Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Resort: The Narima (Koh Lanta, Thailand)

I will start off my travel review with the most memorable resort that I have stayed for 3 nights, namely, The Narima at Koh Lanta, Thailand. Amidst of the great-expensive-5 stars hotels/resorts around the island, this small resort caught my eye with good reviews from various travellers.

Upon reaching Krabi airport, I spent two hours on board a small van, crowded with tourist and local people to reach my destination. The resort has warned me about the crampness in the shared transport, but due to tight budget I sticked with my initial decision. The journey is slightly uncomfortable, but still bearable, provided the air-con is working. The resort is situated on Koh Lanta, certainly not one of the most common tourist location one would choose to go at the vicinity. From Krabi airport, you have the choices of the more developed tourist attraction like, Aonang, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi islands or you can join me at Koh Lanta, if you want a place that is not too commercialised, with friendly people around you.

The reason I have chosen The Narima as my "home" for 3 nights are simple. The Narima has their own secluded beach (a bit rocky though) and you have a lot of privacy, instead of swimming on the crowded beach, which is shared by infinite resorts. You will be disappointed if you are expecting a white, sandy beach but the resort has not failed to show the genuine condition on their website, a yellow sand, and slightly rocky beach. There are times when I stepped in a hotel and wonder if I have gone into a wrong place because everything just look so different from their photos but for this particular resort, it is as real as it can be. There is a nice pool, small secluded beach and simple yet stylish rooms.

The thing that impressed me the most is the friendliness of the resort owner, Dr. Yodchai and Dr. Nopawan. You can read more on their info at the website if you wish to know how they look like, fell in love and started the venture. Nopawan greeted us with great smile when we reached, and instructed the waitress to serve us some cold water and snacks while we sit comfortably on the bench to complete the registration. Since it was not the peak season of the year, Nopawan walked us to the chalets and recommended a few with better view for us to choose from. She was also kind enough to show us around the chalet, and told us where to look for what, how to get down to the beaches and what are the activities available. In fact, most of the time, you will see Nopawan and Yodchai strolling around the beach and restaurant, chit-chatting with the guests, learning and sharing the cultures and stories.

We had all our meals at the resort's restaurant and the food was fantastic, yet reasonably priced. It was one of the best Thai food I ever had from a hotel/resort and I strongly recommend to try all the courses if you can. Trust me, you won't regret it.

The two most interesting experience that we have are (1) snorkelling at Koh Rok and (2) Lanta-Lanta Festival. Nopawan has recommended the snorkelling trip during our arrival and we went for the snorkelling on our second day. The snorkelling was great with beautiful corals, fish and we had our lunch on one of the fine and white sandy beaches. The water was crystal clear and as turquoise as it can be. For me, this is heaven.

We placed a reservation to the Lanta-Lanta festival later of the day and to my amaze, Nopawan and Yodchai were leading the tour. Due to the huge participation, they have booked for additional transportations to bring us to and fro the festival, apart from picking up a few lucky one on their own car. All of this are free of charge, a great gesture for us from Nopawan and Yodchai. What you can find on the festival is shop, shop and more shopping. You don't need to bargain as hard as you would be in Bangkok or Phuket since the price is relatively realistic and low. There are also some cultural show and good food, if you know how to enjoy it.

The only word that I can use to describe my feeling throughout the stay is "homely". You will feel as comfortable as if you are at your own home, and every workers in the resort is part of the big family, headed by the friendly Nopawan and Yodchai. If you are looking for some peaceful retreat, this is the place for you. If you are opting for alcohol, shopping and girls/boys, perhaps you should try your luck elsewhere.


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