Thailand: A pocket guide

Songkran Festival Thailand
Songkran Festival Thailand
Angthkong Marine National Park in Thailand
Boxing ring at Samujana Villa in Koh Samui, Thailand.
Beach yoga at Samujana on Koh Samui, Thailand
Thai massage

Thailand has been a popular mainstay on the luxury holiday circuit for decades. However, while some parts have fallen prey to the onset of mass tourism and commercialization, in recent years a new wave of luxury villas and properties has been cropping up. For a holiday that combines world-class cuisine, laid-back luxury, and immaculate white-sand beaches, visit the upscale island of Koh Samui. Unlike other Thai holiday destinations, Koh Yao Noi continues to resist the lure of mass tourism, making it the ideal place to experience Thailand with authenticity and style.

Incredible Islands

Even though Koh Samui and Koh Yao Noi are slightly less mainstream holiday destinations than many of the Thai islands, there is still plenty going on, meaning you are able to do as much—or as little—as you like during your stay. Start your day with a special—and spiritual—experience by waking at sunrise to give alms to the monks. There are no crowds to escape on Khao Yai Noi, but if you’re keen to go solo and explore the island, avoid hiring a motorbike and instead get a bicycle. There’s plenty for children too, who will enjoy renting a snorkel and exploring the Thai marine life close up. For a special nighttime excursion, visit the Limestone Caves of Phang Nga Bay by starlight. For a fun night out, head to Ka Jok Cee Restaurant in Phuket Town, for great food and table-dancing.

Sensational Cuisine

It’s a common misconception that all Thai food is spicy—in fact, a lot of Thai dishes are full of flavor but low in heat! For something milder, seek out moo sa-te (grilled pork sticks with turmeric) and tom kha kai (chicken in coconut-milk soup). However, chili fiends are well accommodated for in Thailand, from Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) to the perennial favorite tom yam goong (spicy shrimp soup). Fine dining is available at Je t’Aime, a fusion restaurant in Koh Yao Noi, and the stunning Tree Tops restaurant in Koh Samui. However, sometimes the best food to be had in Thailand is discovered while you sit in a plastic chair at a plastic table. Explore the open-air night markets and prepare for a profound culinary experience.

Thailand is home to some of the most spectacular luxury villas in the world, and our UltraVilla experts have handpicked the very best for you to enjoy. New to the Thai scene are villas of charm and authenticity, so check in with UltraVilla as we uncover more of these gems.