Take it easy in Koh Sa­mui

For city dwellers like me, there aren’t many mo­ments in life when we get to re­tire into trop­i­cal is­land paradise, but step­ping into Koh Sa­mui’s open-air re­sort air­port in­stantly eased me into the slow-paced and care­free is­land beach life.

Escape! Malaysia - - Thailand -

LUS­CIOUS BEACHES

Take in the gor­geous land­scapes that the abun­dant nat­u­ral beaches of Koh Sa­mui have to of­fer as you sink your feet into the warm sand tick­ling your toes and feel the fresh ca­ress of salty sea air against your glis­ten­ing tanned skin. The clear wa­ters of these idyl­lic south­ern is­lands are a sparkling turquoise blue, with coral reefs to boast.

Chaweng Beach is a pop­u­lar spot for tourists but I would rec­om­mend char­ter­ing a boat or join­ing a day tour out to Ang Thong Na­tional Marine Park (an­other well-known tourist des­ti­na­tion) and the sur­round­ing is­lands for wa­ter sports like snor­kel­ing and kayak­ing. Head’s up, your choices range from long­tail boats to lux­ury yachts so choose a ven­dor that best fits your bud­get. You should be able to do book­ings at your ho­tel.

Sa­mui is also less com­mer­cialised com­pared to other pop­u­lar beaches in Thai­land like crammed-up Phi Phi Is­lands, so toss a lucky coin and you might steer into an is­land all to your­self like I did on Koh Madsum!

NO DOG IS­LAND

Af­ter Koh Madsum, I spent some time on nearby Koh Tan. The is­land, home to a com­mu­nity of only a hun­dred peo­ple, has a small tem­ple (take a small trek in to find the tem­ple spot that monks sea­son­ally in­habit for med­i­ta­tion), school, clinic and nu­mer­ous rare but­ter­fly species. But the most fas­ci­nat­ing part is the leg­end be­hind this un­spoiled is­land.

The fa­ble goes that due to an an­cient curse any dog that sets foot on the is­land will die a hor­ri­ble death. I re­main skep­ti­cal in spite of my guide’s in­sis­tence that the the­ory was proven by a Na­tional Ge­o­graphic ex­per­i­ment, but I sure did not make any dog sight­ings dur­ing my time there!

End off your day out at the beaches with a trip to Grand­fa­ther and Grand­mother Rocks (Hin Ta and Hin Ya). With a bit of imag­i­na­tion, these nat­u­ral rock for­ma­tions, re­sem­bling the male and fe­male gen­i­talia, will pro­vide a hu­mor­ous fail-proof photo op­por­tu­nity.

TEM­PLE TALES

Tem­ples are aplenty in Thai­land but two must­see tem­ples in Sa­mui are Wat Khu­naram and the Big Bud­dha Tem­ple.

Wat Khu­naram is no­table for be­ing the shrine of a mum­mi­fied monk, dis­played for all to see in a glass cas­ket (he sits up­right and wears sun­glasses!) while the Big Bud­dha Tem­ple will take your breath away with its ma­jes­tic stature.

Kick your feet up at the newly ren­o­vated Amari Koh Sa­mui Wat Khu­naran also dou­bles up as a shrine to a mum­mi­fied monk

Chaweng is a pop­u­lar tourist spot

The ma­jes­tic Big Bud­dha

CLOCK­WISE FROM RIGHT Hin Ta and Hin Ya are be­lieved to re­sem­ble male and fe­male gen­i­talia

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