Footprint-free sand is always hard to find, especially in the south of Thailand. If you are looking to escape to a simpler pace of life with those you love, the secluded island of Koh Yao Noi should be at the top of your list for 2016. Follow us to the new Ani Estate Thailand on Koh Yao Noi for an insider itinerary in paradise.
Go: Arrive In Style
The best trick to conquer jet lag on your arrival in Thailand is to coast by boat across the tame turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay, through the skyscraping limestone cliffs, to the low-key island of Koh Yao Noi. The island is so secluded it can only be accessed by a 40 minute boat ride (or 10 minutes by helicopter). Soon your toes will sink into the warm sand and thank you after the long journey to island solitude.
Stay: Your Barefoot-Chic Villa
Ani Villas is a full-service, private estate boasting 10 suites sprawling across a beautifully manicured beachfront property. The staff at Ani focus on providing the traditional hospitable Thai experience that has been lost through mass tourism in many Southeast Asian island destinations. The decor is a modern take on temples in Northern Thailand and is smart yet very much barefoot and breezy. Expect an open-air, private swimming pool in your suite overlooked by a deeply generous soaker tub.
Tour: Get Local
Ani Villas has its own generously-sized tuk tuk that will take you exploring all over the quaint island of Koh Yao Noi. The pace of the island is slow and simple, and as you travel you will pass through jasmine rice fields, a slew of rubber trees, and may see the occasional water buffalo. Post market-gazing and maybe a Muay Thai Boxing lesson later, you can hydrate with a fresh-cracked coconut for the road from the local coconut garden. You can watch the owner clip, hack and crack your coconut before your eyes, a must-see treat for everyone to experience.
Play: Uncompromised Privacy
Kid-glove service can be expected at Ani Villas Thailand, as it ideally caters to groups and families. Ani brilliantly upped the ante on the definition of flexible childcare, and installed a water slide that is seamlessly hidden on property for those looking for a little exhilaration. Every parent loves to travel with their children, although they also appreciate that much needed privacy while on vacation. Unwind at the infinity pool while your kids are a stone’s throw away at the kids pool. Babysitting is available as well for the little travelers.
Slow: Rest and Relax
A massage a day will definitely strip the stress away. Whether you would like to experience a traditional Thai massage or chill in sunset savasana you will feel rejuvenated by the spa and yoga options at Ani Villas Thailand. Private yoga and partner yoga is available daily and is an enjoyable way to introduce new or younger yogis to the benefits of stretching and finding peace through inner exploration.
Eat: No Reservations
All meals and drinks are included at Ani Villas, created by private chef Yao. Chef can whip up a huge variety of cuisines, including an array of local specialties – at which he is an expert, having worked for the royal family of Thailand. A cooking class with Chef Yao is also a true experiential endeavor where everyone gets behind the cutting board and in an apron. Finally, a lively dinner or beach bonfire will create lasting memories and giddy conversations under the stars.
Give: Get Schooled
One of the most extraordinary and unique facets of Ani Villas is their determination to give back to the community they inhabit. In each of their locations they have created a free art school for students who are fiercely dedicated to learning the craft of drawing and painting from highly-skilled professors. Ani Art Academies Thailand is headed up by remarkable artist Rodney O’Dell Davis and a visit to his classroom is a humbling, inspiring place to watch the local students hone their craft at their easels.
Hop: Longtail Cruise
Boundless options are available when it comes to having fun on the ocean. With so many neighboring islands to choose from making decisions can be hard, but you will definitely not want to miss the infamous James Bond island. From cave kayaking, monkey-spotting, mangrove tree mazes, and snorkeling to private beach picnicking, you can experience it all aboard Ani’s easy-cruising longtail boat. The only finger you will be lifting will be to push your shutter button on your camera, as the team at Ani Villas launches your kayaks, outfits you with necessary gear, and ensures your drink is pleasantly chilled at all times.
Find out more about Ani Estate Thailand