Discovering Koh Samui with Karen Slocombe

A Luxury Traveller’s Guide to Exclusivity and Serenity

Koh Samui is a paradise for luxury travellers, offering a peaceful escape from the crowds of other popular destinations like Phuket and Bali. The exclusivity and serenity of the island provide a relaxed ambiance for visitors to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the destination without the hustle and bustle.

Chatting with us at our Dubai event in January, Karen Slocombe shares her insights on the hidden gems of Koh Samui, what makes Samujana a popular choice for luxury travellers, and her experience as a Platinum Exhibitor at Private Luxury Dubai.

What makes Thailand, and Koh Samui in particular, a popular destination for luxury travellers?

Koh Samui in general is considered a great location for luxury travellers because of its exclusivity. Unlike Phuket and Bali, there are limited flights going in and out of the island which means fewer people, less traffic, and less of the backpacker crowd that other areas attract.

This makes the island more relaxed and less stressful when out and about. Guests can enjoy the natural beauty of this heavenly island without having to elbow their way through a crowd on the beach. The island itself is small and intimate enough to really get to know it; you can leave it with a sense of familiarity – and likely a strong desire to return.

What sets Samujana apart as a luxury property?

Our villas are staggered on a hillside overlooking a coral cove with the most incredible views over the water where you feel like you’re on top of the world! The aesthetic is sleek and modern with clean lines, neutral design, and seamless integration between the indoors and outdoors.

It’s a place for both relaxing and entertaining – you can travel with a group and there will still be space to spread out and enjoy a bit of solitude. Our motto is, “Your Place. Your Time.”, and every villa comes with its own private Villa Manager, villa maid, and state-of-the art leisure facilities. Some have private cinemas, game rooms, outdoor trampolines, and gyms – one even has its own practice basketball court!

Image credit: Samujana Villas

What are the secrets of Koh Samui that luxury travellers should know?

The best way to explore is by water! There are private yachts available to take you to the most beautiful beaches and islands around Koh Samui. You can travel to Five Islands and head to Koh Tan (a small, largely unspoiled island, known for its coral and marine life) and Koh Mudsum for the best snorkelling in Koh Samui.

Alternatively, you can take a trip to Angthong Marine National Park, which consists of 42 islands, and explore the caves and hidden lagoons. All the islands are close to one another, making for breathtaking panoramic views of the park – these islands were the inspiration for the movie directed by Danny Boyle, The Beach.

Koh Samui Islands

What has your experience been like as a first-time attendee at Private Luxury?

Having attended many luxury travel tradeshows, I must say that I was really blown away by the event and it far exceeded my expectations!

I’m trying to pinpoint the reasons but I think they are accumulative. From the choice of venues to the vetting and matching of appointments, the enthusiasm and care of the team at PLE, the technology being used pre and post-show, and guiding us along the way day by day with notifications and reminders through the app.

One thing that stood out was the excitement surrounding the show and the connections that were being made felt very natural and easy, which made the whole thing extremely enjoyable.

How has being a Platinum Exhibitor helped maximise your brand exposure and engagement with luxury buyers at PL Dubai?

As a Platinum Exhibitor, we got a headstart on making connections by being invited to an exclusive event with the buyers before the show officially began, so there was an extra opportunity to form some friendships before the pre-scheduled meetings started.


What was your favourite Private Luxury event element or moment?

Attending the Shared Experiences is a great way to relax and get to know people in a natural setting. It also gives us a memory to bond over for years to come, which you could never get in a 15-minute meeting.

Just for fun – describe your perfect day in Koh Samui

I would wake up in a Samujana Villa (of course!) and do a quick gym session or rooftop yoga flow, then it would be time for a leisurely breakfast whilst staring out at the ocean. The rest of the morning would be relaxing on the sunloungers with a good book, plus regular dips in the infinity pool whilst taking in the panoramic views.

For the afternoon I would hit the beach and go paddleboarding or jetskiing – or if I was feeling active, I would head into the jungle for a hike to one of the two impressive waterfalls.

In the evening I would either go to Fisherman’s Village to wander around the boutique shops, enjoy a drink at Coco Tams, and find some good Thai food or seafood – OR have an early full body massage and relaxed BBQ in the villa before catching the latest movie in the private cinema with some ice cream and other film-friendly snacks. Then I would be early to bed, ready to do it all again!

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