For half term, we headed off with our friends to the Santhiya Resort on Koh Yao Yai for four nights followed by three nights back in Phuket at the Indigo Pearl Resort. We chose the Santhiya on Koh Yao Yai as we wanted to visit an island we hadn’t yet been to but that wasn’t too far away! I couldn’t really be bothered this time with lots of transfers and waiting around, we just wanted to get somewhere quickly and relax!
I saw this resort over on Live Less Ordinary and knew we should give it a go. We flew into Phuket airport but had been too late to book our transfers to Koh Yao Yai with the hotel so we figured we’d wing it and make our own way there…
We flew with Thai Smile from Suvarnabhumi direct to Phuket which took an hour. We hailed a taxi outside the airport which took us to Bang Rong Pier about 30 minutes away (650 baht). Here we paid the 40 baht pier entry fee and told a man we wanted to go to Koh Yao Yai, we jumped across a few boats as directed and climbed down into the delivery boat! There were a few locals and two other backpackers onboard, the journey would take about an hour and cost 170 baht each! Bargain plus it was an interesting way to travel! On arrival at the pier on the island, there were two songthaews waiting, (our captain had obviously called ahead with news of visitors) so we jumped in and drove the 40 minutes to the Santhiya resort, costing us 200 baht each. If we had booked our transfer with the hotel we would have travelled by speedboat directly to the resort’s pier, I’m actually glad we didn’t as we got to really see the island which is incredibly undeveloped compared to most of the Thai islands I have visited.
Because we had made our own way we were delivered to the back door so entered the resort through some huge, ornate wooden gates which we all agreed felt slightly Jurassic Park! We were shown into reception where we checked in and had a welcome shoulder massage, amazing! We were shown through the wonderfully lush resort and down to the wooden car pick up point. The resort is incredibly hilly and large so these cars are a bit of a lifeline! The operate all through the day and even after 10pm you can call one to come get you.
Our rooms were even better than they looked online; they are all wooden and very traditional and intricate, I did read that the design of the resort is actually more typical of Northern Thailand. The rooms are beautiful, large, comfortable and well furnished with two good sized wardrobes but the bit that got me was the balcony; the view was breathtaking and the huge bath and daybed gave lots of opportunities for it to be appreciated!
There was lots to do at the resort; there was complimentary snorkels, paddle boards and canoes to use. Then there was the pool; the largest I have experienced in Thailand plus the huge waterfall made it seem like a tropical lagoon! The boat sun loungers in the pool are just inspired, very original. There are lots of loungers around the pool and the beach plus there is a gorgeous spa if you are in the need of serious R&R! The resort offers complimentary yoga and Muay Thai classes plus there is a good gym. Day trips to various islands are also available, most were around 3000 baht per person.
The breakfast is good with a huge range of foods on offer plus an egg station. In the evenings the restaurant offers a la carte, a set menu (which offered great value for money plus the option of a smaller size) and then a buffet, we tried all of the options and enjoyed them. As Allan over on Live Less Ordinary pointed out there was some interesting evening entertainment, we tended to sit out of the way and did have a little giggle but it certainly wouldn’t put me off going. For me the range of non-alcoholic beverages could be improved, I do like a smoothie or two and there just wasn’t the choice here which was a shame.
For me, one of the main draws of this resort is the incredible sunsets it enjoys. Whether I was watching the sun go down from the beach or the bath on our balcony it was a lovely way to end our days and to be honest I’m not sure I’ve seen better.
I was a bit ill at the beginning of our time there (struck down by my Japanese Encephalitis vaccination the school nurse gave me the day before we travelled) so whilst I tried to recover, Dave went off on a scooter exploring the island. As well as finding me antibiotics (from the one pharmacy on the island!) he and a friend also found a traditional fishing village where they met a kind long tail man, Rockin, who offered to take us all snorkelling for half a day for the very reasonable price of 2500 baht. So a few days later Rockin arrived to pick us up from the Santhiya for the morning. We spent a fun few hours visiting some islands and snorkelling up a storm! The fish and wildlife was amazing!
We did take up the resort on their speedboat transfer back to Phuket for our return leg. The smog from Indonesia had really hit that day and I’m glad the journey was quick (20 minutes) as you couldn’t see where the sea ended and the sky began!
We had a fabulous time at the Santhiya Resort on Koh Yao Yai and we are already planning on going back! If you are looking for somewhere beautiful to relax for a few days this could be the resort for you!
Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa
88 Moo 7, Prunai, Koh Yao, Phangnga, Thailand 83000
Telephone no. : +66 (0)76 59 2 888
Mobile no. : +66 (0)81 995 4063
Fax no. : +66 (0)7659 2899