In all of Trang province, the most unique, panoramic bird eye view of the Andaman sea is found at Barefeet Heaven Hill Resort. It is built right on top of a small hill in the middle of the protected Chao Mai National Park!
How is that possible?
The story goes back five generations to when Pii Oan’s great-grand father came from China to settle in Thailand. Being a cautious man, he built his house in a typhoon safe spot just a bit up the Trang river but still directly in front of the Andaman sea. Sailing in and out of the Hat Yao harbour he used the little hill as his benchmark.
As time went by, he planted rubber trees on “his” hill. Every morning when emptying the rubber cups, he enjoyed the view from the top over the amazing surroundings. Some years later, he applied for ownership of the land and was given a full land title deed. The establishment of a national park, which would have made this impossible, happened only during the time of his grandson, Pii Oan’s father.
In 2014, Pii Oan decided to remove some of the rubber trees on top of the hill to make room for a resort he had dreamed of building for a while. He is an engineer and had made all the designs and technical drawings himself. As the last thing, he built a little shrine on the very peak and a concrete slab that is perfectly angled to point north-south like a compass needle. The resort opened in 2015 and he and his wife Tum gave their son Bank – only 20 years at the time – the educational job of being the manager.
Shortly after the military coup in 2014, the Thai military took action against many resorts around the country that were built on encroached national forest land. A big force of police and military also came to inspect the Heaven Hill that surely had to be built in violation of the rules – but to their surprise they found a full valid land title deed with every right to built on the land!
In 2019, Pii Oan’s son Bank made plans for studying finance overseas, he was looking at New Zealand or Germany. They announced that they were looking for someone to rent the resort to during that time.
By chance, ‘Dao” Disraporn of Barefeet Naturist Resort in Bangkok heard about it and arranged for a visit in October 2019. Her Danish husband, Gregers disagreed, but he was tricked into going along as Dao cancelled their tickets back to Bangkok from a trip to Phuket – and instead bought new tickets from Trang with departure the next day.
“I was determined to resist this venture,” Gregers recalls. “But for some reason I woke up early the next morning. I sneaked quietly out of the room and went up for a dip in the pool. The view from the pool captured me completely. In front of me, the mist from the sea was drifting in covering the foot of the giant limestone rock in front of the resort. Around me, the mangrove forest was covered in a sea of fog. Then at six o’clock, the sun came up and cleared the fog and there is was – the magnificent bird eye view of the landscape and the Andaman sea! I was convinced this was meant to happen!”
Luckily, Pii Oan and Dao liked each other. For Pii Oan, it was however of greater importance that the spirit of the land seemed to favor Dao to take care of the resort for them. The same morning they signed a contract drawn up by his son Bank to rent Heaven Hill for three years.
That is why you can today enjoy the most unique panoramic view of the Andaman sea in all of Trang province from Barefeet Heaven Hill Resort – from the scenic top of a small hill in the middle of the protected Chao Mai National Park!