Thai Week: Buri Rasa Village Kho Phangan

W elcome to the Ouffer Travel Blog, where you can read first hand reports from our expert team of travel consultants, jam-packed with photos and real accounts. The blog has been prepared by travel experts who have visited the hotel.

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When it comes to gorgeous island escapes, Thailand has a myriad of well-known holiday options, but we were here to discover something different. What we uncovered was a heavenly beach sanctuary in Kho Phangan, just a short distance from the popular shores of Koh Samui but without all the revellers of overly developed spots like Chaweng and Lamai.

The island’s towering green slopes of national park, white sand beaches, long stretches of serene coastline and crystal clear waters may have drawn high end resorts to the shores, but its pristine beauty still flourishes. Among the premium newcomers is the idyllic resort paradise of Buri Rasa Village Koh Phangan.

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The Island

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The first step on the way to this little piece of paradise is to arrive at the lovely Samui Airport where the team from Buri Rasa Village will greet you with welcoming smiles. It’s a short ride to the nearby jetty where you’ll board the resort’s speed boat. The 30-minute voyage to the resort takes you past steep, rocky cliffs that drop down to soft sandy shores; the kind of natural beauty only dreams are made of.

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Koh Phangan has always been a spiritual place for the Thai people and was uninhabited until about 600 years ago when passing monks recognised its tranquillity and started the first settlement. It’s actually Thailand’s fifth biggest island with over 90% unspoilt tropical forest just waiting to be explored.

As we arrived at Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach, on the island’s north-east, no less than ten resort staff were on hand to wave us ashore.

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It was a charming welcome to a beach that has been voted by both TripAdvisor and Conde Nast Traveller as one of the best in the world.

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The Resort

Built among palm trees on the edge of the sea, the Buri Rasa is an understated resort with a simple, stylish design that has captured the essence of laid-back island life. We stepped across cobbled village pathways, into a haven of traditional architecture and old-world charm. Metal fans stir the breeze in the quaint reception, teak wood furnishings and 19th century memorabilia greet your gaze, and as you walk to your room you’ll pass charming scenes of village life painted on the resort walls.

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The Rooms

Step inside your choice of either an Ocean View or Ocean Front Deluxe Room – a plush haven of relaxation and comfort offering a modern, airy space to unwind in paradise.

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The Ocean Front Rooms in particular are simply exquisite, featuring a daybed that extends the room outdoors on the ground floor. The latter abode opens directly onto the soft sand so you can meander out onto the stunning beach at leisure.

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All rooms and resort areas also include free Wi-Fi so you can still stay in touch with the outside world, if you really want to, that is…

Island Dining

The cool Beach Club at Buri Rasa is the venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its open design captures the sea breezes and you can opt for the elevated terrace or sit with the sand beneath your feet. We sampled a menu that offers a variety of authentic Thai dishes and Western cuisine.

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Try my favourites: the spicy somtam papaya salad with grilled salmon or the seared tuna with wasabi mayonnaise. The steaks are imported, the lobster and prawns are local and the wine list includes a good selection of both new world and old world favourites.

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In the evening you can indulge in a seafood BBQ on the beach and sit back to watch a cultural show of dance and fire. Dine on the fresh local catch (which differs by the season) including tiger prawns, calamari, blue crab, red snapper and barracuda – all cooked to tender perfection. Later, we recommend sipping a cocktail at the beach bar while you unwind to a cool selection of music.

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If you are here on a honeymoon or with someone special, the resort will also organise a private sala on the water’s edge for a romantic meal under the stars, complete with elegant silver service that’s sure to be a treasured memory for years to come.

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Activities

We began our next morning with yoga at sunrise and a quick workout in the up-to-date fitness centre, followed by some indulgent pampering in the beachside Nam Thai Herbal Spa. The treatments take place both indoors and outside in the shade. A foot massage under a palm tree spells paradise in our travel guide! But there’s a full menu of rejuvenating treatments to choose from, so you can tune out to the sound of lapping waves and feel the cool sea breeze while the professional beauty therapists work their magic.

