We’re heading down south Thailand, near the Malaysian border, away from the crowds, in order to absorb Thailand from somewhere a little quieter, Lanta Island.
We found Pimalai Resort, located in Lanta Yai island, a paradise in the Andaman sea, where luxury boutique accommodation goes hand in hand with gourmet dining and wining. The visitor is greeted with lemongrass-infused iced water in this art gallery-impersonating lobby, where the ceramics make it look more to a museum of Asian fine art.
A complex in the midst of the jungle, blending superbly with the natural beauty of the island, the boutique hotel offers a selection of tastefully decorated suites and pool villas, all with great sea views.
We tried 2 of their range of room categories:
Pool Villa, a 204 sqm built on a piece of hilly land. Spacious, elegant Thai architectural design, it provides wide views of Ba Kan Tiang bay and the surrounding lush tropical forest. The sundeck featuring a private infinity edge swimming pool and a luxurious baldaquin is where you can read their luxury Southeast Asia travel guides.
Bay front Deluxe Room is placed on a small hill, and at 7-8m in front of us, the beach. The sound of waves rousted me out of bed early everyday ready to walk and swim and smile. The first image in the morning, when waking up, was the one of the sea.. incredible feeling for someone that has always dreamed to live by the sea!
The UK’s Sunday Times magazine included only one Thai beach, Kan Tiang, in its list of the world’s 10 best beaches. Pimalai resort was also awarded the ‘Luxury Resorts Awards’ award for ‘Best Scenic Environment’. The award was for the best scenic environment in the world! I haven’t traveled the world to check, but I can only say this scenery it’s breathtaking, it has a WOW factor! I set my expectations and standards pretty high after being in this place! Let’s see what other place can beat this scenery! … Just kidding! Actually every place is so different, and especially in Asia you really can not compare one place with another, they all have their own charm! And they really cast a spell on you!
With a superb choice of eight fantastic restaurants and bars (in high season) and 3 in low season, settings range from beach casual to sophisticate dining experience and all complemented by the unforgettable sea views. In all the restaurants we found reasonably priced and very well selected wines.
“Seven Seas” restaurant with its infinity pool at the top, is giving guests a sweeping panoramic view of the sun setting over the bay and surrounding hills.
“Under the Banyan tree” restaurant, with its traditional thai cuisine, splurged our dinners with famous Thai dishes such as Tom Yam goong, Morning glory, Goong makam, Som Tam, deep- fried sea bass with crispy kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass& herbs, served with Thai spicy sauce.
My favorite place to dine, with the sand between the toes, watching the waves crushing, is Rak Talay beach restaurant. The restaurant is given the name of the plant surrounding it. It has a very original design that compliments the beach charm. Fabulously crafted dishes, cooked to perfection, a glass of Louis Roederer, the spectacle of Andaman.. and the love of my life next to me.. idyllic scenery.
Service is always friendly& efficient yet never intrusive. The attention to the details is astounding. In terms of service and dinner experience, the traditional Thai hospitality meets the French sophistication in details, such as refined cutlery, great wine list, as the GM is a French, island adopted for the last 13 yrs.
For those wanting to explore the bay, there are few nice places to go along the shores. My favorite is Same Same But Different, this quintessential Robinson Crusoe style restaurant, a ten-minute walk down the beach, with an easygoing ambiance.
3. The feel of the island
Just feel the nature
The Banyan tree is the central piece of this resort and actually the older one. On top of the hill, sitting under the Banyan tree we had the most spectacular view of the bay. Buddhist believers regard Banyan tree as holy tree. The banyan tree is the tree where the founder of the Buddhism has achieved great awakening. It is associated to consciousness or intelligence. It refers to the state when a person becomes wake for something suddenly or comes to realize the truth or reaches an outstanding level in comprehending the world. It is thought of as perfectly symbolizing eternal life due to its seemingly unending expansion.
4.1 Island hopping
Once being here, in Ba Kan Tiang bay, one can choose the island and Emerald Cave excursions, snorkeling trips, world-class diving sites, coral reefs, trekking in Lanta Marine National Park, mangrove Eco-tour, elephant trekking, or visit Old Lanta Town. These are experiences that define a sublime resort getaway.
On the islands trip, we visited the Emerald Bay.
Apparently just a hole in a rock, after 100m of swimming through a dark cave, led only by the guide’s flashlight, we reached this hidden beach. Visiting the Eastern islands, went shoring on Koh Talabeng.
Maybe it was my state of mind but I can’t imagine there’s ever been a better Yoga experience than just at dawn, with the sea view in front, surrounded by palm and rubber trees and many exotic flowers.
4.3 Cooking classes
Cooking Thai – Thai food is the most delicious food in the world and its relatively easy to cook. Our cooking teacher was a very nice girl from Chiang Mai. Actually the best cooking classes in Thailand are in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Even if you don’t plan to cook back home, at least you get to spend a day making and eating food. We had a cooking class and learn to cook a 4 course meal: spicy green papaya salad, green curry with chicken, red rich curry with filet of sea bass and grilled spicy beef salad. We also bought 7 kilos of their vegetables and cook Thai food back home the next week
4.4 Spa time and massages
The Spa is in the shape of a village style, in the middle of the natural beauty of the jungle, an oasis of serenity. One can choose from a variety of spa treatments. I had the traditional Thai massage, which is an ancient method of aligning and balancing the energies of the body, originating from the time of Buddha. The technique employed is the use of palm pressure on the body’s pressure points and energy lines “Sen”, along with a variety of stretching movements. After this, we felt spiritually and physically refreshed, strengthened and rejuvenated. Its invigorating and totally relaxing all at once, as the body will be rid of any niggling aches and pains.
As the day of our departure from these amazing southern shores came, I find myself capturing the memories like photographs in my mind.
The entire article, photos included can be read on http://satorijournal.com/koh-lanta/