From the moment you arrive in Koh Samui, you are instantly hit with the paradise you have been craving. The palm trees, the sounds of beach, the splash of the pool and the sound of ice dropping into your glass in readiness for your next cocktail.
It starts at the airport. The prettiest boutique airport you will ever see, appropriately themed to the occasion of the island. It is fair to say the vibe starts off good after hours of flying, with a tingling sensation of what excitement that lies ahead on your vacation.
Exiting the airport and getting into the island fails to dampen the positive mood as you get a sense of how the locals live. Markets, restaurants, and retail shops line the streets with the locals rushing around either by foot or by scooter, dodging traffic at will. You will never see a more fascinating sight than a mother on her scooter cradling her two children.
Let’s get to it. An Island of dreams and the paradise you have been searching far and wide to find.
- Getting there
The easiest way to get to Samui is by aeroplane, either being international or domestic. Although a lot of major airliners do not land in Samui, not to mean it will be difficult to get to the island from your home country. The competition is thin, therefore rather expensive.
I travelled with Air Asia from Australia, via Kuala Lumpur to Phuket. From there I caught a domestic flight with Bangkok Airways to Samui. Complicated but I did save a few hundred dollars travelling this way.
Another means of travel if arriving on the mainland of Thailand, is by bus then ferry. Much more affordable but it will take a heck of a lot longer. That just means you’ll be able to explore the beautiful country a little more.
Get ready for some curry with some coconut milk thrown in at dinner time. Thai food is delicious, whether ordering a delicious Tom Yum Soup to the very popular Papaya Salad. You can’t go wrong when ordering Thai and you won’t have to travel far to find a suitably priced restaurant to dine in for the evening. They are everywhere.
Ice cold beer, important to some of us. You never have to go too far on the island to get rid of your thirst and all at a low cost. Especially if you wander outside your resort. Bars and restaurants sell Thailand’s own Chang and Singha brand beers at no more than two dollars a pop. International beers also come at a good price.
- Angthong Marine National Park
A National Park like none other and another taste of paradise. The blue ocean waters with an abundance of islands placed throughout, it is nothing short of stunning as you gaze atop the highest peak and look at nature at its incredible best.
A day cruise to Angthong is the number one to do list in Samui. Be prepared to be wowed as you hike to the peaks on the islands. Navigate your way amongst the national Park through the blue waters, even entering into the dark caves. Then snorkel and marvel at the sea creatures that call Anthong Marine National Park home.
- Wat Plai Laem
The spectacle that is Wat Plai Laem will dazzle your eyes as wander from sculpture to sculpture. The Buddhist temple where locals come to worship every day is a big tourist winner with attractions including The Fat Chinese Smiling Budda and the 18 arm image of Guanyin.
Swim, shop, relax, eat and a massage are your options in Chaweng. The main town centre on eastern side of the island is full on entertainment, with shopping during the day and clubbing during the night when the main hub Chaweng come well and truly alive.
Chaweng Beach is the fun beach of the island with pristine white sands. Resorts, bars, massage centres and restaurants are spread-out through the beach, where sun baking and cocktail drinking is a way of life. In the water is when you can get the adrenalin going with jet-skiing the rage on the open waters.
Central Festival Samui is the largest shopping centre in Koh Samui. Two levels of popular retails chains such as Nike, Rip Curl and Quicksilver, amongst other retail outlets. The complex also has food courts, cinemas and coffee shops.
- Day Trips
Day trips are must and there are several to choose from. Whether it is a trip to Angthong, as mentioned earlier, or a four-wheel drive tour around the island. Brochures for these trips are always on hand at resorts but personally go to the stalls stationed in Chaweng. You will save money.
You will not have any hassle finding accommodation in Samui. With many hotels, motels and resorts spread-out through the island you will find a range to cover all prices, whether it is a budget motel or a fancy resort.
Now I would be remised not to give the resort I stayed at a plug. Mai Samui Beach Resort and Spa. Located on the north-west side of the island and bit of travel away from the Chaweng. It is a resort with the lot, with three restaurants, four swimming pools, a spa centre and large comfortable rooms. It truly is another bit of paradise on a truly spectacular island.
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