Devraj Sanyal, 32, chief operating officer of Percept D’Mark, is heading back to Thailand next month. Not for the shops, not for the sights, not even for the seafood salads. But because, a year ago, he lost his heart to an island called Krabi.
Let’s get this right: You’re going back to Thailand for the third time in four years in July. What is it about the country?
The first time I visited Thailand, it was only Bangkok for business. The next time I went back, it was on a beach trail with my wife Nikita and our friends Amish and Tina. We started in Bangkok, then did Phuket and Phi Phi before finally hitting Krabi. It’s now my favourite place of all time.
Krabi is an island off the tip of Thailand, one of many; eight of them are accessible to tourists. Each of these islands is a different experience in terms of natural beauty, and gives off completely different vibes. Chicken Island, for instance, is so named because the rock formation actually resembles a fowl. On another island, there is a bar built right into the mountain, similar to a grotto. It’s unreal.
But Krabi was spectacular in its own right—white sandy beaches, coral reefs, limestone cliffs, caves, waterfalls. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, and I’ve travelled quite a bit. That’s why I’m going back to Krabi with a gang of 15 friends. We also plan to visit Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. I’m already excited.
Where did you stay in Krabi?
At an amazing hotel called the Aonang Villa Resort. It’s on the main beach, very close to the sea, a four-star property with a seven-star feel. It has got its own private beach and unbelievable rooms and service. But the best part is the infinity pool—it’s right on the edge of a mountain and makes you feel as if you’re in the sea, with the horizon extending forever… phenomenal.
The Villa Spa was also a huge hit. Little Thai women, half your size and probably with twice your strength, give you the most awesome massages ever.
Just as awesome was the food. Both my wife and I love Thai food, so we eat a lot of it. But some of the dishes there, especially the stir-fried chive flowers with shrimp, were the best I’ve ever tasted.
So, the holiday was just about R&R?
Actually, we were into N&N—nothing and nothing. We like to do nothing on our holidays except eat, drink and sleep. And yes, party hard at night if we happen to be in a place such as Thailand. With my kind of job, I end up working 24x7, with virtually no breaks. The stress level could kill if one is not careful. A holiday is when I actually take out the SIM card from my phone, switch off my BlackBerry and say goodbye to the world. An ideal holiday, for me, is about lying on a hammock with a book in one hand and a cocktail in the other.
But yes, we do swim and snorkel a lot. So, a major part of the holiday was spent in the water. But water sports and adventure sports, where one has to use one’s grey cells, are a complete no-no. Nothing hectic—that’s the major unwritten law of our holidays.
Was the nightlife exciting in Krabi?
Krabi is a sleepy town, everything shuts at midnight. So, essentially, evenings are casual and chilled. One goes to a bar, drinks and plays Jenga—and there are so many bars.
From all you say, it seems to have been a nice holiday, but not exceptional.
Not true, because apart from the natural beauty and the super hotel, there was at least one experience none of us will ever forget. As I said, there are several islands around Krabi. Two of them, Koh Tap and Koh Mor, are connected by a sandbank a couple of feet below sea level. At high tide, one can actually walk through the middle of the ocean from one island to the other, a kilometre apart. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling as one stands between the two islands in the middle of the sea, but I think it’s as close to God as one could ever get.
Unfortunately, the water is about chest-deep, so photographs were impossible. But the ocean-floor walk would pretty much make for the most insane holiday snaps ever.
As told to Sumana Mukherjee. Share your last holiday with us at firstname.lastname@example.org