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Thailand…The Land of smiles!

The Thai people are friendly, helpful and nothing is too much trouble.
This is my second visit to Thailand and the same can still be said!elaine thailand 7
We visited in the more reasonably priced low season
At this time you can expect humid cloudier weather but still very hot!
Some rain but generally it is short in duration and is in the evening or night time.
Our stay centred around the beautiful area of Krabi, a short flight from Bangkok.
It’s extremely green, picturesque with beautiful beaches and hotels and resorts to suit all tastes.
Aside from the beautiful Beaches, you can also kayak and dive and if activity is your thing you can rock climb and trek in the lush rain forests.
Our first stay was in the Ao Nang, the busiest resort in Krabi.
The hotels are mainly along the sea front, the beach in most cases can be reached by a short walk across the road.
Along this road you will find numerous street vendors or a hold on for dear life ride in my favourite Thai mode of transport – a Tuk Tuk will bring you to a wide range of restaurants and bars.
Alternately jump in a taxi for a more sedate mode of transport.
If you are looking for a tad more life, try centre point where you will find music bars.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn, a hotel that suits couples and families alike.
It is far enough away from the resort to offer a peaceful haven from the bustle of Ao Nang yet within a 10 minute walk of the main shopping and entertainment area around Ao Nang Beach.
Long tail boat excursions to nearby beaches such as Rai Leh and Phi Phi, adventure sports, fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling are available nearby.
Our room whilst not large had a wooden deck which gave us direct access via steps
to the main pool.   elaine thailand
It was lovely to sit on the deck late at night sipping a glass or two!
The spacious family rooms have recently been refurbished and would be a good choice for a family holiday, this area has its own pool which is specifically for families.
There is also a Kids’ Club which is open daily and is a free service to in house guests.
Kids will enjoy all the indoor and outdoor activities.
Breakfast like all hotels is a mixture of Thai and Western and is taken in the open air restaurant.

Another option in Ao Nang would be the newly built Krabi Holiday Village.

Set back slightly from the main resort but a good choice for those who are seeking a quiet holiday whilst within easy reach of the nightlife,
The Thai inspired lobby welcomes you to this hotel.
The rooms are traditionally designed with wooden floors and with modern amenities.
All set in beautiful landscaped gardens.
This hotel is for all ages but there is an Adult only pool on the upper level.
Another possibility would be the Centara Anda Dhevi.
This is a modern hotel located in the Noparatthara area, west of Ao Nang and within easy reach of the Nopparathara and Ao Nang Beach.
The rooms overlook the inner courtyard pool.
The 43 metre long swimming pool features a slide – great for kids of all ages whilst the Jacuzzi will keep the Adults happy.
Children are well catered for here too with their own pool and Camp Safari kids’ club and E-Zone for teens. The Spa Cenvaree offers treatments and indulgent therapies suitable for everyone.
If you favour Boutique hotels in quiet locations, try the lovely tranquil Amari Vogue.
Situated on the white shores of Tub Kaek Beach, beside the Andaman Sea.
Approximately 17 km from Ao Nang.
Traditional Thai inspired architecture with a central pool, this property would be ideal for a laid back couple.
A small intimate property directly on the beach.
This was one of my favourite low key properties.
Another favourite but totally different in character is the Sofitel Phokeethra Krabi
Located at Klong Muang, just north of Ao Nang.
The private beach can be found across the road opposite the hotel.
Its spectacular open air lobby overlooks the extensive gardens and the 7000sqm pool
that meanders through the expansive grounds60264400-H1-6184_ho_00_p_2048x1536
In fact the largest pool in Thailand!
It’s easy to keep active here, with everything from football to table tennis organised by the hotel staff. If water sports are your preference, sailing, canoeing and Windsurfing are available for an extra charge. Bikes are also available for hire, and the local area is perfect for exploring on two wheels. I personally experienced the spa where the helpful, friendly and as always smiling staff were excellent.
And to top that, numerous restaurants to choose from.
The Sofitel Phokeethra has managed to keep the Sofitel’s high standards without losing its Thai charm, Another great hotel for families and couples alike.
For Honeymooners, try the tranquil Rayvadeee, you will have fond memories of this hotel for many years. The approach to this hotel by speedboat and the final five minutes by tractor!! is breathtaking. Once in the hotel grounds, it does not disappoint, the vista from the beach is stunning! Situated at the heart of the stunning Phranang Peninsular on the edge of Krabi Marine National Park, amidst tropical gardens and coconut groves against a backdrop of sheer cliffs, lush jungle foliage and the clear waters of the Andaman Sea. In addition to stylish, five-star accommodation, Rayavadee boasts fine cuisine.
4 restaurants to choose from including one set within a cave.
Accommodation ranges from a two storey Pavilion up to a luxury private villa with pool
Situated amongst over 26 acres of coconut groves and tropical gardens complete with exotic birds…and Monkeys!
And to top that the hotel is bordered by three beaches.
A large pool overlooks the beach from where you can take a boat trip to surrounding coves.
If you are looking for an easy going romantic location, whether that would be for a Wedding, a Honeymoon or just a relaxed holiday, the Rayvadeee is for you.
Centara Grand Krabi
Located directly on the beach at secluded Pai Plong Bay, one bay away from the main resort area of Ao Nang, the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi has a 500-metre beach frontage with superb views of the verdant limestone formations that characterise this beautiful part of Southern Thailand
09- Pool Villa
This hotel is approached by speedboat and can only be accessed via a floating pontoon.
A beautiful approach but one that is not advisable for those with mobility problems.
This pontoon gave our group one of our more amusing memories of our trip.
Nimble we were not!
To put your mind at rest, your luggage at this point is not your responsibility and will be transferred for you.
The accommodation is on several levels via steep steps ranging from rooms to villas.
The upside to the steps is that it allows for some spectacular views.
Facilities include a SPA Cenvaree, a fitness centre and a PADI dive and water sports centre. Professionally managed kids’ club and play areas are also available.
The Centara Grand has five restaurants to choose from plus in room dining if you would prefer.
The views from this hotel are stunning but please bear in mind that this hotel can only be accessed by boat.
Whilst in Krabi we also spent a night at Elephant Hills.
This is probably the fondest memory of the trip!
Definitely worth a visit.
Located at Khao Sok within the beautiful rainforest where you can trek, canoe or rock climb.

