Must-see places and can’t miss things to do from Malé to Bali

5 brilliant things to do in Koh Samui

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Boating and diving in Koh Samui

The range of things to do and see in Koh Samui, Thailand is extremely varied and interesting. The island offers a host of activities for those looking for adventure, sport, nature or just relaxing and enjoying a holiday at one of our Koh Samui beachfront villas. Discover Koh Samui’s natural splendour, modern man-made attractions and religious and cultural sights. Of course let’s not forget the perfect beaches, night markets and lively nightlife, either.

There is so much to see and do on this island, it can be hard to fit it all into one trip or, for that matter, one blog. With our guests’ invaluable feedback, our own local insight and some ingenuity as longtime villa holiday experts, we’ve narrowed it down quite a bit to five essential experiences in Koh Samui.


Magic Buddha Garden Koh SamuiCopyright image from Magic Buddha Garden

This lovely and quiet place was created by a Thai farmer Nim Thongsuk. The whole area looks like a sculpture garden; it is located along a small mountain river flowing across the Magic Buddha Garden. Khun Nim wanted to build a place where people could enjoy peace and nature.

Statues here depict creatures and deities from Buddhist mythology. There are several viewpoints along the way to Magic Buddha Garden offering a stunning panorama view over the southern part of Koh Samui. There is also an artificially created waterfall named after the creator. The waterfall is located right at the entrance and greets the visitors of the Magical Buddha Garden. It’s a unique treasure best enjoyed in the morning.


Koh Samui boat tripsImage by Sailing in Samui

The Gulf of Thailand is an exciting sailing destination. There are five islands nestled closely together; Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Matsum and Koh Tan. Close by, and the famous Angthong National Marine Park. Each island has its own distinct beauty and offerings of unique terrain, beaches, and attractions.

Boutique Yachting based in Koh Samui offers luxury day trips and private charters to Angthong Marine Park and around Koh Samui. Boutique Yachting has two boats, Naga, which is a classic Turkish Gullet and Baidee, a traditional Indonesian Ketch, and if you chose the private charter or day tour you will be able to view all the stunning islands around Koh Samui from different angles and take in the breathtaking scenery from the sea.

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Phuket Rendezvous 2018

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Thailand Yacht Show 2

Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.  – Coco Chanel 

The Phuket Rendezvous, the definitive yachting and lifestyle event

The inaugural Phuket Rendezvous is set to berth at Royal Phuket Marina from the 4th to 7th January 2018 and will bring the best of the best of luxury lifestyle and is set to boost Phuket as the leading position as Asia’s premier luxury yachting and lifestyle destination.

After successfully hosting the inaugural Singapore RendezVous, the experienced and passionate team at Asia Rendez Vous Pte. Ltd. is ready to bring their own touch of luxury to Thailand’s most desirable and upmarket destination, Phuket.

Phuket rendezvous 2018The four-day event will not only showcase high-end luxury experiences and attractions both on land and sea but will transform Royal Phuket Marina to a bustling hub for all things luxury, from gourmet cuisine to properties, watches to supercars, fashion, and art, the Phuket Rendevous will attract some of the biggest brands from all over the globe.

There will be an on water display, which will host the regions leading brokers and dealers and visitors will have access to over 40 yachts. Visitors can also meet with high-end property developers, luxury travel organizers (including private jet and helicopter operators) as well as auctions, art and investment specialists and classic cars.

VIP guests will enjoy exclusive access to selected attractions and superyachts, while members of the public are free to explore the exciting exhibits at the Phuket Rendezvous in the full air-con exhibition hall.

Luxury aficionados from Asia (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.), Europe (Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, etc.), as well as Bangkok and Phuket, are expected to attend the show and take part in this unique experience which is set to be one of Phuket’s biggest events of the year.

Thailand Yacht Show 3

An exciting programme of live entertainment and fashion shows, art exhibitions, panel discussions and sailing workshops and wine and food tastings will enhance the visitor experience and, with more emphasis on superyachts, a Mariners’ market and the prestigious Christofle Yacht Style Awards, the Phuket Rendezvous will have something for everyone!

The venue Royal Phuket Marina has hosted the Phuket International Boat Show, commonly known as PIMEX, for the past 12 years and is an ideal venue for the first ever Phuket Rendezvous which has now replaced PIMEX.

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New things to do in Phuket

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Phuket paddleboard and kayak

Excited about your trip to Phuket, but don’t know what to do while you’re here?

Having lived in Phuket for 10 years I have experienced a multitude of the amazing activities that you can do while you stay on the pearl of the Andaman. Phuket attracts a host of different types of tourists, tourists from all over the world, all with different budgets and all with different needs and wants from their tropical island experience.

Phuket now has some amazing new and exciting attractions for you to come and try which will enhance your island experience. Here are some great activities that I recommend.

andaman nature tours bicycle tour phuket

Bike Tours

Biking and triathlons have taken the ball and rode with it over the past few years and become much more mainstream, and this has not been missed by businesses in Phuket and the amount of new biking companies offering a host of different tours has grown year on year. One truly amazing tour which is actually three tours in one is Andaman Nature Tours.

