Koh Kood: Beyond Buddhas In Thailand
Business Traveler|July - August 2019

This distant island resort delivers Robinson Crusoe seclusion, service by Fridays and tea in the trees

Jark Gould

Thailand is not an easy trot from the US. It takes strong intention and a lot of patience to sit in a plane for the 15- to 18-hour trek to this land of smiles. Yet, Americans are coming – in droves. More than a million Americans will visit Thailand this year as part of the expected 40 million international visitors the country anticipates in 2019.

Most of those visitors will head to well-trod touristy destinations: the beaches of Phuket, the jungles of Chiang Rai covering Thailand’s northern tip around the Golden Triangle, the sophisticated and artful secondary city of Chiang Mai and maybe the party island of Koh Samui.

Naturally, a day or two in Bangkok is on the list with its six-star hotels and five-star shopping malls, but most visitors will venture forth toward the soft sand beaches and raw natural beauty Thailand offers to shake off urban stresses and steep in the slow life for as long as their time will allow.

Business travelers trying to wedge in some leisure time between meetings and pit stops might want to go a little farther afield to escape the crowds and Instagrammers flocking to the country’s many stunning temples and UN- ESCO World Heritage sites. For that “deserted island” effect, the choice would be the rustic luxury that awaits at Soneva Kiri resort on the island of Koh Kood.

An outreach of land in the Gulf of Thailand that edges up to Cambodia along the country’s southeastern borders, Thailand’s fourth largest and least-populated island is home to maybe 2,000 people. This protrusion of wildland mass is so remote that the staff at this 34-key resort are referred to as “Fridays.” It does not matter who it is or what their position, Friday will be the name.

FAR & AWAY

The Crusoe-style adventure will start at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok where a private,eight-seater Cessna Caravan aircraft takes guests on a scenic hour-long flight to an adjacent island. The island’s dirt landing strip offers a clean and stylish open-air bathroom, an open waiting room with a few seats, even a security portal of sorts for enplaning guests.

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