Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island. Unlike Phuket, which is off the west coast of the Thai mainland, Koh Samui is to the east of the Thai mainland. And for this reason, the islands have very different weather patterns. In fact, Koh Samui is drier and has a much shorter rainy season. Look over the shoulder of ATW Contributor Majid Gafoor as he reminisces about his first trip to Koh Samui. Is Koh Samui in Thailand paradise found?
The Back Story
There are some places in the world which tell you that you have arrived at a special destination as soon as you step off the plane. And Koh Samui in Thailand is such a place.
So where exactly is Koh Samui? Situated 700 kilometers (435 miles} south of Bangkok, Koh Samui is one of the largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand. In fact, it is off the east coast of the Thai mainland.
A quick flight on Bangkok Airways, and you are there. In addition, 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.
In fact, there is an irresistible urge to drop everything, shuck down to your bathing suit, and disappear into the foliage.
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 you can stay in no frills huts on the beach itself. And there’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 an 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 bach flower 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 a 10-day stay at a meditation retreat, 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.
Another fascinating temple is Wat Hua Jook Temple. While relatively small, it has a privileged location, which affords magnificent views of the island, the sea, and the airport. But most fascinating of all are the electronic prayer machines at the quirky Buddhist temple.
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 nights.
It was difficult to tear myself away from Koh Samui. But I’m a city boy at heard. 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.
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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: