The Rayavadee is a truly unique and special place in Thailand. Located in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, amongst lush tropical gardens, nestled between imposing lime stone rock formations, it is a luxurious bolt-hole in tune with its natural surroundings. It’s very easy to see why it has earned a prestigious reputation as one of Thailand’s best hotels.
I was very lucky to be invited to stay, and it was, simply, amazing! The resort is too beautiful to describe, my words and photographs just won’t do it justice so instead I have summarised my top 10 favourite fun things about Rayavadee which made my stay so special and memorable.
My Rayavadee Top 10… in no particular order
1. Plentiful tropical fruit basket – great for snacking or, if you sleep in like me, for breakfast! Thai bananas, mangosteen, rambutan and melon. Yum!
2. Complimentary minibar – a selection of mini bar items are free during your stay and restocked as you wish. Perfect when you need an ice cold coke to cool down or fancy something sweet. Every girl needs their chocolate fix!
3. Beds and pillows – quite honestly the best nights sleep I’ve ever had. It was like I was floating on a cloud. Zzzzzzz
4. Rolltop bath – with an edge wide enough to sit your wine glass on. Enough said!
5. Erb bathroom amenities – one of Thailands popular bath and body brands it was a treat to use all of the goodies for your hair & skin (best news is Erb is available in duty free at Bangkok airport to buy on the way home).
6.Hand-made chocolates at turn down every night – the perfect sweet treat before bed. White chocolate cornflake bites were my favourite closely followed by milk chocolate truffles.
7. Complimentary afternoon tea and Thai crafts – the perfect combination of English and Thai traditions. Whilst sipping tea and nibbling delicious canapes I learnt palm leaf origami (I made a hanging bird and a fish) and learnt the basics of thai massage with a hand massage treat too.
8. Boutique shop – warning, you will spend money! The most beautiful boutique I’ve ever shopped in with such beautiful clothes, jewellery, homewares, decorations, silks, toys and spa products from various Thai designers. I bought a cuddly toy monkey, Eco shopper bag and sparkly flip flops! I had to walk away before I bought their entire ring jewellery collection! So pretty.
9. Spa – a beautifully designed, serene space with a great choice of treatments, friendly staff and moreish herbal teas. I popped in a few times just to say hello to the girls, chill with a magazine and for the ginger tea!
10. The wildlife – it’s like staying in a posh zoo! The place is alive with creatures of all sorts, a hive of activity and never a dull moment. In particular, these little furry critters, which are squirrel like, keep you on your toes as they appear out of nowhere jumping from tree to tree, running across your terrace. They are quite shy but so cute and very entertaining! Then there are the monkeys, the naughty ones and the cute ones (langur) as sweetly described to me by the staff. I also saw a giant monitor lizard (I was told they’re more scared of me than me of them but I’m not so sure! Ha,ha), birds, bees, bugs and colourful butterflies.
It broke my heart to leave the Rayavadee, I absolutely loved my stay there and fell in love with the sheer natural beauty and calm of the resort and friendly service from the team – it amazed me how everyone knew and greeted me at every turn. The hotel general manager, Raza, was the perfect host and I joked it was a bit like Cheers, where everyone knows your name! The personal touch from all of the staff made me feel so at home.
I have vowed to return to the Rayavadee again soon, but with a ‘special someone’ next time. It’s so romantic, the perfect place for a wedding and honeymoon. One small detail… I have to find my Mr Right first! 😉
To find out more about Rayavadee and plan your stay visit their website and image gallery http://www.rayavadee.com/index.html
Krabi – an area of outstanding beauty and a must visit destination in Thailand.
The province of Krabi is a national park and an area of natural outstanding beauty. The stunning limestone rock karst backdrop to the beach and sea is picture-perfect. Krabi is popular with young adventurers as it is famed for rock climbing but the variety of luxury hotels and boutiques makes it ideal for couples and honeymooners too. Not as popular or developed as Phuket (a 3-hour drive away) Krabi is also a favourite with young families.
If you are staying on the mainland in Ao Nang or Krab Town here are some of the top things to do during your holiday to experience the best of this area:
* Take a day trip out to the Phi Phi islands. Or make it a multi-centre holiday and spend a few nights on Phi Phi too to experience island life.
* Island hopping – Chicken island, Tup island, More island can be visited together as a day trip from Ao Nang or Railay beach. At low tide you can walk between all three islands as they are connected by sandbanks.
* Hong island – good for canoeing and you can also go into the lagoon and mangrove forest.
* There are around 47 temples in the province. The most famous is Tiger Cave Buddhist monastry. It’s worth the walk up to the view point for a panoramic view.
* Cycling tours – there are several to chose from but the one out to Koh Klang is particularly good as this tour is a combination of sightseeing and cycling. A longtail boat takes you out to the island before you jump on your bikes and set off. You will pass a local Muslim village and see how the local people go about their daily business. The route goes over quiet country roads and makes a short stop at the farmer’s community too. You may also spot several kinds of coastal birds along the Andaman shore. The ride finishes at a small local restaurant to try some typical Thai snacks and refreshing drink.
* Go jungle trekking to the blue lagoon, also known as the emerald crystal pool, which is located in Khao Pla Bangkram national park. There are hot springs nearby here too where the water is said to be magic and youthful. There are tours that do the temple, lagoon and springs in one day.
* Nightlife – Ao Nang Centre Point is a 3-storey entertainment complex with a good selection of bars. Railay Beach and Krabi town are also lively spots with a fun selection of local bars, restaurants and live music venues as well as endless restaurants to chose from serving delicious Thai, seafood and international favourites.
* Shopping / markets – Krabi town has a cute weekend market on walking street. Open Fri, Sat, Sun only. From 5-11pm.
For more information about transport, accommodation, tours and activities visit the Krabi pages at our website http://inter.tourismthailand.org/uk/where-to-go/cities-guide/destination/krabi/
72 Hours in amazing Krabi – click here for itinerary options, restaurants, tours and nightlife visit http://www.thailand72hrsamazing.com/krabi/index.html
All pictures above courtesy of The Rayavadee http://www.rayavadee.com/Gallery/index.php
Travel even further off of the beaten track to Trang…
From Krabi, the town of Trang is only a 2 hour drive and a unique place in Thailand where you will truly experience real Thailand. From Trang you can visit the idyllic islands of Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Ngai and Koh Dukong (where you can see a mammal called a Dukong, special to Thailand!). Either take an island hopping tour to experience each of these secluded island hideaways or stay in one of the few hotels on each island for a truly Robinson Crusoe experience. Koh Lanta is also nearby but a bigger island with many more hotel options and facilities.
To find out more about this hidden gem that remains undiscovered by many tourists visit the Trang pages on our website http://inter.tourismthailand.org/uk/where-to-go/city-guide/destination/trang/
To discover more about Koh Lanta visit http://inter.tourismthailand.org/uk/where-to-go/city-guide/destination/koh-lanta/