ANS: Transportation to Pimalai is very easy and convenient. For more information, please click here.
2) Do I need to dress up when staying at Pimalai?
ANS: Guests are encouraged to enjoy wearing comfortable informal clothing. We do not have in place a strict dress code, but as a matter of courtesy, we wish to recommend that smart casual attire be worn at breakfast and dinner. Beachwear is acceptable at the beach restaurant and dining facilities adjacent to the pools. At the “Seven Seas”, our signature restaurant, we are a little bit more formal and we kindly ask - for the convenience of all - that guests come appropriately clothed, and refrain wearing "swimsuits", “sport shorts”, & "beach flip-flops"
3) What's the weather like at Pimalai?
ANS: Pimalai is only a few degrees north of the equator and therefore experiences a typical tropical climate with 2 main seasons: hot and dry from November to April and not quite so hot and not so dry throughout the rest of the year....the green season. Typically, average maximum temperatures range from about 28 C/ 82 F to 35 C/ 95 F in the hot season and goes down to about a pleasant 25 C/77 F to 27 C/ 80 F in the cooler season. The mercury drops by about 5-10 C/ 8-16 F during the night. January and February are the driest months with rain appearing on maybe 3 or 4 days per month. March and April are the hottest.
The some rainfall occurs in May to July but some tourists prefer to visit at this time because the temperatures are lower and the island and resorts are less busy. It should be noted that just like the rest of the world Koh Lanta is experiencing more variable weather conditions than in the past, this being attributed to global warming. So, sometimes there are clouds and rain in the dry season and conversely there can be bright sunny days in the green season. It should be noted even though the temperature may slightly drop during a tropical downpour, often these events consist of spectacular bursts of thunder and lightning that may last for only 1 or 2 hours then the skies brighten.
The weather is out of our control but what we can influence is the enjoyment of our guests should there be an extended period of wet weather. There is usually ample time to wander on the beach, read the newspaper, swim in the pools (temperature 28-30 C all year round), loiter over meals, watch a video, have a long massage, etc. It should be noted that on overcast days it is still possible to receive a suntan or even a sunburn as the sun’s U.V. radiation can penetrate through the clouds; sun block use is still and always advisable!
4) What is the swimming like?
ANS: During the high season the seas are calm and guests have the option of swimming in either of the resort’s 2 infinity pools or in the warm blue waters of the Andaman Sea. During the green season (May to October), we may have the red flag raised about 20 times during that period. In general and because of the bay being sheltered, swimming in the sea is almost all year round.
5) Is there malaria on Koh Lanta Island?
ANS: To our knowledge there have not been cases of malaria recorded on Koh Lanta. The resort has a pest control program in operation and for that reason the population of mosquitoes is rather low on our property. If you are concerned then you may wish to apply an insect repellent.
If you intend to spend a lot of time in the northern regions of Thailand where malaria is more common you should consult your doctor or local health authority for advice re anti-malarial medications.
6) The cost of meals, beverages seems to be a bit higher at Pimalai than in other resort areas in Thailand?
ANS: Yes, there is a cost associated with being in a location that is more remote and consequently more peaceful than the crowded beaches of Phuket, Pattaya, Samui etc. To provide our guests with the highest quality of fresh seafood, fruit, vegetables and other consumables requires us to make frequent trips to mainland Thailand. We get supplies from Phuket, Bangkok and even as far as Chiangmai, where many varieties of vegetables such as endives are grown. There is nothing available locally and certainly not when catering for an average of 250 guests, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although we can absorb some of these transportation costs we also must pass some on to our guests.
You might also be surprised to know that, there are times during the year – especially from November to April – that seafood is scarce on the island, prices go up because of a higher demand, and that local fishermen do even take their catch to Phuket were the demand is even higher and therefore the money made of the sale of their catch becomes even greater!
