Where Ocean Fringe meets Opulent Island Life – we visit the secluded Thai isle of Koh Kod.

Home to super soft sands, coconut palms, untamed jungle and crystal clear waters, Koh Kod is an unspoiled island far beyond Thailand’s tourist trail. With fishing being the largest trade, Koh Kod takes a step back in time offering a haven of little traffic – be it cars, tuk tuks or tourists. Dubbed as one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand, the paradise pearl is also one of the least developed places in the country, resembling the likes of Phuket and Koh Samui back in the 70s.

Unlike its larger neighbour Ko Chang, Koh Kut (as it is sometimes referred to) offers a place to forget about thoughts of nightlife or noise. A sanctuary for seclusion-seekers, holidaying in Koh Kod is all about reading a book from the comfort of your hammock, kayaking from sandy beach to shore and exploring the vibrant sea life. Offering the best of both worlds, the centre of the island offers a mix of impenetrable jungle and rubber plantation interspersed with waterfalls, the most famous of which is Klong Chao in the centre of the west coast. There are also many beautiful beaches to explore from Bang Bao, a picture perfect horseshoe shaped bay with great snorkelling to North Beach, home to the super snazzy Soneva Kiri. Offering an unrivalled blend of indulgence, environmentally friendly design and unforgettable, authentic Thai experiences, this is barefoot luxury at its best.

A short 90 minute flight on the resort’s private plane, direct from Suvarnabhumi Airport, or alternatively by domestic flight from Bangkok to Trat, followed by a short boat ride to Koh Kod, Soneva Kiri is home to 34 ultra-spacious pool villas, ranging in size from one to six bedrooms, all offering the highest standard of luxury and privacy. All villas feature beautifully designed interiors made from sustainable materials, and have been carefully designed to blend seamlessly into the island’s incredible natural beauty. There are many things to love about these idyllic hideaways – from the Butler service and open-air bathrooms to the extensive and impressive views and personal buggies, every detail has been considered to provide a one-of-a-kind experience.

With a ‘no news, no shoes’ policy, there are several things that turn a trip to Soneva Kiri into something out of the ordinary. A key philosophy of the Soneva group is the Slowlife (sustainable, local, organic, wellness, learning, inspired, fun, experiences) approach, something that is visible throughout this island retreat. Recycling waste, conserving water, preserving local environments (particularly fragile marine ecosystems), growing organic food and buying produce from local farmers and fishermen is all part of daily life – they also have a ‘Waste-to-Wealth’ center that transforms used articles and materials at the resort into recycled treasure – as the motto goes, one mans trash is another mans treasure.

Those who love food will be far from disappointed with the variety at Soneva Kiri. Helmed by respected chef Khun Benz, the most famous restaurant is Benz’s, a lantern-lit Thai eatery on stilts reached only via speedboat through the idyllic mangroves. With a ‘no-menu’ dining concept, Chef Benz’ vast selection of Thai dishes is inspired by ingredients produced or caught on Koh Kod or the nearby Koh Chang. Equally as impressive, The View offers modern bistro cooking with locally- sourced ingredients prepared using Western cooking techniques whilst The Dining Room, the all-day dining eatery, offers innovative Thai and Mediterranean cuisine.

Got a head for heights? Book Treepod Dining, a bamboo pod raised six metres in the air, gazing down on the rainforest and waves. There are also four special Sonvea ‘SO’ experiences to enjoy. Whilst ‘So Spirited’ offers destination dining on a whole new level, ‘So Chilled’ provides the perfect retreat for an afternoon ice cream. A chocolate lover’s paradise, ‘So Chocoholic’ offers the best in chocolate in all form – from mousses, cookies, drinks, bon-bons and truffles, here all sweet tooth’s will be satisfied. If savory is more your style, then head to ‘So Deli-cious’ for some of the finest cheeses and cold cuts from around the world.

Within the confines of Soneva Kiri there is plenty to keep you occupied. The Six Senses Spa, specialising in locally inspired treatments, is hidden away in the jungle offering the opportunity to relax as well as indulge in yoga, Pilates, meditation and t’ai chi classes. The luxury escape also offers a variety of nature-inspired experiences catering to every kind of traveller. From snorkeling the Koh Rang reef and star gazing to nature walks along the island’s trails and quests to seek the 100 species of butterflies that live on the island – there is so much to see and explore at Soneva Kiri.

If that isn’t enough to make this a holiday of a lifetime, then check into Cinema Paradiso under the stars, try your hand at one of Benz’s cooking classes or visit Mushroom Cave, a unique private dining experience that features a menu specially designed around the resort-grown mushrooms.

A world away from the everyday, embrace island life and Soneva Kiri’s ‘no news, no shoes’ lifestyle.