When I’m feeling those winter blues and need solar therapy, I head straight for Koh Samui! A paradise island with white sand beaches, beautiful weather and exciting nightlife all make this Thai island one of my favourites in the world. Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island, behind Phuket, and has excellent sustainability to ensure its beauty lasts for future generations.
This makes me show my resting beach face!
Samui Airport, a super-efficient privately-owned facility, can be accessed from many Thai cities. Bangkok Airways has 50 flights to the island from Bangkok daily! The airport is designed using local open-air architecture that makes it stylish and sustainable. They even have electric carts to transport passengers from the plane to the terminal! For those that want a more traditional entrance to the island, the ferry is romantic and yet efficient. From Surat Thani you can reach Koh Samui in under four hours. The ferry ticket usually includes a bus transfer as well. The price from Surat Thani is often less then £20 for the entire trip! Travelling around Samui is easy. Try traveling by Songthaew; they are basically pick up trucks that act as shared taxis. Songthaew follow set routes during the day but there are no official bus stops, so just flag one down anywhere! Private taxis are also available for both short distances and tours.
Here’s a Pro-tip: The currency in Koh Samui is the Thai Baht. The exchange rate is normally about 40 Thai Baht per the GB Pound. Despite most things being inexpensive, you will need the local currency for many transactions, so make sure you always have a bit in your pocket.
Koh Samui offers the perfect opportunity for rest and relaxation but there is still so much going! Here are my favourite sites and adventures:
The island of Koh Samui has some jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches, these are my favourites, and luckily, they are less crowded too:
- Lamai Beach is a beautiful stretch of white powdery sand lined by palm trees. There are some beautiful granite boulders at one end of the beach giving it that paradise feel! Enjoy many upscale restaurants and bars in this easy going and relaxing setting.
Don’t interrupt Muay Thai practice; they’re fierce!
- Silver Beach is located just North of Lamai beach. This stunning cove is the perfect tranquil place to spend the day. Due to the shape of the beach, the waters are particularly clear, making it the ideal spot for swimming and snorkelling!
- Bang Po is the longest stretch of beach in Koh Samui, with white sand stretching 11km (nearly 7 miles), you can definitely find a private spot! This beach is a prime spot to catch Thailand’s famous, breath-taking sunsets.
If you becoming bored of beach lazing (highly unlikely but just possible), then check out these other cool sights:
What’s up, Big Buddha??!!
- Fisherman’s Village – Located at Bophut beach, this historical village was once home to a fishing community but now houses clothing boutiques, art galleries, trendy restaurants, and amazing hotels! You shouldn’t miss the street market here every Friday!
- Muay Thai – You shouldn’t miss this legendary extreme sport. Muay Thai is essentially a Thai form of boxing and martial art that includes moves that are not seen in regular boxing. The athletes use their legs and feet as well as arms and elbows. It’s exciting! It’s not just a sport however, it is considered part of the culture, history and identity of Thailand.
- Big Buddha – This is one of the most visited sites on the island; a 15-metre high statue! Buddhists come daily to bring offerings of flowers and fruits to this beautiful, ornate monument. During local festivals, the temple is full of people celebrating and worshipping!
- Cooking class – Why not have a go at making some traditional local foods? A cooking class is the best souvenir because it keeps giving back after you return home! I would recommend ‘Pai Cookery Class’ for its fun atmosphere!
Speaking of food… Koh Samui has an amazing assortment of restaurants to suit all budgets, with the abundance of fresh ingredients and seafood you won’t find anywhere else! Here are my favourites:
- Supattra Thai Dining – The seafood can be no fresher than this! Enjoy local Thai and Asian dishes combined with the fresh catch of the day at this popular spot.
- Zazen restaurant – This is one of the most romantic restaurants on the island because it is lit up every evening with over 100 candles. My favourite part about this venue, apart from the amazing food, is the cultural experience you can have with the daily Thai dance performances.
- Tree Tops – This high end, award winning restaurant is everything you could imagine a dreamy and romantic dinner to be. With only 8 tables, located in individual treehouses, lined with candles and soft lighting, it is the perfect spot for a special occasion. Apart from the usual delicious menu which is a mix of seafood, meat and Thai dishes, their chef offers a set menu with wine pairings!
Just like me: tasty and totally hot!
Here’s another pro-tip: You must try Tom Yum in Samui! It is prepared with seafood, shrimps, and fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, and crushed chili peppers. The Thai version of this soup is very spicy but you can always ask the chef to tone it down, if you are sensitive to hot food.
Koh Samui has a more sophisticated, couples-oriented nightlife than some of Thailand’s other islands. These are my favourite spots to enjoy when the sun sets:
- The Jungle Club – Enjoy the laid-back vibes from this bird’s-eye viewing spot! Relax on a beanbag and sip a cocktail as you watch the sun set and the lights flicker on around the island. Overlooking Chaweng beach and the ocean, this treehouse-like venue is great for a laid-back evening with friends.
We P-A-R-T-Y? Because it’s sunset!
- Coco Tams – A fun and popular beach bar, this is the perfect spot in Fisherman’s village to pop into after dinner, or to watch the sunset. They have beanbags lining the beach, swing seats at the bar, and much more!
- Ark Bar – If your looking to dance the night away on the beach, surrounded by fire dancers, then this is the place for you. Enjoy their wild beach parties in Chaweng every Wednesday and Friday, it will truly make you feel alive!
After a great meal and fun time partying, you’ll want a restful sleep. Here are some fabulous stays that will make your visit even more special:
- The Privilege Hotel – Ezra Beach Club – This fun and lively hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy a stay filled with music, sunsets and new friends. You can stay in a beachfront villa with a private pool without breaking the bank!
- Samui Pier – Beach Front & Resort – Just 2 minutes’ walk from Bangrak beach, this small resort is a beautiful little hideaway. With a relaxing open garden leading onto a small section of beach you will feel like you are miles away from the hustle and bustle of the town.
- Anantara Bophut – A luxurious beachfront resort that is perfect for couples to enjoy! The spa’s signature treatments even have a coconut theme, sit in the beautiful garden afterwards to bliss out.
Whenever I need to recharge, Koh Samui is one of my top picks. A romantic spot and culinary delight, you will love visiting this tropical gem!