Category: Thailand Tours

Thailand Vacation Series – Phuket Attractions

Phuket – The Pearl of Andaman

Located approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok is Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, which is often dubbed as the pearl of the Andaman, or the pearl of the south. Its natural resources- rocky peninsular, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays and tropical in-land forests contribute to making it the South’s wealthiest, busiest, most visited and most popular island and province.

Nestled in the tropical zone off the west coast of the southern part of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean, the province covers an area of approximately 543 square kilometers (excluding small islets). It is estimated that Phuket Province covers an area of approximately 590 square kilometers if its 39 other small islands are included. The islands total length, from north to south, is estimated at 48.7 kilometers and approximately 21.3 kilometers wide.

Phuket borders on Phang-nga Province to the north. The other 3 sides are encircled by the Andaman Sea the place where many of the best diving sites are located. The island is connected to Phang-nga Province by Sarasin Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge.

Staying on the island is easy, as there are only two seasons in a year – the rainy season (May to October) and the hot season (November to April). The low season of phuket is between September and October as they are the wettest months. The best period for a visit, is from November to February, when it is possible to see the clear blue sky, feel the fresh sea breeze and marvel at the crystal clear water while lying on powdery, palm-fringed beaches. Average temperatures ranges between 23?C and 33?C.

Phuket’s topology is exceptional with 70 percent of its area covered with mountains which stretch from north to south and the remaining 30 percent being plains located in the central and eastern parts of the island. The island does not have any major rivers except for a total of 9 brooks and creeks.

Phuket is divided into 3 administrative counties namely Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Thalang and Amphoe Kathu.

Phuket has a lot more to offer its visitors other than its natural heritage sea, sand, sky, beach, forest, and world renowned diving sites. Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting travelers to the city, while Phuket-style hospitality has never failed to impress visitors from all walks of life. In addition, accommodations ranging from world-class resorts to tropical-style bungalows have warmly catered to the different needs of travelers. For seafood lovers, there is a lot more to sample than just Phuket’s famous lobster. Altogether, these characteristics have made Phuket a truly unique destination.

You may see more details about Phuket at

Put Some Spice Into your Thailand Holiday With Adventure Trips

Thailand is best known for its southern beaches and nightlife, and many visitors spend their days lazing on the beach before hitting the bars and discos. But those seeking more exciting pastimes are also well catered for, with a wide variety of adventure activities ranging from trekking and bamboo rafting to more heart stopping wild water rafting or even bungee jumping.

Away from the beaches, the southern islands offer sea kayaking and game fishing. Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket are ideal bases for organizing sea canoeing or kayaking trips, with lots of operators offering tours lasting from one to several days. Highlights include caves only reachable by sea and hidden lagoons where you can swim and camp overnight.

Those who want to put their hunting skills to the test can do worse than going game fishing in the Andaman Sea off Phuket. Here you can catch a wide variety of fish, including sailfish, tooth tuna and swordfish. Day outings, night fishing or trips lasting several days can easily be organized from here. Be aware that all catches must be released back into the sea immediately.

Land rats are advised to head north, where the city of Chiang Mai is a prime base for embarking on adventure trips. Trekking is the most popular choice here and tourists have enjoyed more or less arduous treks to hill tribe villages for several decades now.

Treks can last from one day to a week, and the most important factor when deciding on which company to choose is to ask fellow travellers who have just returned from a trek. Most tours involve a few hours of walking a day, and elephant riding, bamboo rafting and overnight stays in mountain villages are the main highlights.

Splashing fun can be found on the many rivers in the north, where river rafting in inflatable boats is becoming increasingly popular. The Pai River in Mae Hong Son Province offers abundant birdlife and swimming monkeys. The Nam Wa near Nan has welcomed rafters longer than any other waterway in Thailand and boasts some of the wildest rapids. Near Chiang Mai is the Mae Cham River, perfect for day outings. The best time for rafting is from mid-June to end of January, when the water levels are not too high or too low.

Don’t miss out on caving, one of the highlights in the northern provinces. Pang Mapha district between Pai and Mae Hong Son offers some of Asia’s most spectacular cave networks. Many of these were first explored by the Australian owner of Cave Lodge, the ideal base for spelunking. Here you can hire experienced guides to lead you through the lesser known caves, or just get a map and set off on your own to explore on of the many caves easily explored without a guide.

