In a world where it only takes a few minutes to set up a website, hire a few friends, and start to charge people money, it’s no surprise that the service industry is littered with less-than-stellar performers. But this shortcutting always catches up with the shortcutters, which is why Smiling Albino puts so much importance into doing what we say, how we say it. Empires are built on promises kept, and lost on promises broken.
In our 16 years in Asia, we’ve been lucky enough to meet some truly amazing people doing truly amazing things, and even luckier to be able to go into business with a few of them. One such company is John Gray’s Sea Canoe, one of Phuket’s – indeed, Asia’s – most unique and inspirational adventure companies.
Companies are shaped by their leaders, and there are few as colorful or big-hearted at John Gray. He’s mingled with movie stars, slept in cornfields, won an Emmy, and walked and hitchhiked halfway around the world, but there’s nothing he loves more than showing people Asia’s unique and fragile ecosystems from the top of a sea canoe.
We take the John Gray Sea Canoe programs and give them a bit of an Smiling Albino retrofit. This helps them dovetail nicely with our own unique programs, creating a truly memorable and compelling experience like no other. As an example, we recently pulled of an epic SA/JGSC trip, addressing the challenges of tides, crowds, and logistics to deliver a world-class KAYAKING and caving expedition for high profile guests who wanted the highlights on a silver platter, but didn’t want to be rushed.
We opened with helicopter transport to the amazing Six Senses Yao Noi Resort, followed by a shallow water training session with our KAYAK team, and a fantastic catered brunch on a private beach complete with canvass tents, portable toilets, full cutlery and all the frills. No easy feat in a destination as isolated as this tiny little island in the Gulf of Thailand!
Some paddling through dense mangroves brought us to a surreal world of rock walls hundreds of meters high, thick sea forest, and limestone inlets. Most importantly, the conditions are ideal for paddlers: little current, protected from waves, and not a tourist in sight for hours. Eagles, monkeys, and gibbons watched our every move.
Done with that, a private speedboat whisked us to a waiting supply boat, where we enjoyed a fabulous home cooked meal on deck with a superb sunset view. But the night was young, and after dinner we joined some of JGCSs expert guides into pitch-black caves that were illuminated only by our lamps and the candles we brought with us. A private boat/van combo brought us back to the resort.
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All up, we worked with a variety of local partners, namely John Gray and his great team, to take already unique experiences and customize them in such a way that they come together as a truly world class and highly fulfilling adventure. This was southern Thailand at its very best, and experiences like this can be modified in an endless variety of ways to appeal to any type of client.
Working with John Gray – and a short list of companies with a similar outlook to service and adventure – is what gives Smiling Albino its renowned edge. It’s also what allows us to create these unique, once-in-a-lifetime adventures that mix a variety of skillsets and specialties from a wide range of passionate, adventurous companies. Contact us for Southeast Asian adventure ideas and travel planning. Click here for enquiries.