We have spent the last week in Thailand relaxing as our big around-the-world trip winds down. The most interesting news is that I was nearly clobbered by a huge seven pound coconut that fell from 80 feet above into our small private pool. I had been floating on my back with my eyes closed and my head in the exact spot it hit only a minute earlier. I only moved away because Leanne got in the pool. We were only a few feet away in the water when it hit beside us. While there is no doubt it would have caused serious injury, Leanne is convinced it might have killed me. With all the risk taking things I have done in my life, it would be ironic that this might have been my demise. The resort staff came and cleared out all the coconuts from nearby palms shortly thereafter and the general manager sent us a nice bottle of champagne as an apology for the scare. They do regularly clear the coconuts and it was the first time they had one come so close to hitting a guest.
The place we were staying in is a luxury resort near Krabi. It is accessible only by boat and is surrounded by nature. It is nestled between jagged karst formations and extends between three distinct beaches. They include the popular Railay Beach, but most importantly it is the only resort with direct access to Phra Nang Beach, which is easily the best beach in the entire area. Resort guests get it to themselves in the morning and late afternoon, but during the day boats of tourists pour in to pack it up as all beaches in Thailand are public by law. When this happens resort guests can move into comfortable loungers overlooking the beach with attentive staff bringing you yummy cocktails.
We were thoroughly impressed with the location, the grounds, and the staff. It was decadent. We had a very private two floor pavilion with a large fenced garden area with sunning loungers and our very own private pool. While we loved our privacy here we also enjoyed visiting the beaches and in particular the massive, inviting, infinity pool that overlooked Railay Beach. There are four staff members to every villa at this resort and you are pampered by everyone. It was certainly a splurge, but we booked directly with the resort and received a package with a free night of accommodation, two massages and a set dinner for two at our choice of their amazing three restaurants. We used it at their fine dining Thai one overlooking Phra Nang Beach on our final night.
In our five day stay we had one rainy afternoon, so Leanne and I took a private cooking course at one of the restaurants. It was great fun and great food. Even with a bit of rain, the view from the kitchen was incredible.
One of my favourite days was when we took the resort’s luxury speed boat out with another couple from the UK who were on their honeymoon. They are wonderfully likable people and we were thrilled to have spent the day with them. We saw boats of similar size on the water that were packed with over twenty people. We loved the exclusivity of ours. We were just four people being taken care of by three staff. We went island hopping and visited a number of places including Koh Phi Phi, where the movie The Beach was filmed. The beach there is packed with backpackers. Whenever possible the crew of our boat did a great job keeping us away from the hordes of tourists. We did some great snorkelling and enjoyed plenty of swimming. We also had a fantastic picnic lunch on Bamboo Island. Thanks again Steve and Edwina for the beer. The weather held out and it was a fantastic day.
The rest of our time was spent lounging and simply enjoying being on holiday. When we first arrived Leanne was still recovering from bad food in Myanmar. While she rested I redeemed my complimentary massage for an indulgent two hour full body oil treatment with a well trained professional masseuse. I was on cloud nine when it was done, and so incredibly relaxed. There is nothing like getting a professional to make you feel good when your wife isn’t feeling well. Leanne redeemerd her’s for a facial when she was feeling better.
On our last night at the resort we had the entire main pool to ourselves. We swam in the warm water as the sun set and gazed at the horizon across the infinity pool. It was a fitting end to our time here.
We returned to Bangkok for one last night in Thailand. We had heard of the incredible views at the rooftop Vertigo Restaurant at the Banyan Tree Hotel. We thought we would treat ourselves to a view room at the hotel to enjoy the scenery both before and after dinner. Check in was a bit of a nightmare and instead of getting a room “some 50 floors up in the sky” as it said when we booked directly online, we were given a room on the 17th floor that stared directly into an apartment building. After frustrating interactions trying to get this resolved, because of occupancy (or false advertising) they couldn’t give us what we paid for. Only after finally complaining directly to the general manager did they offer some remorse and treated us for most of the cost of our dinner. The restaurant and bar provides a stunning view and we had great food and good service. If you come to Bangkok you really must try to visit the rooftop here, just don’t stay in the hotel. And if you do go to the bar, be warned women are not allowed to wear sandals. They told Leanne to either wear the ugly opened back slipper shoes they had available for loan or to go and put on sneakers. Seems like a ridiculous policy.
Photos are posted here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=135184&id=673382190&l=acb1b31bc5
We are off to Hong Kong for a couple more nights and then our trip comes to an end when we return to Vancouver. We have been travelling for over six months continuously since we first started in Colombia and it feels like it is time to return.