think it’s the latest trend but it has always been important, and that's personalised services and experiences. Authenticity has always been the underlying desire for a lot of travellers. I think that’s where services like Airbnb come in—I don’t see it as a cheap alternative, but more a way to arrive somewhere and instantly feel like a local.
That authenticity is something that travelers always have, and always will, look for.
Tips for traveling with kids?
My kids have been travelling with me since they were just a few months old. I think parents, especially new parents, should know that kids are really resilient. And the younger they are, funnily enough, the easier they are to travel with. They sense from you what’s ok and what’s not. As long as you’re cool about everything, they will be too. So don’t get stressed out, they will be fine (laughs).
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