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Why book a vacation in Koh Samui?
Thailand is the hub of Buddhist culture and Koh Samui is certainly not short on grand and beautiful temples. The most popular ones are Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai) on the north-east corner of the island, Wat Plai Leam nearby and Wat Khunaram, home to the mummified monk.
Big Buddha is known for its golden, 12 metre tall, seated Buddha statue, which can often be seen by people flying in to the island. It was built in 1972 and is a representation of a moment in a Buddha’s journey of enlightenment when he subdued the temptations and dangers beset on him by the devil by meditating and staying calm. The Wat Plai Leam is also a great feat of architecture, as this temple houses a towering statue of a white 18-arm image of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. This temple gives visitors a view of Chinese-Thai beliefs and showcases some Buddhist art and architecture.
Koh Samui boasts plenty of entertainment offerings, but the island is at its most lively after dark. Here you will find everything from exotic cabarets, thriving nightclubs and festive beach parties to beach bars, bbq’s, parades and much more.
The full moon party just a short boat ride away in Koh Phangan is an experience that should definitely not be missed. Chaweng Beach is the centre for many evening activities as it has the highest concentration of bars, club and beach parties in addition to being the home of three different cabaret venues. In Chaweng, the Soi Green Mango Street is the best place to find a club or a bar to start off a fun-filled evening. The Green Mango Club is a great attraction for party animals, Henry Africa’s Samui is the best pub style bar in the area and The Ark Club – hard to find, but worth looking for – has an excellent line-up of DJs and sells cheap alcohol in buckets.
With a wide selection of street food, bistros and high end restaurants, Koh Samui has become a renowned culinary destination. Visitors can eat in places that serve traditional Thai cuisine, such as green Thai curry, ‘ho muk talay’ – seafood curry cooked in a coconut – or find traditional Thai sweets in the food markets. But there is no need to limit the taste buds to local specialties. The Barrio Latino in Lamai Beach serves authentic Mexican food while playing salsa beats all night long; Café 69 in Bophut is a new experience of fusion cooking that is both baffling and delicious; and The Boudoir in Mae Nam is a cosy restaurant that serves French-style cuisine in Middle-Eastern décor, perfect for couples in search of an intimate evening.
There is no shortage of spas, spa resorts or spa villas in Koh Samui. Yoga, meditation and cleansing are very big in Thailand and Koh Samui is one of the best places to seek rehabilitation and rejuvenation.
The Eranda Herbal Spa is located on a mountainside, so visitors are surrounded by waterfalls and palm trees while they are treated to Thai massages and facials. The Trinity Yoga Studio has classes that improve inner strength, promote balance in the body and generally improve flexibility. There are a variety of small spas that provide the Dr Fish treatment – where little fish nibble away at dead skin cells and leave skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated – for either the feet or the full body.
Koh Samui is an island with plenty of exquisite beaches, however, sunbathing and swimming are not the only ways to pass the time.
Koh Samui beaches may be famous for their white sand, crystal clear waters and after-dark parties, but during the light of day they offer various water sports and tours. Samui Bungee offers a bungee jump experience in Soi Reggae on Chaweng Beach for anyone looking for an exhilarating activity.
Additionally, guests can take water taxis or ferry tours to other surrounding islands where activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking are offered as a package deal. Other activities in Koh Samui include elephant tours, jungle trekking, golf, Thai boxing, quad tours and much more! Book a holiday in Koh Samui to explore everything this stunning island has to offer.
White sandy beaches, studded with coconut trees and a clear ocean, Koh Samui is the idyllic island getaway transporting visitors to a world that is picturesque and entrenched in a relaxed beach culture.
Koh Samui is considered part of the southern province of Surat Thani and unlike other popular islands in Thailand, it is relatively dry. With a warm and tropical climate, Koh Samui experiences only a short rainy season providing the opportunity to cater for sun loving tourists, whereas other islands like Phuket encounter rain for almost 6 months in the year. However, be prepared for sudden showers that last for less than an hour which are typical of any tropical island.
Life in Koh Samui revolves around the coast due to the almost uninhabitable mountainous forests in the centre of the island and this beach culture is reflected in the friendly and relaxed demeanour of the residents; their lifestyle, cuisine and past times. The economy of Koh Samui is dependent on tourism, meaning that you can expect all the services and facilities you may require to have a comfortable, safe and enjoyable holiday on the island. The growing popularity of Koh Samui as a tourist destination has seen five star hotels, luxury modern beach villas with private pools and world renowned restaurants sprout up along most of the island.
