Phulay bay charms

Updated: 2013-07-13 08:28

By Zhang Yu'an (China Daily)

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 Phulay bay charms

Phulay Bay combines nature and traditional Thai architecture seamlessly. Photos Provided to china Daily

Thailand is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese travelers, but if you are looking at escaping the crowds, opt for a seaside retreat. One of the better choices is probably Phulay Bay in Krabi, in southern Thailand.

Set on the shores of the Andaman Sea, Phulay Bay, the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve worldwide, is a striking 54-villa and pavilion boutique hotel offering views of the naturally rugged shoreline and iconic limestone karsts.

Thai for "where the mountains meet the sea", Phulay Bay is also another combination - that of nature and traditional Thai architecture. The resort makes use of existing vegetation as privacy screens throughout the grounds, according to Ana Gorjao Henriques, general manager of Phulay Bay, and is designed by renowned Thai architect Lek Bunnag.

The design philosophy is to create low-rise suites and villas with private panoramic views of the sea, the gardens and the karst landscape.

Opened in 2009, the resort receives guests mostly from Western countries, South Korea and Japan. But the demographics are changing.

"Guests from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong are now our 5th biggest source of business, with year-on-year growth of 28 percent compared to last year," says director of sales and marketing Roberta Pellacci.

She tells us that some rich Chinese, including both businessmen and celebrities, have flown in to Krabi by private jet in the past winter months, with such arrivals surpassing the Americans.

She attributes Phulay Bay's popularity to three main factors.

First, it has enhanced its presence in China with reinforced partnerships with key luxury agencies in the market. There is also an overall trend for Chinese vacationers to find alternative beach destinations outside China, but within a short flight away. The final reason is better awareness of the Ritz-Carlton brand in China.

Phulay Bay has many attractions such as the island-hopping experience that includes activities such as snorkeling, mountain biking, trekking and shopping.

Krabi itself is a destination that is family-friendly, yet exclusive enough not to be swamped.

Accessibility is another advantage.

Visitors to Phulay Bay can choose to come in either through Krabi or Phuket airports, and from Krabi Airport, it is only 40 minutes drive. Guest arriving from Phuket can either arrive via land or sea, with a two-hour drive or a one-hour transfer by speed boat. Or, they can opt for a helicopter ride in.

(China Daily 07/13/2013 page13)