Spending your Christmas holiday in a private villa on Phuket, Koh Samui or Bali offers the unique chance to blend traditions from home with a range of tropical activities and indulgences. Families or groups of friends can enjoy a festive break with the added pleasures of warm weather and island attractions.
For European travellers in particular, Phuket, Samui and Bali are three top choices for a Christmas holiday in the sun. With large expatriate populations living permanently on all three islands, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a traditional yet tropical Christmas in any one of these destinations. One that features all the food, drinks and trimmings that make the festive season so special back home.
Renting a private villa means the festive island experience feels all the more personal, no matter the distance from your native country. Staying in a ‘home away from home’ on one of Asia’s more developed vacation destinations gives you the freedom to mix traditional Christmas rituals with a range of appealing activities and indulgences on offer around the island.
Here are some memorable ways to spend your festive days in paradise.
A Christmas Outing
If you arrive at your private villa a few days before Christmas, you have time to spend a day shopping for Christmas gifts. Even if you choose to bring a few special presents from home for family and friends with you, the shops and stalls on Southeast Asia’s most popular holiday islands sell a vast selection of unique gifts to add to the stocking or place under the tree. When your retail mojo runs out, you can finish with a delicious meal at one of the many fine restaurants that also line the main shopping strips in locations like Patong on Phuket, Chaweng on Samui and Seminyak on Bali.
Decorating the Villa
The staff and management teams that take of private island villas will often add some festive decor for rental guests before they arrive, but families and groups of friends that want to add a personal touch can also easily find their own decorations and spend a fun day setting the scene for a tropical island Christmas. Creative guests of families with children might enjoy adding a bit of local flavour by painting coconut shells as decorations, for example. The villa’s private chef can also be recruited to help prepare some festive favourites or even offer a pre-Christmas cooking class. The expansive gardens at most private villas also offer the ideal location to set a Christmas treasure hunt.
Spend an Active Day
Before you get down to some serious traditional Christmas over-indulgence; tropical islands offer a wide variety of activities on land and sea to help offset all that rich food and too much drink. Whether it’s bungee jumping, canopy riding and mountain biking on land, snorkelling, diving or kitesurfing on the water, your villa manager or concierge can arrange all manner of activities that make the most of the location. Heading out with friends or family to explore the island is also a perfect way to start your holiday and really get a feel for the tropical island splendour that will surround you for the whole trip.
One of the key memories of every Christmas holiday is a special meal with family and friends. Whether you normally gather for your festive feast in the evening or at lunchtime, the flexibility offered by a private villa stay means you can plan the banquet to suit your holiday schedule. With staff on hand to prepare the food exactly to your taste, the choices are endless. Whether it’s a traditional turkey dinner, a seafood barbecue or a spread of Thai favourites, villa guests can look forward to a delicious spread to share in a perfect private setting. To add some excitement to the proceedings, guests can even book at personal fireworks display to mark the occasion.
After a day of delicious dining and perhaps one too many drinks, islands like Phuket, Samui and Bali offer a range of options to help you recover and relax. A range of treatments are on offer in the soothing surroundings of professionally run spas or you can opt for a simple beach massage to help ease away the excess to the sound of the lapping waves. More active souls can join a Yoga or Pilates class at one of the many studios and dedicated centres around the islands, or simply head out on a beach run or hike to burn off some of the Christmas calories.
by Wayne Hue