Facing one of Thailand’s most beautiful yet most secret stretches of powder-white sand, Villa Saanti at Natai Beach, only 30 minutes’ drive north of Phuket Airport, is the ultimate beachfront villa for an extended family or a group of friends. Six ensuite bedrooms with sumptuous sea views; luxurious living and dining areas; two large infinity-edge pools – one with a jacuzzi; shady gardens with soaring coconut palms; great entertainment and sports facilities; fine food from a skilled private chef, and staff who anticipate every whim before you even know you have a whim.
This Natai Beach villa may be a tranquil getaway but that doesn’t mean there’s any lack of things to do. The province of Phang Nga is renowned for its outdoor activities, its deep green forests and the jaw-dropping spectacle of limestone islands rising vertically from the waters of Phang Nga Bay.Villa Saanti’s manager will have a wealth of information about nearby places of interest and will help arrange transport and make any bookings required. Also, do ask the staff about the local area. Many of them live nearby and will be able to give an interesting insight into some of the fascinating aspects of life in Phang Nga.
Here’s a sampling of things to do in the area:
- River rafting (better between May and October when there’s more water) is sure to get the adrenaline pumping – an exciting way to spend a few hours getting really wet.
A Phang Nga Bay tour is a must. Visit hongs (rooms) inside the islands, some with their own internal beaches, and canoe through tangled mazes of mangrove forests.
- Baba Beach Club. Sophisticated and laid back, with top-class deejays, Baba is just a ten-minute walk along the beach from Villa Saanti. Perfect for a chill-out day or an evening with friends.
For the more energetic, the seven kilometres of Natai Beach, as deserted as Robinson Crusoe’s domain, beg to be walked. Or for water lovers, follow the shoreline in the villa’s two kayaks.
- Take a stroll around Phuket Old Town for its local food, chic cafés, arts and craft studios, street markets and wall murals, and soak up the colourful atmosphere of the restored Sino-Portuguese buildings and Chinese shrines.
Explore the underground Phung Chang caves near Phang Nga town, riding through the darkness in a canoe, with only a miner’s lamp on your head to see where you are going.
- Just 15 minutes’ drive to the east, at the edge of Phang Nga Bay, is Dinosea World Park. The kids will love the slides, pools and waterfalls. And as the name suggests, there are enormous dinosaurs everywhere. Perfect for unusually impressive selfies.
For grown-ups, golfing options are aplenty. There are courses in Phang Nga but serious golfers will probably head for Phuket to play at the world-class Blue Canyon or Mission Hills clubs, both around half an hour’s drive south of Villa Saanti.
- Still got energy to burn? Get your villa manager to organise a mountain bike tour. The tour companies reckon these tours are better off-road, so prepare to get muddy.
Learn all about the tropical environment with a jungle trek through old-growth natural forest. You can also learn what’s edible and what’s not so that you can survive if you ever get lost in the jungle – a useful skill to take home with you!