During our travels inspecting and staying in the best villas in Asia, we’ve fallen head over heels for the pure white sands and turquoise waters of Thailand. What we’re not so crazy about is having to share the beach with a horde of tourists. Join us for a tour of Natai Beach, the Hamptons of Southeast Asia or as we like to call it – the best kept secret in Thailand.
Welcome to Natai Beach
Natai Beach is located in Phang Nga in mainland Thailand. You get the best of both worlds as Phang Nga is connected to the island of Phuket through Sarasin Bridge but remains far less crowded than its famous neighbour. The drive from Natai Beach to Phuket Airport takes just 25 minutes. Natai Beach itself is a 10-kilometre stretch of golden sand fringed by palm trees… and not much else.
Strict local building laws have shielded Natai Beach from all mass development. Instead of mega resorts and shopping malls, the beach is lined with a handful of boutique resorts, private villas and high-end restaurants. Instead of rowdy speedboats, you’ll only hear the sound of waves crashing to the shore. In fact, it’s not all that rare to have the beach all to yourself, save for a few local fishermen wading in the salty sea.
Unlike much of Thailand, the Natai area has not been taken over by backpackers. While there are a few budget options tucked along the main road, the beach itself is dominated by luxury villas and boutique resorts. While everything about Natai Beach remains understated and chic, the area also has its own claim to world fame. The jaw-dropping Iniala Beach House once hosted the Kardashian clan. A little further down the beach, Coastal Escape Natai was the backdrop for an episode of Ode to Joy, a Chinese TV drama with over 400 million(!) viewers.
Family Stays by the Sea
Even without any celebrity endorsement, the properties at Natai Beach have some real wow factor. Beachfront estates like Jivana and Sava are ideal for families, with huge gardens and direct access to a sandy beach. The Natai area is also an amazing wedding destination with large private villas positioned directly on the beach, with little to no chance of curious passers-by crashing your nuptials.
Fine Dining in Natai
The upscale groove of Natai is also reflected in the dining options offered in the area. In Natai, you can enjoy exquisite fine dining in beautiful venues which anywhere else in the world would require booking a table weeks if not months in advance.
One of Natai’s brightest highlights is Esenzi. Headed by Tim Butler of Bangkok’s Eat Me fame, Esenzi serves “all that is beautiful in the sea.” To put it a little less poetically, the restaurant specialises in refined seafood-focused degustation menus which are perfect for a very special night out – especially if you go for the exquisite wine pairing. Esenzi is located at the high-end Iniala Beach House estate and shares the same surreally luxurious design with these beachfront villas – it almost feels like you’re dining under the sea.
Shake Your Groove Thing
Another local landmark is the fabulous Baba Beach Club. Since its opening in 2017, this “exclusive music lovers luxury beach club” has grown into something of a must-visit in the Natai area. Located right on the beach, Baba prides itself for playing music throughout the estate as well as hosting live bands and DJs several nights a week. Baba has a cool beach-facing pool surrounded by sun beds along with a more formal restaurant area overlooking the pool and the beach.
Toes in the Sand, Wind in My Hair
Natai Beach is the perfect destination for discerning travellers craving a sun kissed stay in Thailand – minus the crowds. During our team’s stay in Ananda at Jivana, we loved the relaxed yet refined ambiance of our villa as well as having the beach all to ourselves. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, the table was set in our own private dining pavilion overlooking the beach. From Natai, we headed over to Phuket in a smooth 30-minute drive – talk about having your cake and eating it too.