3 Days In Koh Samui
There are 101 fascinating ways to spend a short break on the island of Koh Samui, but where does one start? Search online for the best travel ideas and you’ll be met with an abundance of suggestions that only scratch the surface, and are lacking in crucial detail that can determine the fate of your holiday, such as travel time, activity cost, range and availability of local foods etc. For the purpose of this article I’m going to share practical, first-hand information on how to spend three days on one of Thailand’s most scenic beach islands.
Travelling to and from mainland Thailand
This can be executed as either a simple and pleasant or long and frustrating journey. I visited the island twice, by the conventional combination of plane-coach-boat (12 hours) and direct by plane (1 hour) from Bangkok. I advise choosing the latter unless you are keen on exploring the inner workings of Thailand’s transport infrastructure, which is by no means a peaceful or scenic. In contrast, the flight into Koh Samui was a breeze, everything from the cute murals on the aeroplanes to the bespoke airport lounge that would look at home in a luxury country club retreat.
Choosing a Resort
You can reach anywhere within the island in under one hour, so don’t be put off by booking up a resort that’s on the other side of the island. I chose to stay in Chewang Beach, Bophut and Lamai, all of which are within a 30 minute taxi ride. The island is 51 kilometres is circumference, consisting of seven regions that collectively boast 39 villages. You will find the majority of staff at resorts island-wide speak English as a second language. Chewang Beach is arguably the most equipped for tourists, with its strig of beach front bars and hotels, water activities, nightlife and scenic views.
Getting Around the Island
I made two whole trips around the island, firstly by moped and then by car. It’s a very common site to see tourists and locals on mopeds sharing the road, which can become busy in peak hours but never leads to intense traffic build-up. Hiring a moped will cost you as little as 250 BAH / £2.50 for the day and can be arranged at most travel desks and resorts. I much preferred hiring out a car for the day, allowing for extra space and comfort… and listen to the local radio. A small family sized car is good value at 1,000 NAH / £20 for 24 hours. Remember to show your passport on both accounts.
Boat Trips and Tours
You simply can’t visit Koh Samui without exploring the ocean safari trips, one of the main selling points for the island. The expected excursions will show you the marine park islands that are protected by law so plenty of beauty to behold, along with fun activities such as kayaking, mountain trekking and snorkelling available as paid extras. You can also take advantage of island hopping by taking a three-hour ride to Koh Tao (relax) or Koh Pan Yang (party), whichever takes your fancy. My advice is to speak to several tour operators on the island and ask for the best possible deals and never accept the first price, as everything is negotiable.
One of my favourite ways to pass the afternoon is to take a massage on the beach. Plenty of resorts, particularly Chewang and Lamai, have beach front massage huts set up for your arrival so you can unwind with a full view of the ocean waves. The treatments range from Thai to coconut, to head and foot, all of which have their own benefits of soothing the body. The average cost to look for is 300 BAH / £6 and last approximately for 60 minutes (longer on request). The masseuses are strictly professional and make you feel ever so welcome.
Eating and Drinking
My number one choice for food in Koh Samui by far is the street market in Chewang Beach, in the heart of the town. I confess to falling in love with the food during my stay that I made the street market my go-to eatery for four nights running. Imagine a hub of multicultural cuisine that spans from bbq ribs, to indian curry, to alcoholic ice cream, all accessible at an affordable rate. The food around the rest of the island is also to die for, there’s nowhere that will see you short. For a more upmarket meal, try the Fisherman’s Village in Bophut Beach, open 11am-11pm daily.
The mass products on offer in markets cater to tourists and souvenir lovers, in the shape of spiritual trinkets, local clothing and even tattoos (if that’s your thing). Each region of the island has it’s main street for selling merchandise, full of stalls that welcome haggling as part of the purchasing process. Many stalls offer similar produce so don’t hesitate to look around for unique gifts. Again, Fisherman’s Village is a cut above the rest, with luxury items such as designer sunglasses and handbags starting at 5,000 BAH / £100.
In an ideal world there would be time to explore beyond the standard activities, so plan your itinerary wisely to ensure you fit in everything you want to do and see. Ministry of Villas has a fine assortment of holiday homes and villas to make your stay on Koh Samui one to remember for a lifetime.