In July this year, my family and I were invited to experience the awe-inspiring and ultimate VIP Thai villa experience in the friendly island of Koh Samui. Located close to the mainland town of Surat Thani, Samui (as it’s referred to by locals) is Thailand’s third largest island and attracts more than 1.5 million tourists per year. Known for it’s white sandy beaches, coral reefs, scrumptious cuisine and of course world class villas, the island is a favorite with holiday makers around the world.
So as you can imagine, we were more than excited when the opportunity came about to review the gorgeous Baan Mika villa. Located a short 10 minutes drive from the airport, Baan Mika is nicely tucked away in the tranquil Plai Laem area – which is also a short drive from Bhoput’s famous Big Buddha and the sleepy Fisherman’s Village.
When visiting Koh Samui, selecting a location on the island to best suit what you want to achieve from your holiday is very important. For the party-goers and younger set who want to take advantage of the island thumping nightlife, the Chaweng and Lamai areas are the best option. For those looking for a little more sophistication and a more luxurious encounter, then staying in a villa like Baan Mika in this part of the island is a very clever choice.
The journey starts when the friendly staff make contact before you even leave your home to find out about dietary preferences and any other special requests. “We understand you will be travelling with a young child madam, is there anything she doesn’t like to eat or allergic to?” asked the considerate Baan Mika staff while we were still in Singapore. From that moment on I knew that this was going to be a very special journey. That said, our requirements was pretty straight forward – we wanted to unwind, eat the freshest local produce and take in a slice of this gorgeous island – all from the compounds of our own private sanctuary with zero interference from the outside world. Simple.
At Baan Mika, that’s a given.
From the personal greeting & pick-up at the airport to the warm welcome upon arrival at our private paradise, the staff treated us like old friends catching up after a long time. It’s very clear why Koh Samui is also known as ‘The land of thousand smiles’..
Baan Mika has been described as ‘Paradise comes neatly packaged’ and it really is not difficult to see why the minute you step foot into the compound. The compound is cleverly designed around a stunning rectangular swimming pool that runs the entire length of the property. This ‘jewel in the crown’ is clearly the star of the show and is surround by six ultra luxurious rooms, all custom-built and self-contained. The entire complex comfortably sleeps twelve adults.
Overlooking the gorgeous private beach are two salas, which are basically an alfresco style dining and ‘chill out’ area which comes fully kitted out with a BBQ and wet bar and Bose surround sound speakers. We decided to have all of our meals here with nothing but the warm ocean breeze to keep us company.
The view into the ocean is expansive and uninterrupted – littered with local fishermen trying to bring in the catch of the day. When the tide is low, the local children are seen collecting Huay (small shells) which are later cooked into local dishes. The living areas come complete with the latest audio-visual setup and wifi covers the entire compound (yes, even on the private beach).
The way of life in Thailand begins thousands of years ago as the people called themselves “water lords” and today the people still rely on the waterways – as this is the true heart of Thai culture. Although the people living on this land have changed over time, the way of life has been slowly transferred from people to people, with the current Thai people truly turning this past way of life into their modern-day culture. This is most visible from Baan Mika’s private beach as every low tide brings out local fishermen and their families as they collect cockles (a type of shell fish) to either sell at the night markets or to use in their evening meal. I was told by Ae, the villa’s lovely manager that this was a daily ritual by the locals in the area and for many a means to sustain their livelihood.
Along with foreign foods and spices, Buddhism arrived from settlers in the west. Buddhism quickly became the prominent religion and even today much of Thailand’s legal system and ideologies are rooted in Buddhism. Koh Samui is famous for the Big Buddha Temple. Known locally as Wat Phra Yai, its golden, 12-metre seated Buddha statue was built in 1972 and remains one of the island’s most popular attractions.
The Big Buddha can be seen at a distance of several kilometers and is often the first landmark people see when arriving to Samui by air. The best part is, the temple is under a 3 minute drive from Baan Mika and is clearly visible from the private salas on the beach.
OK now to move on to the serious stuff… FOOD!
Foodies (like us) all over the world have a fascination with Thai cuisine and have fallen in love with the medley of spices that come together for one hell of a performance. So we were over the moon when the executive chef of Baan Mika offered to give us a private cooking lesson. Her composed and tranquil nature made it such a breeze to learn how to cook two of Thailand’s favorite dishes.
Say hello to Chef Saipin, Baan Mika’s executive in-house chef who is always smiling and at your disposal for not only private cooking lessons, but she will also prepare a list of local and international dishes to suite your taste.
Chef Saipin sends her staff to the local markets daily to source the freshest of local ingredients. She will never comprimise on freshness and quality as this is the foundation of her cooking discipline.
Chef Saipin’s philosophy on Thai cooking is very simple, “Find the freshest ingredients you can find (that day) and learn about how to marry the spices together. The process is simple, you just need to add some love” – easier said than done? Not at all, I must admit that my fiancé loved the finished product and it really wasn’t too difficult.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
Thai Prawn Curry & Wok Tossed, Seasonal Veggies
Thanks Chef Saipin, really wish you would have came home with us 🙂
(Note: Look out for the video we shot of this lesson coming up soon! You will all be able to learn what Chef Saipin taught us in a step-by-step video).
No visit to Thailand would be complete without indulging in an incredible Thai style massage or nuat thai. My body was a little tired after making the journey from Singapore and seeing that I was in Rome, ahem I mean Thailand, I figure I would ask our villa manager Ae to organize a traditional Thai massage. In typical Baan Mika style, our masseuses came fully equipped and were friendly and very informative on the practice they were about to perform.
We decided to lay out by the pool just before sunset overlooking the private beach where the waves were breaking less then 10 meters from our massage beds. The gentle breeze and sounds of birds chirping high above our heads made for the perfect environment for what was the best traditional Thai massage I’ve ever had. After 90 minutes of pure bliss, the masseuse pulled out what is known as a Thai herbal compress – a therapy which is designed to relieve pain and inflammation.
A selection of therapeutic herbs, including prai, ginger, turmeric and lemongrass, are wrapped in a muslin compress, steamed and then applied to the body in gentle pressing, circular and rolling movements.
Talk about a happy ending!
The worst thing about our Baan Mika experience was saying goodbye. We had gotten very close with Ae and her fantastic team who treated us like family throughout our entire stay. If you are looking for a truly relaxing and ultra luxurious Thai getaway then please consider Baan Mika. She will warm your heart and leave you with a lasting smile as she has done with dozens before you.
As somebody once eloquently whispered:
“Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before new can meet again and meeting again, after moments or a lifetime, is certain for those who are friends”
Kap Kun Ka
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