If you want to really mix it up, the Mae Sa Valley is an adventurer’s paradise. Just 20kms outside of Chiang Mai, bungee jumping, paint-balling, archery, ATV riding and archery are all available here within a few kilometres of each other. There is no shortage of adventure for fun seekers in Thailand.

Bankok – Thailand Hot Spots


If you visit any destination in South East Asia, it may be imperative that you pass through Bangkok. Bangkok has a strange nature of evoking extreme sense of likes and dislikes amongst visitors. A few seem to loathe it while many others swear that it is the most wonderful, fascinating and exciting places on earth. Actually, Bangkok tends to be what a particular visitor wants it to be. Bangkok is a picture post-card haven with beautiful pagodas, pagodas and some of the world’s finest hotels. Bangkok’s renowned for it’s nightlife in the Orient with an opportunity to savor some of world’s most unique cuisines. Bangkok is a favorite and best shopping destination in South East Asia.

Bangkok inhabitants are known as Thais and their friendly ways would flatter the snootiest traveler. Bangkok is all in all, a load of fun and games and a great way to enjoy a civilized vacation. Thailand’s history emerges from the Bronze Age, whereas Bangkok, the capital is a young city founded in 1782. With a population of around 6 million, 50% of them are under 30. Bangkok lies on the banks of the river “Chao Phraya”, a wonderful working waterway full of sampans, wide variety of boats and rice barges.

Bangkok is a beautiful mix of the old and the new, the modern and the ancient evident from its skyline that comprises of Buddhist temples (wats), luxury hotels, high-rise office buildings and shopping malls making it a kaleidoscope. Under the thin veneer of new found Western influence you will find that the Thais are not devoid of traditional values. The sights of ubiquitous street food sellers, monks on morning begging rounds and women stringing jasmine blossoms on thread near wats will display the cultural heritage of Thailand that is not lost in the arc lights of modernity.


Bangkok is packed with more attractions per square mile than any other city in the world. Despite the crowds, the architecture and the attractions are worth the effort to travel and see. On the top of the list would be Wat Phra Khao and the Grand Palace for sightseeing for half a day. This can include the National Museum and the Wat Pho. Chinatown, Bangkok’s major attractions has a unique traditional life untouched by modern civilization and could be fascinating. Historical sites like Rattanakosin Island (central point when Bangkok was founded) are also worth visiting. The main symbolic places of Bangkok are Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya River.

Cross the Chao Phraya to reach Thonburi and you can tour the klongs to appreciate the heritage and culture of the country of Thailand. The Vimanmek Palace, restored by Queen Sirikit, made of golden teak emphasizes the exquisite taste and oriental splendor of ancient Thai royal life.


The easier way to explore the country would be put up base in Bangkok and explore the region by using the interesting and unusual daytrips.

Ayutthaya & Bang Pa-In: This probably is the most popular day trip from Bangkok and takes you to visit the Ayutthaya (A-you-ta-ya), the previous and old capital of Thailand, about 50 miles north of Bangkok, the current capital. Ayutthaya has served as the second capital of the Kingdom of Siam for over 400 years. Travellers in the past have described the glittering palaces, temples and Buddhist images depicting it as one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. In an unfortunate event the Burmese burned the glories of this city in 1767. In Ayutthaya, you could hire a tuk tuk along with an English-speaking guide to take you around the celebrated temples (cost could be in the range of 250 bahts). You can also hire a long-tail boat for cruising the 12-mile Chao Phraya River trip that ends at the king’s summer palace at Bang Pa-In (300 bahts).

Many such trips are available to be taken. Bangkok never ceases to amaze and so giving an approximate time frame of the trip becomes difficult. You could get there, relax, and see for yourself what Bangkok has to offer. May be you could go back when you have more time, or to see the rest of it. The magnetism of Bangkok is such that despite having been there many a time, travelers tend to come back.

To ensure your vacation recipe is complete, add in that special sprinkle of a Thailand vacation rental. Book Thailand Vacation Rentals matching your criteria. These vacation rentals are presented by their owners or managers.

What You Need To Know About – Thailand Travel

Thailand is one of those destinations, which is forever teeming with tourists. The country holds an exclusive position in the hearts of all vacationers for the place has much more to offer than anyone can expect. Thailand lies in the South East Asia region and can be taken to be the land of Buddha. Almost all the Buddha devotees desire to visit this country once in their lifetime. This is due to the fact that Thailand has some of the unique and exquisite Buddha temples where perfect tranquility prevails.

