Outrigger Bhoput Beach

Where Buddhas and Big Sunsets Meet

Outrigger KohSamui Resort and Spa

 

Outrigger Hotels & Resorts is putting its stamp on a popular Thai island and bringing another welcome spot for affordable luxury in Thailand under the name of a trusted brand.

Outrigger Koh Samui Resort and Spa in Bhoput Beach, Koh Samui, has barely opened its doors this month to offer a full complement of resort amenities in a spot perfect for sunsets, walks and meditative moments under the island’s Big Buddha icon. Visitors get the benefits of luxurious pool villas, spacious pool access suites and Beach Deco rooms with Outrigger’s trademark bucket of amenities: a beachside restaurant, a Navasana Wellness Centre, a fitness centre, three swimming pools, including one beachfront pool, two bars and a Kids Club. Wifi is free throughout the resort.

Bhoput, on the northeast corner of the island, is five minutes away from Samui airport and 20 minutes from the main tourist area at Chaweng. The location is known for its tranquility, family-focused activities, dramatic sunsets and Big Buddha temple statue overlooking the sea.

Koh Samui attracts around one million tourists a year. The island has daily direct flight connections with Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi and Utaphao (Pattaya). Samui is known today for its large variety of beach activities, water sports, ecotours, and sightseeing into the island’s picturesque interior and to the islands and reefs of the adjacent Angthong marine national park.

The 81 rooms, suites and private villas are steeped in Thai design but possessing some contemporary flair. Easy “wow” effects can be found in accommodations sporting an outdoor whirlpool spa or a private entrance to resort swimming pools, or luxury villas with vaulted ceilings, exclusive lap pools, and lounging decks.

The local “do’s” include a jungle safari through the island’s rainforest interiors on the back of an elephant; scuba diving the coral reefs of Koh Tao; ocean kayaking amid ancient caves and rock formations at Ang Thong National Marine Park; or a private Thai cuisine cooking class with the resident chef.  Visitors can also avail themselves of the resort’s access to free shuttle services to Chaweng, the island’s popular town for shopping and dining.

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Tale of the Thai White Temple

White Temple in Thailand

It could be a set out of What Dreams May Come, as Robin Williams wanders the sewers of Hell. Or it could be a bullet on a page of Ten Temples You Should See Before You Die. This apparition rises from the fruit fields on the road to Chiang Rai in northern Thailand almost like a crystal cathedral off the San Diego Freeway. The only thing it lacks is an angry preacher.

 

Wat Rong Khun, or White Temple, is a spectacle in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps it is the very definition of the nirvana it is trying to capture – a blinding enlightenment coming from the patience, perseverance, and vision of one man: artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Thirteen years in the making so far, the temple is part of a sprawling, six-acre complex of white paint and mirrored glass with a bridge that passes over a sculpted river of grotesque figures of sin and suffering to get to the ubosot, or assembly hall — one of the three main structures in this creation to date. Day or night Wat Rong Khun is a splendid display of imagination that plays upon the sunlight and moonlight with sparkling reflections, enhanced by a menagerie of creatures amid calm ponds.

 

Kositpipat, a devout Buddhist of 55 who sold paintings for 20 years to launch the project, got to work on the Wat with a small army of disciples 1998. And he is taking until eternity – or 2070, he projects – to get the job done. Completion calls for nine equally painstakingly ornate white buildings, including a crematorium, each with a grand lesson in morality to teach.

 

Most Buddhist temples pay homage to the life of Buddha in colorful images of lotus blooms and monsters that depict the faces, lessons and ascent of the master of enlightenment. The murals in this ubosot read like a painted alleyway in Hollywood. Red skull traffic cones line the road like so many Halloween candles. And once past the river of writhing hands and body parts the temple walls depict images of whores, alcohol, cigarettes and all manor of vice, plus New York cityscapes, weapons, spaceships, even Superman and Neo from Matrix – basically whatever seemed to come into Kositpipat’s brain from the headlines of the day. A sign posted boldly on the gift shop wall reads, “Wat Rong Khun is a Buddhist place of worship and unfortunately, due to many incidents of inappropriate behavior, our foreign visitors will not be permitted to enter the temple without your guide.” But a bored guard at the door to the hall hardly pays attention to the sad sign.

 

Entry is free and a gift shop sells artful T-shirts and the artist’s prints. Or there are the bottles of Mao berry juice, honey and fresh fried worms to be purchased next door.

