Part of the pleasure when choosing a private villa holiday in a tropical location like Thailand or Bali is the chance to reconnect with nature, while at the same time indulging in all the comforts and personalised luxuries of the modern world. The opportunity to re-ignite your senses to the sights and sounds of nature is a rare treat. And if you turn down the iPod and listen hard, you'll soon enjoy a whole new soundtrack to life.
When you live in a contemporary urban setting, the most common sounds that surround you are either made by domestic appliances, multi-media technology or the traffic outside your window. By contrast, when you escape to a tropical island, a whole new soundtrack becomes a symphony of life.
That's not to say that staying in a private villa means giving up those familiar sounds of contemporary living. The TV, your favourite iPod tunes, the reassuring clatter of plates and cutlery at meal times all remain, but if you make the most of the outdoor spaces and take time to enjoy the sounds that surround you, natural rhythms quickly become part of the daily experience. This adds a soothing, fascinating and above all, reassuring reminder that mother nature still has her voice.
Here's a short playlist of natural melodies that you may hear while staying on a tropical island in Southeast Asia.
You know the sun is setting in the tropics when the cicadas begin their chorus. You will probably never see one of these fascinating insects but if you stay in an area close to the rainforest, the rich acoustic soundscape they produce will definitely be one of the unique memories you take home. The cicada has the loudest song known in the insect world and only males of the species sing in an attempt to attract females for mating. Incredibly, cicada calls are species specific, helping individuals locate their own kind when different kinds of cicadas share the same habitat.
Listen to the Cicada here: http://www.thaisounds.com/audio/cicadas.mp3
The House Gecko
No matter the size or splendour of the property you choose to rent in Southeast Asia, you will most likely encounter a resident house gecko sitting patiently on one of the walls. Their name is inspired by the fact that they climb the walls of houses and other buildings in search of insects attracted to lights. For this reason alone, they should be welcomed as harmless friends rather than creatures to fear. In fact, one of their favourite dishes is a mosquito. In Thailand, if a gecko (jigjok) makes a sound when someone is about to leave the house, local people believe it means bad luck. Some Thai people may even change their plans and stay at home if they hear the familiar sound at the wrong moment.
Listen to the House Gecko here: http://www.soundsnap.com/node/4176
The Asian Common Toad
Whenever it rains in the tropics, night or day, nature wakes up in abundance and the air feels alive as faun and flora respond to the refreshing shower. One creature in particular welcomes a tropical downpour in full voice and that's the toad. Although rarely seen by day, these rather ugly, but endearingly modest creatures are pre-programmed to mate in shallow water such as garden ponds or even puddles after the rain. The toad's call has been noted by scientists as sounding like “creo-o,o; cro-ro-ro-ro-ro-ro-ro” and intense competition amongst males for females means many males are often seen clinging to a single female.
Listen to the Asian Common Toad here: http://vimeo.com/53732651
Oriental Roosters (game birds)
The sound of the cockerel or rooster is omnipresent across most of Southeast Asia, and as anyone who has been to rural Thailand or Bali will confirm, the myth that they only call out at dawn will be quickly proved wrong. Many of these proud members of the poultry parade are actually game breeds, having been bred in Southeast Asia as fighting birds for over two thousand years. Today the sport is controlled in most countries across the region, only permitted during special festivals and generally without a fight to the death. The owners are still very proud of their champions, however, and raise them with great care and attention to make sure they put on a fine display.
The Tokay Gecko
Larger than a common house gecko, Tokay Gecko's can grow from 11 to 20 inches and are the second largest in the gecko species after the Leachie gecko, which is found in New Caledonia. Although distinctive in appearance, with a blue/grey body covered in either yellow or bright red spots, Tokays are very private creatures and rarely seen. They often hide out on their own in the eaves of houses and only meet during the mating season. The Tokay's call, however, is loud, repetitive and distinctive and therefore often mistaken for a bird. In Thailand, although people generally shy away from these magnificent lizards, but if one croaks 7 times in a row, locals consider this to be good luck.
Listen to the Tokay Gecko here: http://www.gekkota.com/assets/multimedia/tokaycall.wav
No need to listen to the rooster's call. After all, you can download it as a ringtone for most smartphones on the market.