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If you’re travelling with the family there are adventure options to keep everyone occupied. The ocean floor is soft sand and the water is clear and calm so it’s an ideal location for swimmers of all ages. The resort also offers a picturesque, shady infinity swimming pool and there are jet-ski rentals and kayaks available on the beach.

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Meandering toward the beach of Thong Nai Pan Noi, you’ll find Buri Rasa Village Square. Along the shaded cobbled street you can enjoy a glass of fine wine at the rustic bar or a fresh fruit shake, find the perfect souvenir in one of the traditional Thai shops, or dine at a selection of traditional Thai or international restaurants. There was a myriad of tantalising dining choices; we recommend Better than Sex Italian restaurant (we’ll leave you to make the final decision on that one!), Rasta Baby Bar or the Bamboo Hut offering authentic Thai, or Som Tum for papaya salad and grills. There are also small massage houses, mini marts, pharmacies, diving course providers and motorbike rental dealers on hand.

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It will take you only an hour to venture over the winding mountain road to other beach zones, or less if you hitch a ride on a local longtail boat. This island and the surrounding Angthong Marine Park are national treasures and have some of the best trekking, diving and snorkeling in Thailand.

Koh Phangan itself has been officially designated as a zone for eco-tourism, so if you’re planning to visit it’s a good idea to join in. Local treks include a hike up the highest mountain, simple trails to waterfalls or easy walks along the beaches where you’ll spot monkeys and a great variety of birds.

The water is refreshingly clear and the marine life is plentiful with over 10kms of vibrant coral and 20 local dive sites. The resort can organise kayaking or speed boat excursions that include a picnic lunch. If you don’t want to eat on the boat, follow our lead and make your way to a deserted stretch of beach, spread your towel and soak up the ambiance – with a butler and a bottle of bubbles on hand, of course!

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The region may be known for its full moon parties that shake up the sand, but Buri Rasa offers a tranquil alternative within reach of the biggest beach party in the world and the excitement of Koh Samui, but hidden far enough away to feel like another peaceful world.

If you are in the mood for splashing on some body paint, all-night dancing and watching the full moon rise, then the resort can even arrange transport for you to get to the monthly event.

In essence, Buri Rasa Village has captured the definition of laid-back luxury. A holiday here is peaceful, romantic and relaxed with enough excursions, nightlife and attractions to ensure you’ll always have something to keep you busy if you want to be.

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TripAdvisor Reviews

“Affordable Luxury!”

Five out of five stars – Reviewed 3 December 2014

“This hotel is really fantastic. They have such great attention to detail that everything feels luxurious and small and boutique. The massage was amazing! Food was very reasonably priced too and delicious and the cocktails were superb! The management team were very helpful, organising anything we might need. The Village behind the hotel has some excellent restaurants and some great clothes shops with real made-in-Thailand items. This side of the island is lovely and quiet… it’s really worth a visit if you’re on this side of Thailand.”

“Fantastic!”

Five out of five stars – Reviewed 16 November 2014

“Highly recommended! Very good service (they’ve got a pillow menu, and just before dinnertime they come to your room to ask if everything is ok and give you a little attention/present). Friendly people, beautiful clean rooms. Nice view, good restaurant. Everything is (more than) good!”

“Still the best!”

Five out of five stars – Reviewed 15 November 2014

“Third time we have been to this place and it just gets better and better – staff are brilliant, food amazing, rooms are so well presented – we travelled with a 6 month old baby girl who was looked after so well. K.Boonwit and his amazing staff should be congratulated on keeping such high standards. Breakfasts were out of this world with so much variety. Cannot wait to get back there again next year – if you want relaxation the Buri Rasa is it. Can recommended using the in house massage, extremely relaxing by the beach.”

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