Look over the shoulder of Guest Blogger Majid Gafoor as the Hong Kong native reminisces about his first trip to Koh Samui, Thailand, which he describes as "Paradise Found". Majid now lives in Toronto, Ontario.
There are some places in the world which tell you that you have arrived at a special destination when you step off the plane. Koh Samui is such a place.
Situated 400 kilometres south of Bangkok, Koh Samui is one of the largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand.
A quick flight on Bangkok Airways, and you are there. The carrier offers connections from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Hua Yin, Pattaya, Phuket, and Singapore.
The experience begins as soon as you arrive at Samui Airport. No tall buildings, no hustle and bustle. The runway has flowers running alongside.
The airport with low-rise bungalows looks more like a resort than a traditional airport. Sea breezes carry the refreshing tang of salt water and all around, greenery greets you.
There is an irresistible urge to drop everything, shuck down to your bathing suit, and disappear into the foliage.
Koh Samui is paradise found. The first hint of this that this writer got was when he boarded Bangkok Airways’ sleek Boeing at Bangkok.
The flight filled up quickly with youthful and excited Westerners. The word was out. Koh Samui was THE place to go to.
A short drive to Chaweng Beach and I arrived at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, where a cool, refreshing drink awaited me at the open concept lobby.
Bubbling water from a gently cascading pool at the entrance almost lulled me to sleep, and I had a feeling that if I fell asleep then, the staff would let me do it and just wake me up for meals.
But that wouldn’t do. There was too much to see and do. So what does one do in paradise?
Luxuriate in the slow pace of life that allows all your city stresses to melt away? You can almost feel your worry lines disappear as your youthful self resurfaces.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. After all, I had just arrived and hadn’t sampled the delights as yet. Where to start and where to go is an easy choice.
An island has lots of beaches right? The names roll off your tongue like an enchanting mantra: Lamai, Hua Thanon, Bang Kao, Thong Krut, Taling Ngam, Bo Phut, and Choeng Mon to name just a few.
You can go upmarket and stay in a resort with well-appointed bungalows where the beach is just a step off your balcony or stay in no frills huts on the beach itself. Here’s a bonus for hut-dwellers– a hammock on your porch!
To really unwind, you have to visit a spa. Most five-star hotels have spa facilities, and there are dedicated spa resorts, as well.
The signature Thai massage clears the 10 “intersections” of the body to remove blockages to ensure free flow of energy for a healthy body.
Precede this with a herbal soak and follow up with an aromatherapy treatment and I defy you to say that you do not feel 10 years younger.
I tried a Tibetan energy restoration treatment at the spa of another resort. Hands healing, aura reading, and bachflower remedies were some of the treatments offered.
Restoration of Body and Soul
If you are looking for a more austere restoration of body and soul, book in for a 10-day meditation retreat at Wat Kow Tahm where you can have total immersion in monastic life.
There are a number of famous Buddhist temples on Samui. The ones not to be missed are the Wat Phra Yai, home to the 12-metre high Big Buddha and Wat Khunaram, where the famous mummified monk Loung Pordaeng sits in open view with a body that has defied the ravages of time for several decades.
For the more basic entertainments of eating, drinking, and being merry, you can let your hair down at the numerous barbecue beach parties.
For the mother of all beach parties, head to the neighbouring island of Koh Pha Ngan for the Full Moon Parties, which are held, as you guessed, on full moon days.
It was difficult to tear myself away from Koh Samui, but I’m a city boy and the bright lights of Bangkok beckoned. But that is another story.
Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, 38/2 Moo3, Borpud, Chaweng Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Thailand. Read reviews and check room rates: TripAdvisor
© Majid Gafoor
A big thanks to Majir Gafoor for this inspiring account of his trip to Koh Samui, Thailand. I've been to the Southern Thai island several times, and I can't help but agree with everything Majid says.
Is Koh Samui one of the world's best islands? Is Koh Samui really paradise found?
What is there to see and do in Koh Samui? Would Koh Samui make the ideal travel destination for YOUR next vacation?
I wrote a series of travelogues on my trip to Koh Samui a couple of years back. You can check it out at the following link: