Khao Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort is located some 10km further inland from a Krabi landmark, Tiger Cave Temple, and it is as close to a spiritual retreat as you will find in Krabi. Set in magnificent, awe-inspiring surroundings, the ecologically-designed resort offers perfect peace and quiet in well-designed, if slightly austere bungalows.
There are ten wooden huts in total – all simply, but tastefully furnished, with en-suite bathrooms (cold water only) and fairly hard beds. Each also has a large-ish, covered verandah to take advantage of those wonderful views. The family bungalows are designed with two separate bedrooms and one bathroom all under one roof – the roof tiles, by the way, are all recycled from old houses in the far south of Thailand. There are no in-room facilities such as TV, fridge or telephone: bungalows come with only a fan and mosquito net – both necessities as all rooms feature air vents open to the outside.
But if the accommodation is basic, there is one huge luxury at Khao Phanom Resort: space. The ten rooms enjoy a massive 20-acre landscaped park all to themselves, with a river, small waterfalls and a ‘swimming pool’ filled with mountain stream water. There is no sight or sound of urban life. Hungry? Pluck an orange or a papaya from one of the many fruit trees. If you’re after something more substantial, you can head down to the log cabin restaurant next to the lily pond filled with fish.
The restaurant is open all day, with a short break during the afternoon, and serves Thai and western food, as well as drinks: note that this will be your only source of sustenance, as there is nothing at all in the immediate vicinity.
If you’re looking for a place to connect with nature, this is it. The air is pure and clean, the views phenomenal and the place is alive with birds, butterflies and lizards. Close by to the resort is a series of caves to explore and you can also trek to the nearby National Park of Khao Phanom Bencha to see – if you’re lucky – hornbills and gibbons.
There is little else to do in the local area, which is fairly poor and rural, so bring plenty of books. The resort is run by a friendly group of foreigners and Thais, who are happy to help if you do want to go further afield (although it is not practical to use this resort as a base to visit the beaches and islands of Krabi). They are also on hand for a few cold beers in the evening, should the solitude get too much.
Last updated: July 9, 2014