One particular product that may appear to be excessively expensive throughout Thailand is wine. This is not due to gouging by the restaurants, hotels and resorts but is a reflection of a huge import tax levied on this beverage, in the region of 300%. To this one must add brokerage fees for the wine merchant coupled with transportation costs from the country of origin to Bangkok and Bangkok to Koh Lanta. Nevertheless, we do stock a wide variety of wines catering to our guests’ demands. And you may want to know that we still manage to sell some of our wines at a cheaper price than many other tourist destinations in Thailand, including Bangkok!
7) Are there any cultural taboos that visitors to Thailand should be aware of?
ANS: Generally Thais are quite open to western ideas and behaviour but within certain limits. One should realise the King of Thailand is absolutely respected by Thai people and the monarchy should in no way be questioned or criticised. The majority of Thais (96%) are Buddhist and there are thousands of wats (temples) throughout the country including two small wats on the east coast and on the north end of Koh Lanta. When visiting a wat, wear appropriate clothing...beach shorts and tank tops are not appropriate. Monks should not be touched by women. The 2-handed “wai” greeting is common in Thailand. You may return the greeting with a smile, eyes cast downward and a slight bow or you should simply smile and say thank you. It is best that you do not initiate a “wai” as there is a protocol as to who should “wai” first. Thais are not used to skimpy clothing and topless or nude sunbathing is frowned upon.
8) Does the resort cater to children?
ANS: Although we do not promote ourselves as a family oriented resort we do regularly welcome families, mainly during the green season, and from all around the world. Most of these families have selected us so as to enjoy the tranquility of our surroundings, the good clean air found amongst the tropical vegetation and the fact that we are right on a beach where children enjoy collecting shells, chasing crabs, kicking a ball or building a sand castle! Kids will also find, with a free of charge use, non- motorized water sport equipment such as body boards and small sailing boats, and this under the supervision of our beach attendants. Achildren’s menu is available at our restaurants. A baby-sitting service is also available with a one-day advance notice to be given and subject to the babysitters’ availability.
9) Where is The Pimalai Resort & Spa?
ANS: The Pimalai Resort & Spa is on Lanta Island in Krabi. We are an elegant boutique resort in the Andaman Sea, Southern Thailand.
10) What languages does your staff speak?
ANS: The majority of staff are Thai and speak Thai plus local dialects. Those staff who are in frequent contact with guests have some proficiency in English and we run frequent training sessions to help their communication skills. We also have senior staff who can communicate in French, German, and Flemish.
11) Can I take my kids on vacation at PIMALAI, and what restrictions are there?
ANS: We wish to advise you:
a) Swimming-pools; at Pimalai we welcome a wide range of guests be they honeymooners, families, retired seniors, etc. In general we do not have too much kids at the resort – apart specific times such as Christmas or Easter holidays and during the green season (may to October). At times there may be perceived conflicts between those who come here for peace and relaxation and those who are interested in more boisterous pursuits. This is especially noticeable when younger children play near water when their vocal volumes tend to increase. In both public pools and for the convenience of all guests, screaming & shouting should be avoided. Finally, we would also like to remind that parental supervision of children in any of the pools is essential at all times.
b) Children in dining areas; Parents, we ask you for your co-operation in safeguarding your children when in the restaurants. At times our waiters and waitresses are carrying trays laden with hot foodstuffs and beverages and may not see a toddler that is running around...accidents can be prevented. During breakfast buffets the restaurants are quite busy as the guests move to and from their tables to the serving displays so, again, we would appreciate that the children remain seated at the tables at this time. We try to keep our signature restaurant "The Seven Seas” on the hillside as a tranquil dining setting and wish to advise that, in order to preserve its peaceful atmosphere, parents who wish to use the facilities at diner time with their kids may do so; we would ask though that – for the convenience of all guests – kids remain seated and kept quiet at all times.
12) What this all about The "Green/ Summer/ Low/ Off" Season???
