The southern Thai island of Koh Lanta is a paradise on Earth. Blessed with lush, jungle-clad hills, blissful beaches and crystal-clear seas, this exotic destination fulfils every traveller’s vision of a tropical island idyll. And yet, with far fewer tourists than nearby islands such as Phuket or Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta still feels blissfully off-the-beaten-track and retains a highly authentic ambience and culture.
At Pimalai Resort & Spa, the natural five-star sanctuary nestled in 100 acres of lush, native forest on Koh Lanta, experience-seeking guests can enjoy highly luxurious and eco-sensitive escapes. Ever since it was first woven into Koh Lanta’s coastal landscape 21 years ago, this enchanting resort has strived to preserve the environment and empower local people. Now, it is inviting discerning travellers to join it on a sustainable journey.
A BIODIVERSE HAVEN
Pimalai is a haven of wildlife, where monkeys, monitor lizards, eagles and hornbills can be seen among the trees, while a rich diversity of marine life resides offshore. The resort recently helped to release 50 endangered turtles and millions of crabs into the Andaman Sea, as part of its commitment to conserving the marine environment, and guests can also join in regular beach cleaning activities to keep the shoreline and local islands free from litter.
No motorized water sports are permitted at Pimalai, but there are plenty of opportunities to feel the spray of the ocean waves with complimentary kayaking, paddle-boarding, windsurfing and more. Koh Lanta is also a dream destination for snorkelling, and Pimalai is dedicated to keeping the offshore reefs healthy with coral propagation initiatives, the latest of which takes place this month, and the launch of a new coral restoration instructor course. PADI-certified scuba diving trips will also allow explorers to visit spectacular sites that teem with colourful sea creatures, including large schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks and rays.
Travellers can embark on small-scale, sustainable excursions to exotic offshore islands. The “Koh Haa Sunset” trip showcases a breath-taking collection of limestone islets which enclose a dazzling aquamarine lagoon, a technicolour reef and a pure white beach, while the “Koh Ngai & Emerald Cave” itinerary offers the chance to explore an amazing limestone cave that shimmers and shines, swim in a stunning hidden lagoon and relax on a pristine beach. The “Mangroves Tour” transports visitors into a lush coastal forest where wildlife abounds, and the “Talabeng + Koh Lanta Old Town” tour uncovers the dramatic limestone karsts and cliffs of Koh Talabeng island, before heading to Koh Lanta’s Old Town, a quaint port with more than 100 years of heritage.
IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY
Visitors can rest assured that Pimalai operates a zero-food waste policy, with excess organic food being used to fertilize the resort’s gardens – part of a series of “reuse, reduce and recycle” programmes. Under the “Little Scientist House” programme, which was founded by Thailand’s Princess Sirindhorn, students from local schools are invited to learn scientific skills, and Pimalai also offers three- to six-month internships for Thai students, with the option of future employment. This community commitment is part of Pimalai’s “Our People = Our Family” philosophy, which has underpinned the resort’s operations ever since its foundation.
Back at the resort, guests can unwind in style in a collection of 121 spacious rooms, suites and villas, plunge into shimmering infinity pools that appear suspended in the jungle canopy, enjoy soothing therapies at the award-winning Pimalai Spa, play tennis on full-size courts, or enjoy immersive activities such as yoga, muay Thai, cycling, fitness, Thai cooking classes and more. Four exquisite dining options include Rak Talay, which specialises in fresh Andaman seafood by the beach, Seven Seas, an impressive international fine-dining restaurant perched in the hillside overlooking the bay, Spice & Rice, the highly authentic Thai restaurant, and The Banyan Tree Poolside Café, which serves light bites and daytime refreshments.
“When our founder, Khun Anurat Tiyaphorn, discovered this enchanting plot of land in the 1990s, he immediately fell in love. Chinese feng shui philosophy says that ‘a house leaning against the mountains and facing waters can bring good luck for people living in it,’ so Pimalai was born with the aim of preserving nature and creating benefits for the local people. We are proud to share that vision with our international clientele, who need to know that they are making a difference. At Pimalai, every guest can rest assured that they are having a positive impact on the environment and the community, while also enjoying a luxurious vacation in paradise,” said Brice Borin, Pimalai’s General Manager.