Buckle up, grab a cup of tea maybe, cause this is gonna be a long one.
In one single blog post I will attempt to do justice to the entire month we spent in Thailand. A little preface to this: we bought our flights approximately 2 days before departure… oh yeah, and we bought oneway tickets. To top that off, we only had our first 8 nights covered in terms of accomodation, and beyond that we were essentially flying by the seat of our pants.
Considering our spontaneous (some might also say foolish) planning, I’d say this adventure panned out really amazingly. See for yourself:
Villa “Crystal Blue” in Koh Samui, Thailand
This is where we woke up that first morning. On an island called Koh Samui, in a villa called “Crystal Blue”. I’ll let the rest of our photos here do all the talking.
Huge huge thank you to Luxury Retreats for housing us here for our first 8 nights in Thailand.
Check out the exact villa we stayed in here: Villa Crystal Blue
Sri Panwa Luxury Pool Villas in Phuket, Thailand
We left the beautiful villa we had grown so attached to over the first week and thus left our first taste of Thailand behind us.
We exited the island of Koh Samui via it’s gorgeous lush outdoor airport (reminded me of Kauai!) … and then somehow our next few nights fell miraculously into place.
Enter, Sri Panwa, a luxury pool villa hotel perched high on the southeastern tip of Phuket. What does “pool villa hotel” mean? It means that regular hotel rooms have been replaced with mini villas that have their own private pools, but the rooms are still stacked high like hotel rooms are. It’s quite remarkable.
This place wowed us like no tomorrow, and it’s a place in Thailand I would fondly stay at again and again and again. It just has that magic to it, and it’s really something you’ll have to experience for yourself to understand, but I’ll try and paint that picture as best I can with the photos we took.
Amatara Wellness Resort in Phuket, Thailand
And next up, Amatara! We found another gem just in the nick of time.
Amatara is a peaceful wellness resort comprised of beautiful white and stone villas nestled on the beach. Our villa was almost like a modern cottage, right on the water and the perfect size for two people, with a spacious bedroom, a balcony I claimed as a reading nook, a closet hallway with mini fridge and coffee station, a huge circular bathroom with glass doors that open to the ocean, towering ceilings and a giant round tub right in the middle. For me, hotel rooms can often feel a little too bleached-clean and impersonal, but staying in a place like this as opposed to a hotel is the difference between a place to sleep and a peaceful getaway.
Our villa here felt clean and modern but also had character. We had a baby private infinity pool basically on the ocean – nothing to swim laps in but perfect to relax and prevent from melting in 90-degree heat (if you’re looking to swim laps, the massive Amatara infinity pool would have been a sufficient length for Michael Phelps to warm up in, it was so huge). We ate breakfast every morning by our little pool and then ventured out to explore.
Amatara has a private beach with clear turquoise water, a large oasis of a spa, multiple restaurants with melt-in-your-mouth food, tea rooms for afternoon tea, the list goes on and on. Basically, it’s insanely relaxing but not in a boring way. The spa here combined with the peaceful atmosphere makes this place basically an escape from stress.
If you are in Phuket and want to slow down and find some relief for your body and mind, I 100% recommend staying at Amatara.
Paresa Resort in Phuket, Thailand
Two weeks in, still no return flights booked, and we find ourselves at the most enchanting place… Paresa Resort.
Paresa Resort is a scenic romantic getaway on the cliffs above the bright blue Andaman sea. Really though, it’s probably the best view I’ve woken up to so far in Thailand. And have you seen some of the views we’ve been blessed with thus far?!
The resort itself feels very secluded in a special way, as it is quite far removed from the hustle and bustle of Patong beach and the rest of Phuket. It took quite an upward climb to reach the resort, we passed Patong beach and then about 20 minutes of uphill drive later we arrived at the top entrance to Paresa.
Most of the places we’ve stayed have shared their space with neighbors, whether it be other resorts or just the nearby town. Paresa is unique in this way, as it is situated in the “Millionaires Mile” of Phuket, so it’s only neighbors are a few distant ginormous estates that quite frankly just add to the beautiful scenery.
Paresa immediately reminded me of a modern tree-house. You begin at the top where the road can access the entrance, and then you take an elevator down to the next level below which houses the restaurant. From there, you climb down multiple levels of stairs all surrounded by lush foliage and immaculate landscaping. They also offer cart rides around in case you aren’t looking to get a decent stair work-out in.
