Tourism and commercialism arrived in Phuket around 30 years ago, and while it's still a great place to visit, if you fancy somewhere that is the way things were before, head for Nai Yang Beach.
Dermott Brereton discovered the little gem and loved it. Just 20 minutes from Phuket's airport, Nai Yang Beach is a quiet and undeveloped spot in Sirinat National Park. The casuarina-fringed beach has a few shops, bars, restaurants and a couple of resorts. The tourist parts of the beach are very clean, but outside the area it's not so well looked after.
Divers enjoy the reef a kilometre off Nai Yang. Its depth reaches 20m.
Indigo Pearl is a totally chic resort winning acclaim for its design. It was inspired by Phuket's tin mining past with architecture and decor is reminiscent of a century-old factory built around three pools and lagoons.
There are 277 rooms, villas, pool pavilions and suites, and each one is quite stunning.
Kelly Quarters, named after a piece of machinery used in the mining process, have locally crafted furniture, and terraces overlook lush gardens. Pearl Bed Suites have expansive terraces and luxurious bathrooms. Rich wood and stone have been blended for spectacular effect.
Plantation Villas evoke the lush rubber plantations that once blanketed the island. Indoor and outdoor living are blended, and the villas have private courtyards with baths, sun lounges, umbrellas and lounge settings. Bedrooms have vaulted wooden ceilings and the bathrooms open to a second courtyard with gardens and shower.
Private Garden Pavilions have outdoor baths, sunlounges, umbrellas and pankawalla fans.
Furnishings, lighting and art are drawn from Thai influences and modern architecture. Private Pool Pavilions have the same facilities with the addition of cooling plunge pools.
The seven Pearl Shells one- and two-bedroom duplex suites have high ceilings, each with different decor, with options including jacuzzis, saunas, massage tables, large private terraces with pool and sea views. The one-bedroom Bensley Suite is the largest and most luxurious of all and has a 5m by 10m pool, suspended sundeck and private garden.
There are five restaurants and cafes where guests enjoy everything from tapas, Thai specialties, fine dining, casual dining and cocktails, all in delightful surroundings.
There are plenty of activities on offer, including land and sea activities for relaxation or an adrenaline rush. It could also be the time to take cooking lessons.
Indigo Pearl offers a Retail Therapy Package. If you fancy taking home exotic Thai crafts, antiques and souvenirs you will be taken in private transportation to places which give good discounts.
Phuket's Nai Yang Beach in Thailand
Indigo Pearl Kelly Quarters start at around $202, Plantation Villas $296, Pearl Bed Suites $322, Private Garden Pavilion $376 and Private Pool Pavilion $476 a night, including breakfast in the Tin Mine Restaurant.
Thai Airways International has flights to Phuket.
- Perth $992
- Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
Sales and validity dates apply.
For further information
Thai Airways International
Ph: 1300 651 960
Indigo Pearl Resort
Nai Yang Beach and National Park
Ph: +66 076 327 006
Fax: +66 076 327 338-9
Book direct or via your preferred licensed travel agent
Australians may stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa.
Electricity: 220V with European plug of two-circular metal pins or Japanese plug with two parallel flat blades.
Time zone: GMT +7.
Currency: the baht.
International dialling code: +66.
It is recommended travellers to Thailand see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended for Thailand. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.welltogo.com.au and www.smarttraveller.gov.au.