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April 23, 2009

Wild Child

You spent Christmas Eve at Drop. Valentine’s at Volar. Your Easter holiday had no less than three 5am finishes followed by a hunt, not for coloured eggs, but for the greasiest late-night hot dogs and burgers in town. And you’re about one vodka shot away from being crowned an honorary Russian Czarina. Enough is enough, we’re having an intervention and sending you as far away from civilization as possible. Cancel your table at Dragon-I for this weekend and get ready for a whole different kind of wild. . .

Pranburi, Thailand – X2 Kui Buri
A three-hour drive from the frenetic city of Bangkok, lies the X2 Kui Buri, where the pace (and your heart rate!) slows, almost to a stop. The end of the journey bounces you down winding dirt paths until you arrive at this, awe-inspiring ultra-modern Design Hotel, situated on eight acres overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Your room will be one of 23 private villas with plunge pools decked out in modern furnishings and outfitted with the latest technology. Book a weekend getaway package (ridiculously amazing value) and you will be fed morning, noon and night with Western and Thai a la carte options, massaged to a pulp in the tiny spa and even treated to a cooking class with the resort’s chef. If you want to venture outside the property, you can explore the surrounding village life by bicycle, try the local food stalls, check out the nearby temples or hit the high seas on a snorkeling or diving excursion. But if it’s just a peaceful getaway you’re looking for, all you need to do is pick up your beach read, flip flop over to one of the plush poolside couches and while the afternoon away. (+663 260 1412)

Pangkor Laut, Malaysia – Pangkor Laut Resort
If you’re searching for seclusion in the form of 300 acres of idyllic island bliss, look no further than Pangkor Laut. A privately owned island located three miles off the West Coast of Malaysia along the Straits of Malacca, this gem is nestled in a luscious rain forest surrounded by emerald green water and white sandy beaches. Start your day off with a feast fit for a king at breakfast including homemade curries and Malaysian specialties. Embark on a jungle tour where the charming guides are a fountain of knowledge for anything flora and fauna as well as the history of the island. If you’re having a high energy day, spend the afternoon testing out any one of their water sport activities, or if you’re in the mood to kick back and take in the good life, enjoy a sail on Impian, their 36-foot sports sailing yacht which will take you to a quiet beach where you can indulge in a private barbeque lunch. Alternatively, you can resign yourself to a day of complete pampering at their sumptuous spa, which promotes the healing cultures of the region. You’ll feel like you’re on a castaway island. . . only with fantastic food and big fluffy pillows! (+603 2783 1000)

Kep, Cambodia – Knai Bang Chatt
You’ve temple-hopped in Siem Reap and soaked up the history in Phnom Penh, but did you know that Cambodia has a beach? Once known as the Riviera of Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s coastline is slowly being re-stored to it’s mid 20th century heyday. The area’s first seaside boutique hotel is the enchanting Knai Bang Chatt. Located three hours by car from Phnom Penh, the 11-rooms spread among three art deco villas, are a bit rustic, but the chance to see a bit of authentic Khmer life makes it all worth it. The hotel’s gracious French manager, Stephane, (who speaks perfect Khmer) will act as your personal concierge, organizing just the right meals, excursions and activities to suit your tastes and desires. Travel by tuk-tuk on dirt roads through lush plantations and tiny villages until you reach a hidden temple in a cave, which has been there since the 6th century. . . without another tourist in sight! Take a day trip to nearby Rabbit Island, where a Cambodian grandma will cook you up the best Chili Crab you’ve ever tasted. In the evenings, enjoy cocktails at the hotel’s seaside chic sailing club followed by a candle-lit dinner under a sky full of stars. Angkor-what? (+855 (0)12 879 486)

Phu Quoc, Vietnam – La Veranda Resort & Spa
Phu Quoc will soon be on the tips of tongues throughout Asia as the beach destination of the moment, with many boutique hotels already in the planning. Until then, it will be whispered in hushed tones among the in-the-know, wanting to keep this paradise all to themselves for as long as humanly possible. Set beyond the island’s rainforests, in the center of a 12-mile stretch of palm fringed white sand beaches is the lovely and enchanting La Veranda Resort & Spa. Colonial charm abounds at this intimate resort surrounded by manicured lawns and tropical gardens filled with jasmine, frangipani, bougainvillea, and birds-of-paradise. Swim in the bath-tub warm crystal clear waters or indulge in a few hours of pampering at the property’s quaint spa, where the prices will make you feel almost as good as the treatments! For dinner, kick back and relax with a barbeque on the lawn (don’t miss the island’s famous grilled squid). But in the morning, we recommend walking barefoot in the sand to a neighboring beach restaurant for freshly made banana pancakes unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. If you wanted a taste of remote island life, we think you’ve found your personal paradise. . . (+84 77 3982 988)

Your ears haven’t heard the pulsing beat of techno for over 48 hours, your feet haven’t been crunched into stilettos for days, and the closest you’ve come to a cocktail is a mixture of fresh juices from the jungle. Child, it looks like you’ve gone from wild to mild!

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