Choose Luxury Pool Villas Over Hotels When Staying in Thailand
If you’ve decided that you’re going to make Thailand your next holiday destination this year, then you’re going to need a bit of help when deciding on where to stay. Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly no shortage of incredible places to stay, though there’s incredible, and then there’s perfection. Why not treat yourself to the latter and upgrade your holiday to an unforgettable life experience instead.
In this article we are going to explore a few different reasons why you should opt for staying in a luxury private pool villa resort this year, as opposed to going for a hotel. Now, it’s important to bear in mind that Thailand has some of the most wonderful hotels in the World.
I am not saying that you won’t have a good time if you are to settle for a hotel. All I am saying is that a luxury private pool villa resort is something else entirely.
Take it from someone who has truly been there, done that and got the Chang Beer Vest. I lived in Thailand for the best part of 3 years and have every intention of returning before the year is out.
I stayed in all-manner of accommodation, believe me – I know what I’m talking about when I say that Thailand luxury pool villas are simply to die for.
I’ve slept in a tiny beach hut on naught but a futon on the floor, with only a ragged mozzy net and a rickety floor fan to comfort me. And even then, I had the time of my life! So, you can imagine my elation the moment I set foot in one of the most beautiful and serene resorts I’d ever seen…
You Feel Extra Special
Whether you stay in a rickety hut, a 3-star hotel or the finest resort in Thailand; you’re going to receive excellent service, of that there is no doubt – that’s why they call it the land of smiles. Because of the unparalleled level of service that the Thai’s have to offer – yet another reason to choose Thailand for your next holiday destination.
But there is something different when staying in a luxury resort… you feel even more special. It’s not so much the extra treatment that you receive, but the fact that you’re not crowded in the one building. You’ve space to breathe and wonder in peace and quiet, something that you won’t be able to experience much of if you stay in the likes of Bangkok.
You Can Truly Immerse Yourself in Natures Serenity
Yea, I know it sounds cheesy as, but there’s so much truth to it. When you’re surrounded by nothing but luscious emerald green foliage, stunning fish-tail palm trees and the soothing sea-breeze rolling in over the Andaman Ocean… you can’t help but get caught up in it all.
Approximately 20% of Thailand is covered in mountains and hills; a staggering number when you think about how large the country is. It’s a wonderful feeling though, being dwarfed by the gorgeous green giants. I found myself strolling around smiling like an idiot the majority of the time, because you’re constantly in awe of just how beautiful Thailand really is!
Again, there are many stunning hotels for you to choose from, though few can bring you as close to nature as one of Thailand’s luxury private pool villa resorts.
Did Someone Say PRIVATE Pool?
Don’t forget, when you stay in a hotel you have to share the pool with the other guests. Which isn’t so bad, as it’s a great opportunity to make some friends. Though if you ask me, I’d rather make friends at the bar, not make their acquaintance while also potentially floating in their pee!
No, I’d rather my very own private pool, wouldn’t you? With only the stunning green foliage spying silently around you. When you consider that Thailand’s temperature averages 34 degrees during the Summer, you’re going to need it!
Even if you go during May and November which is referred to as the ‘rainy season’, you’re still going to be looking at temperatures of around 29 degrees (with even higher levels of humidity) Having said that, once a storm rolls in you’d better get out of the pool.
Though, in the same breath, the view from your villa will be absolutely incredible. I’ve sat and watched many a storm in Thailand unfold and it is one of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular events one can witness. (As long as you’re nice and dry of course)
When staying in a hotel, there’s no guaranteeing who’s going to be in the room beside you. Most of the time you’ll be alright, though when you’re hung-over as hell and you’re trying to nurse a Bloody-Mary in peace, but there’s an army of screaming children jumping in and around the pool… well, you get the idea.
And again, Thailand isn’t really famous for its peace and quiet is it? Though believe it or not, there is much to be enjoyed, all you need to do is find the right place.
Things to Do in and Around Koh Samui
Koh Samui is only behind Phuket in terms of popularity and visitor numbers for Thai resorts. And there is good reason for that, despite years of chronic over-development the island retains much of its natural beauty and picture postcard beaches. Travel to and from the island is easy with regular international and domestic flights direct to the island as well as regular ferry crossings from Surat Thani.
There is a huge choice of accommodation around the island to suit varying budgets, although the trend is to develop more and more upscale resorts. The main beach is Chaweng, which is a long stretch of beautiful white sand.
