Tranquility Yet Proximity at Arawan Beach Resort, including Emerald Pool, Thrilling Thai Tours Adven
Exploring options for the next six days of our stay in Krabi we used Expedia to dial in a few options to take the motor bike to and really make an informed decision about where we would sleep next. Ao Nam Mao immediately caught our attention as we cruised around Fossil Shell Beach. Motoring down the short country paved road about 25 minutes off the highway from Ao Nang Beach we knew we had found tranquility yet proximity at Arawan Beach Resort.
Staff members greeted us warmly in the reception area and offered cold water as we chatted with them about the resorts amenities. Three public access full sized pools, an hourly shuttle 7am-11pm to Ao Nong, a small beach area and limestone cliffs formed the little bay where the property was nestled. A fluently English speaking clerk invited us to walk with him and tour our options. There are five price points of rooms available at Arawan. The bottom of the pack is non poolside/non bay view rooms in the larger wings that sit furthest from the sea. Next on the pricing rung are the 1st floor poolside non bay view rooms followed by the middle wing second floor rooms with pool view. Coming in fourth was the room style we ultimately booked that was first floor poolside with dedicated lounge chairs and mid distance view of the bay. All these rooms were the same size. Top of the rung at Arawan is a thirty square foot larger room immediately adjacent to the bay with private soaking pool. We opted out of that option simply because of the other pools being large enough to swim laps.
Following our tour we inquired about the rate and availability and as we have many times found the price available at Expedia was less than offered by the front desk. We booked online immediately when back for the final night of stay at Ao Nang Beach.
Waking the next day we were excited for our move to Arawan. Alas, ourselves and baggage could not all be carried on the motorbike so I loaded into motorbike taxi with the bags and my honey rode solo to our new home.
Settling in was easy in the spacious room that included living area with couch, coffee table and television which was separated from the bedroom area by a 3/4 wall. The bed was elevated on a wood platform with electrical outlets and overhead reading lights to each side. There was refrigerator, typical Thai coffee making supplies of bottled water, electric teapot, instant coffee and condiments. The closet area was sufficient and the bathroom was quite large with ornate gold tiled tub and shower. The water was hot and the pressure excellent. Free internet was especially good on the afternoons when most were out adventuring but definitely lagged in the mornings and into the late evenings.
The hotels restaurant served breakfast daily included in the room fee. While there was ample selection this would be the only area of criticism we would offer on this resort. The staff lacked sense of urgency in keeping items well stocked so it was difficult to get all your preferred selections on your plate at once. Also a less than adequate espresso machine made for lines to get a cup of coffee. The food was excellent though and honestly with the beautiful bay views at hand either from the inside seating or patio seating adjacent to the pool it really didn’t matter that it required a leisurely pace to get your fill. Dining for lunch and dinner at other points in our stay, the restaurant definitely got high marks both in tastiness of the dishes and plate presentation.
The evening of our first day of the stay we stopped at a local Thai highway market (always worthwhile, entertaining and cheap) and at 7-11 to stock ourselves on essentials such as soda water, beer, chips, nuts and fruits for our snacking pleasure on the days we chose to hang pool side listening to great music via Spotify and our wireless speaker we carry along for these lengthy getaways. Although we did not take advantage of it, the resort also offered in room massage and laundry service. We highly recommend Arawan and will spend our last two days in the south before flying back to Bangkok with them.
Emerald Pool in the Thung Teao Forest Nature Park had caught our eye as an easy self guided attraction we could partake of independently since we had the motorbike. This ride was about 1 1/2 hours from Arawan Resort. We enjoyed taking in the surroundings as we skirted Krabi Town and the airport and headed further south towards Koh Lanta. We passed several signs giving direction to hot springs on the way to the park but completely missed them on the way back or otherwise we might have checked out Krabi Hot Springs which we had also read about.
Parking was 20 baht at the attraction which also gave toilet access for one. Many areas in Thailand charge 5 or 10 baht for restroom use. It’s always good to carry tissue with you just in case it is not available at the toilet. Many times it is mounted at eye level outside the door and easily missed if you are unaccustomed to noticing this. Actual entrance to the park was 200 baht per non Thai person. Entry fees like these are almost always less for Thai Nationals.
