I'll tell you a well known secret. My favourite destination has, for the past 14 years, been a little island in the Gulf of Thailand called Koh Phangan. When I arrived there for the first time back in 1997 it was a minimalist version of what it is today. The kind of place where hippy backpackers flocked to live in rustic, ramshackle bungalows on the sand and swing in hammocks all day, every day. Or dance on the beach under the full moon at the now famous Full Moon Parties of Haad Rin. I was one of them (and always will be!). I go back every year (sometimes more) to spend as many days as I can allow for, chilling on the beach, dining out with friends, swimming in crystal seas, and doing daily yoga sessions at the delightfully rustic, family run Yoga Retreat at Haad Salad, my favourite place to awaken my body, get some reiki and massage before walking back down to the beach to while away the rest of the day doing as little as possible. And I've watched the island evolve on each trip back there. It's a strange mix of nostalgia and excitement to watch as Koh Phangan follows in the steps of its neighbour, Koh Samui, in becoming a luxury travel destination.
See, the Koh Phangan of today has all grown up. While you can still rent out those shacks on the beach for a cheap rate, it's now also got some fantastic luxury options for accommodation, including private villas and some seriously luxe resorts. Like the Rasananda Resort & Spa, which was built by the world class Anantara group of luxury hotels, set on the pristine beach of Tong Nai Pan. Contemporary yet uniquely Thai in style, Rasananda is an ideal beach hideaway for those seeking comfort and luxury with their tropical bliss. These beautiful, stylish suites and villas epitomise that modern exotic style that Thailand does so well. For the ultimate in romance, rent yourself one of their amazing private pool villas, so you'll never feel like leaving once you've checked in. Though, with the sands of Tong Nai Pan right there to be enjoyed, why would you stay indoors? This is all really enticing me back to yet another return visit to my island home away from home ... and this is where you'll find me!