To get a chance to feel Khao Lak's elegance has always been my dream. This place has a good reputation of beauty, at that time, it felt really just like a dream for me knowing to stay at Khao Lak is really expensive. Until one day i won the voucher to stay here, and thus, my dreamed journey begins.
My voucher for this trip is at RAMADA KHAO LAK RESORT for 3 days 2 nights included breakfast. Apart from this, the expenses are on my own. So I started to plan this trip since early November, I made a hotel reservation, booked the flight, van, and Similan islands tour package.
This trip, I chose to fly with Bangkok Airways, I found that if you booked it early, the cost is similar to low cost airline.
Every time, prior to travel one day, I would do the advanced check in at
www.bangkokair.com so that at the day of departure, I only need to drop my baggage. This is really saving me a lot of time.
After check in, I would not miss a good time at Boutique Service Lounge of Bangkok Airways which is located at the opposite site of the A3 Exit.
This is my first time enjoying the Boutique Lounge after the renovation although I also came here once before the renovation and several times for temporarily Lounge.
Before going in, you need to show your Boarding Pass to the staff for verification and the staff will give you a free wifi password to use while you are in Lounge.
A big bear mascot and a plane cartoon mascot named 'sky' will be welcoming you at the entrance.
When walking in, to your left, there will be a display of awards the airline has been honored.
To your right, it is the children playground in a glass room.
Internet is also available here.
The seating area is quite spacious and equipped with many charging battery plugs. This shows that the airline really cares for their passengers.
Now, let's move onto snack serving area...
Start from some snacks,
Here is the beverages zone, serving tea, iced-coffee, and some popcorn
Here is for hot coffee and cocoa.
Let's take a closer look at our snacks,
The highlight is Khao Tom Mad (a traditional Thai dessert made from sticky rice and coconut milk wrapped in banana leaves). This is a must try snack. I say if you missed it, then you haven not yet come to the Lounge.
Apart from that, there are also mini muffin pie, tuna sandwiches, cookies, crispy rice cakes, sweetened taro crisps, sweetened pumpkin crisps.
For me, a little bit of each is enough, because I still need to save some room for yummy food on board.
After allowing myself enough time to enjoy the Lounge, I come to wait for boarding.
“SAMUI" will take me to my destination at Phuket international airport.
After a little while from taking off, there'll be some snack service.
I heard that the airline has followed the menu concept of our famous chef McDang, so I have such a high expectation of the taste but got a little disappointed.
Today the sky is quite clear along the way and this is an hour flight.
I think Phuket international airport is the most beautiful airport because it locates right next to the sea.
Upon getting my luggage, I came to wait for Blue Beetle rental car that I have booked in advance. After that, I'm so ready to heading for Khao Lak!
On the way towards Khao Lak, we passed many rubber plantations, I couldn't resit to not take some photos. It reminds me so much of the pine plantation at Bo Kaeo, Chiang Mai.
And then, something came to my mind, I was originally going to go to Khao Lak first, but then it may be a waste of time, why not start from Takua Pa district because it already along the way? So, as it is, Takua Pa district first!
And it's noon now, gotta find something for my lunch, and here I am, at Pad Thai Chai Yen Yen restaurant.
Before reaching Takua Pa downtown, turn left on the way towards Pru Tao village, only 100 meters and the restaurant will be on your left.
There are many celebrities photos of whom used to come here.
There are several menus for Pad Thai, and I chose shrimp Pad Thai.
In addition to Pad Thai, there are also many other yummy menus, so I also tried 'tom yum egg noodle soup'.
Of course, there are also some delicious Thai desserts available, like crispy pomegranate and Bua Loy Kai Wan (sticky rice pearls in coconut milk with poached egg) and I got the latter one topped with fresh young coconut.
Our first destination will be boat floating trip at 'Little Amazon Takua Pa'
From Pad Thai restaurant, heading towards Takua Pa downtown, go straight when you see triangle traffic lights. Once you get to Phra Narayana intersection, turn left and left again when you see police station , and not so far after that, you will see the little boat service to enjoy "Little Amazon" on your right.
Mainly, if you just wanna see around 'Little Amazon', the price is 300 THB, but if you want to enjoy mangrove forest as well, the price will go up to 600 THB, and might be negotiable to 500 THB. And each boat can only carry 2 passengers.