This tour starts on a boat and takes you to one of Phuket sister islands Koh Yao Noi for a biking tour. The terrain is relatively easy and has stunning scenery. You will ride through paddy fields and meet local farmers who are the real organic hipsters, then up into the rubber plantations, and then hop on a traditional Thai Longtail to take you for lunch on a secluded palm-fringed white sandy beach, back on the boat to finish the tour riding along next to the beach. This is my favorite tour 100%.

Wake Boarding and Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand Up Paddle Boarding has been one of the fastest growing watersports in the world and Phuket has its share of SUP tours and adventures. Companies such as Skylas Surf & SUP club offer a range of SUP tours and trips as well as SUP Yoga and hire.

During the surf season May – November, they also offer surf courses and board hire. The west coast, during November to April, is the perfect flat water that you need to enjoy SUP, but if you are looking for more of an adventure then book on a SUP tour to the east coast. You will experience paddling through mangroves and seeing a host of natural wildlife.

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Sri Lanka National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

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Birds at Kalametiya Park

Famed for the historic Galle Fort district, tea industry and pristine family-friendly beaches, Sri Lanka is also known for its several national parks, animal reserves and wildlife sanctuaries.

When holidaying on the south coast, don’t miss the chance to visit at least one of the protected wetlands or other animal habitats. Day trips are fun for the whole family and easy to arrange ahead. Road trips around the country require a bit more planning. Why not start now? Here are a few of the most popular animal attractions in Sri Lanka.

1 Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary

Established in 1938, this is one of the oldest protected wildlife parks in Sri Lanka and is celebrated as one of the best eco-birdwatching destinations in the entire world.

Heron birdwatching at Kalametiya Bird SanctuaryKalametiya Bird Sanctuary

THINGS TO DO Birdwatching, photography, kid-friendly rock climbing, early morning or afternoon paddle boat cruise

ANIMALS Over 150 bird species including Indian Reef Heron, Sri Lankan black-capped purple Kingfisher, Glossy Ibis, Jungle Fowl, Black Bittern, Slatybreasted Crake, Watercock, 20 mammal species, 40 types of fish, 40 exotic reptiles

BEST TIME TO VISIT Kalametiya is home to several local bird species, and more migrant birds come to roost and nest each year between November and March

LOCATION 20 km from Tangalle city, the sanctuary is near the village of Hungama on the south coast of Sri Lanka

GETTING THERE Via train or private transportation, the exit for the sanctuary is clearly marked on the A2 near the 214 and 218 km posts


2 Minneriya National Park

The site of The Gathering, a world-famous elephant spectacle, Minneriya is a protected 8,890-hectare reserve within Sri Lanka’s famed Cultural Triangle. Critical to the biodiversity in this habitat are its natural wetlands, water tanks and irrigation systems.

The Gathering at Minneriya National Parkimage by

THINGS TO DO Jeep tours; Wildlife photography

ANIMALS Approximately 200 wild (Asian) elephants, various migratory and aquatic bird species, wetland mammals

BEST TIME TO VISIT The dry season, usually late August to October is when groups of elephants congregate here

LOCATION Less than 10 km from Habarana on the Colombo Polonnaruwa road

GETTING THERE Entrance requires a permit from the Ambagaswewa wild life conservation office,

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Phuket’s first ethical elephant sanctuary

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Sophie Monk at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

“Bow your head. Show them respect. The elephants created this jungle. Where they made furrows with their tusks the rivers ran. Where they blew their trunks the leaves fell. They made all that belongs: the mountains, the trees, the birds in the trees. But they did not make you.” – Disney’s The Jungle Book movie

Sri Nuan elephant at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary

Growing up in Essex in the UK, my only experience with the majestic beast that is the elephant was on TV. Although I had travelled half the world by my early thirties it wasn’t until I landed on the tropical shores of Phuket, Thailand that I came face to trunk with these huge, intelligent animals.

In the UK I had been used to cats, dogs, and guinea pigs, and there weren’t any elephants in Antigua, Turkey or Greece, so when I first came up close and personal with the largest land mammal in the world it was rather overwhelming. I will admit that I was a little scared, not sure I had pachydermophobia, (the fear of elephants, adding to my word count with that one), but I was definitely nervous.

I have, of course, done what every tourist has done when coming to Phuket – book an elephant ride. So far in the ten years I have been in Phuket I have gone out twice. Both times has been a good experience, although not amazing, it wasn’t until I visited the new pioneering Phuket Elephant Sanctuary that I finally fell in love with Thailand’s national animal.


Located in the lush tropical jungles of Phuket’s east coast, bordering the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park, the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary offers the most idyllic retirement for sick, injured and old elephants, all of whom have had exhausting lives, either in the logging trade or working in the many elephant trekking companies around Thailand.

Founded in a partnership with Mr. Montri Todtane, ex-owner of an elephant camp in Phuket, world-renowned elephant rescuer and conservationist Lek Chailert, founder of Save Elephant Foundation, and Louise Rogerson, founder of EARS Asia, the Phuket Elephant sanctuary is a tranquil home for these majestic beasts and a place where they can be elephants again.

Elephant tourism


After the logging industry declined,

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