A Concise Review of a Seemingly Interminable Place

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is worth visiting spot. This sacred temple has Buddha statue that is 65 centimeter elevated and is entirely made of jasper quartz or jade. While the jade goes back to 15th century, the murals on the walls of the compound can be traced back to 18th century. The visitors can take a look at The Royal Thai Decorations and the Coin Pavilion. All in all the sanctity of the temple speaks through itself and the ambiance is enough to enchant the visitors.

Along with Temple of Emerald Buddha, several other grand Buddha temples can be seen once you move into the city of Bangkok. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand has proved its worth across the globe. This metropolis has everything to offer to its visitors. From wonderful museums to thrilling nightlife, Bangkok has it all. The bustling city owns the largest South East Asian museum called The National Museum. National Museum has a gathering of various things like Thai art from old to contemporary, musical instruments, weapons, woodcarving, ceramics, clothing and sacred Buddha images.

Visitors that come to Bangkok never miss the opportunity to encounter Vinmanmek Teak Mansion that is supposed to be the largest teak building in the world. The Royal Elephant Museum and Dusuit Zoo are perfect places to have some learning with fun.

The Wat Pho temple near the temple of Emerald Buddha in Bangkok is perhaps the oldest and the largest of all Buddha temples there. The Wat Pho temple is known for its 46 meter long statue of reclining Buddha and the largest collection of Buddhas in the country. A refreshing massage therapy is done at this place that too attracts a lot of people.

Finally when it comes to shopping, Bangkok has it all. There are ample of markets here that will serve you with all the things of your necessity. The Chatuchak Market or The Weekend Market (that is open on Saturdays and sundaes only), the Pak Khlong market and markets in Chinatown and Phahurat district are particularly quite famous.

The Thonburi region resting on the west bank of river Thonburi has always gathered attention due to different reasons. The Taksin Monument that has a statue of Thailand’s eminent king Taksin which is a delight to watch. The Royal Barges Museum that has a fantastic collection of boats, the outstanding one being the king’s personal barge –The Golden Swan is definitely a pull in Thonburi.

Buddhist stupas area centre of attraction at Ayuthaya, a city that lies to the north of Bangkok. The oldest and largest temple here is the Wat Phra Si Sanphet, another famous temple is Wat No Phra Meru that has a green stone Buddha statue inside. The Ayuthaya and the Chantharakasen are the two significant national museums. The Lopburi and the Kanchanaburi town in the Central Thailand region is a host to a lot many tourists every year.

In the Southeastern Thailand region is situated the Ko Chang National Park that is crammed by people due to the various activities like elephant riding, diving, snorkeling etc. and also to enjoy the wildlife in this area. The Rayong Province has a set of exotic beaches along with the Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park that has striking limestone mountains, caves, cliffs and waterfalls including impressive wildlife. Pattaya is another eventful beach spot located 150 kilometers away from Bangkok.

The Northern Thailand is bedecked by the Lamphun Province that has numerous historical temples, Doi Khun Tan National Park, the Lampang Province that grounds the Wat Phra That Lampang Luang temple which is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand and there is also the famous Thai Elephant Conservation Center which provides acre for sick elephants, animal shows and tourist exhibits from time to time. The Sukhothai Province is important for its Ramkhamhaeng National Park.

The Isan Region of Northeastern Thailand has the renowned Khao Yai National Park, which is a home for innumerable wild animals and the Phanom Rung Historical Park.

Few places at the Thailand’s Southern Coasts like Phetchaburi city, the Southern Gulf Region (known for marine life and water sports) and the Andaman Coast are everlastingly meant for vacationing in Thailand.

Tourist Attractions in Koh Samui Island Resort

The Thai resort island Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand after the famous James Bond island of Phuket. The island is roughly circular in shape and is located just off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus which is near the mainland town of Surat Thani and it is also one of the most popular tourist attraction in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Koh Samui has a land mass of almost 230 sq km ( about 90 sq mile) with a population of about 50,000 people (2007). The main island is surrounded by about 60 other smaller islands. The central part of Koh Samui is almost uninhabited and is dominated by a mountain jungle with Mount Khao Pom as its highest peak at 635m (about 2100ft). The island’s lowland areas are inter-connected together with just one single road that weaves the circumference of the island.

Historians estimated that the island started to see its first inhabitants in about 1500 years ago. The early settlers were probably fishermen from Malaysia and Southern China. The island even appears on the Chinese Ming Dynasty maps way back in 1687. No one knows for sure how Koh Samui got its name. Some speculated that it was derived from a native Mui tree while others think that it is a hybrid of the Chinese word “saboey”, which means “safe haven”.