Due to time limitation, I chose to only enjoy 'Little Amazon' program which will take about an hour. Along 'Little Amazon', it is filled with banyan trees that aged over hundreds of years, sprawling its branches down to the river, really give you some kind of feeling there. You can also see rattan trees and many other unique trees around.
It's like a waste of the trip if you come boating and didn't get to see some snakes. You may find mangrove snake or green pit viper curled up on the branches. It's quite thrilling to boating over them as they might fall on you. Anyway, they are stay just where they are as we boating by. And if the boat drivers didn't point them to us, I could hardly see them too. Usually, they are hunting at night, so at the day time, they are just chilling on those branches.
Well, for here, I would rate 6/10 to those who came to Phang Nga the first time and intentionally want to visit here. I think they are still other places that is more worth your visit, like belly elephant cave, I would rate it 9/10.
After the boat trip 'Little Amazon', it's time for some retro relaxing time, so now I'm heading to the old town of Tagua Pa.
About 2 km. before reaching the old city., to your left, there is an iron bridge called Khok Kanun. This iron bridge was built across Tagua Pa river, but as far as I can see, there's not so much river left but some stones and grass. This bridge was built in 1968, and was renovated again after the floods damage in 2009. And becomes one symbol of the old town til date
A short stop by at the iron bridge, before heading towards the old city.
Back to many decades ago, when the Chinese started mining business, this area of Taguapa old town or rather this big market was a really prosperous area. What is more charming is the Sino - Portuguese style buildings which can harmoniously integrate the Western arts with Oriental characteristics.
I recommend you to park and walk around so that you can really get the feeling of the old city. And on Sunday evenings, there will also be walking street.
In addition to the old town, there are also several other historical attractions such as the city wall that built around the governor resident of Takua Pa. This wall was built with a mixture of gravel sands and plain cement, not the mixture of brick and cement as current practice. However, may be it lacks of proper care, grass is seen everywhere.
And now is time to say good bye to the Tagua Pa town, and heading towards Khao Lak, to check in at RAMADA KHAO LAK RESORT, which is located on the Bang Niang beach.
RAMADA KHAO LAK RESORT was about 29 km away from Taguapa downtown, you just have to stay on the highway 4, after you see PTT gas station, keep driving about 4 km. and turn right before you see 7-11 on your right hand, and drive another 1 km. you will then arrive at RAMADA KHAO LAK RESORT. And the direction sign is also available along the way, so you won't miss it.
If you see this sign, it means you have come to the right place, yeah! and the parking will be just behind this sign.
Walking upstairs and you will see the Lobby to which you can overlook for the Bang Niang beach.
The staff will then take you to blue-black so far, near to the Lobby, for checking in. At the same time, staff will serve orange juice as a welcome drink along with refreshing towel and flower garland for you.
My room type is Deluxe Jacuzzi.
Deluxe Jacuzzi room will focus on black and wooden tone, the floor is in black tiles. The room is very spacious and the bed is so big and comfy.
Seating area is equipped with 40" LED TV and DVD/CD player.
The highlight in this room is that the bathroom area can be opened by sliding off the wooden door. This is a design to provide more space of Jacuzzi and the Rain Shower zone.
For Jacuzzi comfy time, the resort also provide 2 type of salt for your dipping relaxing time. One is orange scent and the other blue is mental flavor.
The bathroom is separate the wet and dry areas by the sliding glass door.
The view from bathroom to the bed.
On the side to the Jacuzzi, it is a sink fully provided with shampoo, bath soap, lotion, hand soap, and hair dryer.
When walking in, you will see the wardrobe, refrigerator, kettle and free drinking water and coffee. But other mini bar will be charged as usual. And you can't eat first and buy it back later, because they are all sealed.
Balcony will be provided in each room with a super comfy sofa for you to appreciate outside view.
Here is the welcome fruit prepared by the hostel, and in the evening, some snack will be offered as well, like 2 pieces of buttered bread, 4 pieces of sweetened pumpkin crisps.
Now, Let's take a look at other type of room, this is Deluxe Oasis room.
Deluxe Oasis is decorated in temporary Thai style, simple but elegant.
There is also a LED TV and some seating chairs, and a balcony for outdoor relaxation.
You can make the head of the bed the office working desk.
The bathroom is also quite spacious but not so clear of the wet and dry areas as those in Deluxe Jacuzzi room.
