Inside Thailand’s Top Luxury Travel Destinations


The Villa Similan impresses from every angle, ready for a tight budget bender of a bachelorette party.

Finding an idyllic and unspoiled Thai getaway isn’t as easy as it used to be. As a backpacker’s haven of Southeast Asian origin, coastal Thailand has been settled by Euro EDM crowds and wildlife-loving jungle junkies. A new demographic has emerged, however, as more mindful travel takes center stage: Digital nomads wearing Jack Wolfskin, on a Keto diet, and watching TED Talk are now drawn to the country’s abundant adventure menu.

Are there any real Bond junkies on your team? Savor the Fast Lane life at Layan by Anantara Residences in Phuket. The Tropical Retreat recently launched a low budget bender inspired by the classic 007 The man with the golden gun. From arriving by private jet to handling the original Golden Gun from the 1974 film (talking about a deadly photoshoot), this ultimate men’s trip is packed with VIP benefits focused on premier male bonding. order.

Start big as your chosen circle of seven board a private jet from Bangkok to Phuket, then chauffeured limousine to Villa Similan, the largest and most sublime of the 15 ultra-luxury residences. luxurious resort. Offering stunning ocean and jungle views, this lavish contemporary eight-bedroom villa features an in-home butler and private chef on call and spa therapist, a setup worthy of Dr. No .

Showcasing a chic interior-exterior design, the villa features a photogenic 72-foot rooftop terrace. infinity pool and massage room. A glass-clad wine cellar leads to the Resistance Piece: a 007-ready man cave adorned with leather sofas, an antique pool table, and the legendary golden pistol itself. One of the most iconic weapons in 007 history, the weapon is wielded by the film’s villain, Francisco “Pistols” Scaramanga.

Christopher Lee’s portrayal of the Cuban assassin remains a highlight of Bond’s canon. His weapon of choice was a custom modular pistol made up of several seemingly harmless golden objects. A cigarette case cleverly formed the handle, a gas lighter became the bullet chamber, a gold cufflink was used for the trigger, and a fountain pen screwed into place to form a ballistic cannon. Get a closer look at this legendary movie prop during a wine tasting session with wine guru Anantara, before retiring to the patio for a feast of culinary delights.

Cruise through Phang Nga Bay in consummate Bond style, drinking in the picturesque jungle hideaway where the Golden Gun spy thriller was filmed while sipping free-flowing Krug Champagne.

Cruise through Phang Nga Bay in consummate Bond style, drinking in the picturesque jungle hideaway where the Golden Gun spy thriller was filmed while sipping free-flowing Krug Champagne.

This experience is accompanied by a glamorous yacht cruise around Phang Nga Bay, where the spy thriller was filmed, during which you will enjoy free-flowing Krug Champagne and a gourmet barbecue by the private chef on board.

Spot the bay’s most photographed mangrove-covered boulder, James Bond Island, a key location in the film as Scaramanga’s hideout. Keep an eye out for monkeys, birds and lizards, but resist the temptation to flex your F45 biceps by doing pull-ups on mangrove branches; these are the “lungs” of the ecosystem here. On nearby Tarzan Beach, however, swing your heart over the vines for a spectacular dip into the sea, scattering schools of cigarfish.

Back at the villa, hone your pugilism skills with a private Muay Thai boxing lesson. Soak up the views of the Andaman Sea as your butler serves up dry martinis before heading to the movie theater for a private screening of vintage Bond films.

In season, bioluminescence sparkles in the warm sea, a phenomenon remarkable enough to get lost in a night swim. Float on your back and look at the stars above; aquatic somersaults trigger your own underwater constellations. The package includes private jet flights from Bangkok to Phuket for up to seven people and the exclusive use of Villa Similan for three nights with breakfast, and the villa can accommodate up to sixteen people.

As the travel impresario who inspired a generation of global backpackers, Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, tells us: “Adventure travel is subjective, not all adrenaline fueled activities; for me, it’s experiencing something new for you. His company specializes in small-group adventure travel and community tourism, a style of travel pioneered by G Adventures that has less impact by definition.

Poon Tip’s ideas are more relevant than ever, given how Leonardo Dicaprio’s stellar turn of the 2000s The Beach impacted Thai tourism like a human tsunami. A generation flocked to Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh Island, chasing their own revelations at the famous jungle-backed beach where the movie was filmed. If you are allergic to such frolics and rather adventurous in the wildlife, then head to the secluded Golden Triangle at the northern tip of Thailand, an elephant lover’s paradise.

Jungle Bubbles among elephants at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.

Jungle Bubbles among elephants at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.

Spend a thrilling night observing majestic elephants in their ancient habitat from the comfort of a fully equipped transparent Jungle Bubble at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. Perched on wooden terraces above the forest, two luxurious bubbles offer a very unique view of the herds of playful pachyderms, as well as the starry sky.

Fully air-conditioned, the bubble’s 237 square feet of interior space includes a bedroom with a king-size bed and sitting area, as well as a private enclosed shower and vanity. Bathrobes and slippers are arranged alongside crisp white linens with a choice of pillows. Your adventure includes a delicious packed lunch and a fully stocked mini bar.

Descending from China in wide, swollen arches, the upper course of the Mekong unwinds in a serene, sunny glow. The ruins of the fortress to the south, now almost entirely engulfed by jungle vines, are the residue of the bloody conflict of the kingdoms in the region, contested by the Burmese, Thai, Laotian and Khmer armies for centuries. Recovered from notorious drug traffickers, the area is now a sanctuary of golden temples and secluded shrines.

Part of Anantara’s appeal lies in its hidden location; pristine and painful jungle crowned by stunning pavilions, exclusively positioned to admire majestic views of three countries overlooking the confluence of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. You would be forgiven for mistaking the resort for a jungle village, owned by a tribe who loves fluffy Belgian waffles, wine cellars and sparkling hot tubs.

If the Pictionary clue was “tropical paradise,” you can bet we would draw this place on our mental sketchbook.


About Andrew Miller

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