Situated on the southwestern coast of the island is Nathon, the ancient capital of Koh Samui. This area is a still major fishing port and also an inter-island transportation hub today. Koh Samui was an isolated self-sufficient community until as late as the 20th century as it had little contact with mainland Thailand back then. The island did not even have a road until one was built in the early 1970s.

Today, the island of Koh Samui is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Thailand and it even have its own international airport, called Samui Airport. Bangkok Airways have flights to and from Samui every day. Samui Airport also receives flights from Bangkok and other major cities in South East Asia.

Samui island’s economy used to be based on subsistence agriculture and fishing, however, from the 1980s, the tourism industry grew by leaps and bounds and is now Koh Samui’s main source of income.

Being an island, Koh Samui’s main tourist attractions are naturally its white beautiful beaches and beach resorts. Tourists can find stretches of beaches and accommodations along the beaches of Chaweng, Lamai, Maenam, Bophut, Bangrak, Choeng MoN, Ao Tong Takian and Nathon with Chaweng and Lamai beaches being the most popular but crowded. For tourists who prefer a quiet beach for relaxation, then check out Maenam beach.

Another popular attraction in Koh Samui is a 12 metre (35 ft) tall statue of the Buddha, affectionately called “Big Buddha”. This statue is located at the top of a ceremonial dragon-steps at the temple of Wat Phra Yai. Koh Samui and is also home to quite a few other impressive temples such as the Wat Khunaram. Wat Khunaram is where the mummified body of Loung Pordaeng, a monk who died in a meditating lotus position is on display.

A sightseeing trip to see Papa and Mama rock at the south of Lamai beach can be very hilarious due to the rocks’ hilarious resemblances to the male and female sexual genitals.

To the more adventurous tourists, the jungle mountain in the interior of the island is a good camping ground for jungle trekking. This area is also home to a number of beautiful gardens, waterfalls at Na Muang and rubber plantations.

Animal lovers can also visit Koh Samui’s numerous animal attractions such as the crocodile farm, the monkey theatre, take elephant rides, a snake farm, a marine aquarium and a butterfly garden.

Most tourists to Koh Samui will make a day trip to the awe inspiring Ang Thong National Marine Park. The best time to visit Koh Samui is in summer (Feb-Apr). With such interesting landscape and attractions, no wonder this island is drawing tourist from around the world all year long.

Travel tour Phuket

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. It stands as one of the most loved travel destinations of the world. The beautiful white sandy beaches of Phuket look more striking by the surrounded Palm and Coconut trees. With many tour packages offered, visitors have a range of options for cheap hotels and discount hotels in Phuket. You can choose from these budget accommodations to get the best of your stay at Phuket. This landscape of the charming island is the reason behind it being one of the most visited places in the world. Other than the beaches, Phuket has got fascinating historical places like the ancient Buddhist temples and Chinese shrines. Wat Chalong and Wat Phra Nang Sang temples are the most visited temples in Phuket. Golf lovers just love Phuket for its superb golf courses like Phuket Country Club, Banyan Tree Club in Bangtao Beach, Blue Canyon Country Club, and Loch Pam Golf Club that are laid with lush green mountains and scenic vistas.
Travel tours to island of Phuket would offer you many adventurous activities. Some of these activities include Elephant safari into the tropical forests of Thailand and a many water sports. You can savor upon the flavorsome seafood offered in the restaurants along the beaches. Nightlife of Phuket bustles with energy. To enjoy all these fun offered at Phuket, visitors can choose from a range of travel packages that suit every pocket. Get a complete Thai experience at Phuket through the discount packages that offer budget accommodations like cheap hotels and discount hotels. You are also made aware of the cheaper bars and eating joints that help you accord with your budget. Patong Beach in Phuket is a favorite spot for shopping. It offers best shopping stops from small shops to big malls like Junkceylon mall and Central Carnival Mallin Phuket.
Phuket is often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the South’ and ‘Pearl of the Andaman’. Holiday makers from all over the world come here to get the best of the sparkling blue waters of the Andaman Sea. This island of Phuket is located at a 850 kilometers distance from the capital city, Bangkok. Beach lovers would cherish this place. Every beach of this island is unique in its own way. Some beaches are noted for their strikingly calm caves. Others are known for the excellent facilities that they provide. Some of the most admired beaches of Phuket are Patong, Kamala, Surin, Nai Yang, Karon and Kata beaches. Ocean lovers can look for water sport activities like boating, fishing, deep sea fishing, jet skiing, sailing, sea canoeing, water skiing, para-sailing, and swimming. Many budget accommodation options are available for the travelers who want to get cheap hotels and discount hotels to stay at. ( )

Thailand hotels Phuket Hotel Directory offers Cheap Hotels Phuket Thailand, Luxury Rooms, Phuket Resort, Phuket Beaches, Phuket Vacations, SPA, Packages in Phuket, Patong Phuket, Accommodation for Budget Travel to Thailand.