Marriages and Manhouts in Thailand

Manhouts in Thailand

 

For travelers who want a taste of the wild while contributing to the welfare of the jungle and its inhabitants, Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle in Thailand provides a bonding memory that brings in the element of “never forgetting.”

 

The camp’s 15 inside/outside bungalows evoke the era of 19th century explorers but with amenities that range from wood-burning fireplaces, private terraces over the rainforest, rainshower outdoor showers and copper tubs for two, jungle walks through the cliffside resort expanse, jungle-shrouded side-by-side spa treatments, and a swimming pool overlooking the river.

 

But the camp offers something not found elsewhere – mahout lessons. The all-inclusive nature of this luxury camp extends to adopting an elephant and riding it, talking to it, feeding it and caring for it while visiting. Each elephant is a rescue elephant that was abandoned by loggers or farmers and left to wander to streets of Thailand’s cities with dim prospects for survival. A portion of each booking at the camp goes to an active elephant rescue foundation in Thailand.

 

“We get a lot of honeymooners here. It is a very romantic place. There is a lot of alone time as you are pretty isolated in this area at the border of Burma, Laos and Thailand with nothing but the sounds of birds and wildlife around you. But you are really not alone at all as you are out there exploring the jungle every day and forming a bond with the elephants,” says Maria Kuhn, spokesman for Four Seasons properties in Thailand.

 

A fairy tale wedding can be ordered up at the camp – but the knight in shining armor is actually a groom on an elephant. The sunset wedding ceremony takes place on the pachyderm’s back at the Camp’s summit with vantages of three countries. A white orchid campfire dinner for two culminates in the launching of traditional Thai lanterns into the night sky carrying the wishes of the newlyweds to the gods.

 

The camp can accommodate up to 30 guests total. An all-inclusive three- or four-night adventure package, which includes all meals and (house) libations plus arranged activities, mahout training and elephant excursions, one 90-minute spa treatment per guest and roundtrip air transfers from Chiang Rai International Airport runs around $1650 to $2,110 per night in a luxury tent through September and comes with a four or fifth night free.

Top 10 Spa Experiences

Spa Experience

Relax, Unwind, Rejuvenate

1) Conquer jet lag with an aromatheraphy bath and deep-tissue massage

2) Drift away with a nighttime treatment including in-room massage, turn-down service, and warm tea

3) Bring out your golden tan with a tropical oil exfoliation

4) Hydrate with a luxurious black pearl facial

5) Rejuvenate tired feet with an energizing lemon and lime soak

6) Polish skin to a silk glow with an exfoliating lime and ginger body rub

7) Detoxify with a warm volcanic mud wrap

8  ) Share a romantic beachfront couples massage

9 ) Smooth and shine locks with a lustrous palm oil hair treatment

10) Soothe tired eyes with calming collagen and rice powder

Whatever your idea of the perfect experience, whether for a week or a weekend, there’s a destination to meet your need. So go on, reward yourself!

When you are ready to have a spa getaway, give us a call at 310-722-3099 or email us at Info@carterelitetravel.com

Top 10 Reasons to have a Destination Wedding

Barcelo Maya Palace Wedding Gazebo

1. Save Money – Traditional wedding can cost several times the amount of a destination wedding 

2. Do Something Different – Forgo a typical wedding in favor of a unique and memorable experience 

3. Have the Best of Both Worlds – Combine your wedding and honeymoon into one beautifully planned celebration 

4. Crowd Control – Bring along the whole family for a fun celebration, or make it just the two of you 

5. Stress-Free Planning – Your Travel Consultant will work directly with the resort’s wedding coordinators 

6.  Perfect for Second Marriages – Scale it down the second time around and go somewhere special to wed 

7. Neutral Setting – Instead of getting involved in potential family drama, choose a neutral setting 

8. So Much to See and Do – With the many on-site activities at resorts, plus off-site fun, your guests will keep busy 

9. Celebrate Longer – Traditional weddings last 5 hours while a destination wedding fun can go much longer 

10. Expand on a Theme – Incorporate your love of the beach, the snow, your heritage, or something else special to you 

When you are ready to get started planning your beautiful Destination Wedding, give us a call at 310-722-3099 or send us a email at Info@carterelitetravel

 We are certified Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists, so we treasure each and every bride we have the opportunity to assist in making their wedding a dream come true! 

Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialist Certificate