2-bedroom Villas in Bang Rak-Big Buddha, Koh Samui, Thailand

Easy access to the airport, plus ferry piers to neighbouring islands make Big Buddha beach a popular spot for people arriving and leaving Samui. Bang Rak village has its own appeal with hotels, bungalows, restaurants and bars catering to both short- and long-stay visitors. A three-kilometre stretch of road sees local village life blending with tourist amenities, which gives the area its own special character. The temple at Wat Phra Yai is home to the 12m-tall Big Buddha statue, Samui’s most famous landmark. At the base of the temple shops and restaurants cater to the needs of devotees and tourist alike. From there, the often deserted beach stretches west and is one of Koh Samui’s calmer stretches of coast, the long, wide bay blessed with tranquil waters all year round. The village itself runs behind the beach and has a friendly local feel with glimpses of the island's more traditional way of life. There's a busy fish, fruit and vegetable market and traditional Thai-style roadside restaurants mixed in with more up-market beachside dining options offering international cuisine. A number of minimarts offer a selection of beers, spirits and international wine as well as fresh bread, cakes, pastries, and snacks. Koh Samui’s quaint and colourful airport is just around the corner.

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Bacaya

Bacaya

Thailand » Koh Samui » Bang Rak-Big Buddha

Although we were only on a short break, we would happily have stayed longer at Bacaya if only for the deserted beach and delicious pool. The roadside location caused initial concern, but once ensconced and surrounded by tropical greenery looking out over the untroubled bay, the traffic noise quickly dissolved and the holiday took hold. For a private house at this level, palatial surroundings were never an expectation. Happily though, the layout, facilities and warm welcome exceeded our predictions.

Bacaya was clearly built as an alternative to hotel accommodation and in that respect more than lives up to requirements. The main living and dining area resembles a studio apartment. Everything is close to hand, with additional benefits such as a fully equipped kitchen and standing fridge freezer that we quickly stocked from the local supermarket as a value substitute for the in-room facilities provided by hotels in a similar price range. The full-time maid prepared a fine daily breakfast and was a mine of local information despite limited English. She was more than happy to help with provisioning (everything from sunscreen to electrolyte), so the absence of more full-time staff was never a cause for complaint.

With a varied choice of restaurants and bars within walking distance, it would be easy to hit the town every night. For pleasant evenings in, we found the garden gazebo proved an ideal spot for extended dinners, while late night dips in the private pool added to the joy. Although the master suite outshines the smaller guest bedroom, both are comfortable with plenty of space to make them your own. Bacaya is not a choice for large families or gatherings, but certainly a great place for couples or small families to get away from it all without completely cutting off from the island's diversions.

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Tassana Pra

Tassana Pra

Thailand » Koh Samui » Bang Rak-Big Buddha

Staying at Tassana Pra feels a little like travelling back in time. Walking barefoot on teakwood floors surrounded by antique, homely touches it is easy to imagine life in a more genteel era. Anyone with artistic or literary aspirations would certainly feel at home in this villa, but it has also been carefully designed to offer a range of material indulgences. The free-form pool is a particular delight, especially with the playful addition of a hanging dive platform from the upper terrace. All the living areas are comfortable as well as being beautifully decorated. Options for reflection and relaxation range from lying by the pool to reclining on a soft daybed on the terrace, sinking into one of the deep sofas in the living room or relaxing with a book in the garden gazebo. Meals can be taken in or outside – it’s particularly enjoyable to have dinner served on the terrace, allowing you to enjoy the softly lit garden and twinkling lights of Big Buddha bay beyond.

The master and upstairs guest bedrooms are also worthy of special mention. They are decorated with such delicate antique style you could be forgiven for thinking you'd been invited to a royal residence. The master suite’s dressing room definitely gives this part of the villa a stately ambiance, with the large wooden dresser and built-in panelled wardrobes fit for most princesses.

Whichever spot you choose, the views and surroundings at Tassana Pra inspire a sense of quiet contentment. The managers, Khun Aoy and Khun Wally, could easily be characters from a Victorian novel. Their calm dedication to duty, smiling faces and knowledge of all things relevant make them as much a feature of the house as its stunning architecture.
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