Fun and activities in Koh Samui are not isolated to the beach and water sports, although there is no shortage of such sporting activities; like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, kite surfing and speed boating. You can also play a few rounds of golf on Koh Samui’s golf course, watch the nature shows or spend a day in Ang Thong National Marine Park. For the shopaholics and foodies, Koh Samui has a plethora of shops, eateries and bars to ensure that all your fancies are catered for, with most establishments catering for western tastes.
For the demanding traveler who wants a mix of culture, cuisine and coastlines, Koh Samui reflects the best that Southeast Asia has to offer. A multitude of cultures coalesce into a uniquely Thai experience coupled with some of the best weather and beautiful beaches in the world. Koh Samui is a one stop destination for any visitor to Thailand, offering a distinctly Asian experience coupled with all the amenities and activities that one would expect on an overseas beach holiday.
Paradise Park Farm
High in the mountains, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, lies Paradise Park Farm. This is one of the highest points in Koh Samui and the beautiful waterfalls, rivers, canyons and rainforest covering make it one of the most picturesque spots on the island. Paradise Park Farm is home to several local animals such as ponies, deers and pygmy goats (which can be petted and fed), friendly monkeys and even Molly and Marcha, the bilingual parrots who will speak to you in either English or Thai! Additionally, the park has two on site restaurants and bars, a children’s playground, jungle and river walks and plenty of rest areas. There is a swimming pool which can be enjoyed at no extra cost, but guests should bring their own towels. At only 800 Bahts for a visit to the park alone, this is one of the cheapest parks to visit, and it certainly keeps everyone entertained.
This beautifully maintained tropical park is home to hundreds of butterflies, bees and moths. While visiting an insect habitat might not be high on everyone’s list of things to do in Koh Samui, the Butterfly Garden is a popular attraction with adults and children alike, and in particular with aspiring photographers. Not only is this a breathtakingly gorgeous nature walk with waterfalls, lush tropical plant life and colourful flowers, it is an intriguing insight into insect life. The butterflies are unafraid of human contact and will happily land on walkers’ shoulders and heads, sometimes long enough to take a quick selfie. Watching these little creatures flitter from flower to flower and sip at the nectar is a delightful experience. If there is a keeper nearby, they will be happy to answer any questions about the species and habits of each butterfly you see. An insect museum at this location is an extra treat for enthusiasts and it is also a great place to purchase fresh honey made on-site by the bees seen on your walk.
Bannchang Elephant Park
Most tours offer elephant trekking as part of a package and it is understandably popular with tourists. Baanchang Elephant Park is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing a good life for these majestic animals and rescuing elephants from bad conditions such as circuses. The organisation is funded exclusively by visitors so the park ensures that your time is certainly worth your money. Instead of merely riding the elephants (although this is also an option) visitors are educated on elephant feeding, their daily habits, elephant’s body language and how the trainers create a relationship of respect with their charges. Visitors will even have the opportunity to bathe, brush and feed their elephant and be taught basic riding skills. Certainly a more memorable and fulfilling experience than mere elephant trekking.
Koh Samui Tiger Zoo and Aquarium
There few other zoos in Koh Samui that offer such an up-close and personal experience as the Tiger Zoo and Aquarium. If visitors are not satisfied with seeing a large variety of sharks, manta rays and catfish, they can complete their marine encounters by feeding sea turtles. If seeing Bengal tigers perform feats of agility is not thrilling enough, for a few extra Baht, visitors can have their picture taken with these impressive animals or even feed their cubs a bottle of milk. There are even photo opportunities with owls, parrots and other exotic birds.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
The Ang Thong Marine Park offers more for the active visitor such as snorkelling, kayaking or diving in the clear blue sea, or hiking through the jungles, mountains and waterfalls. Because it is such a large and undeveloped area, Ang Thong is home to a wide variety of marine life and wildlife – it is up to the visitors to see how many they can find. Bats, otters, sea eagles, hornbills, sea turtles and pythons are some of the wildlife occasionally seen in the forests. Crabs, oysters, butterfly fish, sting rays and angelfish are but a few of the residents of the coral reefs.