Luxury Thai Holiday Villas: the Way to Stay!

Luxury Thai Holiday Villas: the way to stay!

Thailand has, over the past few years, seen a large increase in the number of private villas available for holiday rent. Here we investigate the villa market, and make our recommendations as to how to find and book a villa, and where to stay on your next holiday.

These alternatives to hotel or resort accommodation often offer exceptional quality and high standards, but a number of very second rate properties are also broadly advertised on the internet and in some cases offer no more than a room in a tired condominium in a poor location: it is important for the holidaymaker to know how to find an appropriate villa, and to understand the pricing structures generally in place, in order to be sure of securing an enjoyable, clean and properly serviced villa at the right price.

It is perfectly possible to rent your own villa in Thailand for your holiday and to enjoy not only superior accommodation, but also a plethora of services, at rates that in fact make such a holiday the sensible alternative to booking a room – or indeed for those with friends and family, a number of rooms – in a resort.

Why Thailand?

Thailand is a perfect destination for those who wish to rent their own house or villa, for a number of reasons:

- the Thais are widely recognized as a welcoming, smiling people

- The kingdom’s cuisine is world-renowned; whilst most visitors will know the famous dishes such as Tom Yam Kung, the variety of cuisines and regional specialties is great, and even a serious glutton would have trouble trying to experience the exhaustive array of Thai food dishes in just one stay.

- Thailand is a shopper’s paradise, offering unique silks, handcrafted furniture and a plethora of exotic items at a fraction of the cost of such goods in the West. Clothes, leather goods and decorative items are often at the top of the visitors’ shopping list.

- Thailand offers exceptional value for money: even five star hotels cost a fraction of what they do not only in the West but even in other Asian capitals such as Hong Kong or Singapore.

- Thailand welcomes millions of visitors to its shores annually, and personal safety is generally excellent. Any reported crimes tend to be minor, involving jewellery scams and the like, but the more experienced traveler is hardly likely to fall for these. Most visitors will feel infinitely safer in Thailand than they ever would in equivalent capitals such as London, Paris, New York etc.

Which Thai region should I visit?

The visitor to Thailand today is spoiled for choice, with villas available throughout the kingdom.

For shorter stays, we would recommend a single destination stay, so that you can avoid the hassles of travelling and fully explore your chosen location. For longer stays, why not combine a stay in two very different locations, allowing you a greater exposure to the country and its diversity, whilst taking advantage of its inexpensive domestic travel networks? (see below)

Thailand is generally divided into four main regions.

Bangkok and the central Plains

Bangkok is a sprawling metropolis which, despite its famous gridlocked traffic and teeming streets, offers a great variety of things to do and to discover, to those with patience and a will to explore. The restaurants in Bangkok are second to none, whether you seek Thai or foreign cuisines, and its weekend and other markets deserve to be explored, as do many of its lesser know temples. A cruise on the Chaophraya river – perhaps by privately chartered long-tail boat – is an excellent way of seeing much of the city without being reduced to tears by the traffic.

The North

The North of the country is home to cities such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. With tropical jungles and hills, the North attracts those looking to go trekking or seek out places of natural beauty. Do try to avoid the larger cities, as tourism is so developed here that you run the risk of simply being “processed” through a number of popular elephant camps and well-trodden hill tribe treks.

The Northeast

The Northeast is the largest region of the kingdom, yet has been largely untouched by tourism. The Northeast (or isan) is the rice-bowl of the country, and is predominantly agricultural, producing rice, sugarcane, tapioca, eucalyptus and, increasingly, rubber. Major centres include Khon Kaen and Udon Thani, and the mighty Mekong river twists along this region’s borders. The people here are perhaps the most open and fun-loving in the country, perhaps because their lives are based on village traditions where overt consumerism has been much slower to advance than in the other booming parts of the nation. Travel to the Northeast is recommended for those looking for a unique experience, to get away from the tourist crowds, and to immerse themselves in something new.

