The Sarasin Bridge is the gateway to an island. The gateway to a culturally diverse, gastronomic and tourism mecca that is otherwise known as Phuket. An island that is over-flowing with hustle, bustle, business, opportunity, tourism and ‘life’.
The Sarasin Bridge is however, also a gateway (for Phuketians) to relief, and relaxation. A slower pace of life, and a more rustic way of living. It is a gateway to what many Phuketians consider to be ‘real Thailand’ and some rather special hidden gems.
Just one hour’s drive north of Phuket airport, and as the dust clears (in one’s mind), one may find themselves fortunate enough to stumble upon the unassuming town of Khok Kloi. Blink and you will miss it. However, if like me, you pause for a moment to fuel your car and grab a coffee, you might well find yourself taking a left turn at the lights, and within minutes finding yourself immersed in the small, beautiful, seemingly remote, Natai Beach village.
Arriving at Natai Beach!
On my recent ‘Surf Safari’ road trip, there was enough rustic beauty here to warrant finding a local hotel, unpacking my backpack and wandering out for an explore. My expectations were low as I delved into what at first glance seemed a sleepy little community, embracing a slower pace of life…
But my spontaneity paid off!
I discovered a really rather idyllic untouched beach. Rolling waves crumbled haphazardly up the beach, and my mind wandered to contemplate the sheer distance they had travelled- with a fetch spanning the entire Indian Ocean, and what ocean treasures they might have carried. A stiff breeze carried away the heat from the day, giving way to a rare glimpse of the sheer power and beauty of nature. Mesmerizing stuff!
The Friendliest of ‘Locals’
Late afternoon approached, and as the sun sank lower, I felt a familiar rumble in my tummy encouraging me to seek out something for dinner. A ‘grab’ meal seemed a little optimistic, so I ventured down the road in search of something tasty. I didn’t have to go too far before stumbling upon The Wooden Bridge, a small wooden shack…. and a big warm Thai smile within. The spirited Khun Jeab beaming from ear to ear, ushered me in with assurance that she is skilled at creating ‘farang friendly’ Thai Food ‘nik noi’.
An early morning beach run and meditation in complete solitude provided the perfect opportunity for me to prepare for my next adventure as I continued my surf safari road North to the more established and well known tourism destination of Khao Lak.
A reluctant side note; I wasn’t the only person in town that day to appreciate the beauty and potential held by the town. A number of luxury villas already line the beach and I’m sure even more lie tucked away set back in nearby jungle. There are also a number of new build projects emerging and infrastructure plans underway, including a new road that will make Phuket feel even closer. Astute investors and entrepreneurs no doubt are closely watching, and awaiting the promise this town holds…