Top 10 Things to do in Samui
Chaweng is the most popular beach on the east coast of Koh Samui boasting 6 kilometres of white sand packed with a variety of activities to suit every kind of traveller. Here’s a guide to the top 10 things to do in Chaweng.
Wat Jee Kong Chinese Temple
This temple is a historic landmark reminiscent of a time when Chaweng Beach was the primary residence of Chinese immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In this area, visitors can also see old houses, monuments and the vibrant Laem Dim market which sells traditional items, crafts and fabrics. The temple itself is a beautiful golden monument, a true tribute to Chinese architecture.
Wat Khao Hua Juk
Visitors who make the climb up to this temple will be rewarded with panoramic views of Chaweng Beach. This small Buddhist temple is in a serene and tranquil atmosphere, making it perfect for meditating or just relaxing in a calm location. The most famous attraction of this temple, however, is the replica of Buddha’s footprint. On the way uphill, visitors can stop at Nathalie’s Art Palace or the Samui branch of Bangkok’s famous Q Bar.
Chaweng Thai Boxing Stadium
Muay Thai boxing – also known as Siamese street-fighting – is a combat sport in Thailand, characterised by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins. Generally the stadium hosts fights on Monday and Friday nights, but guests are advised to check the schedule before visiting. If visitors are feeling very adventurous, they can even sign up for a Muay boxing lesson during their visit.
Samui Bungee Jump
For the best, most exhilarating views of Chaweng Beach, visitors should look no further than the Samui Bungee Jump. Enjoy the beautiful view of the emerald green water and white sand, seconds before flying into the clear blue sky, suspended by a fifty metre crane above the deepest swimming pool in Thailand (five metres deep). The operators have been in business for over a decade and have welcomed over 50,000 satisfied customers, offering the cheapest bungee jump experience in Thailand with a 100% safety record.
For a break from the Thai heat, the Cineplex in the Tesco Lotus has three theatres under one roof, playing the latest Hollywood movies and local films. The air conditioning is always very low in this venue, so it is advised that visitors bring a cardigan or shawl to keep warm for the duration of the film. Another thing to note is that before every movie starts, the theatre will play the song of the king. It is good manners to stand and pay respect while the song is playing.
There are three different cabarets in Chaweng Beach, all of them providing fun, entertaining nights out with the intriguing Ladyboys that are a cultural staple of Thailand. They are so beautiful and feminine, that many a curious tourist has had difficulty telling whether or not they are really boys. Sing along to classic, cheesy songs from musicals or the 90s and enjoy the stand-up comedy.
This is considered to be the number one party destination in Samui, with a DJ playing from 2pm at a Pool Party and on until 2am at their Beach Party. Facilities include three swimming pools, two swim-up pool bars, two beach-front restaurants and live music and fire shows. There will never be a need for party animals to leave this amazing hot spot with spectacular views of the ocean and international DJs playing at all hours.
Eranda Herbal Spa
There has never been a more perfect spa location to maximise relaxation and luxury. The Eranda Herbal Spa is located in the mountainside with gorgeous views of the Gulf of Thailand. This spa is the perfect escape from the outside world. Immersed in the beautiful, natural surroundings, there is nothing here to distract from the spa experience. Visitors can choose from massages, facial treatments and body scrubs, all using a selection of natural herbs and oils, while being serenaded by cascading waterfalls, rustling palm trees and gentle Thai music.
For the more active visitors to the island, Chaweng offers a variety of ways to keep exercising while on holiday. As well as a variety of water sports on the beach, the Neptune Club is a gym that has memberships to suit the duration of any holiday, from a one day pass to a one year membership. It is furnished with cardiovascular and strength training equipment and includes a sauna and Jacuzzi to help unwind after an intense workout.
Trinity Yoga Studio
No rejuvenation holiday is complete without the inner peace that comes from the union of mind, body and spirit. Yoga is the perfect way to achieve this balance as well as a great way to exercise and introduce some new energy into your life. The Trinity Yoga Studio in the Tesco Lotus will teach you a flow of different postures that will enhance balance in the body and improve overall strength and flexibility. When combined with a relaxing spa treatment, this experience will leave visitors rejuvenated.
Built on the mountainside of Lamai and Cheweng, the nine hole course offers spectacular views of Lamai, Cheweng and the surrounding islands in the background. Each hole also offers panoramic views of adjacent and neighboring holes with many breathtaking drops in elevation.
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