Surfing waves in the Andaman Sea, bamboo rafting down a river in the middle of the jungle, heading to the skate park, or even a spot of rock climbing. Welcome to Khao Lak, and Phang Nga Bay Thailand, where all of this, and more, is waiting for you.
An hour and a half away from Phuket International Airport, in a beautiful secluded paradise, is Avani+ Khao Lak. Situated on an exquisite stretch of white beach, looking out onto the furious Andaman Sea - a beautiful juxtaposition. With five restaurants, a skate park, two climbing walls, two pools, an all-purpose gym, and more available excursions than you could ever imagine, I would challenge you to be bored!
Our Avani+ adventure began with a warm welcome and an introduction to our Deluxe Pool Suite. With three large flatscreen HD TVs, two huge bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and our very own private pool. The feeling of waking up in a king bed, walking out the sliding door onto the deck, the raw Thai heat, and quickly quenching it by indulging in your pool is an experience I will never forget.
After getting acquainted with our new abode, we went for welcome cocktails with the manager at the beach house. I should first let you know that I am an absolute sucker for mango. They’re tropical and delicious and transport me back to wild and wonderful places. Thailand is now one of them, especially for the Thai mangos, some of the best I’ve ever had. Anyway, back to the cocktails, I had a mango daiquiri and a mango Bellini. Even writing this now I am reminiscing about how fabulous those drinks were, and what a place to have them, sitting under the palm trees, looking out onto the beach. They brought the food out just as we thought it couldn’t get any better. We started with the bruschetta, a delicious and cooling choice for the weather. I was recommended the steak, which was perfectly cooked, tender and succulent and came with this excellent garlic and herb butter garnish. We also had the Penne Di Manzo, which was equally divine. That was all devoured, and we strolled back to our suite for the night, feeling very content.
After the best sleep of my life, it was time for breakfast. The Elements Buffet was our chosen destination this morning. A staggering diversity of breakfasts was ready and waiting. The chef was also kind enough to bring us some mango on request!
The second we put our cutlery down we were whisked away on our first excursion: bamboo rafting down the picturesque Lam Ru Yai River, the winds through the middle of the jungle. It was the most tranquil place, moseying down the river in the sunshine, surrounded by the lush greenery. We even saw a little turtle dive from a log to splash down right next to us! After a while we stopped in a clearing, our own little jungle oasis, for a refreshing dip in the cool water; then drifted back to the start. Overall, a truly magical experience.
We enjoyed the rest of our day exploring the resort. We spent a lot of time at Avani Fit, which is their extensive gym facilities, including an indoor bouldering wall, and a Muay Thai boxing ring. Next to this is Avani Kids, boasting a skatepark, a climbing wall, and two floors of games and activities that I was very jealous of! I did have a quick go on a skateboard, which was heaps of fun, and I somewhat held my own on the ramps, trying my best to tap into old skills.
Our next destination was the main adult pool. A lovely spot under the palm fronds, relaxing in the tile framed bliss, with any drink at your fingertips delivered by the charming pool bar staff. Definitely one of our favourite places during our stay.
The beach was equally pleasant, with white sands stretching for miles. Plus the beautiful Thai sunset dancing on the waves was an extraordinary sight, another memory that I will cherish.
After the sky went back to its usual colours, we returned to the Elements, this time for the international buffet dinner. Again we were blown away by the extensive multitude of different dishes, and flavours of every kind, from traditional Thai noodles and rice to stews, curries, and pasta salads, including chicken nuggets with chips if that’s more your style! My dish of choice was the pork stew which was absolutely divine, melting in the mouth and making me dash back up for more.
Our next outing, one I was particularly excited about, was a trip to Memories Beach for a surf lesson with Better Surf Thailand. Their professional, lovely instructors took us through everything step by step, my minor surfing experience not mattering in the slightest. Soon enough we were out on the waves, conquering the Andaman Sea. What a magnificent place to learn to surf. The beach is stunning and the weather was baking. Huge waves rolled in from far away becoming more gentle as they approached the beach, making it apt for beginners and advanced surfers alike. After the lesson, we had some free time, just us and the waves, where we attempted to surf along without the help of our instructor. It was then we realised how amazing they were! We managed to catch at least a couple of good waves, and went back to the beach, eyes watering from the sea salt, and mouths hurting from smiling.
Upon our return, we finally tried out the poolside brasserie, which we’d been eyeing up since we arrived. Their purpose-built pizza oven had us enchanted, and the wood-fired pizza it served us was equally outstanding.
Avani+ is a pristine, tucked-away Thailand gem, and there is no better place to experience it than Avani+Khao Lak, proudly combining remarkable service, luxury dining and an exhaustive range of activities into a truly spectacular, fun-filled paradise that is the amazing getaway for all.