Monday, May 4, 2015

Travel :: Koh Rok, Thailand


While staying at the Pimalai we decided to take a day trip through the hotel to the island of Koh Rok. The island is a natural marine park, meaning there is zero development allowed on or around the island. In fact, the only inhabitants of the island are a pack of roosters that we shared the beach with for the afternoon. The ombre waters were crystal clear, making for some of the best snorkeling I have ever experienced. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Travel :: Ko Lanta Sunsets


I had heard that Thailand boasted some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer magnificence we witnessed every night at 7PM. The Pimalai Resort & Spa was located on the western side of Ko Lanta, giving us a front row seat to watch the sky change colors over the Andaman Sea. Our favorite place for sunset viewing was our resort's beach beds. We'd order a fresh coconut or a Bellini, curl up together under our beach towels, and soak in nature's brilliance. The pictures don't even do it justice - it was pure bliss.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Travel :: Ko Lanta, Thailand


Next up on our trip was the relaxed island of Ko Lanta. I had heard from many that this was their favorite island in Thailand, and I can certainly understand why. Much of the island is a natural marine park, meaning in many areas it is still completely untouched. The island has what the Thai people call a "sabai sabai" vibe - reminding me in many ways of the laid-back island of Kauai. 

The resort we stayed at - Pimalai Resort & Spa - was absolutely wonderful. The entire check in process was efficient and thoughtful, from the comfortable van waiting for us at the Krabi airport to the perfectly designed jetty on the mainland {giving you a taste of what was in store}, to the speed boat, to the lei and welcome drink that were given to us when we arrived on the island. Our room itself - while not as spectacular as our villa in Koh Phangan - was spacious, comfortable, and featured a terrace that overlooked the sea. However why waste time in the room when you're on one most beautiful stretches of land in the world?

The property itself was absolutely breathtaking. It was lush yet perfectly maintained. It wasn't unusual as you were exploring the property to come across a large lizard, unusual bird, or a monkey. The resort was built up into the jungle - nearly 100 acres of tropical vegetation - and featured a lower pool just steps from the beach and upper pool with views for days. We would spend a morning at one pool, grab a bite for lunch, then take the resort's buggy to the other pool. It was perfect.

There were several dining options on the property - my favorite being the Rak Talay Beach Bar and Restaurant which we would dine by candlelight with our toes in the sand to the music of the waves crashing against the shore. I also loved our dinner at Seven Seas, an elegant restaurant perched high above the resort offering views to die for. 

A ten minute walk up the beach would bring you to an adorable little village with the coolest backbacker bar EVER, the Why Not Bar...while a ten minute walk down the beach in the other direction would bring you to an adorable restaurant on the beach, Same Same But Different. At some resorts I feel like because you're a captive audience and because you have virtually no other options than the restaurants on property you might not always get as authentic of an experience. I loved that at the Pimalai and Santhiya we had the option to eat anything from innovative European cuisine at the resort to cheap {and DELICIOUS!} traditional Thai food in town.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the spa. I have truly never experienced anything like it. My best description is The Garden of Eden. It consisted of a series of straw-thatched huts winding through the jungle. Laying in your treatment room you were lulled to sleep by the sound of birds chirping, water trickling and palm trees blowing in the breeze. Our first trip to the spa we both got massages, which were so fantastic Ryan immediately booked us two more for the following day! It was pure nirvana.

The resort was located on the most beautiful and pristine crescent-shaped beach I have ever laid eyes on. Some mornings I would be the only person on the mile-long stretch of powdery white sand. If we wanted to spend the day under an umbrella drinking coconuts and reading a book we could. Or, if we wanted something more adventurous the resort had an activity center with complementary water sports rentals like kayaks {so fun!}, snorkels, sail boats and paddle boards. As you can see from the photos below the paddle boards were more challenging than Ryan had initially expected :)