NAKED RESEARCH 2019: Awaiting Departure

I’m not only a naturist, I’m also a mileage runner. That means that sometimes I fly places simply for the miles or, more importantly, the status with the airline. Sometimes, I’m able to pair that with my work as a musician and university professor, sometimes it simply syncs up with the need to check in on family located out and about the US of A, and sometimes, I can figure out a way to coalesce my love of flying and travel with my fixation on getting naked. This would be one of those times. (You can also follow my blog about mileage running here.)

Signage for Cobbler’s Beach near Sydney

My January schedule is such that I have to be in certain places at certain times, but beyond that, I can do most of what I need to do from my cyber-office, which in this case, happens to be a MacBook and a iPhone with an international data plan. For me, this particular itinerary will be something of the ULTIMATE MILEAGE RUN, consisting of several segments that will take me to Munich, Bangkok, back to NYC, on to France (where I have business to do) then to South Africa (which ironically enough, greatly reduced the airfare to France!) then on to Buenos Aires and Uruguay, where my wife will meet me for a few days of naturist beach combing in a new (to us) naturist hotel just a few blocks from a famous nude beach. There’s a strong possibility that I’ll tag on a fourth leg of this sojourn with a quick turnaround to Sydney on a ticket that was ridiculously cheap, which would put me on the ground just long enough for a trip to the nude beach near the zoo, thus making a six continent naked mileage run. We’ll see how I hold up.

Chan Resort, Pattaya, Thailand

But this is a naturist blog! I can’t post my own photos yet as I haven’t yet been to all these places, but I’m borrowing a few pics from the web to outline the naturist elements of this round-the-world endeavor.

My first stop is at the expansive Therme Erding, a place that loves to advertise as the world’s largest spa. Some think it’s a bit overdone, but for me, a day of soaking, sweating, and sleeping in this Disneyland for grown-ups is about as good as it gets.

Sun Eden Resort, South Africa

From there, I intend to check out two naturist places in Thailand; namely the Phuan Naturist Village, then the Chan Naturist Hotel, both in Pattaya. I’m particularly excited about the former, as it is one of the newest naturist ventures in Thailand, and they claim to have the biggest nude swimming pool in Southeast Asia.

France is typically a great place to get naked, but in January, not so much. But I’m going to stretch out a layover in Frankfurt where I can easily hop a train up to Cologne to check out the spa scene there. I’m particularly excited to visit the Neptune Therme downtown, and the sister spa to Erding just a short distance away in Euskirchen. I think I can hit them both in the same day, then back in time to catch my early morning flight to Marseille the next day.

Phuan Naturist Village, Pattaya, Thailand

A deviation to South Africa was literally a cost saving measure! By adding in a round-trip hop to Johannesburg, the ticket to Europe dropped by over 40%, including the trip to Africa. Go figure. This will be my second naturist outing in South Africa, but my first visit to Sun Eden Resort, which features a number of small houses to be rented. Most definitely new territory to add to my travelogue.

Cobbler’s Beach near Sydney

Finally, I’ll make my way from South Africa, bouncing through Zurich, to Buenos Aires, where I will meet my wife before we find our way to the domestic airport where we can catch a flight to the Hotel Refugio Naturista in Uruguay. It looks like a fairly simple and quiet place, but we like both of those things, and look forward to spending a good bit of time on Uruguay’s most famous naturist beach.

Neptune Bad, Cologne, Germany

As for Australia, we’ve already done our naturist exploration of Australia’s east coast, (You can find those blog posts beginning with this one) so at best, I can hope to find a nude beach there – most likely Cobbler’s Beach, which we found to be quite agreeable the day we were there a couple years ago. Thus, my first and last stops consist of places I’ve been naked before, but I should pick up a half-dozen new nakation spots along the way. More good fodder for blogging, to be sure.

I’ll try to blog along the way. You may also want to follow me on Instagram at @naturistdan or the Mileage Runner version @mileagerundan. Hope to see you there!

Peaceful and Blue: The new industry standard for naked in Asia.

PeaceBlue Naturist Resort recently opened their doors of their specially designed naturist hotel just a short distance from Naiharn and Rawai beaches on the southern tip of Phuket. A remarkable accomplishment by an enterprising young couple, Patty and Golf, who have found a niche market in catering to discerning naturists.

This is the most recent of several naturist friendly developments in Thailand, (See my recent blog post about that here) though this is the first time I’m aware of a brand new property built specifically with naturists in mind – most certainly the first in Asia! Open for only a few weeks by the time of my visit, construction crews were still wrapping up the finishing touches, while new loungers arrived for a secluded sundeck on the roof of the snack bar. Located on a crowded side-street near Rawai beach, they found a way to position the hotel rooms, restaurant, and pool complex in a layout that allows for total nudity anywhere on the property except the front lobby. Clever and comfortable.