And a visit to its namesake the Elephant sanctuary where you can feed and wash the Elephants….expect to get wet. elaine thailand2
Unfortunately you are not allowed to ride the Elephants.
Accommodation is in a tent but we are talking “Glamping” here not camping complete with your own bathroom.
The food was surprisingly good considering the location and even a Thai cookery lesson is thrown in.
The cook will ask with a smile…”Do you want it Thai hot or Foreigner hot?elaine thailand 4

Good walking shoes and cool clothing are the order of the day as the humidity is high in this area.

Elephant Hills offers a totally different experience to the resort hotels –
Just add a one or two nights in the middle of your holiday, you won’t regret it!

Our last location was Bangkok for a couple of nights,
We stayed at the Centara Watergate
The Centara Watergate is a city hotel so rooms are slightly on the small side but its stunning rooftop bar and restaurant compensates.
Not a bad location to spend your last evening in Bangkok!
elaine thailand 6
Amazing views!
The world-renowned Bangkok Dusit Thani overlooks Lumpini Park in the heart of the city.
It is steeped in tradition and classically Thai, and provides an oasis of calm in bustling Bangkok.
Centrally positioned with the Skytrain and subway stations on your doorstep.
Shopping (including Patpong night market) and entertainment is within walking distance.
A fantastic choice of eight restaurants serve international and speciality worldwide cuisines, several bars, including a rooftop bar with stunning city views and a relaxing lobby lounge with live music. Don’t forget to take afternoon tea in the Hotel lobby.
My favourite hotel in Bangkok however was the Shangri La. We were a group of 30 travel agents and on our arrival, a row of staff lined up to welcome each of us with a garland.
What a welcome!
The hotel once again has a spectacular lobby and the breakfast room overlooks the river.
Expect an impressive Breakfast with a wide choice at the Shangri La in the Next2 Café that overlooks the river.
Many dining options are available including Italian, Chinese and Thai restaurants; chocolate boutique; riverside café, nightly riverside barbecues, a lounge bar, lobby lounge, and for a special treat a private luxury river cruiser for sensational evening dinner cruises.
The Shangri La has a great atmosphere whilst still keeping the standards high!
As for Bangkok itself, yes it’s a large busy city but one that would be a shame to miss!
The MRT, the Bangkok metro is excellent and great value
A visit to the Golden Palaces is a must – they are spectacular.
Remember to take clothing to cover your arms and knees for this excursion.
I would also advise a trip to the River Kwai Bridge, emotive but well worth a visit.
Or take a boat trip along the river or a visit to the Floating Markets.
Later on, treat yourself to an evening of Classical Thai dance with dinner.
This is just a glimpse of what Bangkok has to offer.
Thailand is a beautiful country with lovely people who believe in service.
It has so much to offer and it doesn’t have to cost the earth!
A country I hope I can return to soon.