how to choose your Thai villa vacation island
Any 1970s backpacker who might venture into Phuket or Koh Samui today would definitely have a hard time recognising the places they used to know. The paradise islands of Thailand have grown from the far-flung tropical hideaways they once were. The old paths are now paved, fishing boats have given way to yachts and cruise ships, and the thatched seaside huts have been replaced by high-end accommodations, including star-studded resorts and, of course, private luxury villas.
With an elongated landform, Phuket enjoys longer stretches of beaches, especially along its western side, which faces the Andaman Sea and the vast Indian Ocean. Areas such as Patong and its six-kilometre long Bang Tao beach are popular for its fine white sand.
However, there are very few villas here privileged with a beachfront. There are plenty of hillside properties offering splendid sea views, either walking distance from the beach or just a short drive away.
The coastal woodlands of Kamala, along Phuket’s famed Millionaire’s Mile, are home to luxurious villa estates with spectacular clifftop properties looking out into the ocean.
Should you prefer a beachfront setting, there are a good number of villa options in the more remote areas of Phuket. The exclusive Cape Yamu Estate on the quiet eastern side hosts some of the island’s most luxurious beachfront villas. Though the beach here is not as ideal for swimming, it is perfect for walking or sunbathing and has a view of the distant Phang-Nga bay cliffs.
Up north, in the neighbouring Phang-Nga province, beachfront properties are also found along the secluded Natai beach area, with its unspoilt 10-kilometre stretch of ocean-facing beach.
Koh Samui still possesses the true island-village vibe, which has already gone in most parts of Phuket. And, although you will find a good selection of lively establishments there are no high-rise buildings or multilane concrete highways.
For this same reason, Samui also enjoys more beachfront options among its private villas. Along the northern shores, you will find vacation homes right next to the lovely Maenam beach. Down south, if you are after complete seclusion, the peaceful neighbourhood of Laem Sor offers a selection of luxury villas on the far south. But arguably, the best choice would be the quiet Lipa Noi beach – a gorgeous stretch of fine and unpretentiously white sand.
Samui also boasts impressive hilltop villas that capture the island’s awe-inspiring coastal landscape from high above. You will find these in the areas of Choeng Mon, Maenam and Nathon.
Phuket is more advanced in terms of development. with more shopping malls. The more popular party venues are also found in Phuket, however, Koh Samui has its own offerings of beach clubs.
The yachting scene is thriving in Phuket, evident with its four different marinas that present gateways to the wondrous formations of Phang-Nga Bay and neighbouring islets. Although it has no marina, yacht charters are also available in Koh Samui offering tours to the exciting islands that dot the Gulf of Thailand, including the Angthong National Marine Park.
Other leisure activities that can be enjoyed in both islands include golfing, Muay Thai, yoga, zip lining, scuba diving, snorkelling, and visiting elephant sanctuaries.
Accessibility and transport
Phuket has an international airport undeniably a key advantage. Because it is much larger than Samui, fixing your itinerary and transport around the island will need a good deal of preparation.
Koh Samui, with its small-town feel, allows you to explore its central areas on foot, Roads are less developed but because of its smaller size and circular form, distances between places are
Gill @ NotJustTravel says
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