Following the wooden path laid out through the rainforest we were serenaded by a variety of tropical birds the forest is known for. The splendor of the verdant greenery and naturally occurring waters were stunning and suddenly we emerged at the canopied area that contained the sparkling mineral waters of the Emerald Pool. We joined others who were cooling themselves in the clear waters. It was a delightful way to spend an afternoon and after we enjoyed lunch with one of the street side vendors at the entrance, enjoying traditional dishes of Spicy Papaya Salad and Thai yellow noodles with chicken. I also splurged and had a coconut shake, icy, refreshing and oh so sweet. The splurge of one of these Thai specialty fruit shakes does not come in the price but the calories. While the base is fresh fruit and ice the addition of pure sugar cane juice and sweetened condensed milk packs on the calorie count, ah well, extra walking!
While dining at Carnivore for Valentine’s Day, we had spotted another highly rated spot nearby and so one evening we decided on a night away from the quiet and went for drinks and dinner at Umberto’s. We found service to be satisfactory at this Italian Steakhouse. Staff was friendly and interactive but not overly comfortable in their service skills. We enjoyed a charcuterie plate with house smoked meats and pickled vegetables to start and although our intentions had been to enjoy plates of pasta with our 2010 Sterling Cabernet, we couldn’t resist the look of the New York Steaks we saw delivered to a couple tables nearby. We enjoyed a vegetarian pizza with it as well as our bread basket substitute and our justification for skipping the truly Italian side of the menu that listed tantalizing sauces over house made pasta. If you are a wine drinker you will find the wine prices to be some of the highest price point in Thailand. Thus the reason we carry a few bottles with us from home. It’s less expensive not to mention fun to consume a special bottle from our own collection in a romantic locale. Umberto’s did charge a 200 baht corkage but it was still worth having our own bottle. The quality of the Australian beef did not disappoint nor did our “bread”. We would recommend dinner at this location for a nice casual meal just above mid range pricing yet reasonable by US standards. (Please excuse the lack of quality food pictures, sometimes hunger takes over and the documenting gets overlooked. 😉
A day of kayaking and atv riding rates high on my list of adventures whether at home in Idaho or when out exploring the world. Another excursion found at the best price via Expedia was just such a day. Remarkable exploration of Krabi mangroves and mountainous jungle hosted by Thrilling Thai Tours was a highlight of our time in Krabi.
Late morning arrival of our transportation was timely and the driver jovial and chatty. We traveled across roadways we had not ventured on with the motorbike and ended up in a quiet area where we were greeted by the staff member who would guide us through the pristine, clear waters of the mangroves. The waters were teaming with large snails and varying sizes of tiger fish. The silence was only broken by our paddles hitting the water.
Paddling our way behind the guide he led us through narrow access points where the waters once again opened up to a serenely beautiful swimming spot where the underground springs bubbled up and provided cool refreshment for our swimming pleasure. There was a bamboo platform perfect for drying off in the sun and gazing dreamily up at the beauty that surrounded us. It was one of the most pristine spots we have had the pleasure to be introduced to. After about an hour we paddled our way back yo the picnic shelters where we had launched and enjoyed fresh pineapple and coconut while we waited for our driver to take us to a private lunch of fried rice with chicken with cucumbers and tomatoes. Fresh and tasty prepared by a very proud young Thai woman. We tipped her and thanked her heartily and our driver returned to take us on the next part of the adventure.
ATV riding through the surrounding jungle mixed with palm oil, pineapple, rubber tree and coconut palm plantations was amazing. The up close exposure to areas we may not have otherwise seen was a great experience. This entire day was well worthwhile and we felt very privileged to have had the day just to ourselves with the guides.
A couple days before our stay ended at Arawan it was time to make our decision for our next destination. We spent the last afternoon before turning in our motorbike driving to all the rental locations we could find. We really enjoy the open road and we decided that if we could locate a larger, newer motorbike we would travel across this lower tip of Thailand by going to Phang Nga then down to revisit Phuket. We had considered taking a ferry across, spending a couple days in Phuket Town and then on to Kata or Karon until we needed to ferry back to catch our flight out of Krabi back to Bangkok but the adventure of the open road called more loudly.
We found Mr. Kord motorbike rentals and discovered they had multiple lots. We located the bike that would suit our travels and made arrangements for 16 days. The staff was easy to work with and gave us a great discount on a very low mileage bike. They also did not require that we leave my husband’s passport as many rental locations did. They require only a copy and a very small (3000 baht) cash deposit. We locked in the bike, made the final arrangements with Arawan Resort to store our roller bags, wound down our R&R with them and soon were on the 4204 and headed northwest. Two days in Khao Lak was next on our list. Watch for a post soon with those reviews! #cometravelwithme