Off the east coast of Thailand's Phuket Island—dubbed the "Pearl of the South"—stands The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa. Overlooking the Phang Nga Bay on Koh Siray, the resort sits atop its own small island, basking in the warm glow and cool breezes of the Andaman Sea.
Thailand's largest island at 540 square kilometers and connected to Siray Island by a bridge, Phuket is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Separated from the country's mainland by a narrow sea channel, this island features more geographic variations than on any other Thai island: long, beautiful beaches, rocky coast lines and large limestone cliffs facing the ocean, and hills and lush level areas brimming with tropical plant life of all varieties. With its white sand, salt water lagoons, lush coconut groves, and undisturbed forests of palm trees, Phuket enchants everyone who visits.
Hundreds of smaller islands are accessible by watercraft from the resort, many of them forested and fringed with spectacular coral reefs. The most beloved—Koh Phi Phi, the Surin, and the Similan island—are coveted destinations for sailing, diving, snorkeling, golfing, and sunbathing. Koh Siray is home to a traditional Chao Lay (sea gypsy) village.
On Phuket Island, the southern Laem Prom Thep is a favored spot for watching legendary sunsets. With stretches of glittering sand and rocky outcroppings at either end, Laem Singh Beach is particularly popular among snorkelers and sunbathers in search of a little solitude. For animal lovers, great options include the sea turtle exhibit at the Phuket Marine Biological Research Center in Laem Panwa, or the Phuket Gibbon Rehabilitation Center in Thalang, which cares for gibbons that have been kept in captivity as they are prepared for their eventual release back into the wild.
The warm tropical climate of Koh Siray is best enjoyed in smart casual attire. Shorts and tank tops are not appropriate for religious sites, but are completely welcome in the resort and on the beach. Most residents of Phuket speak a degree of English and, in gracious Thai fashion, will go out of their way to help visitors. The currency is the Thai Baht (THB), and the electrical standard is 220V.