Spectacular scenery, relaxed vibe make Krabi a Thai favourite

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There are more famous beach destinatons in Thailand. You can probably name them: Phuket. Pattaya. Samui. So when you talk to your Thai friends in Bangkok, why do you keep hearing a name not on that familiar list? Krabi, on the Andaman Sea 60 kmeast of Phuket, was once Thailands inside secret. Today its charming airport has added the word internationaland receives chartered flights from places like Denmark. So we can no longer call it a secret. But it remains special.

Special because it is smaller and more relaxed. Special because shops and restaurants have an unpretentious local flavour about them. Special because of soft, white beaches lapped by clear water, with brilliantlycolored marine life hiding in nearby coral.

Oh, and there is that spectacular scenery.

Limestone cliffs rise out of lush jungles behind the beaches. Huge karst monoliths jut out of the sea offshore. Islands dot the horizon. The views are like pages from a tropical calendar. You dont have to purchase an excursion; they are right there in front of you.

Since Krabi is smaller than its famous Thai cousins, there are fewer accomdations to choose from. Fortunately the reputable Centara Group, Thailands leading hotel operator, has three resorts that cover the range of what travelers are looking for. Well describe each of them to help you decide.

Your own private landscape

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas was designed as a 5star, Thaistyle resort that makes the most of Krabis natural setting. It is nestled in Pai Plong Bay, a private cove with limestone cliffs towering behind it. Youre only minutes from civilization but it seems you left it behind and entered a fantasy world of blues, greens, rock towers and white sand. Spacious rooms and villas, accented with Thai woods, silks and cottons, climb the hillside from the beach.

One Bedroom Ocean Facing Villa with Pool

Everything fits the setting. Pools are shouldered with natural rock. Tall palm trees shade and integrate the resort with its surroundings. Villa balconies and restaurant terraces frame the romantic ocean sunsets.

The resorts 192 units range from gardenfacing rooms to private villas featuring their own living room and Jacuzzi or pool. All rooms have furnished balconies or terraces. You can choose proximity to the beach or the superb view from higher up.

One Bedroom Ocean Facing Villa with Pool

Despite the secluded location you will not run out of things to do. In addition to multiple swimming pools, the resort has a dive centre; complementary watersports including sailing, snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking; and excursions to neighboring islands. Families will appreciate a Kidss Club, Camp Safari, and Ezone for teens. For adults there is a fitness centre and Centaras renowned SPA Cenvaree, offering traditional and therapeutic massages.

Five restaurants and bars offer Thai, Japanese and international cuisine, plus seafood barbeques. Or enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach, with a choice of threecourse menus and a dedicated server to make sure everything is perfect.

On the Rocks

Everything for the perfect family vacation

Centara Anda Dhevi Resort & Spa is a classy, 4star hotel set in Krabis shopping and entertainment community of Ao Nang. The resort is a short walk from Nopparatthara beach. It offers a wide range of accomodations and amenities that will appeal to everyone in your family.

Anda Dhevi mixes classic and contemporary Thai design with beautiful pools and landscaping. Many of its 135 units have easy access to the swimming pools and come in various configurations ideal for large or small families. All room categories feature furnished balconies or terraces, and spacious bathrooms with separate tubs and showers. A childrens pool and waterslide are complimented by the resorts KidsClub, Camp Safari, Ezone and daily activity programme. The resort even offers a babysitting service, so young parents can use the fitness centre or indulge in spa treatments while their children are watched after.

The Spa Cenvaree offers traditional aromatherapy and Thai massages, beauty treatments, and Ayurvedic therapies, in tranquil rooms suited to both individuals or couples.

The resorts Palm Court offers allday al fresco dining with a choice of international fare or authentic Thai cuisine, including intenselyflavoured Southern Thai specialties. Its breakfast buffet is a popular way to start the day. The Pool Bar or Lobby Lounge are pleasant venues for informal snacks and refreshments.

3star value that captures Krabis magic

Centra by Centara Phu Pano Resort, opened last December, is one of Krabis newest hotels. With round trip airfares from Bangkok commonly available under $50, this resort makes the magic of Krabi easily accessible.

The resort and its beautiful infinity pool are set among tropical palms looking out on limestone cliffs. It is minutes away from the popular Ao Nang beach community by shuttle. The resort also offers a childrens pool and familyfriendly residences with bunk beds.

Mix Bistro is the resorts allday restaurant. It flanks the swimming pool and enjoys great views of the tropical surroundings. It offers buffetstyle breakfasts, expertlyprepared Thai dishes for lunch and dinner, and a wide selection of international fare, sandwiches and salads. You can dine al fresco on the terrace or inside, in airconditioned comfort.

The contemporary décor, fitness centre, allday bistro, free WiFi, and bicycles for hire will appeal to young families and groups of friends who want to enjoy this unique Thai destination.