Forget the hustle of Thailand’s more crowded hot spots… for a chilled-out Thai holiday, head for beach-blessed Phang Nga. Fresh from a stay at luxury hideaway Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa and the romance-revving Sarojin hotel, we give you the low-down on this spectacular Andaman Sea escape.
Veuve Clicquot with breakfast? Don’t mind if we do… At Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa, we soon discovered that indulgence is the order of the day. Sure, we felt a bit decadent brushing our teeth with imported bottles of Voss water, but the menu at Twin Waters restaurant, peppered with Italian truffles, French cheese and Japanese wagyu, had us checking our food-mile fanaticism at the door.
To balance all of that excess, we took Wanakarn’s mountain bikes out for a spin, pedalling through local villages and past dense, mysterious mangroves. We could’ve caught the shuttle bus to Phuket for a spot of shopping or bar-hopping, but found that the hotel’s rugged isolation was its greatest asset. Instead of tackling the crowds, we tripped between the resort’s pair of beaches – one a calm riverside cove, the other a deserted ocean stretch – and fell into a gentle rhythm of massages in the Sukko spa, followed by pomelo caipiroskas at the pool bar.
Wanakarn may be all about luxe living, but the Sarojin really ramps up the romance, making it a hit with honeymooners and other love-locked couples. The seaside location, stylish suites with alfresco stone bath tubs or plunge pools, dreamy private dining options and a sunset cocktail cruise had us swooning on a recent visit.
Another highlight was spending time with the Sarojin’s full-time ‘imagineer’ (best job title ever, right?), whose sole purpose is to conjure up unique itineraries for the hotel’s guests – elephant treks, scuba trips and market tours were just the tip of the iceberg.
Beyond these boutique abodes, there’s a host of outdoorsy activities in Phang Nga, a 40-minute drive from Phuket Airport. Hike through Ao Phang Nga or Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park, take a diving day-trip to the Similan Islands, 60 kilometres west, or play James Bond on Koh Phing Kan, a limestone karst immortalised in The Man with the Golden Gun.
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