Tempting Travels: Krabi, ThailandWords by Victoria Abbott Riccardi
Photos courtesy of Christopher Cypert
Guided by the glow of 2,000 candles, I crossed the reflecting pool on a path of stepping-stones to the temple pavilion, where my hosts at Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the southern province of Krabi, Thailand waited to greet me. The chirp of crickets filled the night air, along with the sweet scent of frangipani.
“Welcome to Phulay Bay,” said General Manager Carlos Tarrero. “I know you’ve traveled far, but we’re glad you’re here.”
Indeed, getting to this mountainous region of lush jungles and limestone karsts overlooking the azure Andaman Sea takes time. But, whether you’re visiting to get married or bliss-out on your honeymoon, the journey is worth it. My flight from Boston to Bangkok took 20 hours; flights from the West Coast take 13. Since flying to Krabi from Bangkok takes only 1 1/2 hours, consider breaking up your travels with a few nights in Bangkok. The city has a vibrant art scene, along with great restaurants, bars, shopping and luxury hotels.
After landing at Krabi Airport, the resort will whisk you away to Phulay Bay, nestled on 50 acres of landscaped gardens at the edge of the Andaman Sea. The 54 spacious, temple-like villas have cream terrazzo tile and polished teak interiors. Oversized beds, soaking tubs and expansive patio lounge beds exude luxury and comfort. Ocean views, private pools and hidden outdoor showers connect guests with nature, but in a highly private way.
To meet all your needs during your stay, each guest is assigned a personal butler. Mine helped arrange several off-premise excursions, including a boat trip to several of the area’s islands to stroll along the sugar-white beaches before savoring a gourmet Thai picnic. You can take guided jungle hikes, snorkel around the limestone karsts and kayak through mangroves under the curious eyes of small, honey-brown monkeys. Or, simply relax at the resort snuggling in private cabanas overlooking the infinity pool, take sunset yoga, Thai cooking classes or luxuriate at the spa. Featuring saunas, steam baths and 11 treatment rooms, including a couple’s suite overlooking a plant-filled lagoon, the spa offers a myriad of Thai treatments featuring botanicals from the resort’s organic garden.
For engaged couples, the resort’s wedding planner will handle all the details, even arranging for unique Thai traditions, such as a fire dance show and marital blessing from local monks. As for the ceremony, “We have some special options,” says General Manager, Tarrero. “One is the underwater ceremony where guests say their vows underwater.” Another option is to get married in the dramatic welcome pavilion.
In terms of cuisine, Phulay Bay offers delectable Asian and Western fare. Chomtawan – Sunset Lounge is a must for pre-dinner drinks and Sri Trang restaurant serves spicy Thai curries and seafood dishes. Lae Lay offers elegant French food and Jampoon features Mediterranean and Western fare, as well as a bountiful breakfast buffet each morning. Romantic options include dining in your villa or at a table-for-two on the beach.
Thailand has earned the nickname, “The Land of Smiles,” and for good reason. No matter where you go the locals are exceedingly friendly, kind and generous in spirit. The smiles are contagious...it’s impossible to feel anything but happy.
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall/Winter 2015 issue. You can order a copy here.
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