The Sarojin is in one of those unique places in Thailand, Khao Lak, where you feel inspired and enamoured by the charm and friendliness of the locals. Khao Lak was devastated in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and while there is still evidence in the form of memorials and a boat wreck or two, it’s clear that life has gone on in these parts, and tourists are welcomed with open arms.
A short Bangkok Airways flight from Bangkok and we found ourselves at Phuket Airport where a driver from our resort – The Sarojin (sarojin.com) – was waiting to take us to Khao Lak, a town on the coastline about an hour and a half north. When we arrived it was literally like being at Disneyland, the friendliest place on earth – the staff were so charming and accommodating. We were even welcomed at our room by a beautiful display of flowers on our bed spelling out ‘Happy honeymoon’. As for the rooms, they were the size of a small home and the bathroom was stunning – a free-standing egg bath on pebbles and a showerhead to one side that drained onto the pebbles. We were also spoilt by an outdoor tub on our large private balcony.
During our visit, we were taken on a full-day tour of the area. It began with a drive to visit local temples and a rubber tree farm. Next we boarded pleat boats for a ride through the mangroves, followed by a delicious Sarojin lunch on the riverbank. After our meal we were driven to memorials of the 2004 tsunami, which were incredibly moving, and, finally, we went on an adventurous elephant ride through the jungle – such an amazing day we’ll never forget! (You can read more about these activities below.)
Back at the resort, we couldn’t get enough of the food – with two restaurants and talented chefs that are more than happy to recommend dishes from their extensive menu, we ate ourselves into a state of bliss.
Speaking of bliss, that is how I describe my spa experience. As I meandered down the boardwalk to the Pathways Spa, I knew I was in for something memorable. A foot bath and herbal tea were a relaxing start, before I was led to one of the four open-air spa pavilions for my massage. I was soon lulled into a state of serenity, as my masseuse worked wonders and the waves of the nearby Andaman Sea crashed methodically onto the shore.
All too soon it was time to depart. But we did manage to fit in an early morning dip at the stunning main pool. One side is dotted with grand pavilions containing day beds for hours of luxe poolside residence. We didn’t get to spend time at the pristine beach that borders one side of the resort, but that is a must-do on the list for next time.
As we were stepping into the car that was to take us to the airport we were spoilt with a parting befitting the friendliest place on earth; about 15 staff all lined up and continuously waved goodbye until our car rolled out of the gates…
Things to do in Khao Lak
The Sarojin likes to support the local Khao Lak community. Here are just a few of the activities on offer via the resort (there may be an extra charge for them).
Take a pleat boat ride: The Sarojin provides private excursions by ‘pleat’ boats along the Takuapa River, through jungle known as the Little Amazon. It was raining the day we went, so we wore the large raincoats provided, but that only added to the mystery of the mesmerising place.
See the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Center: To visit this memorial is incredibly moving – it’s constructed in the form of a giant wave, and opposite the ‘wave’ is a tiled wall, where you can read people’s names and see some photos of those who died as a result of the devastating 2004 natural disaster. The memorial is surrounded by beautiful parklands and also the odd boat wreck that resulted from the tsunami. Bang Muang, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga.
Visit a temple: There are a few temples the public can visit around Khao Lak. We went to a fairly small (but ornate) one, where our guide explained the purposes of shrine, and we practised a little meditation.
Visit a rubber tree farm: The area of Khao Lak is dedicated to rubber trees, and you can see first-hand how the sticky latex is harvested from the trees and refined to make rubber. Fascinating and educational.
Go on a half-day elephant trek: Up to two people can ride the back of a majestic elephant up to a spectacular waterfall where you can take a dip, if you like. Take some loose change, as there is a small stall selling trinkets near the waterfall.
Where to find The Sarojin: 60, Moo 2, Kukkak, Takuapa, Phang Nga 82190, Thailand.
More of our happy snaps…