After a magnificent time in Similan Islands, we travelled to the next tropical hideaway, Koh Samui, situated in the Gulf of Thailand about 35 Km. northeast from the town of Surat Thani. Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island after Phuket. This is the second time we have visited and we knew well that we would be able to enjoy a lovely beach vacation in the best possible way.
The island is considered to be one of the most popular destinations in Asia not only due to its gorgeous natural beauty but also because it is easily accessible. Koh Samui is home to many lavish resorts and villas; it is endowed with palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and dense, mountainous rainforest. The iconic landmark here is the 12m-tall golden Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai temple.
This time, we chose to stay at two different hotels, one is located right in front of the beach and the other hotel is perched at the top of a hill. Both are great and gave us holiday moments that went beyond expectations.
A lot can be done in Ko Samui, relaxing on the beach as a sun seeker, culinary tours, bar hopping, island hopping, waterfall visits and plenty of water activities. We were determined to do all those things while staying on Ko Samui.
Our first venture was to go to Chaweng, Ko Samui’s longest and most beautiful beach featuring soft powdery sand and crystal clear water. Here we indulged in some blissfully relaxing down time and enjoyed some of the great range of restaurants, bars and cafes close by.
On the second day after watching the peaceful calm of a lovely sunrise we took a day trip to the Ang Thong National Marine Park by speedboat. Ang Thong National Marine Park is a fascinating archipelago of 42 islands in the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand, just northwest of Ko Samui. These 42 islands are made of limestone and granite covered with verdant flora and offer long white sandy beaches fringed by coconut palms.
First we stopped at Koh Wao, known to have the best snorkelling spot within the park. Consisting of three islands with a shallow, sheltered bay in between, Koh Wao’s beautiful bay is a perfect place to swim.
The next stop was to Koh Mae Koh to see Talay Nai, a stunning emerald lagoon within the island and after that we had a short walk to an incredible viewpoint where we could see the surrounding islands. It was a spellbinding sight.
Our last stop was to Koh Wua Talap, the park headquarters. Something not to be missed here is a climb to the top of Koh Wua Talap and gasp at an unrivalled vista.
We simply had to take a few moments catch our breath from this the exceptionally beautiful vantage point.
Another reason for this trip was to to join the full-moon festival held across the island of Koh Pha Ngan. This is a small island and is part of the Samui archipelago. The festival is held every full moon and attended by up to 40.000 people every month depending on the season. We were intrigued by the talk about this party and wanted vary much to attend it ourselves.
We arrived at Koh Pha Ngan after a 30 minute boat trip in the afternoon and went straight to the Amstardam Bar at Stone Hill Resort. It’s a very popular bar amongst tourists and offers the best sunsets I have ever seen.
After sunset we headed toward Haad Rin Beach where the full moon party is held. This month’s celebration was not too crowded compared to the festival in the middle and end of the year. This time there were about 20,000 people participating and just how many family groups attended really amazed us. It was quite clear that the children were there for the party just as eagerly as the adults. This was such a unique experience and it was easy to understand why the full moon party has become such a major tourist attraction. Haad Rin Beach seems to be the place to party for as well as the full moon parties they are now holding half moon and black moon parties.
Before leaving Ko Samui for our homeward journey, we took another boat trip to Koh Tao. As we arrived in Koh Tao, also known as Turtle Island. Here we had our first snorkelling in Hin Wong Bay before continuing on to Gluay Thoen Bay. Both presented colourful underwater spectacles of fish, coral and other marine life. A terrific buffet lunch awaited us afterwards on the beach overlooking the clear blue waters of the bay. Koh Nang Yuan, the neighbouring island is also a true paradise for diving and snorkelling and can be reached with a10-minute boat ride from Koh Tao.
I’m so glad we had the opportunity to enjoy the experiences, sights and exciting things to do on Ko Samui and the surrounding islands. This has been one of our best tropical holidays and we left feeling relaxed and very pleased to have spent time again here.