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.
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.
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