If you would like a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, Phuket Thailand is a wonderful place to visit. Only about 2 hours flight from Singapore, Phuket is a good mix of nature and modern life. I truly loved Phuket and learnt about myself through the adventures in this lovely place (lessons learnt here).
Phuket has been increasingly popular these past few years and sometimes, partying and crowds may not be right up your alley. I discovered Santhiya Resorts Koh Yao Yai last year and was immediately drawn to their traditional wooden interiors and free recreational classes. It also caught my attention as it is on Koh Yao Yai, an island that isn’t very crowded as compared to the main land of Phuket.
(and in case you’re wondering, this is not a sponsored post! I just really love this place and I want to share it with you!)
Santhiya Koh Yao Yai is really beautiful and peaceful. There are private villas and deluxe rooms (which is the one I always pick). Facing the sea, the view from the rooms is just spectacular. There are a few restaurants to choose from and 2 swimming pools (one in the main area with sun tanning beds and another infinity pool up the hill). It is a large compound and to get to the main area where the restaurants and facilities are, there are wooden cars to bring you to and fro. The hill is quite steep so the wooden cars are extremely useful!
Advantages of the resort
The rooms here at Santhiya are so beautiful. I chose the supreme deluxe double room with sea view (rates do differ depending on high/low season). I paid about S$100 a night for a superior room (including taxes) for my recent trip here in Mid July, which was a really good deal! I’ve seen the prices go up to S$300 per night before.
The room has a king sized canopy bed which is super comfy. There are also two big day beds(one in the room and the other in the balcony). The balcony is to die for. The view is spectacular, once again. There is also a bath tub where you can soak and admire the stunning scenery. If bathing in the open isn’t your thing (I did get assaulted by a flying insect once), there is a standing shower in the toilet inside the room.
The room also has 2 wardrobes with robes and bathroom slippers, a fridge, hot water kettle, tv, USB music player/radio and a vanity.
Free recreational classes
I love a good retreat and while retreats can be pricey, Santhiya resort caught my eye as they provide free Yoga and Muay Thai recreational classes everyday! For me, this was the greatest selling point. I’ve personally been searching for muay thai or yoga retreats, and this resort provided me with both. This is much more affordable than booking a retreat specifically!
There are Muay Thai beginner and intermediate classes. I would usually go for both as why not? The beginner class teaches the basic punches and kicks, and there will be a round of padwork. The intermediate class usually covers defensive techniques as well as more intense padwork. It is fun and they do have about 5 bags so it isn’t too squeezed.
The yoga classes take place thrice a day. However, do note that when I went back for my second trip recently, they replaced the yoga classes with stretch. It is still pretty similar to yoga, but the moves are less asana based. It is still great as I felt my body loosen up and prepped for the day.
I would usually do the 7am yoga/stretch class, 8am beginner muay thai and 1pm intermediate muay thai.
The other amazing point about Santhiya Resorts is their breakfast buffet. My goodness. It. Is. Good.
I always look forward to their breakfast (7am – 10.30am) after my beginner muay thai class. They have everything from different kinds of bread, bacon (so good!), pancakes, waffles and an assorted for hot food such as fried rice and noodles. They also have 2 egg stations – one for omelettes etc, and the other for poached eggs and eggs benedict. There is a little fridge at the side with salads and smoked meats with cheese. I usually head there to top my eggs benedict with some smoked salmon. So delicious. You can also order coffee of your choice from the counter, and my go to is a classic latte.
The resort also has 2 gyms. One in the recreational center with the muay thai classes and library, and the other right below the breakfast restaurant up the hill. It is sufficient and well equipped with some machines and a dumbbell rack. However, there aren’t any smith machines or barbells.
Free Sea Sports
You can also rent a kayak or paddle board for free at the beach! It is free for the first 30 minutes. Paddle boarding is certainly challenging yet fun! It was a struggle to stand up, but enjoyable once you get the hang of it.
Disadvantages of the resort
Not the clearest water at the beach
While there is a beach right at the front of the resort, the water isn’t the cleanest. Don’t expect crystal clear waters like in Bali! I noticed that the water in the Thailand isn’t the clearest (except maybe areas like phi phi) and even though Koh Yao Yai is an island away from phuket, the debris and rubbish does get swept here.
