Villa Shambala is set high on the hillside in the Baan Thai Surin Hill estate just 500 metres from Surin Beach. Sweeping views take in the white sands of Bang Tao, the Amanpuri resort headland and the village in the valley below. Surin Beach is an 800-metre stretch of sand with a limited number of umbrellas for rent, while the hidden-away Laem Singh Beach is a short distance further south. A number of resorts, shops and dining spots line the roads in the Surin area, including Twinpalms Oriental Spoon with its fabulous Sunday brunches, and the Paul Ropp boutique clothing retailer. At nearby Bang Tao Beach are some excellent beachfront dining choices including Palm Seaside and Catch Beach Club (relocated from Surin Beach), plus surf and SUP board rental.
Villa Shambala’s manager will have a wealth of information about nearby places of interest and will help arrange transport and make any bookings required. Many of Phuket’s highlights are included in a helpful guidebook at the villa, so be sure to have a browse. This cosmopolitan island – Thailand’s largest – has over 30 beautiful beaches and a vibrant culture. Exploring the local food scene alone could keep you occupied (and happily satiated) for weeks on end!
Here’s just a taste of the many and varied activities on offer within reach of Villa Shambala.
Try some beach hopping and find a stretch of sand to suit your mood and energy level, whether you’re seeking an action-filled day of parasailing and people-watching at busy Patong Beach or strolling the sands in solitude at Mai Khao Beach on Phuket’s northern coastline.
Or hop aboard a luxury yacht and glide through the enchanting seascapes of the Andaman in style. Explore Phang Nga Bay and its majestic karst islands, snorkel with the colourful marine life around Raya island, or sink your toes into the soft white sand of Maithon island.
Get wet and keep fit with a day of surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, wakeboarding or stand-up paddling, or discover what’s below the surface on scuba diving trip.
Visit Phuket’s gorgeous viewpoints for a bird’s eye view of the island. Make a pilgrimage to the Big Buddha hill, with its 45-metre seated statue in white marble and panoramic views across the south end of the island. Snap sunset photos through the tall sugar palms on Phromthep Cape, or enjoy a sneak peek of the tiny Laem Singh Beach at the roadside viewing platform near Surin Beach.
Find out why Phuket’s food scene earned it a UNESCO ‘City of Gastronomy’ accolade with a food tour around Phuket Town. Visit Kopitiam for cheap and tasty Hokkien noodles, soak up some Thai-French atmosphere in the restored shophouse at Dibuk Café, or try the charming Suay restaurant for creative fusion dishes in a garden setting.
Enjoy your Thai cuisine favourites back home by learning how to make them yourself at a Thai cookery class. Some classes include the chance to visit a local market to shop for all the fresh ingredients.
Phuket’s virgin jungle is shrinking but there are still some scenic sights in its interior, best explored on a bicycle tour, ATV riding trip, or a jungle trail walk. Allow some time to visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project or Phuket Elephant Sanctuary to learn more about the island’s animal welfare efforts and for a chance to observe these fascinating animals at close range.
Shopping is a favourite pastime in Thailand and Phuket bustles with open-air markets, street vendors and shopping malls selling every imaginable souvenir. Stroll around the streets near Surin Beach to browse the clothing boutiques, delve into Patong’s mad street bazaars or look for local handicrafts while enjoying some Old Town charm at the Lard Yai Sunday street market.
Play a round or two in the fresh green tropical landscapes of Phuket’s golf courses including the Laguna Phuket Golf Club, Loch Palm and Mission Hills.
Venture out after dark to discover the island’s nightlife scene. Some enticing nearby options include Benny’s American Bar & Grill for delicious cocktails, and Catch Beach Club, formerly on Surin and now resurrected on Bang Tao Beach, with barbecue nights and DJ parties. Patong Beach has most of the nightlife action while ever more bars with a trendy flair are popping up in Phuket Town.
With northern Thai design flourishes and panoramic sea views, Villa Shambala is an elegant holiday home set high on the hillside near Surin Beach. Embodying its Sanskrit name – ‘a place of peace’ – this four-bedroom, fully staffed villa blends contemporary style with its majestic natural surrounds to form a serene and welcoming escape for families and groups.
Let the days drift by as you relax in the comfort of Shambala’s generous living spaces, which include an open-plan kitchen, living and dining area that opens front and back to the tropical hillside. Take in the sea views from the terrace while soaking in the 20-metre infinity pool or retreat to the furnished deck at the rear of the villa, where the hill’s rock face, trickling with spring water, forms a natural wall and adds a soothing touch – perfect for a quiet read or yoga session. Find more privacy and peace in the four king-bedded suites, each with sea views, sumptuous marble bathrooms and terrazzo bathtubs.
Enchanting bronze patina Kinaree statues adorn the terrace reflecting the villa’s character; these angelic figures of Thai mythology are celebrated for their grace, beauty and artistic skill. A sense of grace and harmony flows through the villa, with its stately pitched roofs, extensive use of natural stone and wood, lily pond feature, clean lines and charming art accents including African wildlife paintings and colourful lamps shaped like bejewelled Fabergé eggs.
The team of full-time staff at Villa Shambala includes a villa manager and a talented Thai chef, who prepares all meals in the modern kitchen. Just 500 metres away is Surin Beach, a stretch of soft sand with umbrellas for rent, while larger beaches including Bang Tao and Kamala, plus golf, dining and other leisure activities are within a 20-minute drive.