The car pulled in passing what looked like a ten feet tall Moroccan-influenced castle wall in deep purple hue. As the car stopped, we stepped out into a grand open-air Thai pavilion that literally sits on water and to make it more surreal, we were surrounded by 2000 candles that are all fully lit up. Each step we take walking from one stone to another is like walking on water; at the end the full hospitality team of Ritz Carlton awaits to give us a personal warm welcome to the property. “Welcome to Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay” where the mountain meets the sea, the voice echoed as the beautifully handmade flower garland made fresh purple orchid is being gently into our wrists. Then our butler quickly escorted us to our stunning Royal Andaman Sea Villa. Welcome to our home for the next 3 nights; come with us this way!
It is so good to be back, the last time was 8 year ago when we were celebrating our 1st year anniversary together. Despite the long gap between these visits, Soneva Kiri has always been one of our top favorite three resorts in Thailand. In fact, Soneva is also one of our top favorite chains; we have been to every single property ever built. At Soneva, we always find the simple life at its very best; the kind of barefoot luxury meets secluded lush green tropical paradise. One of many things we like about Soneva Kiri is the swift and the ease of the travel, with 80 minutes direct flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnnabhumi Airport on the resort’s private jet. Time flew by so quickly, we hovered over many different beautiful islands of the Gulf of Thailand, the scenery that you normally would never see from Bird’s eye view (as there is no flight to Koh Kood or even our neighbor islands like Koh Chang or Koh Mak. After cruising down the turquoise clear water via our private speedboat, upon our arrival on this idyllic island, we were welcomed by our Miss Friday (as butlers are called here) on the jetty. She said, “Welcome back”. Let the holiday begin!
Sweet dreams are made of this; coconut trees stretch as far as your eyes allow them to, crystal-clear turquoise blue water reflecting the endless horizon above, where pure white satin sand beach is your private playground. This is definitely a homecoming, to our all-time favorite brand, Four Seasons. Koh Samui is where we call home for the week to celebrate our 8th year anniversary together on this romantic getaway.
Sitting at the heart of a stunning peninsula on the edge of Krabi National Marine Park, in Railay, Krabi, Rayavadee is nestled in between lush green tropical gardens, surrounded on not-one-not-two-but three sides by pristine white sand beaches (Railay, Nammao, and Phranang Beach), crowned by dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal clear turquoise water of Andaman Sea, and exotic caverns and caves. Undoubtedly, this is one of Thailand’s finest beachfront properties and no need to say one of our all-time favorite. Waking up to the sound of monkeys, hearing the soft sounds of the waves touching the shore, feeling the gentle outdoor breeze as the sun warmly touches your face, pampering your style with sumptuous 75 mins spa, sipping Pina Colada as the sun kisses the horizon goodbye with the last beam of the golden hue, enjoying the romantic all candle lit dinner for two under the cave by the beach, and falling asleep under the stars to the sound of a thousand chirruping crickets, if you are ready for the all-out tropical indulgence, checking in this way.
A place with the true beauty and vivid memories of Asian yesteryear dating from well before colonial times, Luang Prabang, is rightfully the town with best preserved colonial architecture in Indochina. Walk down the memory lane to discover the authentic charm of this city which is hidden away in every corner of every street and every alley. Best things to do in Luang Prabang are the enchanting “Tak Bat ceremony” where hundreds of Buddha monk in beautifully-vibrant-saffron-colored robes are traveling down the street of Luang Prabang before the break of dawn to receive food offerings, cruising down the Mighty Mekong River to experience first handedly the local way of life during the golden hour of the sunset with sundowners, walking through countless exquisitely hand drafted monasteries and temples including the majestic glass mosaic Three of Life at the famous Xieng Thong Temple, hiking those steps up to Mount Phousi to witness the panoramic view of Luang Prabang, and making the journey to Laos’ most beautiful waterfall, Kwang Si, swimming in the crystal clear turquoise natural water, staying at the wonderfully renovated 100-year-old former governor’s residence paradise, Sofitel So Luang Prabang, and having authentic Laos cuisine at Manda des Laos.
Hidden behind these great grand white palace walls lie the superb recreational of the ancient palace with ornately carved golden pagodas, jewel-like-colored mosaic floors to walls, handcrafted furniture, antique chandeliers, and tailored-made Thai decor. This not-5-but-6-star resort has perfectly carved out a place in the past that reflects Lanna Kingdom at its most flourish time with utmost beauty and the richest heritage of Thai Northern Regime. Dhara Dhevi has done so with unparalleled attention to every single detail. These 60 acres of lush green landscape also comes with breathtakingly romantic view of terraced rice paddies, exotic plantation, tranquil farmland, serene lakes, multicolor lotus ponds, beautiful temple houses, and flower-filled gardens. As we entered through the gate of Dhera Dhevi, we have walked into a fairytale. This is definitely one of the most stunning properties in Thailand and definitely one of the most beautiful attractions you will ever see in Chiang Mai. If you are seeking for ultimate luxury with authentic and local cultural touches, look no further. Paradise of dreams is found within.