Next, is the Ocean Front Villa room type.
The villa is surrounded by several kinds of trees, and is situated near the beach where you can have the whole view of the far distance sea. The villa is spacious, equipped with big LED TV, soft and comfy bed along with the big set of sofa. The table is also available, whether to use for work, surfing internet on notebook, or even dining.
For the back of the bed, it was designed for wardrobe, including refrigerator, coffee maker, safety deposit box and mini-bar services.
The opposite side of the wardrobe is the bathroom area. There are two separate sinks to the left and the right. In the middle is the Jacuzzi, and to the left of Jacuzzi will be Rain shower of wet area, and to the right of the Jacuzzi will be dry area.
When you slide the door at the end of the bed, you will see villa terrace and a Daybed for you to sit back and relax of the sunset view without any blockage scenery.
The staff here are really friendly and very welcoming, I'm very impressed :)
RAMADA KHAO LAK RESORT offers 116 rooms, in which 54 Deluxe Oasis, 22 Deluxe Lanai (this is similar decorated to Deluxe Oasis, except that Deluxe Lanai will have a more space for balcony and direct assess to outside garden), 24 Deluxe Jacuzzi, 8 Ocean Front Villa and 8 Pool Villa.
The facilities in every room are similar. There will be bathrobe, slippers, cable TV, free drinking water, tea, and coffee, LED TV, umbrella, hair dryer, safe deposit box, rain shower, and free wifi. Apart from this, they might also be some special facilities depending on room type.
Now, let's take a look at evening time atmosphere.
The resort will prepare a Romantic Dinner along the beach, so here are some of those moments.
A view from the lobby overlooking the lawn area, they are so spacious and swimming is far ahead.
A view from the lawn overlooking back to the lobby.
These rooms are facing swimming pool.
This large pool is in the midst of coconut trees. You will see the reflection of the coconut trees in the pool, just so beautiful.
Sassi's Beach Club is the seaside restaurant here.
And this is it for today, see you again tomorrow!
Let's start our morning with some yummy breakfast at the Kitchen restaurant which is situated below the Lobby, services from 06.30-10.30 am.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor areas, but more focus on indoor because only a few table available outdoor. Personally, I prefer outdoor area as it gives me a more refreshing feeling, but since this morning has some light rain, I will use the indoor area.
The restaurant offers both ready-to-eat food and freshly cooked, so the guests can also see the chef cooking.
Breakfast line is considerably a variety, including Thai food, spiced food, Chinese food, and Japanese food.
This is Thai food corner, also offer
Spiced food corner...
Bakery corner, such a variety of choices...
Fruits, fruit salad and yogurt corner...
Freshly squeezed juice corner, just tell the chef your choice of fruit.
After that, I cam out to wait for Similan islands tour van, I use the service of WOW Andaman tour, and the van came to pick us up in front of the hotel at 7.30 sharp (very on time) and then take us to the pier. WOW Andaman just started their business, currently only available for Similan islands route and Tachai island route.
Once we arrive, we go in for the check in.
After Checking in, the staff will give us insurance form and wristband, to separate guests from going to Similan Islands and Tachai Island.
And after filling out the insurance form, it's time for small snacks again. Here, they offer
porridge, fried noddle, the sticky rice topped with custard, tea, coffee and ovaltine.
After that, we will be going to collect snorkel and fin for our snorkeling time.
Before setting off for Similan Islands, the tour guide will explain the tour details to us, and this trip has only 2 Thai tourists, me and my friends, the rest are foreigner friends.
This is the boat that will be taking us to Similan Islands, relatively new. And before boarding, everyone must leave their shoes on the shore.
This trip is about 1 hour and a half boat riding, about 70 km., we have 30 fellow trip friends altogether. On the boat, there will be life jacket, and big towel for everyone as well as some beverages available the whole time.
The Similan Islands national park is well known for diving lovers around the world for a long time. I once came here in 1997 and still impressed with the blue crystal clear of its water, the unique granite, and the greeny rainforest on the islands.
This trip, the first to third islands were not allowed to visit due to it is turtle laying eggs season. So our first stop is the fourth island. Once we arrive there, there are quite a crowd of tourists, so we park behind the island instead. The tour guide said the water will be very still if there's no wind.
The fourth island named "Koh Miang", is where headquarter of the national park is situated. The tourists are allowed to stay over night here. And on this island, you can still see some rare wildlife such as Nicobar Pigeon, Fruit Bat, and some crabs.
