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The Picture Perfect of the Family Ideal

in Families by
Children are fabulously celebrated and doted on by the Thai people which makes it a seriously sensational destination for a family holiday. The stunning island of Koh Samui is trending hard among those ‘in the know’ families. Velvet soft sandy beaches are perfect for sand castle construction (and parent lazing) while the glittering azure shallows are so safe for swimming and snorkeling – the exact amount of needed shade is provided by the abundance of trees which complete the picture perfect of the family ideal.
Koh Samui is just off the south-east coast of Thailand’s Surat Thani. It’s laid back and a tranquil corner of an energized nation. Blessed with extraordinary natural beauty it has a raft of fun adventures that will be certain to create memories.
 

Family-friendly villas

The first concern for most families is where to stay. Hotels and resorts may pitch themselves as family friendly, but the prying eyes of other guests can be vexing. Massive resorts offer little in terms of space and privacy and certainly don’t give you access to your own private chef.
 
The support of a stellar team of professional staff in a luxury private villa caters to the broad demands of family life. Daily housekeeping discretely happens every day everything is pristine and random glasses are whisked away. Meals are a stunning affair with a private chef creating beautiful dishes – from exotic delicacies, western favourites, barbeques, kids’ choices and even special diets. Add to this an easily secured in-villa nanny and the load of parenting can be lightened even further. 
 
Imagine a private swimming pool with floating toys, play equipment, board games and possibly table tennis and pool tables. Staff are quick to help with the kids, so you can enjoy the bliss away from other guests who may not love junior’s joyful squeals and noisy pool games. Secure walls deliver safe spaces for little ones to wander and explore under the watchful eyes of a nanny. Many villas are also big enough to house a few families turning a gorgeous estate into a sensational tribal ground with friends and cousins roaming in packs. 
 
A stream of homemade snacks will be prepared by the cooks and guests also have open access to the kitchen which is worth its weight in gold for families with toddlers and babies – and jetlag. 

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Samui Elephant Sanctuary Review

in Destinations/Recreation by

“For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of that herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys, and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realize they are big in more ways than one.”

― J.H. Williams, Elephant Bill

Samui Elephant Sanctuary opened on 16 January 2018 by Founder Wittaya Sala-Ngam and is the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui. Currently, there are five elephants in their care; Cartoon, Kham San and Sri Nin (50 – 60 years old) who came to the sanctuary from the local riding camp on Koh Samui. The sanctuary also has two younger elephants; Nong Pech (7 years old) and Moloair (9 years old) who came to the elephant sanctuary from Surin province.

Samui Elephant Sanctuary offers tours that educate visitors about the importance of these extraordinary, majestic giants. You will be able to feed and walk and observe the elephants as they forage, socialize and play, and do what elephants do, and that’s be elephants.

These five elephants that now live, at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, have come from an extremely hard life, working long hours in the entertainment or logging industries. These stunning animals have been beaten and made to do what their owners wanted by use of force and torture. Having a chair strapped to their back or painting a picture has never been part of their natural environment. The positive news for elephants is that times are changing and projects such as the Samui Elephant Sanctuary are becoming the new way for a tourist to experience elephants. 

The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is the perfect opportunity for families, couples, and friends to discover the life of elephants in a stunning natural setting and enjoy these beautiful creatures in a way that does not take advantage of the animal. The project works under the Save the Elephant Foundations “off Saddle” program.

On arrival, you will be welcomed by extremely friendly and highly dedicated team of staff, many of whom are volunteers, that are all committed to the well-being of the animals. The tours focus on observation of the elephant’s natural behaviors and as such, they do not allow guest to join the elephants in the mud pit or swimming pool and of course NO RIDING.

