Thailand isn’t somewhere I have ever previously considered visiting, I’m not a fan of beach holidays and prefer more active orientated holidays involving rollercoasters but here I found myself on a plane heading to the paradise island of Koh Samui for a weeks beach holiday. The island welcomed us with a beautiful sunset as were landing, the airport on the island is basic but beautiful and we soon had our suitcases and were on the way to the hotel.
We booked a hotel called Deva Samui Resort and Spa, we splurged for some pool access rooms and when I say splurged we paid about £40 a night for this luxury! Thailand is crazy cheap. My brother was waiting for us at the hotel, his backpacking budget meant he got the bus and ferry across separately to us, we headed out for some grub straight away to a little cafe just up the road from the hotel called Stop@Sopa. The food here was cheap but delicious, we ended up eating here more than once due to its location and great choice of tasty meals.
The next morning we got the see the hotel in the sunshine, it didn’t disappoint in terms of its beauty. The walkway from our room down to the cafe where you have breakfast was beautiful, you walk through archways of flowering trees and over little bridges and ponds full of koi fish. Everything in this hotel is outside, including the reception area so breakfast was spent next to the beach each morning. The selection was great, there was an egg station where the chef made whatever you required, there was a selection of cold fruits, cereal and a cooked breakfast which changed daily. That night after cocktails on the beach watching the most perfect sunset you will ever see we went for more cocktails and a meal in a resort near the hotel called Choeng Mon.
Getting around the island is fairly easy, the taxis are cheap and if you are staying in one of the larger resort towns you can easily get around in the Songtheaws which are basically a taxi with two benches on the back. We found that most nights these drivers would happily negotiate to take us directly back to the hotel for the right price, we used these quite a lot while we were exploring different parts to the island. We visited Chong Mon twice for food and drinks and ventured out one night to Chaweng which is the liveliest resort on the island and quite different from our sleepy little hotel. We drank the night away in several of the bars here and ended up at Henry Africas drinking buckets of cheap Asian rum. It was good fun and I’m glad that I experienced it but reconfirmed that I was glad to have not booked a hotel in this resort.
Our hotel was also in the perfect location for Temples. In particular, the Way Plai Laem Temple was just across the street from us and this place is stunning and unlike the temples, in Bangkok, there was hardly anyone else visiting here. If you like temples and find yourself in Koh Samui I would recommend a trip here, it’s located just down the road from Big Buddha which is a lot smaller but ten times busier. Again just be aware that this is still an active place of worship and you need to make sure that you dress appropriately. We, of course, did also go to visit the famous Big Buddha, we walked here from our hotel which was about 20 minutes away although in the heat it felt a lot longer. This temple was busy, there were about 8 coaches parked up outside with tour groups in them. We had a cold drink in one of the bars overlooking the sea before heading back to the hotel for another day by the pool.
The only proper day trip that we did was to Koh Angthong National Marine Park, this is a protected set of islands and is the inspiration behind the best selling novel, The Beach. As it is protected you need to be on an official guided tour and there were plenty of these dotted around the island, our group was actually the last to get on the boat but we had the tour guide with us so at least knew it wouldn’t leave without us. The tour took us to two different islands, the first one being Koh Mae where you are given the chance to climb the steep (super steep!) stairs to view the Emerald Lake. The climb is hard, yes but you won’t regret the views, the lake is stunning and if you turn out to the other direction you can see some more of the smaller islands. From here the boat then takes you to Koh Paluay where you are given free reign to relax next to the beach or swim in the beautiful blue sea. The sea here is so beautiful, it was this island and this day which made me fall in love with beaches after so many years avoiding them, the sand was golden and the sea a perfect temperature. There was snorkelling for the more adventurous but I decided to just lay back and enjoy the sunshine.
Our last night coincided with one of the night markets at Fishermans Village and the hotel ran a shuttle bus to here as it was a bit further away. It’s well worth a visit, as soon as you step onto the street there are street vendors selling you cheap cocktails for you to walk and drink, there is every kind of food you could imagine here also. I tried some deep fried curly potato on a stick, it doesn’t sound like much but it was amazing. We ate a meal at a little Italian restaurant, when the server came to take us to our table we were amazed to find that at the back of the restaurant was a veranda over the beach. We sat here and watched the night sky while enjoying a delicious pizza.
It was such a shame to leave Koh Samui, everything here was perfect but alas all good things come to an end and we started our long journey back to the UK. We checked our luggage in at Koh Samui then boarded our flight to Bangkok, from here to Frankfurt and finally after 21 hours of travelling we were home.