Although most people think a trip to Thailand sounds blasé, I must say it’s the perfect place for a quick weekend getaway or a family holiday. One such holiday took us to Krabi and its perfectly pristine, Centara Grand Beach Resort right on the private Pai Plong Bay. Tired to the bones as we were with the long flight from Kolkata to Bangkok, standing in the serpentine queue for the visa-on-arrival, having a quick bite and then catching the flight to Krabi, we perked up as soon as we got down from the taxi. The hotel boat ferried us to our secluded and exclusive destination. The sea with its fascinating hues and the brightness emanating from the azure sky was at its spectacular best. With the sun on our faces, and the froth showering us gently with a cool jet the boat cut across the water giving us a wonderful ride. As we left the town behind, we could see the famous cliffs of Ao Nang which forms the backdrop of this fascinating place. The perfect blending of sea and sky visible in the splendid burst of color made us euphoric.

We took off our life-jackets as soon as we spotted the jetty bobbing merrily on the waves and the welcome team of the hotel awaiting us. In a minute the boat was tethered to the jetty and the hotel staff gave us a helping hand. The entrance had a row of enchanting stone figurines with hands joined in traditional salute. We were ushered us into the snug settees arranged in the corners and were served refreshing drinks to relieve our parched throats. Eventually, we were taken to our ocean facing villa that had all amenities like TV, free Wi-Fi, 24-hour reception desk and excellent room service. With the serene ambience of the room, its sparkling white linen and 5-star comforts, our holiday mood was set. After freshening up and eating a sumptuous meal, we headed to the beach. There were lots of activities for tourists, like snorkeling, watersports, rafting, and tours of the various islands nearby and so on. There was also the added advantage of two swimming pools inside the complex for those who did not want to be in the sea. An excellent spa made our stay extremely satisfying.

The private beach of Centara Grand made a huge difference since there was no unnecessary crowd thronging it. Letting our hair down and enjoying all the sights and sounds of these natural surroundings with all modern amenities, we headed to the café to enjoy the exotic drinks and snacks laid out for us. We eagerly consumed large quantities of young coconut juice.

A voracious lover of Thai cuisine, I could not have enough of the amazing dishes. Centara Grand provides a sumptuous spread in its Saturday night buffet combined with a fine performance of Thai dancers in traditional attire, a perfect synchrony of grace and beauty. There was also a fire eater whose performance fascinated my children. We did not miss a jaunt in the beach at night with crabs playing hide and seek in the sand and the waves trying their best to knock us over with their ferocity. The sound of the surf lulled us to sleep immediately that night.

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear. Out in the balcony, we inhaled the fresh sea air. With high spirits and buoyancy in our steps, we ventured out onto the meandering path towards the dining area where an elaborate spread awaited us. I would like to share a funny incident which involved a trio of cheeky monkeys. As we filled our plates and went to the sit-out, there was a commotion. We suddenly saw overturned plates and glasses. One monkey was drinking juice out of a glass, another merrily knocked off a guest’s colorful hat and put it on its own head and yet another munched away to glory with its mouth, full of food. Though pandemonium broke out, we thoroughly enjoyed the sight. The trio was marched out firmly by the staff gloomily eying the tables.

We also enjoyed the indoor entertainment playing table tennis and video games. The hotel store had a variety of souvenirs on display. Last, but not the least, I must mention the Japanese restaurant with its excellent dishes and the chef dexterously throwing pieces of food into the air and catching them with his pan. There was fire on the range and in front of our eyes, exotic dishes materialized.

Our holiday left us fresh and happy and we boarded the boat back to Bangkok after three days with enthusiasm. The picture of the jetty and the resort nodding goodbye remained with us for a long moment.