Paradise is not meant to be easy to reach and just off the southern tip of Myanmar, lies the Wa Ale Island Resort, a gem among the over 800 islands comprising the Mergui Archipelago. These rainforest drops in the sparkling Andaman sea are untouched by modern civilisation and major aviation routes, hence the limestone and granite rich lands and be described in a word – pristine.
The islands of the Mergui Archipelago enjoys an immense lack of infrastructure, making the gorgeously natural islands virtually inaccessible to tourists and curious natives. With access only by chartered boat, these remote, untouched islands create the kind of exclusivity that high net worth types would enjoy. Hence, the Wa Ale Island luxury resort, located within the archipelago’s Lampi Marine National Park, fits the definition as the ultimate island escape.
“Wa Ale is exclusive and untouched, and will remain so because the resort and Lampi Island are under the control of the Myanmar Forestry Department,” – Christopher Kingsley, Wa Ale Island Resort co-founder
Hidden within a cove, shielded by forest and other natural barriers, the intimate Wa Ale island retreat is Myanmar’s first high end luxury resort overlooking the majestic Andaman sea and the island’s neighbouring, awe-inspiring granite formations.
The pinnacle of eco-chic, the Wa Ale island resort comprising 11 luxurious tented beach villas and 3 treetop villas are designed and developed to enhance the natural, unspoiled beauty of its lush environment. Best experienced barefoot, Christopher Kingsley, Co-Founder of Wa Ale Island resort is not planning to turn the area into another Phuket or Maldives, saying, “It will never be overbuilt, even if the rest of the archipelago is. We would rather see less tourism and keep the beauty of the area pristine.”
Using a variety of reclaimed natural wood, and decorated with stylish bamboo furniture, quirky villa interiors are matched by unblocked ocean views, sensual outdoor showers and private decks in all villas. Guests looking for direct beach access and larger living areas for a more communal family experience can choose these Tented Beach Villas. For couples and romantic getaways, there’s always the more private settings of the thatched Treetop Villas.
Myanmar’s Wa Ale is the World’s Most Exclusive Resort
I thought Alila Manggis was exclusive and remote but Myanmar’s Wa Ale island is probably the world’s most exclusive. You can only get to the island through specialised, authorised travel arrangements made with the resort; so other than natural beauty, there will only be a total of 28 guests at any one of time to share 38 square kilometres of lands untouched by man and pollution.
The ASEAN Marine Heritage Park is home to a burgeoning population of animal species – in fact, strap on a waterproof Go-Pro and go swim, dive, surf and snorkel amongst whale sharks, dolphins, dugongs, turtles and manta rays. If the hallmarks of island living are not your thing, put on your jungle boots and hop on a kayak and paddle to explore the island’s mangrove forests, stop in a clearing or two and then trek through the jungle experience exotic wildlife like gibbons, macaques, pangolin, and numerous bird spices.
“Wa Ale” in the Moken tongue meaning “center island”, is under the protection of the Lampi Foundation, created to help local authorities in conservation and social efforts. The resort is itself constructed using reclaimed and local materials; Concordantly, each of Wa Ale’s 14 villas have been constructed by local craftsmen to have minimal impact on the environment whilst providing luxurious comfort.
The definition of Eco-chic
“We are all about giving back to nature and the local fishing communities. We would like the world to understand that supporting us supports this great conservation effort” – Christopher Kingsley
Not only is Wa Ale Island Resort donating 20% of annual net profits to the Lampi Foundation, it’s also giving 2% of its room revenue. Christopher and wife, Farina, have already seen some success in saving the native sea-turtle population nesting on Wa Ale. The locals were initially hunting the nests but when the Kingsley’s brought the Wildlife Conservation Society to the educate the community through videos and talks, conveying the provenance and importance of sea turtles in Myanmar’s history, the community has managed to rejuvenate the population of sea turtles across three years, to over 7,500 amphibians and over 30 nests each year. If the guests so wish, Wa Ale arranges night tours to observe the nesting process.
Farm to table, dining at Wa Ale is equal parts eco-socially-friendly as they are a culinary experience, fresh produce harvested from the resort’s own chef’s garden and fresh seafood caught daily from the Archipelago provide a nourishing Asian- and Mediterranean-inspired menu that changes daily.