The South

The south of Thailand is renowned for its famous beaches and seaside resorts, such as Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui. Some of the country’s most expensive holiday villas are found here. Travellers should be aware of the security issues in the south of the country and avoid journeys to the southernmost provinces: your local government’s website will post updated advisories with travel recommendations and warnings.

The vacation villa market

Holiday villas in Thailand tend to fall into one of two categories. They are either privately owned, self-contained homes, or villa units forming part of a resort complex. These are quite different propositions!

Resort Villas

The resort-centred villa essentially comprises a resort’s superior room inventory, and will be priced accordingly. In many cases, these villas will have been professionally designed by the hotel designer itself, and then sold to a third party buyer, who in turn joins the letting pool operated by the developer to provide a return on investment on the villa buyer’s acquisition.

The advantage here is that the villa occupants will generally be able to avail themselves of the additional facilities or services provided by the resort, albeit at ‘resort” prices. The disadvantage is that, for those seeking a more genuine experience, they will find themselves simply a guests within a resort complex, and considered as additional – if well-paying – “keys”.

Private stand-alone villas

Private villas are generally second homes owned by individuals, located on an individually-held land plot.

These may be rented “as is”, with the guests picking up the keys at the start of the trip and returning them at the end, either with or without a cleaning or security deposit. Alternatively, the villa may have its own staff, generally living off property but available throughout your stay to take care of cleaning, laundry, cooking or local visits etc.

Whether you choose a resort villa or privately held property, you should expect to pay a partial deposit at the time of booking, either by credit card guarantee or by a wire transfer.

Tried and Tested

We tried a number of villa vacations in Thailand, and below highlight one resort villa and one private villa – each offering an exceptional holiday but altogether different experiences.

Green Gecko, Northeast Thailand

Green Gecko is a privately owned villa located on a large country estate, surrounded by woodlands, plantations and rice paddies in the heart of Thailand’s rural northeast, near a town called Udon Thani. Free airport transfers were arranged from the airport, which is accessible via a 50 minute flight from Bangkok on Thai Airways, or budget airlines Nok Air or Air Asia.

In contrast to more mainstream locations, our stay here allowed us to discover and experience the real Thailand, off the beaten tourist track.

The villa’s architecture was traditionally Thai: an impressive wooden staircase led up to the raised and enclosed wooden deck, where our delightful private swimming pool was located, with bucolic views of the surrounding countryside and the evening sunsets. The steeply pitched roofs made of terracotta tiles gave the house an almost temple like appearance. A raised “sala” here offered protection from the strong midday sun and became our favourite spot, with its views over the pool.

Accessible from the deck in two separate buildings were the two bedrooms (each air-conditioned), as well as the living and dining room and kitchens. The master bedroom had a sturdy teak four-poster, king sized bed, with a cotton duvet and feather pillows, a large adjoining bathroom and WC and an outside garden shower. The second bedroom had a queen sized four poster, again with a spacious adjoining bathroom / WC.

The main air-conditioned building housed a dining room with a dining table and seating for six, a living room with comfortable sofas and views onto the pool deck, and a sunken area decorated with futons for lounging in front of the large screen LCD television (complete with a separate high-end home theatre system and international satellite channels). Leading off from this area (behind sliding wooden panels) was an additional WC, and a fully equipped Western kitchen (with built in microwave, oven etc), that in turn led out to a stainless steel Thai kitchen.

We must confess that this all looked very user-friendly, but that we never used the kitchens – with the exception of helping ourselves to a few iced beers from the refrigerator! As the owner is a former chef, he prepares all his guests’ meals throughout their stay, varying the spiciness or composition of these to his guests’ tastes. We were delighted to be shown around the gardens to collect a number of herbs and spices, which we were then shown how to spirit into deliciously fresh and tangy Northeastern dishes. We tried the classics too: Thai food certainly is mouth-watering, and staying at a villa like this where all meals are prepared for you, by a chef who is willing to share his secrets, was a boon!

We spent a good deal of time just lazing by the pool in complete privacy, but also enjoyed a number of excursions with our hosts to experience some of the sights and sounds of the Northeast. These included a spectacular trip in a small wooden boat, across a lake that was fundamentally a vast expanse of pink lotus flowers, interrupted only by the occasional fisherman or wallowing water buffalo (marriage propositioners, take note!) We also visited a local museum that seemed to denominate Thailand as the home of the bronze age, and a number of rowdy, colourful local festivals and wet markets, as well as silk and cobra farms. But our lasting impression was one of rural simplicity and ever-friendly locals, keen to ensure we enjoyed our stay and sample an unending variety of indigenous foods and drinks!

