Day 1 - April 21st
After a wonderful 6 nights in Krabi, we boarded a ferry via Ao Nang Travel at 10am and headed to Ko Lanta, a smaller island 2 hours away. One of my longest and closest friends, Ashley, has a friend, Kendall, who lives in Bangkok. When I asked Kendall for any and all recommendations she might have for Thailand, going to Ko Lanta and staying at the Pimalai Resort was number one on her list. She said it was the perfect place to relax, unwind and remove yourself from the rest of the world. However, when I looked up the hotel online, it was clearly way out of our budget. But just like we did for the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, we collected some of our Chase Sapphire points and some of our Hotels.com credit and made it happen for 2 nights. I think the only reason why my financial advisor (aka Vinny) actually approved this transaction was because one of those nights was my birthday. Wish made, wish granted.
We arrived at the Pimalai Resort, a 5 star property, around 1:15pm. The bed was decorated with rose pedals and a happy birthday sign while a cake sat patiently in the refrigerator waiting to be eaten. I already feel special.
It was lunch time so we needed to decide which of the 4 restaurants onsite we wanted to go to (talk about stressful). Rak Talay, which had their tables and chairs in the sand, right on the beach, unanimously won our vote. Life really doesn't get any better than this.
The Pimalai Resort is located on a private beach, which is rare in Thailand. Although the islands are stunningly gorgeous, they are overcrowded with tourists so it's hard to fully enjoy your surroundings. This though, this was paradise. Just us, the ocean and our much appreciated umbrella. We swam, we walked, we laughed, we enjoyed.
Around 6pm, we ordered some mango, pineapple, banana, mint, yogurt smoothies (all in one, not five different kinds) and watched yet another incredible sunset. This giant orange then red ball of fire literally dropped one breath at a time from high in the sky down beyond the ocean's horizon. It was like a magic trick - now you see it, now you don't. I have a video capturing this AH-HA moment because it was just too good not to.
Since we are in a fancy hotel and a fancy room, we decided to take advantage of it and had a night in. Literally. After 7pm, we didn't leave again. We ordered room service (which is rarely offered at the places we visit) and enjoyed each other's company on a slower, more intimate level. Not at a loud restaurant like almost every other night has been on this trip. It was the perfect way to end chapter 31 of my life. When I see you tomorrow, I will be 32.
Day 2 - April 22nd
It's really weird to be on the opposite side of the world, without friends or family, on your birthday. Today, April 22, is technically the day I exited my mother's womb (thanks again for giving me shelter for those 9 months, Mom!) but back at home, my birthday won't officially start until 14 hours later. So when should I acknowledge it? Thailand time or America time? I chose BOTH! Why not? Might as well take advantage of a legit 38 hour celebration. I figured Vinny and I can have today together and then everyone else can keep the party going after the clock strikes midnight. However, I was beyond shocked to wake up this morning to so many birthday texts and emails. Not only do I appreciate my friends and family remembering my special day but thinking so far in advance to send me wishes on Thailand time. WOW!! I was speechless. Birthdays are just the best. They make you feel like the most loved human being. You hear from those you just talked to yesterday and those you haven't talked to since last year. Any excuse to celebrate is a good excuse and this is just one of them.
We started the day with breakfast at their Spice 'n Rice restaurant, which overlooks one of their two pools and the beach. Definitely felt like we were on the upper level of the Titanic. For being complimentary, the food options were endless. Western style and Eastern style. Any coffee you wanted. Eggs your way. Tons of different fruits, breads, meats, pastries, etc. Calories don't count on your birthday - bring it on!
Next up we went kayaking. So awesome being in the middle of the ocean with nothing else around you. The water was a mixture of different shades of blue (dark teal, crystal clear, baby blue - all depending on the sun), the mountains were a perfect combination of green and brown and the weather was ideal. Vinny did most of the rowing as I put my feet up and tried to enjoy this special treatment he was giving me since it is rare (wink, wink).
Then we took a much deserved break...
Followed by some uneventful yet fun snorkeling...
Then it was time to eat again. We went to the upper part of the resort for lunch at the Banyan Tree Poolside Cafe. This was located on a high hill, overlooking their second pool and the beach. Deliciously satisfying food and pretty amazing views. Let the good times continue rolling.
After stuffing our faces, we took another break...
And ended our trio of activities with paddle boarding. Unfortunately, I needed to keep my balance standing up so I couldn't take any photos. Sorry. It sure was fun though. The only other time we had both gone paddle boarding was on the Big Island of Hawaii. This was much easier though because there were far less waves. It definitely requires strength still but not as much commotion in between.
Just like yesterday, we had mango, pineapple, banana, mint, yogurt smoothies (try saying that three times over again) and then sat on the sand for a front row view of the sunset. While we were anxiously waiting to see if it would be as breathtaking as yesterdays, we became mesmerized by this little crab digging a deep hole for himself. He would gather the sand with his legs in a ball, walk really fast sideways and then quickly toss it far away. Then back again. Let this repeat for a good 30 minutes. We couldn't take our eyes off him. Very self sufficient. Very impressive.
Here we are, again, watching the sunset. In a matter of minutes, it went from orange sherbet to cotton candy pink (yes, I have a sweet tooth). Ugh, now I'm craving sugar.
We ended this happy, magical, fun in the sun, kind of day with dinner at Rak Talay again. Cheers to 32, I think I'm going to like you:)
Day 3 - April 23
Although my birthday is technically over here in Thailand, it's still happening back in the States. I'm telling you, this time difference thing is working my favor. Everyone deserves more than one day in my opinion. Thank you to those who made it so special. I love you, I love you, I love you. You contribute everyday, my birthday or not, to this massive, sometimes obnoxious, smile on my face and words will never express my appreciation for your role in making me one happy girl.
Unfortunately, after 14 nights, it's time to leave the island life for now. We had breakfast, packed up, relaxed and boarded the Pimalai Resort's boat back to the mainland of Krabi, where we will then catch a flight to Chiang Mai, located in the Northern part of Thailand.
Until then, stay classy my friends...