Koh Samui’s northern shore has become the preferred choice for guests in search of a private and peaceful tropical stay. Our Villa Expert, Max Vee, heads to the tranquil north coast enclave of Bang Por and gives his insights on the area and its villas, including luxury newcomer Villa Blue View.
Every year, more and more visitors from around the world are discovering the multitudinous attractions and alluring lifestyle choices on Thailand’s boutique island of Koh Samui. This inevitably means that during peak seasons, the most Popular and developed tourist areas and beach are often busy.
Despite larger crowds on beaches like Chaweng and Lamai, the advantages of a more developed tourist scene on Koh Samui are considerable. It’s now Possible to enjoy everything from local seafood to Maine oysters in the island’s eclectic restaurants, and you can choose to wash it down with a glass of local Chang beer or a bottle of Bollinger.
Fortunately, thanks to its unique topography, it’s also easy for those in search of a relaxed island stay to find a private villa that’s far enough away from the action to guarantee privacy and peace, but still close enough for occasional shopping or party sessions.
Northern Delights at Bang Por
The north coast of Samui has long been the island’s prime location for private holiday villas. Bang Rak and Bophut collectively boast the largest number of luxury holiday homes for rent on the island, and over the last few years, plenty of new, inspiring properties have also emerged on the beaches and hillsides further north in Mae Nam, Baan Tai and Bang Por.
Bang Por is the northernmost beach on the island, separated from the west coast strip by the hidden Lam Yai peninsula, home to Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui. The hills behind Bang Por are carpeted with coconut groves and slope gently down to one of the least crowded stretches of Samui sand. The views of neighbouring Koh Phangan are nothing short of breathtaking – on a clear day you feel you could almost touch the opposite shore – and Samui’s sister island also acts as a natural breakwater, which means year-round swimming is another advantage for visitors staying on or close to the coast.
Where would you eat in Bang Por?
Even if you are staying at villa with a private chef to prepare your meals, it’s worth venturing out at least once to a local seafood restaurant in Bang Por. As one of the island’s longest established fishing communities, the area is well known for its fresh ocean fare with prawns, squid and fish served in a wide variety of ways at restaurants like the famous Krua Bang Por in the beachside village. The menus are intriguing, the food delicious, and beachside setting picture perfect.
For diners looking for something a little more sophisticated, Mae Nam boasts a number of international eateries, including Barracuda, which offers a fusion of high quality Mediterranean and Thai cuisine on its ‘Thai meets European’ menu. Another appetizing choice is The Farmer restaurant, set in a contemporary Thai building overlooking the lush Samui hinterland. The restaurant’s Italian inspired menu includes a choice of gourmet pasta dishes and a “make your own” pizza option.
More down-to-earth but equally satisfying is the pub grub at The Lazy Coconut on the main ring road heading towards Bophut Fisherman’s Village. Bophut is actually one of the island’s top dining locations. The quaint beachside strip is lined with restaurants offering a varied choice of fine cuisine from around the world.
What keeps you busy in Bang Por?
For adventure seekers staying in Bang Por, nearby Mae Nam is the location for a number of thrilling activities including Canopy Rides in the mountainside jungle, ATV safaris through the coconut groves and Kiteboarding right off the beach. Boat trips can easily be arranged to nearby islands for snorkelling or diving and the monthly Full Moon party can be swiftly reached by private speedboat or on one of the hourly transfers that leave from all the north coast piers.
Koh Samui’s modest but charming port town, Nathon, is a ten minute drive from Bang Por and therefore the nearest place to go shopping for souvenirs or supermarket items. The main street is lined with local outlets selling beachwear, DVDs, souvenirs, Thai silk and local crafts and there’s also a branch of Tesco Lotus, which sells a range of international consumables. An afternoon wandering around the town and visiting the food stalls by the pier to the mainland puts you in touch with local island life and offers a fascinating cultural contrast to the more tourism-driven side of Samui.
How about a night out in Bang Por?
Samui’s north coast is definitely more of chill out than a party destination and relaxing with friends and a drink or two to the sound of your favourite iPod tunes on the pool terrace is a difficult treat to beat. If you do feel like a night out, there are quite a few good beach bars in the area and the buzzing nightlife of Chaweng is only 20 or so minutes by taxi.
What about the villas in Bang Por?
As more people discover the secluded but convenient appeal of Samui’s north coast, the choice of private holiday homes is increasing. A handful of beachside villas sit beachside with more attractive options just a short drive into the hills that overlook the stunning bay.
**NEW VILLA in Bang Por**
Villa Blue View
Designed by award-winning firm GFAB Architects, Villa Blue View is a brand new contemporary property built high on the palm-clad Bang Por hillside. The villa definitely lives up to its name and guests enjoy constant sea breezes and astounding 270-degree views across the reflective waters of the Gulf of Siam.
Personalised comfort and style are key to the overall experience at this unashamedly modern 5-bedroom villa. The dramatic negative-edge private pool literally pours into the ocean vistas and clever additions to the design like built-in, cushioned day beds and a barbecue unit in the poolside sala offer guests the freedom and flexibility to tailor make their stay.
Villa Blue View is the perfect choice for a family or group of friends looking to escape the holiday crowds and enjoy some contemporary private luxury close to nature. Staying at the villa feels a little like being a sophisticated city apartment then opening up its interiors and transporting the whole building to a tropical island.
The Emerald Beach Villas
Set within an attractive oceanfront estate, the Emerald Residence is a homely collection of contemporary beachfront villas with private pools on Laem Yai Noi beach that are perfect for a private family holiday. Two of the villas are for rent offering 2 or 3 bedroom options and each one occupies two stand-alone pavillions. Fitted kitchens and breakfast bars make the poolside pavillions a perfect place to pass the day in relaxed holiday mode with a furnished beach view veranda providing a tempting sport for sunset cocktails.
A small but dedicated team of friendly, efficient staff keeps things clean and tidy and the English speaking estate manager is always on hand to answer special requests, book trips and tours or arrange for meals to be prepared by a private chef. The villas' secluded beachside location makes for an appealing private retreat and for larger groups, the two adjacent properties can be rented together, allowing friends and family to easily share their holiday time.
Villa Monsoon is a very flexible holiday villa that would suit a large family with children as much as a group of friends on a long weekend break from a nearby city such as Bangkok or Singapore. The villa’s slide-open living spaces, wide terraces and 18 metre pool all make the most of its elevated, oceanview location and the covered, outdoor private pool lounge and bar area with games room and gym beneath it definitely add to the resort style pleasure of the stay. High quality materials and furnishings have been carefully chosen to offer a very comfortable yet practical holiday experience.
One of the largest private residences on the north coast of Samui, Villa Riva's multifunctional living spaces and ultra luxurious facilities offer guests a range of appealing options for undisturbed beachside relaxation and personalised leisure time. The villa's 8 bedrooms (one a dedicated children's room) are all individually furnished to guarantee total comfort, with large ensuite bathrooms and unique Asian design touches. An exceptional villa for families or groups of friends seeking a truly exclusive retreat, Villa Riva is also a perfect venue for weddings, celebrations and corporate events as it features a specially designed, covered events platform with a marriage gazebo, gentle water features and a purpose built food and beverage service area, DJ Podium, dedicated bar and guest bathrooms.
by MAX VEE