Green Gecko may be booked for stays of 2 nights or more via their website, where availability and rates may be checked online (from around US$280 including all transfers, service and meals.)

Green Gecko

134 Moo 13

Baan Um Jaan

Tabol Um Jaan

A. Prajak Sinlapakhom

Udon Thani

41110 Thailand

Green Gecko

Green Gecko’s sister property, Gecko Villa offers a cheaper three bedroomed alternative to those on a tighter budget (from around US$160.)

The Villas at Napasai, Southern Thailand

The villas at Napasai are located within the seafront resort complex on the luxury North coast of the island of Koh Samui, in Thailand’s southern province of Surat Thani. Koh Samui is accessible via Bangkok Airways from Bangkok, with flights taking approximately one hour (depending or aircraft chosen).

The resort is part of Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises: as such, both the villa and the resort were professionally managed, and we were able to choose between cooking up our own Thai meals after a visit to the local markets, or to simply walk to the resort’s excellent Thai restaurant in the evening.

The villas themselves were located at one end of the property, sandwiched between a steep hillside behind our house and the sea in front. Each of the villas is tiered down the hillside to the seafront. We stayed in a two bedroom villa, but three bedroom properties were also available. Beyond the two well-appointed bedrooms, our property had a spacious living and dining room with its own kitchen, a maid’s room, and, at the ground level, a private swimming pool and “chill-out” area. The main living room was well furnished and had a DVD player, satellite TV, and charming sea view balcony, where we spent most evenings.

The island of Koh Samui is a major international tourism hub and as such plenty of activities are available for the guest, from exploring waterfalls, to elephant rides, paintball, sea sports, diving, fishing, golf etc. The hotel also offers boating activities, Thai cooking classes, tennis courts, a fitness centre and a spa.

We booked online at the hotel’s own internet site, taking advantage of a special offer. Rates for a two bedroom villa are seasonal and start at around US$850++ per night, including complimentary American breakfast.


65/10 Baan Tai, Maenam,

Koh Samui,

Surat Thani



Tel: (66-77) 42 92 00

Fax: (66-77) 42 92 01


Finding your Thai Villa on the internet

Choosing an appropriate holiday villa on the internet is easy using Google, Yahoo, MSN etc. Remember:

• Play with your search terms: use more specific words to help you drill down to receive a more “targeted” property. “Rural villa with pool Thailand” will give a more specific set of results than will “Thailand Villa”, and will be less likely to return a listings site.

• Where possible, book directly with the property owner rather than via a listings site – in all likelihood such a listings site will be charging a commission on top of the normal rate.

• Don’t be afraid to ask for references.

• Travel in the off season, and book early. Book ahead, as when a standalone villa is booked – it is booked!

• Make sure the property you choose has a telephone and address listed.

• Travel somewhere different! What makes a stay in a private villa memorable is the way it can take you out of the tourist centres to enjoy a more authentic holiday.

Thailand’s Airlines

Thailand’s flag carrier offers numerous domestic flights, but travelers “in the know” will turn to the local discount airlines. These offer frequent flights at a fraction of the price and in relative comfort. Try Nok Air or Air Asia.

Koh Samui is served by the “boutique airline” Bangkok Air.

Winter Blues? It’s Nothing a Luxury Spa Break in Thailand Can’t Cure

Whilst the UK’s unpredictable weather is as much a part of its identity as fish and chips, it can cause many people to feel down and depressed when the dark, winter months kick in.

But in the summer months, many parts of the UK actually experience perfectly good weather and extended periods of sunshine. So, why do so many people choose to holiday abroad at a time when the UK weather really isn’t all that bad?

Well, this is why many people are now deciding to take winter holidays instead, with over a quarter of people now taking their main holiday between October and the end of the year. Not only is it, in general, an easier period to get time off work, it’s normally cheaper too and it provides two weeks of respite from the gloomy British winter. And as it is a cheaper time of year to travel, this means that more emphasis can be placed on ‘lavish’ rather than ‘budget’, with a luxury spa holiday providing the perfect remedy to beat the winter blues.

Thailand, for example, is a popular destination for winter sun and not just for a simple beach holiday either. There are many luxury destinations available within Thailand, be it a Phuket spa holiday resort or a Koh Samui spa holiday resort.

