Known as Koh Lanta’s best-kept secret, Pimalai is where five-star luxury is combined with natural beauty to provide a wondrous backdrop for the holiday of your dreams. Surrounded by 100 acres of lush tropical vegetation and with access to 900 metres of the softest silvery sand fringing the Andaman Sea, it cocoons the traveller and inspires the romantic in all of us.
True to its name, Pimalai is derived from the Sanskrit meaning ‘little patch of heaven’; it entices visitors back time and time again to enjoy its sweet serenity. And while it is a favourite wedding and honeymoon destination, it also offers adventure both on land and in the sea — it is just a few kilometers from Lanta Marine National Park, which can be explored on foot or on elephant-back, while it has easy access to some of Thailand’s top dive sites.
The nearby tiny islands of Koh Rok and Koh Haa offer some of the most spectacular snorkelling. For those who want somebody else to do the work, there are mangrove tours, sunset cruises or gentle sightseeing in the old town of Lanta. And then of course there is the spa. Hidden away and protected by the jungle, the straw-thatched Thai salas offer peace and pampering with a range of traditional and international beauty and body treatments. Lie back and listen to the whisper of the trees as your body is relaxed, anointed with local oils and perfumes and eased of all stresses.
Couples in love, families at play, divers and sailors looking for spectacle and adventure. This is a holiday retreat that has something for everyone with extensive sporting facilities on land (badminton, tennis, croquet and petanque) and sea (from kayaking to snorkelling), as well as a proper running track. Whatever your energy level, there is something to suit you… or you can simply laze on the beach and absorb the heat.
Here there is a tropical monsoon climate and it is warm all year round. The hottest months are April, May, September and October; the latter two are also the wettest, but it is tropical rain, heavy and then on with the sunshine. High season is from November through to March.
Hedonists have everything from foot scrubs to scalp massages to choose from. There is a wide choice of traditional facials, wraps, scrubs and treatments as well as international aromatherapy and Swedishstyle massages.
If you’re visiting between December and March, it’s wise to book treatments as soon as you arrive, or better still before you leave home, to make sure that you get what you want when you want it. On arrival, for instance, why not treat yourself to a traditional Thai massage which will loosen and energise travel weary limbs by gently moving and stretching the body?
Spoil yourself halfway through with the Royal Herbal Compress, where the muscles are pounded and the limbs stroked with warm herbal compresses. Precede this with a Royal Foot Massage with a lemongrass salt scrub.
Leave paradise, even if it’s only for a few hours to explore the surrounding area. Nature-lovers will head for the hills and the jungle trek, urbanites will head for the old town and its markets, while romantics can book a sunset cruise around the outlying tiny islands. The greedy can indulge in one of the resort’s renowned Thai cookery classes — you choose, you chop, you cook, you eat and you learn.
Best of all is the elephant trek to Klong Jark waterfall. It’s surprisingly comfortable sitting on top of a huge pachyderm as she pads her way through the jungle, vast and silent and all-seeing.