I had made several visits to PeaceBlue’s predecessor, LemonTree Naturist Resort, which had a lovely vibe as well, but felt a bit crowded, especially when the villa section was rented to a private party and was not available to the general clientele. PeaceBlue, on the other hand, enjoys a location a bit closer to the middle of town which means there are a plethora of bar and restaurant options within a ten minute walk. You can also reach Rawai or Naiharn Beach on foot in less than 30 minutes each, though if you attempt that much later than 10 in the morning, it’ll be an intense trek in the heat of the day. Taxis are cheap, and the hotel staff coordinates several beach runs each day, so options are plentiful.

It remains a mystery as to why nudity is such a taboo throughout most of Asia (with the notable exception of single gender nudity at innumerable hot springs of Japan). As a default, I hold the missionary based empirical conquests of the West largely responsible for this. While Christianity seems insignificant compared to the influence of the Buddhist influence in Thailand, I think we (Westerners) can take the credit for laying out the infrastructure of roads and railways, and delivering other 21st century amenities like outlet malls and European ideals related to fashion and body-image. I’ve always thought it interesting that the French taught everyone exactly how one should dress, then turned the corner and led the world in a renewed mission of getting naked at some nearly 300 naturist resorts in France! What’s it gonna be French people? Haut couture or Heureux nu?

But I digress. Patty and Golf not only want you to feel totally at home while on their property, but they are eager to create opportunities for nude recreation off the property as well. To that end, they have continued to refine their naturist boat trip into an all day exploration of several of the nearby islands, along with a few carefully timed stops for naked snorkeling – all of which conveniently serves as a stopover for the boat captain to check his fishing nets along the way. (I swear, I saw that dude catch a fish with his bare hands and bring it back on board. Whoa!) The first year it was a long boat (the sea vessel counterpart of a tuk-tuk) that sputtered out to the closest island with a private beach. This time, there was a snorkeling stop, a beer and nap break on on a secluded beach, another snorkeling stop, a brief stop the the crowded and commercial (textile) Banana Beach to use restroom facilities and buy an ice-cream, yet another snorkeling stop, then lunch (Provided by Golf along with all the Chang Beer you can drink!) on a different secluded beach, then back to the mainland. We were naked all day except for the brief visit to Banana Beach. I would take that trip every day of the week were it offered. It will be interesting to see how that develops as they forecast being booked to capacity in the coming months.

Is there’s anything I miss about the previous establishment at LemonTree? Well – a little bit…. yes. I was always charmed by the open air kitchen on the veranda next to the pool where you could see your lunch being prepared in real time. And while only a 20 minute walk from the new property, the French/Thai restaurant Le Celtique was perfectly situated (with the most excellent atmosphere) just a few doors down the street. But the trade off is so many great eateries in close proximity to the new place that you can always find a new foodie adventure (the French Bistro called Zen Eat is a good place to start), yet you’re just far enough from the heavy traffic areas that you never hear the noise of the city; just an occasional prayer from the loudspeakers of one of the local temples – a bit eerie at first until you grow acclimated and it becomes a part of your daily ritual.

The pool is beautiful. Exactly the right size for sitting and socializing at one end or swimming laps at the other. While I stayed in a two story suite with the bedroom upstairs and the bathroom downstairs, it occurs to me that the more basic rooms would eliminate the need to navigate a stairway in the middle of the night should you need to use the facilities, which seems a certainty after an afternoon of Chang Beer – especially at my age!

I should throw out a caveat for future guests who are looking for a nakation on Phuket. Patty said it was unclear exactly what would happen with their previous enterpriese called LemonTree Resort. For whatever reason in Southeast Asia, the name stays with the property, regardless of the management, and apparently there is a rumor that new management will try to re-open as a naturist establishment as well. That seems crazy confusing to me, as LemonTree Resort was not simply a place to get naked in Thailand, but was the dedicated effort on the part of Patty and Golf to create a naturist destination aligned with top shelf hospitality industry standards. When it comes to naturist hotels, WORLD-WIDE, I can count the options for excellent naturist hotels on less than two hands. It seems apparent to me that PeaceBlue is going to raise the bar not only for Asia, but for the entire planet.

Captain, My Captain!

“I’d like to go on nakation with all of the amenities of my lycra/nylon wearing friends. Do you know such a place where that might happen?”

“Why YES! I do! PeaceBlue Naturist Resort in Thailand. It’s about as good as it gets!”

Better book now while you can still get a reservation.


Naked in Thailand? Why YES!

I’ve always thought it a pity that regions of the world with perfect beaches and ideal climates are pretty much out of the running in the category of world class naturist destinations. When we travel, we do all we can to maintain a low profile as American tourists. (e.g., Observing local customs about nudity on the beach.) And thus, when a sanctioned naturist place does appear on the scene, we are eager to support such entrepreneurial efforts while finding an excuse to explore a corner of the planet we might not have found otherwise.

IMG_1887Don’t know that I would have ever found my way to Chiang Mai, Thailand had it not been for the allure of a little resort in a neighboring village called Oriental Village. As you will find on TripAdvisor, it’s located out amidst the rice fields – the spring burning of which contributes quite a lot to the hazy conditions that make it difficult at times to tell if the sun is shining. As that has been our experience throughout much of Asia, we found that neither surprising nor off putting, though I did find myself longing for the deep blue skies that appear in some of the photos.

