Krabi, without a doubt, is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes the world over, including such iconic destinations as “The Beach” at Koh Phi-Phi, and just the hundred plus karsts and islands which are scattered throughout the province. Making it is the perfect port of call for the seemingly countless excursions and attractions found along this rather magnificent coastline of the Andaman Sea. But the region’s beauty is of course mirrored in its popularity, where it can be a tad busy at times in these parts of Thailand, meaning it’s always good to have somewhere to escape to. And we found the perfect escape at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi a secluded slice of beach paradise, cut off from the ‘mainland’, yet still a stone’s throw from the busy hubs of Ao Nang.
Our Own Slice of Paradise
Hidden in a private cove, beneath the towering karts of Ao Nang National Park, the Centara Resort is still relatively easy to access via a “Monkey Trail” (an attraction in itself) that cuts along the cliffside coastline towards the start of the main Ao Nang stretch. However, arrival and access will almost be exclusively by the resort’s complimentary shuttle speedboat, which connects between the resort and the ‘mainland’ every hour or so. Free of charge, of course. But, really, why would you want to leave? As we find every reason to visit Krabi is there at the resort, including a private, soft sand beach, warm turquoise shores, and the rather majestic karst backdrop which Ao Nang is famous for. But the real highlight for me is the overall serenity of the natural surroundings. As it really is the perfect setting.
Busy Doing Nothing
This visit would be our third to Krabi and Ao Nang, meaning we had no real reason to leave the resort. Or the room even. And we did find it hard to pull ourselves from the balcony jacuzzi. As this was very much a holiday for us, having just completed a rather extensive tour through Eastern Thailand, meaning we now had no plans other than to relax, and to be lazy. In our ‘Garden View’ suite, surrounded by towering cliff walls, tropical greenery, and apparently monkeys. As we were warned on arrival to keep all guestroom doors locked, as the neighbouring monkeys like to sneak in to steal stuff. So we did. But this didn’t stop them from emptying our complimentary fruit basket which we left outside at the jacuzzi. Anyway, these monkeys highlight just the sheer closeness to nature of the resort, where each evening we were serenaded by a relentless siren of cicadas, lizards, frogs, and just all sorts of randy wildlife, that surround us.
So we did force ourselves out to be somewhat active on the resort, with a walk to Spa Cenvaree, for some more relaxation (our full spa experience here). And being adventurous, I go with the 90-minute hot stone massage, which to me is not so different to your typical aromatherapy massage, only hot stones are placed along the ‘meridians’ and on the ‘chakras’ to sooth the muscles and relieve tensions. And this does give a deeper sense of relaxation. But there are many aspects which make up this perfect massage, like the lulling smells of eucalyptus, the preliminary foot scrub, and the refreshments and hot teas. Although much of my own enjoyment came more from just knowing where we are, set beneath the majestic karst landscapes of the Andaman, and far away from the noise and chaos of the world outside. And there’s just no beating the ultimate calm and relaxation of the overall spa experience.
Suan Bua Restaurant
There are a handful of restaurants on the resort, as well as a beach bar, and we opted for the Suan Bua Restaurant for dinner on the first night. Set in a relaxed garden venue, with the cliffs on one side, and the gentle gush of waves on the opposite. And it really is quite surreal at night, when I kept forgetting exactly where we were, and each time I turned to see the towering karst walls lit up next to us, I would always turn for a second take. “Those clouds look weird tonight”. As the cliffs literally tower over the restaurant and the resort. Anyway, there is a rather extensive Thai menu at Suan Bua, along with the usual western fare favourites, but we are in Thailand. So we ordered the appetizer set, with a variety of Thai finger foods, as well as some seafood dishes, because we’re right next to the sea. Seafood doesn’t really come fresher. And of course we ordered massaman curry, because no one ever needs an excuse to order massaman curry. So it was of one of those meals where we still felt full at breakfast the next morning, with no regrets whatsoever.