We thought it might be useful to provide a real-life example!
The Difference Between Luxury Travel and Affordable Luxury Travel: A Tale of Two Koh Samui
Lisa talked me/us into adopting a digital nomad lifestyle after a luxury 2-week vacation to Southeast Asia.
We went back to Koh Samui a year later where we did have affordable luxury travel…and liked it better for a fraction of the cost!
Our two different approaches to Koh Samui one year apart highlight the difference between luxury travel and affordable luxury travel.
Luxury Travel in Koh Samui
After a luxury vacation exploring Laos and Cambodia for a week in 2017 we arrived in Koh Samui, Thailand for a week-long high end luxury beach vacation.
We stayed at the exclusive Sea Dance Resort on the secluded Choeng Mon Beach.
It was high season around the holidays, so we paid a princely sum to stay in a private, all-glass bungalow on the beach with a private pool.
The restaurant is top notch as is the staff.
The privacy and exclusivity of Sea Dance is very peaceful and relaxing.
And for that I recommend it highly.
We found we craved a bit of action during our stay there, so we booked a private driver to take us to the typical sites on Koh Samui: Wat Plai Laem, Big Buddha, Wat Phra Yai, etc.
We ended that day on a beach lounger in hopping Fisherman’s Village.
Back at the luxury compound we were once again pampered…and paid the high luxury price for it.
We sat by the pool. Sat on the beach. Sipped cocktails and ate lovely western as well as Thai meals at the restaurant.
It was luxury travel in Koh Samui.
Affordable Luxury Travel in Koh Samui
One year later we returned to Koh Samui.
This time we were doing affordable luxury travel around southeast Asia.
The question was: did we need to pay a princely sum to step up in luxury in Koh Samui?
SPOILER: The answer is no!
This time we arrived in Koh Samui with a new approach.
As digital nomads, we had been practicing affordable luxury travel for a while.
We stopped staying in resorts and western chain hotels and started staying in homestays or smaller posh lodging.
We got off the beaten path and, for example, stayed in Camden Town rather than staying on Piccadilly during my annual birthday trip to London.
So when we got to Koh Samui we stayed in Chaweng Beach…an area we had briefly visited by taxi the year before for dinner.
And this time stayed at a lovely little place called P&P Resort.
So rather than paying hundreds of dollars a night we paid $37 per night! That’s about 7% of what we had paid per night the year before!
Now let’s be perfectly clear. The room was not a glass-encased jewel with a private pool like our room at Sea Dance Resort.
But it was gorgeous, spacious and very posh. And at $37 a night it was affordable luxury!
We sat by the pool. Sat on the beach. Sipped cocktails and ate lovely western as well as Thai meals at the restaurant. Just like we had a year before. All for a fraction of the price.
This time we also ate in local spots including the night market, immersed ourselves in beach culture and got cheap massages on the beach every other day.
The life we have chosen would not be sustainable at Sea Dancing, Ritz Carlton or even Marriott prices.
But at P&P prices, we are going to be fine financially.
We found affordable luxury in our life of full time travel!
Leaving the confines of a western hotel or resort can be intimidating. But finding luxury travel at a fraction of the price is well worth the effort!