IMG_7297The place is run by a quirky French fellow who apparently took over the property from the previous management that ran a textile resort there. The chalets are simple and well appointed, and we very much enjoyed the little restaurant on the premises that served simple local cuisine. We even booked a massage one day from a woman they bring in for their guests who was a bit more thorough (though not inappropriate) than I am accustomed to. Maybe the most enjoyable massage, ever…

IMG_1874The pool area is the centerpiece of the property, and while quite small, it was completely adequate for the ritual of sunbathing and soaking. In addition to a few Europeans, we were pleased to meet a couple Malaysian travelers who try to frequent this resort two or three times a year. As this was our midyear break, we found lounging by the pool to be our favorite activity, but we did manage to make it to the elephant reserve (a good distance away) and do a bit of exploring in the old city of Chiang Mai, which I find much more interesting and accessible than Bangkok.

IMG_7319I have been following the Naturist Association of Thailand for some time now, which lists several resorts scattered about this vast country, each of which emphasizes in one way or another that nudity must be confined to the space within the barriers of the resort – once again, not surprising given the very strict laws about nudity on beaches and such. That said, I was delighted to discover a new resort that has recently popped up near Phuket that appears (by their website, and the first round of Trip Advisor reports) to be a lovely facility. Had we known The Lemon Tree had existed during our recent visit last April we would have stopped in for sure. Another reason to go back.

Lemon Tree - New resort in Phuket

Lemon Tree – New resort in Phuket

Would I return to Oriental Village near Chiang Mai? You bet. We find the perfect naturist vacation is one that provides an opportunity to explore and experience another corner of the planet, while affording a place to get naked at the end of the day. I can only hope that these trend setting proprietors of naturist resorts in Thailand will open the gates for other creative naturist solutions in Southeast Asia, where the sun is shining while much of the northern hemisphere lies under a blanket of snow.

IMG_7304One more thing… next time we go, we will rent a car, though that requires driving on what we consider to be the wrong side of the road. I was even more concerned about the prospect of road signs written with indecipherable diacritical markings that would leave me “unnaked and afraid.” But alas, nearly all the important road signs are in English as well, and my phone GPS worked like a charm.

So there it is. Go to Asia and get naked. These little places need our naked support, and we naked people need nice places to stay. This is a trend that I hope to see pick up momentum in the coming months and years.

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Naked at the far corners of the earth

I began my naturist blog just over three years, and 300,000 hits ago. You can find my original post here written as we were preparing for an epic naturist journey across Europe, or my original splash page here, where I muse a bit about my philosophy of naturism.

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Playa Sonrisa, Mexico

Life has been good to us. We both (my wife and I) have careers that alternate between periods of great intensity along with opportunities throughout the year to avail ourselves to world travel. Our children are grown and on their own (though they still join us now and again on our naturist adventures), and we are fortunate to conjure up enough cash for a plane ticket now and again to an exotic destination. As I write this, we are at a small naturist resort in northern Thailand that is a haven of peace and serenity – finally, a chance to catch up on my blog.

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Colina do Sol, Brazil

What had not occurred to me when we first began seeking out naturist places – though it seems like a no-brainer when you stop to think about it – is that most naturist destinations are well hidden. (Especially those outside of Europe.) The extraordinary bi-product of that is the places you see and the people you meet. A week long stay at Playa Sonrisa near the Belize border of the Mexican Yucatan peninsula afforded us a day trip to Mayan ruins and a one-hour boat ride to the island village of San Pedro. Seeking out a naturist place in South Africa led us to a stay on a farm that has been in the family for several generations with a gregarious guy named Piet who took us on our own personal safari. And forging our way through the hills of southern Brazil led us to a village designed to be a naturist utopia nestled amidst giant iguanas and lush jungle foliage. Real places. Real people. Real stories. Places we would have never found had we not been looking for a warm, safe haven to escape the harsh winters of the Northeast. Not to mention oh so many fabulous places in Spain, France, Croatia, and Greece where one can exploit the most stunning of long naked summer days.

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Harmony Nature Farm, South Africa

Blogging takes time. But I find a sense of rejuvenation in writing about our travels, hoping in the last place to accomplish two things: to provide real information about real naturist places and real naturist people in an effort to convey that naturism and the people who love it is not the stuff of sensationalist tabloid news; and secondly, to encourage those with an adventurous spirit to seek out and patronize naturist places so they will continue to thrive and multiply.

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Praia do Pinho, Brazil

Thanks for reading my blog. In the coming months, I will be posting several new stories and reports about some of our sweetest finds in the naturist world. If you know of a place we should add to our list, leave a comment or send me an email. Life is too short to miss a good opportunity to get naked!


 

OUR TOP PICKS FOR GETTING NAKED

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Oriental Village, Chiang Mai – Thailand