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‘A Chef’s Tour’ A Phuket Must

in Dining/Recreation by
Produce Market Phuket

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti

In 2017 Phuket was crowned a City of Gastronomy by UNESCO and anyone who has ever experienced real Thai food will agree that it’s arguably one of the best foods in the world. A balance between sweet, spicy, bitter, salty and sour is the main reason why Thai food is so special. But in internationally renowned Phuket, you find there’s actually much more than Thai cuisine to tantalize your taste buds.

chinese doors phuket

Having lived and worked in Phuket for the past 11 years I thought I had experienced most of southern Thai food, as well as some of the dishes from the North. In my culinary journey, (which does make me sound like a foodie millennial) have tried chicken feet and chicken heart, fried silk worms, raw prawns in fish sauce, chili and lime (this is one of my favourites to order) and a bitter-tasting green vegetable thing that to this day I have no idea what it was, although it was disgusting.

In May this year, it was announced that the legendary Michelin Guide will now include restaurants from Phuket and Phang Nga. With all the accolades that Thai food has received and now with the car tire manufacturer’s marshmallow man in the picture I thought it time to jump on the food cart wagon and see what is out there in terms of food tours and adventures.

Old Town Phuket

A CHEF’S TOUR

There are of course some fabulous cooking schools in Phuket that will teach you how to cook an authentic Pad Thai or a Green Curry, but isn’t it better to get out of the TV kitchen and hit the streets? I wanted to eat and drink with the locals. So, along with my friend we chose to go on A Chef’s Tour, which is a boutique tour that gives you a true flavor of food in Phuket and as you will find out, this tour gives you a whole lot more.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • 4-hour guided walking tour of Phuket Old Town
  • Tastings at hidden “street eats” and local restaurants
  • History and culture lesson on southern Thai cuisine
  • Great photo opportunities
  • Drinking water and Thai refreshments
  • Private fully-licensed (foodie) guide

red Chinese lanterns Phuket

On the steps of one of Phuket Town’s largest indoor markets,

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Bali restaurants and party venues for groups

in Dining by
La Laguna

Bring a crowd. Bali loves a party and whether your crowd is 10 or 100 people, some of Bali’s best venues are happy to host and do it brilliantly. Here are our top picks.

Bali restaurants for groups

 La Laguna La Laguna

La Laguna

Spread out over a large garden, with views over the long stretch of beach from Kuta to Canggu, La Laguna on Kayu Putih Beach, is a fantasy. The whimsical restaurant and garden bar is festooned intimate corners, where creative moments are coloured by tumble-down chic. Choose your space, your menu, drinks and they’ll even lay down a soundtrack just for you. Villas Zelie and Avalon are right next door.

La Laguna
Jl. Pantai Kayu Putih, Berawa, Canggu
Monday-Sunday 9AM-12AM
+62 0812-3638-2272
lalagunabali.com

 Ling LingsLing Lings Ling Lings

Ling-Lings has brought Asian-fusion to a whole new level of delicious. The menu is a mix of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese street food, and the cocktails almost steal the show. The animated restaurant has a large terrace overlooking the street, a long bar, booth seats indoors and a funky backyard just made for parties. Choose from a la carte or cater for a crowd with finger food, sushi platters and canapés. Cocktails by the jug or served in real fruit containers add colour and fun to any event. Check their VIP room for a more intimate setting.

Ling-Lings
Jl. Petitenget No. 43 B, Kerobokan
Monday-Sunday 12PM-1AM
+62 819-1641-7867
linglingsbali.com

Da Maria Da Maria

This modern Italian restaurant will soon have you speaking Italian and dancing through their cocktail menu. With great wine, and great design, Da Maria turns on the charm from lunch to late dinner! Known for its Neopolitan pizzas (and the handsome pizzaiolo), and hand crafted pasta, Da Maria sings for its supper. Book tables inside, take over the bar or throw a cocktail party in the Capri-inspired entertaining space at the back.

Da Maria
Jl. Petitenget No.170, Kerobokan
Monday-Sunday 12PM-2AM
+62 361 9348523
damariabali.com

 
Bali party venues

Waterbom Waterbom

It’s not just for kids anymore. Waterbom has teamed up with one of the island’s top caterers,

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5 brilliant things to do in Koh Samui

in Recreation by
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.

1. MAGIC BUDDHA GARDEN

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.

2. BOAT TRIPS

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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