Chaweng town is very built up with resorts stretching most of the length of the beach and shops, bars and restaurants line the streets behind. Quieter beaches can be found along the north of the island. Bophut has a more rustic, family atmosphere, although the beaches aren’t so good.
There is a lot to do to occupy yourself in Samui, whether you choose to hire a car, bike or use local transportation. (WARNING – If you chose to hire any equipment be it a car, motorbike, jet ski etc do your research beforehand and only use reputable hirers.
There are known to be many scams operating in Thailand where the hirer will try to charge you an extortionate amount to repair minor scratches that you probably didn’t put there. Such situations have been known to turn nasty. Do a Google search to read more about this).
So here’s a rundown of the main activities:
Visiting temples – One of the highlights of most people’s visits to Thailand is visiting a few temples, and Samui is no exception. The most famous is Big Buddha at Big Buddha beach. A short climb to the top of the temple offers some good views out to sea.
There are also some rather gimmicky fortune telling machines and you can buy a brick to contribute towards the construction of new temple buildings. Another well known temple is Wat Khunaram which contains the mummified body of a local monk. Located along the southern stretch of the ring road, this is worth a quick stop off.
Hin Ta – Hin Yai – This is a rather quirky stop off, a few miles south of Chaweng beach. The ring road runs along the edge of a rocky cliff and you come to a small turn-off which is signposted. This takes you down into a small village and car park, with a few tourist souvenir shops.
Then you follow a short path out to some rocks and a tiny bit of beach. Standing out like a sore thumb are two rocks (Hin Ta and Hin Yai, literally Grandfather Rock and Grandmother Rock) which are shaped like male and female “private parts”!
Animal attractions – In the far south-east corner of the island are located the Tiger Zoo and Aquarium, which are a good way to spend a few hours, especially if you have kids. Both are quite interesting and have some shows throughout the day.
These are part of the Samui Orchid Resort. Na Tian Butterfly garden offers good photo opportunities for lovers of butterflies and orchids, not everyone’s cup of tea however! There is also a Crocodile Farm near the airport.
There are regular monkey shows in the monkey theatre, across the ring road from Bophut beach. The monkeys give demonstrations of how they are used to gather coconuts and there is also an elephant show.
Monkeys are also a regular sight on the constant stream of motorbikes travelling along Samui’s roads (fortunately only as passengers!). Elephant rides are available at various spots around the island, usually in the interior as this offers ideal trekking ground.
Natural attractions and tours – The most popular waterfalls on the island are Na Muang 1 and 2. These are very easily accessed, if not the most spectacular. Na Muang 1 is the lower of the two and is located next to a small car park, no walking required.
Na Muang 2 is a bit higher up and requires a walk. There are many natural viewpoints around the island which offer good photo opportunities out to sea, especially at sunset. One of the best known is a stop off just north of Hin Ta – Hin Yai, around the Lamai beach area. The interior of Samui offers some good trekking routes if that is your thing.
Beaches are, of course, the main attraction of Samui. As I said earlier, Chaweng is the main beach, it is the longest and the sand and sea are superior to the rest of the island. It is also the most developed with plenty of shops, pharmacies, food and rowdy night spots.
Lamai neighbours Chaweng and is somewhat quieter. A popular and more relaxed spot on the north of the island is Bophut beach. It is a more family orientated beach with a more rustic village with a few shops and restaurants. Off the island – There are the usual choice of watersport activities including jetskis, banana boats etc, mainly off Chaweng.
Ferries operate from Bophut pier to nearby Koh Pha Ngan. This is the island famous for the Full Moon Parties and you can arrange a night’s stay on Koh Pha Ngan through the agencies on Samui. You can also get to Koh Tao which is renowned as a diver’s paradise.
The beautiful Ang Thong National Marine park is accessed from here and is well worth a day trip. You can also camp overnight, but there is no accommodation in the park. I have some photos of this spectacular location on my website.
Miscellaneous – There is a Muay Thai stadium in Chaweng town if that’s your thing. There are also a few sporty activities such as go-karting and shooting ranges. If you’re brave enough to hire a car, a drive around the island’s ring road is an interesting way to spend a day.
All in all, Samui has plenty to offer all tastes and budgets. Although remember this is now an international destination and prices are generally higher than the rest of Thailand and it is overly developed in parts. Despite this it retains much of its natural beauty that keeps people going back time after time.
Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel
Voted one of the best new hotels in the Conde Nast Traveler US Hot List 2005. Explore the old-world charm of Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel, located in the heart of Luang Prabang, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Surrounded by ancient temples and soaring hills, tread in the footsteps of Prince Souvannaphouma, where time seems to stand still in this enchanting city.
ANGSANA Resorts & Spa
Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel is managed by Angsana Resorts & Spa, known for its exotic retreats, contemporary approach and signature Angsana Spa. Situated in the most breathtaking settings, Angsana resorts present the enchanting beauty of nature, with white beaches in Bintan Indonesia; the azure waters of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; and the picturesque gateway in Ihuru, Maldives.
Luang Prabang is about two hours’ flight from Bangkok, Thailand or 40 minutes from Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel, located at Namphou Square, is just ten minutes from Luang Prabang Airport and within walking distance from the Mekong River and the renowned Wat Xieng Thong temple.
The city’s key attractions such as the Royal Palace Museum and Mount Phousi – a 100 meter-high rocky outcrop commands stunning views of the surrounding temples and hills, are also easily accessible from the hotel.
Once the residence of Prince Souvannaphouma, the hotel exudes a distinct colonial style architecture of solid brick structures with shuttered windows, reminiscent of French provincial buildings, the 24 air-conditional channels, safe deposit box, coffee and tea making facilities, hair dryer and a mini bar, creating a cozy yet lush ambiance. 21 of these rooms come with private balconies
Guests can opt for the Garden Rooms on the ground level, or the Verandah rooms on the second level. At the La Residence wing, which houses our three suits and La Residenece Twin, guests can enjoy additional privileges such as personalised service, daily complimentary laundry, daily Angsana Breakast with Price Panya Coffe and afternoon tea for two persons
Different Things to Do in Krabi
Krabi, nestled on the coast of the Andaman Sea and with a coastline of limestone mountains rising majestically out of the ground is for good reason, primarily known as a beach destination. It should not only be known for this though, inland there are many attractions, beauty spots and activities. It’s this combination of sea and land that makes Krabi such a unique destination.
The center of tourism in mainland Krabi is Ao Nang. Ao Nang started out just a few years ago as a sleepy fishing village and although it has grown fast and continues to do so, it still very much has a village feel to it. If you start from the beach and walk in any direction, a short 15 to 20 minutes and you will be in countryside.
For many, it’s this closeness to nature that really separates a Krabi holiday from almost any other destination in Thailand, Asia or the rest of the world.
Ao Nang itself is split into multiple areas by mountains and cliffs that have ensured that wherever you are, you are never far from an amazing view.
A few km further up the coast is Klong Muang Beach and a little further up is Tup Kaek beach. Klong Muang and Tub Kaek have established themselves as home to many of the higher starred and international resorts like the Sheraton and Sofitel Resorts.
These sort of resorts appeal to customers who want to spend most of their holiday either within the boundaries of the hotel, on the beach and with a few organized excursions out. The village of Klong Muang has a few restaurants, but cannot really consider itself as being tourist friendly.
The road from Ao Nang to Klong Muang has recently been widened and improved (actually still under construction in places) and journey time from Au Nang is about 20 minutes by car. A popular method is to rent a moped, its inexpensive and lots of fun to just cruise around the local roads.
The beaches at Klong Muang and Tup Kaek have really beautiful sand and clear water. For swimming, it’s great at high tide, but at low tide it is quite rocky which can make it a bit awkward. The beauty of the beach really does make up for this though, it’s always covered in a scattering of shells and for kids, its paradise to just spend the day playing. Along the beach there are plenty of trees creating some shade.
The beauty of Krabi is that every beach area is actually A National Park. There are no private beaches, no areas excluded to the public and resorts are not allowed to mark areas for their exclusive use. This means that you can stay in a 2 star guesthouse and use the same beach as any of the 5 or 6 star resorts. Another benefit of the National Park status is that there are no permanent structures allowed on the beach, no banana boats and no jet skis.
Krabi has a great infrastructure with mostly good quality roads linking it up with Phuket to the North and Trang to the South. These are mostly dual carriage roads and traffic is moving quickly. Other than these roads though, there are hundreds of small country roads that wind their ways through the countryside in every direction.
Most of the countryside in Krabi is actually Rubber and Palm Oil Palm plantation which means that most of the smaller roads are beautiful and cool.
