Oct 29 2012
Tenta Nakara on Naka Yai Island is a resort that truly earns its ‘eco’ badge. Found just 15 minutes by boat off the east coast of Phuket, Tenta Nakara has 16 tents set in a serene jungle-meets-the-beach setting.
Open since 2008, the resort occupies a stretch of white-sand beach on Naka Yai’s east side, with views across Phang Nga Bay and its towering karst islands. Ko Naka is a popular daytrip destination but the throngs of speedboats that descend upon the island bypass Tenta’s beach.
Tenta’s large screened tents sit on raised platforms, handy for keeping the jungle creatures out, and are topped by thatch roof covers. There’s a choice of one- or two-bedroom tents, and prices vary depending on the views. The two-bedroom tents, impressively, have two bathrooms and a heavy canvas divider can be drawn for added privacy between the rooms. The bathrooms are partially open to the sky and are well designed with earth-toned walls, glass basins and a mini-garden with cherubic statues. Hand-crafted wooden furniture and a large wooden deck stretching across the front make this indeed a luxury tent and a comfy place to swing a hammock. The beds are all king-sized, and bedding, bathroom towels, toiletries and drinking water are provided.
There’s no mains electricity here, but the restaurant is powered by generator for four hours a day from 18:00 till 22:00, a time when gadget-starved guests flock to the restaurant to recharge their phones and prop up their iPads and laptops for a furious, free WiFi session.
The only source of light in the tents at night is from kerosene lanterns provided by the resort. We wish we’d brought some torches, since the lanterns make the rooms a bit hot and stuffy. There are some battery-operated fans available, too.
The rustic, open-air restaurant has a decent menu with a mix of Western and Thai food, beer and cocktails. It’s a bit overpriced for what you get, but reasonably good. There are no other dining choices here and keeping food in your tent is not permitted as a critter-prevention measure.
One of the striking things about dining here is the total absence of plastic – no drinking straws, no plastic water bottles. This is one of the many ecologically-conscious aspects at Tenta, in addition to its “green” waste management system and beach clean-up activities. When swimming or walking beyond the resort’s boundaries, you quickly appreciate the Tenta team’s work keeping its beach clean since, sadly, other beaches have a lot of trash build-up. As one of the quirky signs in the restaurant says, “No Plastic Fantastic.”
Naka Yai island is small enough to walk across within an hour or so. The only other resort on the island is The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa – a swish five-star resort on the northwestern side. A small Muslim fishing village sits on the west coast of the island facing Phuket, reached by boat or by taking one of the footpaths that crisscross the island. There are no roads.
The resort rents out kayaks, and there’s a hut on the beach for massage treatments. Tenta Nakara’s not a place to come for nightlife excitement, but for couples or families it’s a restful, back-to-nature escape.
Prices start at 1,400 baht per night for a one-bedroom garden and sea view tent from April through September (low season) to a peak-season rate of 4,800 baht per night for a two-bedroom “VIP” tent.
Tenta Nakara is reached by taking a longtail boat from Ao Por pier on Phuket’s northeast coast, about 20 kilometres from Phuket International Airport. Hiring a boat for the 15-minute trip costs 700 baht each way, or guests may arrange to be transferred by the resort’s eight-passenger longtail boat at a charge of 600 baht each way. Be sure to schedule your arrival and departure times around high tide, since boats are unable to reach the beach at low tide.
Tenta Nakara Resort
31/1 Moo. 5, Paklok, Thalang, Phuket
T: (02) 512 4640, (081) 398 6515
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