This is exactly what Pimalai Resort & Spa offers. The luxurious tropical destination, which is located on Koh Lanta, an island off Krabi, Thailand, is a hidden gem that’s a mere hour and a half flight away from Singapore. On this trip, I knew I was going to see everything with fresh eyes, especially since it’s the first overseas trip I’ve gone on since the start of the pandemic.
My holiday destination of choice today should ideally satisfy one thing: A lack of crowds. But given that most borders have been flung furiously open and everyone is traveling with a vengeance (read: crowds everywhere), I suppose a resort that provides privacy and the abundance of space will do.
- PIMALAI AWAITS
- BEYOND THE VILLAS
As we drove out of Krabi airport, I immediately noticed how big and blue the sky was. The clouds were massive too – and extra fluffy. The 45-minute drive to Pimalai’s private jetty was the perfect opportunity to soak in local color, something I’ve been craving for a long time. Fields, plantations, small homes dotting the highway – I greedily took them all in from my seat in the van.
On the speedboat towards the resort, we passed through dozens of mountainous rock formations jutting out of the water, some lush, some bare. Soon, Koh Lanta came into view and Pimalai’s 1.1km-long private beach and iconic hillside villas inched closer and closer.
As the group settled into our individual Hillside Ocean View Private Pool Villas, we were told that the resort was operating at a high capacity, but it was hard to tell in this 100-acre paradise. All I could hear were the rhythmic buzzing of cicadas, and all I could see to my left and to my right was lush greenery, and in front of me, the vast Andaman Sea.
Leaving the villa was hard. The infinity pool, with its cool water and spectacular view, makes you want to just float around for hours. The dining nook in the terrace is perfect for room service, which boasts a delicious Thai menu.
The bedroom and living area, with its comfortable bed and various seating areas is the perfect place to laze around and do nothing. At most, you could force yourself to read a book or maybe watch a bit of TV. But with the sliding glass doors in front of you that perfectly frames the ocean, we wouldn’t blame you if all you wanted to do was gaze out with a cold drink in hand.
- PIMALAI AWAITS
- BEYOND THE VILLAS
Beyond the Villas
As tempting as it was to stay indoors, the rest of the resort was begging to be discovered. The spa was a good place to start, where private rooms are tucked within a sunken garden and all around you, lush vegetation and the sound of running water. Here, I managed to get two years’ worth of pandemic stress massaged out of me.
The spa is also a short stroll away from the beach and Rak Talay restaurant, which serves a variety of Thai and international seafood dishes in the evening. But on hot, balmy afternoons, guests flock here for the homemade ice cream (mango is a must).
Pimalai has two picturesque pools – an infinity pool that’s popular with content creators and a smaller, more intimate pool that overlooks the beach. Aside from the restaurants, these two pools are the resort’s unofficial social hubs, where guests can indulge in a round of people watching and some small talk. For those who prefer more exciting water activities, Pimalai offers snorkeling diving, and kayaking excursions to the nearby islands of Koh Haa and Koh Rok.
While at Pimalai, add a visit to Koh Lanta’s Old Town on your to-do list, especially if you’re craving some local culture and retail therapy. A mere 30-minute drive away, the sleepy town exudes a quiet charm, where its main street is lined with seafood restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops selling everything from local delicacies and handmade ceramics to clothing and arts and crafts.