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Weekend of bliss in Phuket

A vacation in Phuket conjures images of vast expanse of clear blue waters and beach fronts that have all requisite amenities but also crowds which a traveller seeking solitude may find intrusive.

The Racha, Phuket

A vacation in Phuket conjures images of vast expanse of clear blue waters and beach fronts that have all requisite amenities but also crowds which a traveller seeking solitude may find intrusive. Phuket has another side to it which is pristine, beautiful and soothing to the mind, body and soul.

A number of luxury hospitality players have set up facilities that are on the exquisite islands barely 10-20 kms away from Phuket. Many beach lovers use Phuket as a base and make day trips to nearby islands. Others prefer to just be in one island and soak in the place in its entirety. Racha is one such island where the crystal clear waters tempt to just stay and explore diving, snorkelling, taking boat and jetty rides, watching a glorious sunset to more active pursuits like hiring a motorbike and riding through villages, strolling across to the local bazaars or signing up for a cooking class.

The Racha is one of Thailand’s premier deluxe island hideaways, set on a pristine beach on Racha Island, only 12 miles south of Phuket and just 35 minutes by speed boat from Phuket’s Chalong Bay. Each of the resort’s 85 luxurious villas blend with the island’s environmentally sustainable character. In fact, for every coconut tree that was felled while constructing the property, two more were planted in its place. Instead of building a concrete pier, an environmentally sound floating pontoon is used to preserve underwater ecology.

Enjoying The Elements

Racha Yai Island, also called Raya or Raja Island is known for its natural beauty and excellent corals and marine life.

Racha comprises of two islands, Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi. It is a popular dive spot, with clear water and easy diving, great for first time divers and snorkelers. A little to the south of Racha Yai is its smaller twin, Racha Noi, uninhabited with a small bay on its west coast that is a favourite spot for fishing.

The main beach, on the island’s northwest coast, is Ao Tawan Tok. Like many other islands in the area, Racha Yai is popular with day-trippers from Phuket. However, at night the island is quiet with its few restaurants and bars creating an intimate and cosy setting. The lack of bright lights means that the night sky is light up with stars and is great for stargazing on the beach.

Activities Of Leisure

You cannot leave Thailand without having a liberal share of spa activity. There is nothing better than to be pampered for hours as you get massages, scrubbed and soaked from head to toe.

Phuket has a lot to do with scents and aromas too. For the foodie, sampling the endless variety of sea food and Thai specialties is not enough. Taking a cooking class will change the way you look at food. Lemongrass, chilies, ginger, turmeric and many more spices are seen in abundance.

A number of cooking schools take on students for a day or longer and customise the workshop to give a fairly good idea of cooking traditional dishes straight from the kitchens of the Thai Royal palaces. Some of them even precede the cooking class with a visit to the local fresh market which is a treat to the eyes, bustling as it is with thousands of vegetables, fruits and herbs. Learn how to make red curry with crab meat, green curry with protein, and catfish floss salad, amongst other local favourites.

Coincide the visit with a local festival is always fun. The Phuket Vegetarian Festival for instance is a colourful event held over a nine day period in late September/early October. So, while the regular attractions of Thailand and Phuket remain, these alternate options go into making Phuket a place with universal appeal, respecting individual needs and yet promising a great time.

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