Indeed, a luxury Thailand spa holiday can be found to suit most requirements. For example, many people choose to travel to Thailand for the superb diving on offer and it’s possible to narrow the search by features such as on-site dive schools or even the availability of water sports, ensuring the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

But what makes Thailand a real 5 star holiday destination is the ability to combine a luxury spa holiday with a true cultural holiday experience. When not unwinding or being pampered, there are golden temples, busy markets, excellent food, mountain scenery and a plethora of glorious beaches to explore. Furthermore, the one aspect of Thai culture that ensures so many people return year after year is the warmth and friendliness of the local people. And this is what makes Thailand truly stand out from other destinations in the world.

So, with the nights drawing in, many people choose to take their main holiday later in the year. And as it’s generally cheaper to travel ‘off-season’, that luxury spa holiday in Thailand may be just the thing to ease those winter blues.


Do’s and Don’t in Thailand

The Monarchy : Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.

Religion : Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attireIt is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.

Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.

Social Norms :

Thais don’t normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.

Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.

Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.

Special Advice :

- Beware of unauthorised people who offer their services as guides. For all tourist information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tel : 1672. For information about Bangkok, contact the Bangkok Metropolitan Tourist Bureau, Tel : 0 2225 7612-4.

- Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety, as well as the safety fof your belongings. Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended. Be sure that all your valuables-money, jewellery, and airline tickets are properly protected from loss. Visitors needing assistance relating to safety, unethical practices, or other matters, please call the Tourist Police at Tel: 1155.

- Drop your garbage into a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration id no strictly enforcing the law in an effort to keep the city clean and healthy. The fine will be imposed on a person who spits, discards cigarette stubs, or drops rubbish in public areas.

- Do not get yourself involved with drugs. Penalties for drug offences are very severe in Thailand.

- Do not support any manner of wild animal abuse. Never purchase any products or souvenirs made from wild animals including reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards, and also turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.

Thailand has beautiful place very much if you come to tour in thailand , assure that ,you do will not be defeated certainly.

Things to be wary of when traveling

Something worth knowing before venturing forth into the laid back, tropical environment that is Thailand: There are no copyright laws, and this is especially strange coming from the West, where copyright laws are borderline ridiculous, they’re so rigid – that’s why shirts and pants and shoes can be mass-produced for, oh, 2 cents in Thailand and then branded with a designer logo. (I don’t know why this surprises me…most cities over there don’t even have traffic lights.) Anyway, this lack of copyright law also means that there are fake tourist agencies who pose as TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) but in fact, are small independently owned companies that give cab drivers commission to bring yourists there, and possibly charge more than they should.

Such proved to be the case with Dan and I. Although we paid a fairly decent price, we were left hanging far too many times, and so when we get back to Bangkok, we will see about getting some of said money back. All of this is ok, though, because the fun we’ve been having has greatly out-weighed the annoying lack of political and moral infrastructure. Moral of the story DON’T. TRUST. ANYBODY. Not even me. I might scam you hardcore…there’s a little bit of residual Thai in me now, and I have been known to haggle prices down to ridiculous rates, so watch your back.

And something else to be very aware of: My boyfriend and I were visiting a temple, the Reclining Buddah, to be precise, and we were approached by a really sweet, friendly Thai man. He was chatty with us, showed us where to go, even gave us a little bit of history about this particular temple. Then he asked, “Have you bought a suit yet?” We hadn’t, but we had heard that in Thailand there are hundreds of tailors who will make you suits for really great prices. We were, in fact, looking for such a place, but not the kind that could potentially scam you. This man, well dressed, handed us the business card of a suit company and went on to tell us that he is an accountant, and he buys all his suits from this place. “Look at the double stitching,” he told us. We ooh-ed and we ah-ed. “And they do two fittings instead of just one, so you can rest assured the quality of the suit will be superb.” Well! This sounded marvelous. What a sweet man, we thought. This has been a lovely day. Let’s go buy a suit!

Long story short This man was a plant. He had been told to wait around the temple for tourists, preferably of the fresh, wide-eyed, nave variety, to make some preliminary chitchat, and then sell the suit place. Sell it hard. And it worked. And $500 later, we emerged with a suit and a jacket, nice looking, but certainly not worth what we paid. And the quality was certainly not what the kind man at the temple had gone on about either. That is the day we learned we must be skeptical of everything. It felt almost like a rite of passage. Like we must be the ones to inform fellow travelers, keen and bright-eyed like ourselves, that this beautiful paradise called Thailand had, in fact, some fairly rough edges.