Even with the high wave, the water still looks purely white, the sand is so so soft that you feel so good when walking on it. And even with the sky not fully open, the green on the water is still so prominent. Indeed beautiful! Usually, you can also dive on this fourth island, but due to high wave today, the tour guide suggested not to dive here. Altogether we spent about an hour here before moving to the eight island.
On the way from fourth island to the eighth, the wave started to get higher, quite an adventurous time...
But it's really strange, as soon as we are at the eight island, the wave calmed down a lot. For those who didn't want to snorkeling, you can go to view the "Sailboat rock" from high angle at high view point. And for those who want to experience some underworld lives, the tour guide will take you to snorkeling before coming back for lunch time.
The water is really emerald green ...
Similand island or this eight island is the largest island on the Similand islands. See the stone in the middle? Some says it looks like Donald Duck's head and some imagine it like boots.
But the most outstanding rock is "Sailboat stone", it is considered the symbol of Similand island.
When walking ashore, let me have some photo with the landmark sign of Similan island :)
To walk from the beach to 'Sailboat rock' is about 15 mins but it can be a bit hot up there if you didn't wear your shoes because the rock is quite hot facing the sun directly.
And it was so amazingly beautiful to view from this high angle, you can clearly see the different color of the sea. I think it would be much more beautiful if the sky were more open than this.
Similan bay looks like horseshoe...
OMG! The water is sooo clear, here is like a natural swimming pool!
The greeny trees contrast with the bluest sea, so so beautiful...
I really wanted to stay here longer but my feet is getting too hot now and also a bit hungry now, let's go see what they have for our lunch.
It's quite variety of food, and that is spaghetti...
Tom Yum seafood, a mixture of shrimp, squid, and fish, soo tasty...
Fried fish topped with chili, a bit spicy...
Fried chicken thigh...
Fried mixed vegetable...
Chicken BBQ ...
Chicken Satay ...
And Somtum corner (papaya salad)...
Beverages corner, they also serve freshly made milk tea, a very typical Southern tea made style.
The dessert corner, mango and sticky rice served with ice cream...
And some cakes...
The tour guide informed us we may have to go back a bit early today due to the high wave.
So then after lunch, I took a bit more photos and time to say goodbye to this amazing Similan island.
Like the tour guide said, along the 2 hours boat ride back to Phang Nga shore, we experienced many many high waves. Sometimes, it's so scary that our speed boat encounter to that high waves and sometimes we even go along with the high waves. Along the way, I kept praying and praying and praying again... The feeling now is more or less like you were playing roller coasters in Grand Canyon. Anyway, when we are getting near to the shore, the wave is again, very still, seem like nothing has ever happened.
Upon returning, WOW Andaman will let fellow tourists to get some rest before taking you back to the hotel. And if you want to take shower first, it's ok too because they have large and clean shower room in service. I think WOW Andaman in all offer a very satisfactory service, if I have a chance to come back to Similan island again or if I wish to go to Tachai Island, I definitely use WOW Andaman service.
When I'm back to hotel, the sky started to open so I took a walk to Bang Niang beach.
This is such a good atmosphere, and if the sky were opened a little more, this place is a perfect place to watch sunset.
Tonight, I have a very very long and good sleep.
This morning I have more time to appreciate breakfast and the sky is clear so I chose to sit outdoor.
The food is still in many variety of choices.
Sitting under the open and clear sky really appetite my breakfast and I'm so happy.
After the yummy and pleasant breakfast, I will do a little more tour of the resort.
Start from our first room, Mellow Bean Cafe, situated next to the Kitchen, our breakfast room. Here, they offer beverages like tea, coffee and some souvenirs. They also offer free internet, books, and DVDs.
Next to Mellow Bean Cafe is a Fitness Room, open from 06.00-22.00. Quite a lot of exercise machines.
A view from the Lobby overlooking the lawn and a large swimming pool that you can swim to get a closer appreciation of Bang Niang beach. The staff said that on the clear day, you will see the emerald green sea in contrast to those red umbrellas, indeed another beautiful view.
Overlooking back from the lawn, upstairs is the Lobby, lower left is The Kitchen, Lower rights are Mellow Bean Cafe and Fitness Room.
Garden View area, also is where I stayed.
This zone is next to the swimming pool.
