The lure of forested islands in Thailand on the Andaman coast side with fine beaches, fresh seafood, and easy vibes is enticing. At the same time, the Andaman coast in Thailand doesn’t really bring up images of a plush uncrowded experience.
Thailand, with easy accessibility from India, is a mixed bag when it comes to family or luxury travel. So the tropical luxurious feel at the Naka Island Resort near Phuket was a welcome surprise for me.
Imagine a vast landscape in which lush islands and verdant green limestone karsts lay interspersed with greenish-blue water. That’s what the Andaman coastline of Thailand promises and delivers. It is for everyone – there are smaller islands more suited for an authentic experience, loved by adventure enthusiasts and beach bums alike. The larger islands and beach towns have been taken over by budget travelers and backpackers. Yet, there are island and town properties for the luxury traveler.
For a long weekend getaway, our destination was The Naka Island. This is the only resort located on Naka Yai island just off the Phuket coast. We landed at the Phuket airport on a connecting flight via Bangkok and then took a 30-minute taxi ride to Ao Por Grand Marina.
Stay at The Naka Island
This boutique property is located on one side of Naka Yai island, parts of it overlooking the Phang Nga Bay. Spread over a large area of about 200 acres, the Naka resort does manage to give the feel of an unhurried tropical lifestyle.
There are about 13 deluxe rooms and suites. But most of the property is landscaped around 67 villas. You have the option of villa properties with and without a private pool. Most of the sea-view villas face the vast expanse of Phang Nga Bay. If unending horizon views with forested limestone cliffs jutting from the ocean appeal to you, do ask for these villas. There are a few sea-facing villas that face the island of Phuket.
We had booked the Garden Pool villas, which were much closer to the main area of the resort and its facilities – restaurants, main pool, spa. There are 7 Garden Pool villas, these don’t have ocean views, instead, they have a large garden in front of the private pool.
Left to myself, I would take the sea-facing villa any day. However, the Garden villas suit families with young kids better. Besides the easy walk to the resort main area, not having to wait for a buggy, there is another advantage to the Garden villas. There is a nice landscaped area with a dining area and a pool smaller than the main pool, perfect for young kids to splash about. We were a group of 2 families and used this pool area at lunch while the kids were having fun in and around the pool.
Food at The Naka Island
Over the course of our long weekend stay, we tried all the food options – the 2 restaurants, bar and the in-villa dining option of the resort. The 2 restaurants of the property have pleasing views of the beach and the main pool area.
Tonsai offers Thai and international cuisine. But beware, when the menu states spicy, they really mean it! My palette used to Indian spiciness couldn’t take the fiery red chili in some Thai dishes. Tonsai is also where breakfast is served. I spent a couple of leisurely mornings with a book and enjoyed the breakfast spread.
The second restaurant, My Grill offers a decent grilled selection of meats and seafood. You can pair it with wine. For a romantic evening for couples, they have a sunken open-air beachside area.
We enjoyed cocktails and tapas at Z Bar. The best time to visit the bar is at sunset time. Depending on the season, the sky could be fiery shades of orange or pastel blues and pink clouds. But it makes for a nice sundowner spot.
Activities in and around the Naka Island Resort
For the active and adventurous, the resort has its own kayaks. The kayaks and paddleboards can be used without any extra charge, but do remember to check the low tide time beforehand. One part of the sandy beach disappears at low tide and it is not possible to do kayaking then. We saw a couple of guests try their hand at paddleboarding which looked fun.
The resort has tied up with a local tour operator and you can book a long tail boat or speedboat to take you on an island-hopping experience. Another super fun experience is jet ski. Pro tip: This tour operator only accepts payment in baht currency in cash, so make sure you are stocked up.
My friend tried the mixology class at Z bar, a fun way of spending an hour, especially since you get to drink the cocktail you made! There is also a Thai cooking class available that looked interesting.
If an easy lazy day spent by poolside reading a book is what you are looking for, the Naka Island resort certainly delivers. The spa has several therapeutic and beauty services on offer. I was happy with my massage and facial treatment.
We spent an evening taking the cycles available at the resort and biking to the other end of the island. There is a public beach and has some other activities including para-sailing if that interests you.
What puts a smile 🙂
The main pool area and the surroundings have been done up fabulously. It makes for a lovely day just relaxing.
There were pleasing touches at many points, the champagne bottle in the villa that welcomed us was a case in point. My daughter looked forward to gelato each afternoon – they have a couple of fresh flavors each day.
We missed the scheduled speedboat transfer by a few minutes, what with our flight delay but a quick call to the hotel ensured a speedboat came by to get us to the resort in under 10 minutes. Do make sure you clarify to the concierge your departure time, whether you are taking an international/domestic flight ahead to avoid any glitches.
Recommended for families?
The resort and its amenities are certainly geared up for families. My daughter loved all the water sports – kayaking, jet ski, going to another island on a long tail boat. And which kid wouldn’t enjoy splashing in the pool and making sandcastles on the beach.
The kiddie center, however, held no interest for my 7-year old. The area is quite small and the toys available there would be fun for toddlers.
Website: The Naka Island
Phone: +66 76 371 400
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Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. We paid for our stay at The Naka Island Resort. As always, all opinions are my own.
Which beach resort in South-east Asia is your favorite? Share in the comments below.
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