Phuket, Thailand welcomes millions of tourists every year. For a small island, this influx of tens of thousands of people quickly saturate the beaches, shops, and restaurants. So where can you go for your relaxing Thai beach vacation? Several years ago I found just the place.
Located on the island of Koh Yao Yai I found a dream villa on an island with significantly fewer foriegn visitors. Imagine a private infinity pool overlooking the Andaman Sea. Picture an outdoor rainfall shower on a natural stone floor. See yourself taking in the sunset from an outdoor bathtub. Where do you find this dream? Spend a few nights at Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort in one of their private ocean front villas and you’re there.
Beyond the beauty of the property, this place is special for even more reasons. Outside the resort you can rent a motorbike for the day and explore the entire island. Since the island is not as popular as its neighbors Phuket and Phi Phi, it is entirely possible to find private white sand beaches. You can cruise through the small villages and you’ll notice that the locals here are a bit different from most others you see in Thailand. That is because the island is inhabited by a majority Muslim Thai population. Southern Thailand hosts greater religious diversity as you move closer to Malaysia and Indonesia.
To add a cherry on top of a lovely stay, a monkey made himself at home on the villa patio during my visit. He even tried to open up the villa sliding doors to come inside and presumably bask in the air conditioning. Maybe he wanted to come inside to find a snack, who knows? It was quite an unexpected, exciting moment during the the trip. I still remember shouting, “There’s a monkey at the door!”