A large swimming pool in the midst of coconut trees, really a seaside atmosphere. And the resort also provides a lot of Daybeds for your most pleasant enjoyment.
Pool Bar also offers a freshly cooked lunch from 12.00-15.00 and Happy Hour from 16.30-18.00 when you can get buy 1 get 1 free promotion for any drinks.
The swimming pool looking into the resort view. I think this is a children pool.
Next to the swimming pool is the Daybeds area for guests to enjoy sunbathing or watching sunset.
Sassi's Beach Club is the combination of bar and restaurant, many kinds of food available, including Thai buffet, international buffet, or freshly cooked seafood, open from 11.00 am to midnight.
And now is about time to say good bye to RAMADA KHAO LAK RESORT.
I think my 3 days and 2 night soverall stay is very pleasant. I think this is a really good place to relax because the place is quiet and very personal. The room is spacious and the place is very greeny. Staffs are very friendly, always wear cheerful smiles on their faces. Facilities are also very nice, fully equipped, especially pillows and beds that are really soft and comfy.
Just a bit frustration I faced in the room, that is the water is not well absorbed within when I take shower, the water could flow out to the floor. I'm not sure if this is happening to every room or it could be just my room.
With the 83 km. distance to Phuket international airport, I only spent about an hour driving so now I still have some time left before boarding the flight. I might as well stop to see some more attractions in Phuket.
And the first stop is Sarasin Bridge.
The sky is just so blue, so here I have some sea views beside the Sarasin bridge for your appreciation.
Close to Sarasin Bridge is a retro ancient vehicle terminal, can really reflect the old time of Phuket.
Next destination is Wat Phra Tong or Wat Phra Pud.
The Phra Pud Buddha is enshrined in the Phra Tong Grand Hall.
The Phra Pud Buddha is a half golden Buddha in which only 1 cubits of the Buddha image came out of the ground. Currently, the temple also built the simulated Buddha aside for the Buddhists to put sheets of gold for prosperity. In addition, I really recommend to take a tour at the museum exhibiting many ancient items. It is photo prohibited area though.
My last short stop today is Nai Yang beach.
At the parking area, they are a line of large pine trees, looking so beautiful.
From parking area, you already can see the Nai Yang beach. Since it's very close to the airport, usually, you can see many landing planes. A bit unfortunate, I didn't see any while I was there.
I want to end my trip with the rental car of Blue Beetle car rent company, they upgraded my reserved car from Vios to New Vios and also allowed me to return the car late for 2 hours without any additional fees due to I'm a return customer. I got the promotion of 900 THB for each rented day with a 100 fine for any additional late return hours. I really want to express my gratitude here and I'm definitely a third timer return customer if coming back to Phuket again. In all, i spent 700 THB for the gas.
If anyone is interested in renting car from Blue Beetle car rent, please go visit "รถเช่าภูเก็ตและทัวร์ภูเก็ต" webpage for further promotions. All you need for rentals is the copy of your ID and driver license. It is easy and no additional hidden fares.
Upon arriving at the airport, as usual, I just need to drop baggage because I already check in in advance :)
After that, you can again, enjoy the Lounge of Bangkok Airways. After scanning, turn right and walk to the end and you will find the Lounge.
As usual, show your boarding pass to get the free wifi password to use in the Lounge.
Today the passengers are quite a lot due to some delays so I didn't get to take many photos.
Also some Japanese food, wow...
Some Thai snacks, I really like it :)
And the 'Kao Tom Mad', a must try highlight here, along with Kanom Tian and Kanom Sod Sai, soo good.
For the return flight, I will be going with “KRABI".
A view from the plane. It is the Phang Nga Bay, and if you look carefully, you will also see Koh Panyi. If anyone wanna see this view, I recommend to choose window seat on the right.
And soon enough is the snack time, I think it's called 'chicken puff' but not entire sure, it's a bit dried, serving along with some fruits.
Another impression from Bangkok airways besides the Lounge, snacks on boards and exceptional services is the space between seats, quite comfortable.
Just an hour from Phuket international airport, and I'm at Suvanabhumi international airport, safe and sound.
Finally, I would like to thank RAMADA KHAO LAK RESORT for supporting a 3 days and 2 nights voucher for Thailand Circle of Love Fanpage to have an activity for all fans to have such a memorable and enjoyable journey. Thank you very much :)