Welcome to Wandering Wednesdays, where we provide brief reviews of naturist places – outside of North America – we have visited, simply to offer our admittedly subjective thoughts about what we experienced there. With over 150 pins on our naturist travel map, we have a lot of reviews to catch up on. Once posted here, I’ll move them over to the “Places” index under the main menu of our blog.
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This week: Peace Blue Naturist Resort, near Naiharn Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Thailand will be one of the first countries in Asia to open to vaccinated foreigners this summer (2021). Given the incredible role tourism plays in Thailand’s economy, that’s good news for naturist and textile properties alike. Before the world went into lockdown, we had reservations for a second visit to Peace Blue Naturist Resort located at the far (southerly) end of touristy Phuket, within reasonable walking distance of both Rawai and Naiharn beaches. Patty and Golf, the husband-and-wife management team, previously presided over Lemon Tree Naturist Resort located just a couple miles away. In fact, on a previous visit to that venue, they actually took us to see the construction site for Peace Blue while it was literally just brick, mortar, and a hole in the ground where the pool would soon go. In a market where you often sacrifice amenities and modern convenience for the opportunity to get naked, their resort raised the bar in the naturist travel industry with tastefully appointed rooms at several different price points to meet the needs of the truly discerning naturist. Amazingly, there are now three naturist resorts operating within a ten-mile radius in this area of Phuket, each offering unique amenities with a distinctive ambiance. But if you’re looking for modern accommodations, on-site (clothing-optional) dining, and great proximity to excellent restaurants and bars, you could hardly do better than Peace Blue.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE? I have yet to garner enough courage to drive on Phuket, (though that’s on my bucket list for the coming year). Between driving on the left side of the road, the circuitous road-construction traffic patterns, and the constant onslaught of scooters coming from every direction, it’s seemed wiser to let Peace Blue book a driver on my behalf and take in the sights from the back seat. It works out to about $35 each way, and takes an hour to ninety-minutes door to door. As we’re avid walkers, we found our way to the waterfront early each morning, stopping for a cup of coffee and making it back to the resort to drop our clothes before the heat would set in for the day. For dinner, you can walk about ten minutes to a major thoroughfare to find several excellent restaurants that run short on atmosphere, but long on great food. You can also walk to Rawai Beach for dinner at one of the seaside eateries like Nikita’s, or stop at the open-air night market for fresh fish, grilled to order! As of my last visit in 2019, Uber was not happening in Thailand, but Grab was – a similar ride-share app. It was less than $10 to get anyplace we wanted to go, and a much better option than walking back at night after a couple glasses of wine.
Phuket has a significant international airport, though predictably, most people will need to connect through Bangkok, Hong Kong, or Singapore if coming from the Western Hemisphere. All three of those destinations are in very competitive fare markets – meaning it’s often cheaper to fly half way around the world than what you’d pay to get from New York to anywhere in Europe most of the year. If you can’t book a connecting flight with your originating flight, spend a night to acclimate to the time change, then change over to JetStar, Scoot, or Air-Asia for a cheap, cheap, CHEAP flight onward. Just allow plenty of time for connections and pay close attention to baggage restrictions. Asia is the only place where I’ve had to weigh my backpack before being allowed to bring it on board as a carryon. Carry a laptop and you exceed the 7-pound limit pretty quickly. Suffice it to say, you have to have a high tolerance for air travel to endure a seventeen-hour flight to Asia, though if you’re creative with stopovers – including Europe – you can often find amazing fares, like the time I saved $400 on a trip to France by stopping for a week in Thailand on the way. Crazy!
WHAT’S THE FAMILY VIBE? Naturism is relatively new to Thailand, with a couple resorts that have been co-sponsored by Europeans, and a couple more – like Peace Blue – that are run by Thai nationals. Patty and Golf are not naturists themselves, but discovered this niche market and embraced it as a way to keep occupancy high in the very competitive market of Thai hospitality. Nick and Lins report that with the Western world being cut off due to pandemic travel restrictions, more Asian tourists have been keen on trying out naturism near home. As to family naturism, I have yet to see a family with children at a Thai naturist place. I don’t recall whether Peace Blue has a policy regarding children and families or not, but they certainly maintain a holistic, family-oriented environment.
HOW ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS? As Peace Blue was designed for, and opened as a naturist hotel, the property is well designed, modern, and fresh. Studio rooms are on three levels on one side of the pool, while more deluxe suites – some with private conversation pools – are situated on the other. During my last stay, I was upgraded to a one-bedroom unit where the bathroom and kitchenette were downstairs and the bedroom was upstairs, which is less than optimal if you’re likely to need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. There’s a restaurant and a snack bar on the premises, each of which allowed au naturel food and beverage service. Stock your fridge with a few snacks from the nearby 7-Eleven or Family Mart, and you can make it through an entire week quite economically without ever putting your clothes on.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? At one point, there were nine naturist destinations in Thailand, though now, I believe that’s down to seven – two near Pattaya, one in Bangkok, three on the island of Phuket, and one more a bit farther up the coast. Golf and Patty’s professionalism and attention to detail sets their place apart for me, in addition to the fact that the property is new and thoughtfully conceived. In the absence of a naturist beach on the main island, if the weather is good and enough guests are interested, they’ll charter a speed boat for a naturist cruise out to a couple small islands where nude snorkeling and a naked picnic on the beach are possible. We’ve done that during each stay and it’s typically the highlight of the week. I’m eager to see what the naturist scene will look like once normal travel plans resume, but you can bet on it that by the time the Northeast is icy and cold again, I’ll be looking for cheap flights to Asia and another dose of Peace Blue!
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