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Discover Gourmet Cuisine in Koh Samui

in Destinations/Dining by

Thailand’s leisure island of Koh Samui holds a priority position on the bucket list of every chic traveller. With Mick Jagger, Richard Branson and the Beckhams drawn to the divine destination, the island’s enviable reputation for barefoot luxury is set in stone.

Powder-soft white sand beaches dotted with swaying palm trees and a glittering turquoise sea set a spectacular scene.

Private coves and hidden beaches abound, and can be easily discovered by hiring a boat or a luxury yacht. Alternatively, you can marvel at exquisite marine life and colourful coral by putting on your snorkelling gear and heading into the blue water. 

Exclusive holiday villas are always the preferred style of accommodation among the rich and discerning, and many already own a private property on the island. However, the well-versed traveller knows the joys of simply renting a private luxury villa to experience the ultimate holiday. 


Personal Chefs

Chefs attached to these luxury villas are unique professionals with a vast repertoire of dishes fulfilling all dining moments – snacks, kids’ choices, a broad western menu, specific diets and five-star flavours.

Order a stunning poolside seafood barbecue, a formal degustation feast for 12 people or an intimate dinner for two at a perfectly set table on the beach at sunset. It is all possible and seamlessly executed.

Chefs enjoy showcasing regional specialities and dazzling guests with their culinary magic. Start the day with a trip to the local wet market, a great cultural immersion, and launch into a crash course in Thai cooking.

Learn to identify and select fresh ingredients to be pounded into the paste that you will turn into a creamy and lush coconut curry. Or as the afternoon heat sets in, climb into a comfy hammock with a cool signature cocktail and have a chat with the villa manager about possible trips to one of the pretty waterfalls in the hinterland, a traditional sea gypsy village or a visit to one of many Buddhist temples whilst your personal chef surprises you with yet another Thai masterpiece.

Dining at any one of our luxurious Koh Samui villas is a gourmand’s dream come true. It is a pleasure to leave behind the stresses of locating a touristy stall in town,

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An Ideal Stay in Koh Samui with Kids

in Destinations/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 ‘in-the-know’ families. Velvet-soft, sandy beaches are perfect for sandcastle construction (and parents lazing around) while the glittering azure shallows are safe for swimming and snorkelling.
Koh Samui is just off the south-east coast of Thailand’s Surat Thani. Its a tranquil corner of an energized nation. Blessed with extraordinary natural beauty, it has a wealth 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 discreetly happens everyday, 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 meals. Add to this an easily secured in-villa nanny and the load of parenting is lightened even further. 
 
Imagine a private swimming pool with floating toys; imagine board games and 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. 

Enjoy Koh Samui with Family

Villa managers are a mine of local intelligence and know where to find the fun far and beyond snorkeling and kayaking in the crystal-clear waters and mysterious coves of the Ang Thong Marine National Park.

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Island Adventures and Family Fun in Phuket and Koh Samui

in Culture/Destinations/Families/Recreation by

Planning a family vacation to Phuket or Koh Samui and accommodating the needs of an entire family is no easy feat. The mind boggles with such a wide range of both indoor and outdoor activities available. What are the most reputable and safe options, and which activity could satisfy everyone equally – from the oldest to the youngest? Staying at an elite haven makes the decision-making process simple.  Not only will you receive the attentive care and local tips from your dedicated Villa Manager, but you also have the assurance of the Elite Havens’ Concierge to assist with all your booking requirements and to personally manage your experience. So, you can sit back, relax and simply enjoy your holiday.

Phuket

The Phuket Aquarium, on the island’s southernmost tip at Cape Panwa, is a great place to discover Phuket’s underwater world and learn about local marine conservation at the same time. The aquarium is especially suitable for younger kids who will delight at the sight of sea turtles, manta rays and, of course, those cute clownfish of Finding Nemo fame. Top Tip: Walk along the nature trail at the exit of the aquarium and you’ll find a sanctuary for injured turtles.

Phang Nga Bay, with its magical hidden lagoons and towering limestone karsts, is a sea kayaker’s dream. Day trips from Phuket accommodate paddlers of all ages* and abilities and are a wonderful way to discover this unique seascape. Alternatively, ride the waves aboard a traditional long-tail fishing boat, or charter a luxury sail or motor yacht for the day.

*If your kids are very young, we recommend checking with the tour organiser before you book, as full day trips may not be suitable.

Bikes, Boats and Beaches. If you fancy something a little more energetic, we highly recommend a day out with Andaman Nature Tours (Feel Phuket). This three-in-one tour starts with a boat trip over to one of Phuket sister islands Koh Yao Noi. From here, saddle up for a bike ride. The terrain is relatively easy-going and the scenery is stunning. You’ll ride through paddy fields and meet local farmers who are the real organic hipsters, then up into the rubber plantations. For your lunch stop, hop aboard a traditional fishing boat and cruise to a secluded palm-fringed white sandy beach,

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Sri Lanka National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

in Destinations/Families/Recreation by
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.

 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 Sanctuary

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

WILDLIFE 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

WEBSITE kalametiyabirds.lk

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 Park

THINGS TO DO Jeep tours; Wildlife photography

WILDLIFE 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, so guided tours are the way to go

Bundala National Park

Made up of brackish lagoons,

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Sri Lanka Surfing Gems

in Culture/Destinations/Recreation by

Along Sri Lanka’s beautiful southern coastline, famed for its underwater marine life and wetland reserves, what surfers most admire at Sri Lanka’s family beaches are the world-class waves. No surfer can resist palm fringed shores and the opportunity to surf in calm blue waters with sea turtles. Read on for my insider tips about surfing in southern Sri Lanka, whether it’s for a dedicated surf trip or just a day trip from Galle.

I flew into Colombo, jumped straight into a taxi with my board and zero prior knowledge about the paradise that awaited me. I did what any surfer would: I headed south to the sea! Okay, I wasn’t quite that aimless. Luckily, a dear friend was there to meet me and show me the ropes. My expectations of this surfers’ paradise were blown out of the water, exceeded dramatically.

Sri Lanka map

Take Me To Paradise  

Let’s start with the village of Midigama, where nights are spent dreaming of the next wave. This surfer Heaven is outside of Weligama Bay, just 40 minutes from Galle by car or taxi, or the more local options, a bus or tuk-tuk. If you’re planning on bringing your own surfboard to Sri Lanka the options are slightly more limited as they’re not allowed on the buses. But most tuk-tuk’s have a roof rack and proper straps and will usually be a cheaper (and more exciting) ride than a taxi.

You’ll pass by many small villages, each with their own hidden surf gems, but Midigama has the magic. In less than two kilometers you can find five breaks that cater to surfers from beginner to advanced. Whether you want to grab a longboard and surf a ‘mellow’ right over deep soft reef or are a bit more experienced and want to get barrelled at Ram’s – it’s all within walking distance.

midigama sri lanka

Midigama Surfing Spots

Lazy Right at Midigama Beach is exactly what it sounds like – probably the most mellow, soft, right hand wave in the South Coast area. This break can pick up some bigger swell that makes it fun for more advanced surfers, too. On average it’s the safest reef break you’ll find in South Sri Lanka, great for beginner and intermediate surfers to improve confidence and surfing skills.

Lazy Left is a bit more challenging as it’s shallower near the take off and a bit quicker but also can hang outside to catch the few fun ones that get missed.

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