Over the last decade, the tourism industry in Thailand's most popular destinations has changed significantly – some would even say it's matured. What started out as a playground for travellers on a budget who would choose Thailand for its affordability, laid back lifestyle and friendly people, has in some areas become one of the world's most sophisticated lifestyle destinations.
Island's like Koh Samui now boast a choice of high-end resorts and private villas, world-class restaurants with award winning chefs and upscale nightclubs frequented by internationally acclaimed DJs. Of course, the country still caters to those travelling on a budget; after all Thailand is still very affordable compared to Europe or the US, but many of the most popular destinations have also experienced a level of gentrification.
One of those places is Koh Samui. Located in the southern Gulf of Thailand, it is largest island in the area and also the most sophisticated. The island is serviced by Koh Samui International Airport – a quaint but efficient privately owned airport that operates daily flights to a number of nearby cities such as Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong. This means that many expats enjoy spending extended weekends on the island. The coastline is relatively developed, especially on the east and northern sides, but there are still plenty of remote areas where visitors can enjoy an authentic tropical island atmosphere.
One of the most prominent trends in the Koh Samui tourism industry and real estate market in recent years has been the emergence of the private villa. Such properties are increasing popularity as a mainstream alternative to the island's many resorts and hotels. The tourism industry has matured and visitors are increasingly looking for bespoke travel experiences. A villa offers privacy and a feeling of exclusivity, and as demand for such holidays has increased, so has supply and the variety and quality of villas on offer on Koh Samui. in this respect, Samui now rival some of the world's most established resort destinations in Europe and the US.
Some rental villas on Samui are relatively modest in terms of size, services and facilities, but others are like small palaces, located on prime real estate and offering all the facilities and services one could wish for. Professional villa rental agencies have refined the industry and the most established and reputable companies like Horizon Homes make sure that the guest experience doesn't stop when the key is handed over, but continues throughout the stay with additional services. These include concierge services where guests can get help with everything from making a reservation at a spa to arranging a sailing boat trip to nearby islands.