ANS: Increasingly, the tourist season now lasts for all 12 months of the year. For guests living in cold northern climes, the most popular time of the year to visit Thailand has traditionally been from about mid-November to April. Transportation and accommodation rates reflect the high demands during this period. However, there are certain advantages for holidaying here in the “off/ summer” season and nowadays more people are selecting to visit us at that time. This is particularly true for those who wish to avoid the intense heat and burning sun and those who like a more peaceful and leisurely holiday without having to battle crowds of fellow tourists. Yes, there is a greater chance of having rainy days in the so-called “green” season but, on average, at the Pimalai location, these only account for about 6/7 days per month. The resort is in the lee of both mainland Thailand and Lanta’s spinal mountain range and is thus protected from much of the stormy weather that is experienced in central and northern regions. When it does rain it generally arrives in the form of short intense showers and an hour or two later the sky is clear again. Yes, we do get occasional storms, not unlike those that may occur during a European summer! It is recognized that global climates are changing and wide variations from the normal conditions do at times occur. As a result of changing global weather patterns, the green summer season now means fewer rains and longer periods of delightful sunny weather. But prediction of weather patterns is not an exact science so we cannot guarantee that this year will be the same as last year. But Kantiang Bay, where Pimalai Resort is located, is sufficiently sheltered to allow swimming in the ocean almost all year around; in fact we only raise the red warning flag about 20 times throughout the green season. If you do elect to visit us during the “green” season, and we encourage you to do so, we have enough activities to keep you occupied indoors if it is raining and outdoors when conditions allow. Indoor activities include taking our ever popular Thai cooking lessons, experiencing the ultimate in rejuvenation at our spa, doing yoga, working-out in our gym and sports complex, borrowing reading materials, DVDs or games from the library, sending e-mails and other internet activities on our free internet service. etc.…and nobody will object to you having a peaceful nap with the soothing sound of rain dancing on the roof. Outdoor activities include, playing tennis, body-surfing in the sea, swimming in the warm waters of our pools, visiting a nearby national marine park, elephant trekking, mangrove discovery tour, cycling, touring the island and visiting the Old Town. The beach is always popular with joggers, strollers and beachcombers. For photographers this is also a good time to take photographs of seascapes, brilliant sunsets, wonderful cloud effects, lush green flora, tropical birds, monkeys, etc and, by the way, the daytime temperature rarely dips below 30 degrees Celsius! We encourage you to come to visit us during the green season and we will do our best to keep you occupied regardless of the weather.
13) Can I rent a motorcycle at the resort?
ANS: No, you cannot rent a motorcycle at the resort. There are some rental shops on the island but we STRONGLY recommend that you avoid this form of transport. The style and quality of driving skills as exhibited by the local population coupled with the state of some of the roads is the cause of many accidents. In the past we have had guests whose vacations have been ruined due to even minor motorcycle accidents. We are pleased to offer you cars to rent complete with a competent Thai driver.
14) What medical facilities are available?
ANS: The resort has a qualified nurse on duty for 24 hours a day. More serious ailments may be treated at the Koh Lanta Hospital which has English speaking medical staff, a pharmacy and dental clinic. We will always be able to help with language via one of our Guest Services Officers.
15) Are there souvenir or craft shops on Koh Lanta?
ANS: There is a small but active market in the village of Baan Saladan at the northern tip of Koh Lanta. You can arrange for resort transportation to take you there. There are limited shopping available from May to October.
16) Is there a golf course nearby?
ANS: There is no golf course in the vicinity of the resort. We may be able to assist you in finding a suitable course on mainland Thailand before or after you visit Pimalai.
17) Can the restaurants cater to people with special dietary requirements?
ANS: Our menus have been expanded to cater to the dietary requirements of vegetarians and vegans. Also, on occasion, we have managed to provide gluten-free bread and halal foods if so requested. The more lead time that you give to our kitchen staff the more readily we can cater to such requests. If you have special needs regarding food please inform our staff when you reserve your accommodation.
18) Is there anything that I should know about Scuba Diving operation at Pimalai?
ANS: Things I should know about diving with ScubaFish @ Pimalai
1) Medical certificates and Diving
We recommend all customers to have a medical check before diving, and can email a diving medical form to you for your Doctor to sign before traveling. In some cases a diving medical certificate is mandatory, after an operation, or heart or lung problems, or previous serious injury or certain allergies etc. Please note this must be a medical certificate specifically allowing you to take part in recreational scuba diving without restrictions and dated within the last 30 days.
