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Travel & Holiday

Private sanctuary in Thailand

Explore The Naka Island, a luxury private resort located on Naka Yai, an island located just a seven-minute speedboat ride from Phuket
The Straits Times - March 6, 2012
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Private sanctuary in Thailand -- PHOTO: THE NAKA ISLAND

Since British author Alex Garland wrote The Beach in 1996 about an unspoilt piece of paradise in Thailand, the country has not been spared the touts and crowds.

But do not write off Thailand yet.

Head to The Naka Island, a luxury private resort located on Naka Yai, an island located just a seven-minute speedboat ride from Phuket.

The resort, opened by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide's The Luxury Collection brand last November, takes up about half of the 2.56 sq km island, while the rest is occupied by a Thai fishing village and rubber plantations.

Guests of the 67-beachfront villa resort will get to enjoy a 1km stretch of private beach space overlooking the postcard-perfect scenery of the emerald green Phang Nga Bay and Phuket coastline in the distance.

Want more privacy? Each villa comes with a private plunge pool, among other luxe amenities.

Besides snorkelling to spot marine creatures such as parrot and clown fishes, take a two-hour kayaking expedition with Naka's general manager Erich Friedl around the island to see mangrove swamps, jungles and the distant limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay.

Guests can also ride a bicycle around the island to visit the local village, or learn Thai cooking from the resort's chefs. A two-hour class costs 2,000 baht (S$81.89), while a weekly 45-minute curry cooking class is free.

Tuck into local specialities such as citrusy Phuket lobster with coriander root cream and tom kamin pla (tumeric soap with snapper) at the resort's two restaurants and sip cocktails such as the vada gimlet, made of lemongrass and Thai chilli at the Z Bar while watching the sunset. Meals cost between 1,200 baht and 1,800 baht, while drinks are around 400 to 500 baht.

Enjoy customised spa treatments at the Spa Naka, one of the largest spas in the Phuket region with 12 treatment rooms, a Watsu hydrotherapy pool and an organic plant garden.

 

Getting there: Take a 15-minute car ride from Phuket airport to Ao Por Grand Marina, then transfer on a speedboat to reach Naka Island in seven minutes. The car transfer costs from 1,200 baht, while the speedboat transfer is included in the room package.

Packages: The Luxury Experience package, priced from 15,000 baht, includes accommodation in a tropical pool villa, daily breakfast for two, and resort credit of 2,500 baht a villa a night for use for meals and activities such as kayaking and spa usage. This offer ends on March 31. Visit www.luxurycollection.com/nakaisland for booking details.

CTC Travel also offers a Naka Island package, which includes return airfare on SilkAir, two-night accommodation in a pool villa, land and sea transfer and daily breakfast. It costs from $1,098 a person. Book by Sept 30. Call CTC Travel Private Collection on 6216-3488 or e-mail enquiry@ctc.com.sg

Best time to visit: December to March is slightly cooler than the rest of the year. If you do not mind a little rain, the island is quieter and the resort cheaper (up to 30 per cent off) during the low season of April to November. Naka, situated on the east coast of Phuket, also does not experience the rough waves of the west coast, hence it is safe to swim in its waters all year round.

 

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