A DREAMY STAY
The most scenic hotel on the island, the InterContinental Koh Samui Resort is a five-star property situated on a beautiful cliff facing the deep blue sea. I stayed in the Classic Ocean View Room, which perfectly fit my budget as a solo traveller. Vibrant Thai-inspired interiors with classic furniture gave it a traditional touch, and I found my chill spot in the private sea-facing balcony. I sat there all day sipping Chang, a local beer, and staring at the isolated islands far away. Daydreams of paddling across the waters in a kayak and exploring these untouched lands came to mind. The resort does provide this kind of excursion on days with good weather, alongside many other activities, but guests mostly want to laze around. A visit to the local farmer’s market, which was part of a Thai cooking class, was something I really enjoyed and learned from. Call +66-(0)-26560440 for reservations, or write to [email protected].
YOU’VE YACHT TO TRY THIS
Soren Eriksen, the director of Aello Yachting, invited me for a sunset excursion. And in our 15 minutes of sailing, quite quickly, we reached the point smack in between Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan (another island to the north). For a brief moment, we experienced the spectacular view of the sun setting in the Gulf of Thailand. Our excursion included soft drinks and snacks, but tipple is available on request for extra charges. I prefer snorkelling, and Aello does allot time for this, but I hadn’t gone in prepared. Nevertheless, the yacht journey itself turned out to be one of the most luxurious experiences on the island. We sailed for four hours, until finally landing at Bophut, a rather happening party beach. We arrived in Hollywood high-roller style, with everyone at the beach turning to gape at us. Oh, the life of a celebrity! A half-day trip for two people on a single yacht is priced at 23,000 THB. Call +66-(0)-950365566 or see aelloyachtingsamui.com.
FORCE OF NATURE
The Tamarind Springs Forest Spa seemed to have the best reviews online, appearing at the top of search results. Hence, without scrolling further, I decided to pay a visit. And on reaching the location in Thong Takian, I was awestruck by its magical setting. Located in the middle of a forest, the spa had converted big boulders into herbal steam caves, which were accompanied by natural waterfalls and rock-ringed plunge pools. I opted for a four-hour session called ‘Forest Dreaming’. We were first sent into the woods to a designated area for scrubs. I picked a cocoa one. This was followed by a walk to the steam caves. Only after we sweated things out did a masseuse arrive for the conclusion: a 60-minute massage. The whole thing did burn a hole in my pocket, but it’s nice to treat yourself sometimes. The spa is located at 205/7, Thong Takian. Call +66-8-59264626 or +66-9-8963-6449 for bookings.
PUMPED UP KICKS
Muay Thai is probably Thailand’s most famous athletic export, and tourists come to Koh Samui from across the globe to learn this combat sport. The island has a number of Muay Thai training camps, and some of these places provide stay options if you sign up for a longer course. The Lamai MuayThai Camp, governed by the World Muaythai Council, is one of the oldest on the island. If you are looking for legitimate places for training, combined with a beautiful tropical backdrop that soothes all pains, then start here. The camp is located on 82/4 Moo 3, Lamai, Koh Samui, and runs from 7am to 7pm. Call +66-(0)-870826970 or write to [email protected].
I ended my trip with a visit to one of the liveliest weekly markets in Koh Samui. Located in Bophut, the stalls—spread over many lanes—come alive every Friday evening to sell local crafts and all sorts of souvenirs. I was strolling around on my last day, and saw that Thai kids set bets with foreigners on how many fried insects they can eat—worms, bugs, and all—and I took up a challenge to down at least one. I managed to chew a whole grasshopper, locally called takkatan. It was crunchy, and didn’t taste so bad. If it’s there in front of you, I would suggest trying it out once. With my newly-earned money, I continued walking along the neon-lit streets, when faint strains of music seemed to course through the air. I followed it, waiting for the muffled tune to become clear, until I found the source. It was a cosy shack on a beach, and the song was Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole’s rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. Here, I set myself down for one last Chang, before leaving the island of dreams.