Food options can be limited and pricey
There aren’t many other food places available besides those at the resort itself or the seafood place just along the beach. The price of the food in the resort can be quite expensive, so do come prepared to fork out about 300-700 baht for a decent meal. I did try a plate of Phad Thai at the seafood restaurant by the beach (2 mins walk from the resort) and it was 170 baht. However, it wasn’t great.
Day trips to other islands are quite expensive
If you’re planning to visit the neighbouring islands such as Phi Phi, do note that the trips offered by Santhiya aren’t cheap (about 3000 baht). Then again, these are tours organised by the resort itself and they may be more luxurious than the typical ones you book via booths on the street. If you’re tight on budget, I strongly suggest visiting the islands when you’re at Phuket before arriving at Santhiya. I wanted to do this Phi Phi Tour from Phuket on Klook, but I didn’t have time this time!
The resort area is huge
You may think, why is that a disadvantage? As the resort is huge (there are 6 main hotels and numerous villas!) and the amenities are spread out, the way to get around is to hop on their provided wooden cars. There are 3 different lines, so do look closely before hopping on! In general, I lived in Hotel 2 and 4 before, and all 3 lines get me to the main area. These wooden cars are extremely useful as the roads are not very well paved and steep, so it saves you a lot of energy! However, they can take a while sometimes and it is just something you need to consider if you’re in a rush. It also means that you can’t really do a quick leisure walk from one place to another (unless you’re up for the challenge as the slopes are steep!).
Getting a sim card
Even though the wifi all around is quite strong, I had some issues connecting to it sometimes. Thus, I would recommend getting yourself a sim card if you’re worried about that. A sim card would also be great if you are planning to explore the island itself. I got mine at a really affordable price from Klook (it was also cheaper than the prices offered at the airport), which was great and finding the DTAC store in the airport was easy peasy.
Walk along the beach
If you’re tired of hanging around the resort itself, I would suggest venturing out a little via the beach. Walk along the beach and you can try the seafood restaurants that are about 2 mins walk away. There is also fruit stall and roti/pancake stall (I love the banana nutella pancakes!) and a mini convenience store.
Refill your reusable water bottles using the water dispensers in the fitness centers/gyms
They do provide 4 new bottles of water per day but if you’re like me, that’s not enough as it is extremely hot and I went for the fitness classes. I would recommend bringing along your own reusable bottles and refilling them at the fitness centres. There is one at both fitness gyms and another at the Muay Thai area.
Book your massage when you check in
The massages at the resort spa isn’t the most affordable (It’s about THB 2700 for 90 mins before tax). However, they did provide us with a one for one promotion during check in. We decided to go for the Santhiya signature massage, which was really good. The price, with the one for one promotion, is still more affordable than what we normally get here in Singapore so it was well worth it.
Walk along the beach for a beach massage at 350 baht
If a massage at the resort is way out of your budget, try walking along the beach. There is a little hut near one of the other resorts and you can get an hour’s worth of thai massage at 350 baht. It was not bad from what I remembered! There is also another massage hut located in the village area (keep walking along the road from the fruit stall!).
Get them eggs
There are 2 egg counters during the breakfast buffet. One for omelettes and the other at the end for poached eggs and eggs benedict (usually with a shorter queue as people don’t really realise it!). Once you got your eggs ben, go get some smoked salmon (from the cooler near the cereal and salad section) to put on top of them! Thank me later.
Try the buffet
The buffet at the Chantara restaurant (nearest to the check in/out offices) is great for the price! It was about 550 baht. The selection is quite wide and the green curry is absolutely delicious!
Book a reservation at Jetinn Teppan at Pier at 6pm
If you’re up for an amazing and unobstructed view of the sunset in the evening, the pier is where it is at. While you can walk up the pier to see the view from free, why not laze around and get yourself some teppanyaki while waiting? As the sun sets around 6.15pm ish, we booked a table at Jetinn Teppan at Pier and it was amazing. The view from our little table on the pier was truly breathtaking! I also recommend trying the scallops (150 baht). They were delicious!
Rent a motorbike to explore the island
As we walked around the beach and the area around Santhiya, we saw some motorcycle rental shops. The rate is about 250 baht per day, if you’re interested in renting one to explore the island! I can’t ride, but I would have loved to. Maybe one day!
That’s it for me for now! I truly love the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai resort and I am so glad that I visited it (I first found out about it through Lost Leblanc). I hope that you would fall in love with it too. I definitely have plans to visit again.
What are your thoughts of this resort? Will you plan to visit Santhiya soon?