Paresa offers different levels of villa-suites, ranging from the most insanely romantic large honeymoon-worthy suites, to units with lap-swimmable length infinity pools. Our unit was absolutely perfect for us, with it’s own mini infinity pool and a breathtaking ocean cliff views. It felt very romantic and personal, not too hotel-y and certainly not lacking in character. To top it all off, they have a beautiful spa and offer endless activities ranging from private elephant rides to romantic beach BBQ dinners. So although you’re sitting up high on a cliff in a treehouse, you have immediate access to whatever activity your heart may desire.
To me, Paresa was a dream of an experience that made me feel like a child again in a secret treehouse hideaway. It’s on my list for potential honeymoon getaways, so take notes newlyweds!
COMO Point Yamu in Phuket, Thailand
And then there was COMO. This was the last of our Phuket marathon, and though last it was far from least.
We absolutely loved how big and grand and modern this hotel was, not to mention the expansive view of endless blue ocean.
COMO Point Yamu hotel is one of the most beautifully designed hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of coordinating my outfits with.
Ani Villas in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
The island hopping resumed for our stay at Ani Villa’s beautiful Koh Yao Noi location.
The island of Koh Yao Noi is small but the views are just… no words. See below for a better description. It’s certainly not a huge tourist-infested island but rather a break from the crowds of Phuket, and your only method of entrance is by boat. On an island so special and secluded from tourist-infested mainland, Ani Villas is nothing short of a sanctuary.
This hotel would be most ideal for large groups, whether it be a big family or a group of friends traveling together. You have a very private, secluded property that contains several mini villas. The entire hotel grounds reminded me more of an estate than a hotel, which gives it a very intimate feel.
We were spoiled by some of the best food we’d tasted in Thailand cooked by a very talented chef, we had the most relaxing massages and when we weren’t relaxing we kept busy with water activities… oh, and we couldn’t stay off the waterslide, despite being full grown adults. We’d love to come back here someday with a big group!
Bay Villas in Koh Phangan, Thailand
Our last stay in Thailand before we called it quits took place on Koh Phangan.
Our main reason for visiting Koh Phangan (as most seasoned travelers know) is because of the famous monthly “Full Moon Party” we had heard so much about. That photo of Zack and me covered in neon tribal paint? Those snapchats of a giant beach filled with neon partiers? Yeah. That.
What we didn’t know about Koh Phangan is that it has an entire other beautiful side to it, and our experience staying with Bay Villas in Haad Salad was the best decision we could have made. It’s a beautiful place to stay, and Zack and I found ourselves thinking out loud multiple times what a nice place it would be to come to with a family (complete opposite of what we assumed what with the Full Moon Party crowd). But if you’re like us – wanting to experience one night of crazy but actually stay somewhere post-card picturesque and peaceful to balance out that one night under the full moon, I would highly recommend staying with Bay Villas on the other side of the island.
Our villa looked like what most of my pinterest boards look like – it’s a brand new two story modern house with the coolest decor and could easily fit a large family or big group of friends. It’s perched high in the Northwest island hills overlooking the most jaw dropping ocean sunset you could conjure up (actually might be the best sunset I’ve ever seen, evidence to follow in the photos below). Those Bay views cannot be beat – I promise you. We were in awe every single night, and keep in mind this was at the very end of a long month full of Thailand sunsets.
We rented a vespa at the little town area on the water and zoomed around on it for the 4 days we stayed there – there is no better or more enjoyable way to get around, not to mention renting one of these bad boys is diiiiiirt cheap. It makes staying so high on the island hills easy breezy and getting down to the little restaurants on the sand and exploring further around that side of the island was so much fun (we even made an entire video about it, see Zack’s Instagram video here!)
It’s such a beautiful island despite it’s associations with the young party crowd. If you are curious about the Full Moon Party, but also want to experience more of the natural beauty and PEACE of the island – Bay Villas is 100% the best of both worlds. (PS, if you are curious we stayed in the “Yellow Dog” villa)
After Koh Phagnan we spent a couple days in Bangkok and then decided it was time to throw in the towel. We finally got those dreaded return flights.
And believe it or not, immediately after landing, ubering home, and sitting down on our couch in Hollywood for the first time all month, we ordered Thai food. True story.
Hopefully be seeing you again soon Thailand!