2) The changing seasons and Diving
At some time towards the end of April our season will normally change, with the wind direction moving from the South East to North West. This causes the sea conditions and wave movement to alter in the Andaman Sea, combined with higher and lower tides on the beaches of Koh Lanta. At some time during this period we will need to remove our eco friendly floating jetty in front of the resort, and make other arrangements for diving excursions, as it will not be possible to depart direct from the Pimalai floating jetty.............. All customers should be aware that it is not always possible to go diving during this period, or may involve car transfers and other delays due to logistical problems. The removal of the floating may happened end of April or early May but it is always difficult to predict. ScubaFish@Pimalai Dive Center is open all year. From May to October there are still plenty possibilities to scuba dive around Koh Lanta. The Scubafish @ Pimalai dive center offers very good trips, essentially to Koh Haa, Ko Rok, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang and also to the southern islands such as Koh Kradan, Koh Mook or Koh Ngai; the boats depart from the Old Town pier on the Lanta east coast where the boats are moored. Scuba diving is of course subject to sea/ weather conditions and this all year around; from May to October, please note that a minimum number of divers is usually required to operate the boat trip – eg; minimum 4 divers for a trip to Koh Haa, minimum 6 for a trip to Hin Daeng.
19) Helicopter transfer
ANS: Not available.
20) Is English the language of communication at Pimalai & Thailand in general?
ANS: Yes, English is the common language of communication in Thailand’s tourist resorts. We require and try to employ staffs who have different levels of English proficiency depending on their positions. For example our Guest Service Officers and senior staff have usually graduated from university with a strong English component in their degree. The waiters and waitresses normally have had post-secondary training at a technical institute or vocational training school. Our policy is to hire local people as much as possible but unfortunately the educational opportunities are minimal on Koh Lanta so their English may be somewhat limited. They fill the positions as housekeepers, boat crews, laundry maids, etc. However, we do have regular professional English language instruction for all staff that interface with the guests.
This year, during the green season we have scheduled 4 months of intensive English instruction using a recently developed SHELL (Specific Hotel English Language Learning) program created by an Englishman who has had many years of teaching experience in Thai hotels. Pimalai’s guests come from many different countries and speak English with a variety of accents which may impede the understanding of questions the guests may ask. If this occurs we ask that the guest to please be patient, repeat the question and talk slowly. If a satisfactory answer is still not forthcoming then a supervisor should be called. Most of our guests understand how difficult it is for Thais to learn English, a language that is completely different in pronunciation, tone, structure and script from the Thai language.
21) Are facilities at the resort accessible by wheelchair?
ANS: Not all of the accommodation units are readily accessible by wheel chair but most of the restaurants, libraries and other facilities may be reached by wheelchair. The paths within the resort, though steep in places, are also navigable. For more information contact our reservations department and indicate that you would like an accommodation unit that is easily accessed by wheelchair.
22) Can I smoke a cigarette/ cigar/ pipe in any of the resort’s restaurants??
ANS: The past 8 years the Thai government’s on-going reinforcement of smoke-free zones in public areas has required us to further restrict smoking in all our restaurants. The law says that Patrons are NOT allowed to smoke where food is served. Therefore, please note that smoking is not permitted in the Spice’ N Rice Thai restaurant and in our signature restaurant the Seven Seas restaurant; both restaurants have an outdoor terrace; for the smokers only a small section in each of these 2 restaurants has been allocated for those who wants to light up a cigarette.
Another outlet the Banyan Tree Poolside Café, adjacent to the large pool at the villa estate, also has an area allocated for smokers.
Rak Talay, by the beach, an all fresco restaurant, remains to this day – and this could change at any time - the only non-restricted area for smokers; though, one, as a matter of courtesy, should always ask guests at nearby tables if it is suitable for you to light up a cigarette. Thank you for your understanding.