When our speedboat arrived at the dock of Naka Island that morning, they greeted us in Thai with their palms pressed flat together at their chest, heads bowed, and the friendliest smiles on their face. “Sodi-kaaaa!” They were picking us up on golf carts and one of them had just backed into a fire extinguisher that hung on one of the pillars of the dock. The female driver squealed as the others rambled something to her in native language.
We made our first stop at the “entrance of the island” where a large Thai gong hung. Each guest was to hit the gong twice then make a wish, a Thai tradition performed upon arrival and departure of the island. For the new year of 2012, I secretly wished for an engagement ring and a puppy.
At the entrance of the resort stood a gold deity, known as Lord Brahma, with four faces and eight hands to ward off evil spirits. He is the god of creation, mercy and benevolence. The locals had already draped their deity with offerings.
The 67 villas of the Naka Resort reflected the island’s natural beauty with simple and organic décor. In our villa, a soft white canopy bed overlooked our private infinity pool, which overlooked the beach below. The engraved stone with open eyes and closed eyes was our “Do Not Disturb Sign”. What a sanctuary.
Behind the enclosed bedroom was an outdoor bath area including the closet, bathtub, shower, a separate steam room, lots of geckos, snails, and something that sounded like a laughing hyena.
At night the maid would light incense and candles in the bathroom to keep the mosquitoes away. Lemongrass spray bottles were readily available throughout the resort for guests to use freely day and night. By the end of our stay in Thailand, we never wanted to eat or smell lemongrass again.
That afternoon we talked about Argentina and how South America is one of our dream destinations. It’s funny how no matter where we are, we are always dreaming about the other side of the world once more.
When the sun was setting we hid from the mosquitoes in our villa and listened to the cicadas sing. In the days to come, I found myself listening to them in the morning, around noon, and sunset. That night after they stopped singing, a light breeze filled the air and kept the hungry mosquitoes away, allowing us to be invited out into the warm night.
As the sun rose the next morning and the cicadas had sung their song, I went outside and connected with myself and my surroundings during my yoga practice. After breakfast, we decided to explore the local fishing village that shared the cozy private island with us. The other guests were enjoying their private villas or the resort pool.
We knew we were officially out of the resort when the bike path turned into a rugged dirt path with puddles and large rocks. The locals lived in these humble bungalows and watched us with friendly eyes. They sold food amongst each other and hung sheets of rubber on a line like laundry. We saw a man harvesting rubber from the rows and rows of tall rubber trees that shaded our path. Lots of cats, chickens, and roosters roamed freely around the village.
We rode our bikes out onto the dock where the shallow water revealed hundreds of sea cucumbers. These little sea creatures are used as medicine and known to be an aphrodisiac.
Back at the resort, we spoiled ourselves with an amazing spa treatment where we were given a jasmine body scrub outside and our massage inside. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for was how the masseuse had no problem taking my towel off of me under broad daylight.
For the rest of the day we enjoyed the pool, the drinks, and peacefulness of the resort. That night the main restaurant had live Thai entertainment. At the end of dinner we made a wish and lit our floating lotus to welcome the coming year.
We left Naka Island feeling refreshed, peaceful, and wanting nothing more than to stay one more night or at least take the bed back with us.