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Glorious one day, great the next. And always beautiful. That's Yanui

Beaches: Beauty Beyond Price at Yanui

Sunday, February 10, 2008
THERE'S a tiny strip of sand and rocks to the south of the island, and outside of high season, it is sometimes lashed by wind and rain.

Of all the beaches on Phuket, Yanui is the place to be when the waves are up and the wind is churning the air.

Fishermen brave the rocks, green headlands tumble nearby, and people come to look out over the turbulent ocean.

It's not safe to go in too far, but the thoughts in your head can swim as far as they wish.

Bracing days at Yanui are one of the island's great green season secrets.

Fifteen minutes here clears the head and gets the pulse racing. Life is good again.

During the high season, with the sun bright and shining, Yanui is as blissful as a beach can be.

It's a hard place to leave, as Aunt Mae knows only too well. Her full name is Somsong Chue-Poo.

Although she is 55 now, her memory of way back when she was 19 and single is as fresh as the breeze.

Raised just over the hill in Laem Promthep, she fell for the good-looking guy in what is virtually the next Phuket suburb.

And she's been here ever since, for many years seldom venturing far, as she raised two sons, who in turn also settled right here.

There are three grandchildren, all girls, and they are often to be found not far from their grandmother's side.

Aunt Mae is amply proportioned now, usually swathed in a sarong like a South Sea island princess about to burst into song, and almost always cooking.

The ingredients that go in to her kitchen are mostly fresh and local, and the dishes that come out of her kitchen are so good that they are frequently intended for sale at other local eateries.

That's because Aunt Mae's culinary skills are widely appreciated. Or, to put it in a more meaningful way, anything she touches is great to eat.

She's mother to her kin, and mother to Yanui. Having married into the family that owns the land behind the beach, she has seen little change in 30 years.

And if Aunt Mae has her say, that's the way Yanui will stay.

She and her husband have not been tempted by the high prices for glorious beachfront lots, lots a lot less lovable than this one.

And let's face it, you have to hope that Aunt Mae's attitude never changes, or Phuket will be destined to go the same way as most of the Mediterranean and other overbuilt coastlines.

"I prefer to stay here," says Aunt Mae. "If we sold, where would we go? How could I move? I might end up with bad neighbours."

There's a timber and thatch restaurant close to the beach that opens in the high season and a larger eating area on the other side of the road, backed by bungalows.

From April to October, not much moves at Yanui. The great thing is that anyone who drives too fast only has to blink to miss it. Only people in the slow lane stop to take a look.

The tsunami is still a vivid memory. A house right on the beach was destroyed, and two women died there.

One woman, alone and uncertain about what was happening, called a friend for help.

The friend came as fast as she could, and they perished together.

Yanui, often wild and windswept, is their enduring memorial now.


Aunt Mae says it took a long time after the tsunami before the vegetables grew again in the salted earth. Even several large trees did not survive.

Since 2004, she has ventured a bit wider afield, to Krabi for a start. Then in early 2007, a couple of her favorite guests at the bungalows invited her to go with them to Australia.

How could she refuse? She loved it.

But Yanui? That's home.

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Monday October 18, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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