Relaxing on the beach and watching the sunset can be more difficult than one would imagine, if local vendors are hawking overpriced souvenirs or a group of noisy tourists are blocking the beautiful view. For me, such a scene doesn’t sound any less stressful than working in the office. As a regular traveler, I avoid touristy spots and look for tranquility in my vacation.
One of the appealing aspects of Phang Nga province is a strict prohibition of vendors on its beaches, which helps to maintain cleanliness and sense of peace. Recently, I visited Beyond Resort Khaolak, newly developed by Kata Group on 3.84 hectares of beachfront land an hour-long, tree-lined drive from Phuket airport. With its over-18 policy, the resort caters to couples. Kata Group has been widely known for more than 30 years in Thailand, and has delivered impressive service and authentic and delicious food – all at a more affordable price than many other resorts in its category.
Beyond Resort features all-villa accommodation with spacious bedrooms and walk-in closets. The Pool Villa is the one to pick. Designed as an open space, it is less private as it directly faces the beach; however, it allows guests to enjoy the panoramic view of the ocean from any corner of the room.
The resort itself doesn’t hold to the highest standards of luxury, especially when compared to those some resorts in nearby Phuket, but what you get here is the simplicity of relaxation. The peaceful atmosphere takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A secluded, pristine beach makes you want to put away your iPhone and plunge into the crystal-clear ocean. The refreshing sea breeze invites you to sit back and spend an afternoon with your favorite book and a tangy cocktail. Lastly, the resort’s Kanda Spa is staffed by skillful therapists who can magically relieve office-work pain and help recharge your energy.
A trip is never complete without good local food. But, with the right temperature of the Jacuzzi in the room or the softness of the pillow, you might be too lazy to go out and hunt for street fare. Which brings us to the special strength of Beyond Resort. One thing that differentiates a Thai-owned resort from a big international chain is the food, and all resorts in Kata Group are famous for their version of real Thai cuisine. Only dial room service and made-to-order local food will be served to your door, but be careful to let the staff know if you are not keen on spicy food, because they don’t hold back on authentic flavor.
Visiting the Moken
Beyond Resort Khaolak also arranges many sightseeing trips around Phang Nga, including diving destinations and nearby islands. One of the highlights is the trip to Koh Surin and the Moken village at Hat Sai En, which is approximately 1.5 hours by speedboat from Kura Buri pier.
Moken are traditionally sea-dwelling, nomadic people, but since the 2004 Tsunami many have moved onshore and altered their way of living. Some people feel pity seeing former “sea gypsies” now riding Honda motorbikes, but I feel a sense of guilt in knowing that these changes are caused by human exploitation of nature. Around a hundred Moken reside on the island, earning their living mainly from fishing and piloting long-tailed boats. They all live like a big family in small straw huts tucked between green mountains and the bright, turquoise ocean. It is an idyllic scene, and for me an amazing experience to see such a simple way of living.