The main town in the province is actually still a small place. Its right on the river and the town center is just two roads that run parallel with the river. At the center is a very newly constructed Temple, which although it’s quite spectacular, lacks the history and character that makes Temples in Thailand usually so interesting.
The choice of shops is not great from a tourist point of view. There are some gift, souvenir and jewelry shops along the river side road, and the next road in has Vogue shopping center, a three floor shop that mostly sells branded and upmarket products at reasonable prices.
There is a wide choice of eating options from street-food and noodle vendors to sit down restaurants of all varieties and tastes.
There are hotels and guesthouses in Krabi Town but, considering Krabi is becoming a major tourist destination, it still does not feel anything like a tourist town.
Tiger Cave Temple, just outside Krabi Town is one of the ‘must see’ attractions. It’s a truly beautiful place and if you can muster up the energy to get up the 1237 steps, it’s well worth the view.
The Hot Springs and Emerald Pool
These two attractions, being close to each other, is easy to visit in one trip. Either one does deserve its place though. The hot springs are quite remarkable, a river and waterfall of hot flowing water is a truly amazing experience.
The Emerald Pool (also known as the Crystal Pool) is also a fantastic place. The scene features beautiful jungle setting and the water really is as Emerald and shining as the name suggests.
Phanom Bencha National Park
This park is one of Krabi’s lesser visited locations. The most popular feature though is the waterfall. There is a car park and visitor center and then about a 1km walk to the waterfall. At low season, it’s not very spectacular, but at high season, it’s a really nice place to spend an afternoon with three tiers of waterfall each with its own pool for a cooling dip. The park is never busy, is well-kept and great for young children.
Thalane Bay is one of the most amazingly beautiful bays in the world rivalling Ha Lung Bay in Viet Nam. A drive along the road that runs along its edge is really well worth it. There are no tourist centers as such or popular swimming beaches, but the scenery makes it well worth the trip.
At the end of the road is the Thalane Bay kayak center, here you can take a kayak tour through the mangrove forests. The mangroves are full of amazing wildlife and whether it’s baking hot or raining, it’s a trip that no-one ever complains about. Kids particularly love to kayak, there is something about paddling a boat on the river that appeals to them and keeps them interested.
There are, of course, all the local Islands at Krabi that are the main reason people visit this amazing province, but If you visit and don’t see some of the Inland gems that Krabi has to offer, you really are missing out.
The New Wave Of Travel – Peak Life Experience Travel
With the travel season is just around the corner, everyone is making plans to escape from their hectic work life and packing their travel bags for their long-awaited vacations.
Although going for vacation is the best escape plan ever, many of us are anticipating the travel journey with a quiver of dread because the thought of carrying all the overweight baggage, queuing the endless security lines and squeezing into the small airplane seats are just not the most exciting part of traveling.
Those kinds of experiences make it hard for us not to envy how the rich travel these days. Their getaways such as taking private jet planes to Caribbean Island villas are way above the travel standard of normal tourists.
Recently, on my last night in Thailand, I met up with some friends who had just spent their vacation staying in a five-star hotel on the outskirts of the city. To my amazement, my friends who are luxury travelers quizzed me about my comical but vivid excursions, which had left me both tiring and excited by the end of every single trip.
After the meet up, I began to realize that my friends suffered their own form of travel envy. The sense of control provided by their huge spending power had deadened their travel experience. The experiences with private hosts and staying in 5 star hotels did not create the memories that they could treasure and remember forever.
As the rich is shifting towards the experience-oriented traveling, they are more willing to fork out large amounts of money to acquire the travel experience they are hoping for. As an example, by the early of next year, wealthy travelers will be able to take a commercial space flight on Virgin Galactic, including a whole five minutes of weightlessness for US $ 200,000.
With so many rich people showing interest in the space flight since its announcement, we are certain that the rich is going to great lengths to set themselves apart from others, as traveling is getting more and more common for most people.
Another proof of the shift is that wealthy travelers these days even plan for charity driven excursions to remote villages in countries like Madagascar and take a light aircraft to such villages just to shake hands with the Amazonian shamans.
As a result of the shift from luxury travel to peak life experience travel, travel planners will be creating their travel packages with the ultimate aim of creating a memorable experience for all the travelers. In the near future, I can assure that the most highly sought after vacations by the rich and the middle class will definitely be 5 star vacations that are charity driven or vacations that are able to offer the travelers with peak life experiences.