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Destination — Koh Samui
Koh Samui, the largest of an archipelago of more than 80 islands in the Gulf of Thailand, is 80 km off the coast and approximately 700 km. south of Bankok. The island is a paradise, bursting with natural beauty, white sandy beaches and warm, crystal-clear waters a truly sybaritic night life.
Koh Samui presents the ultimate beach holiday offering every conceivable pursuit or service on a variety of beaches with activities that range from lively to relaxing.
Angthong National Marine Park, with its sheer limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, white sand beaches and tropical vegetation and wild life is just a short day trip from Koh Samui.
Must Try Restaurants
Sunday Brunch at the restaurant at Nikki Beach Bungalow and Resortis celebrated for its laid back atmosphere, beach and spectacular buffet style food selection. Catering to a younger crowd you’ll find seafood, pasta, a meat & poultry carving station, veggies, sushi, crepes, end-less dessert options as well as an “around the world” table featuring a different ethnic cuisine every week.
Dining on the Rocks at the Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is always on the short list of Thailand’s best restaurants. Notable for both its dramatic cliff-top, 270 degree views of the Gulf of Thailand as well as the imaginative Asian influenced food, the restaurant is made up of ten terraced decks with both covered and outdoor seating. The sophisticated cuisine transforms textures and flavours of traditional Asian staples to create a modern, Asian-influenced palate.
Namu, located at the W Retreat, seems to float on the water that surrounds it. Presentation, food and ambiance along with muted lighting and minimalist decor harmonize to create a thoroughly sensual experience. Creative interpretations of modern Japanese cuisine combined with international ingredients make for a delicious twist on Asian-inspired food. Reservations are recommended as the tables are in short supply.
Delectable Local Cuisine
Thai food is spicy, especially southern Thai food and features local, fresh ingredients including native chillies.
In general Thai food combines five main flavours: spicy, sour, sweet, salty and bitter. Herbs added for flavour are always fresh never dried; fruit is often used to add tang to meat and fish dishes and nuts and beans in particular are widely used.
Soups are common in Thai cuisine and Tom Yam Kung, a spicy and sour soup with coconut meat is delicious.
Another local favourite is a spicy seaweed salad combined with baby oysters.
Sam Tam, a grated green papaya salad, is served spicy to very spicy and is often eaten with sticky rice or cold rice noodles. Sam Tam Poo Ma combines the salad with pieces of raw black crab and is frequently available in seaside restaurants.
Must See Local Attractions
Buffalo fighting is a part of traditional Thai life and a regionally popular activity on Koh Samui. Two buffalo are pitted against each other in a water buffalo fighting stadium, locals (and visitors), gather, cheer, place bets at this relaxed but slightly raucous event. Bets can reach into the millions of bahts. Unlike other animal sports, the water buffalo don’t actually injure themselves, the “competition” is simply behaviour that the buffalo naturally exhibit in the wild.
An import from Malaysia, cock fighting is a blood sport between two specially bred and conditioned cocks. Although the Thai brand of cockfighting is fierce, it’s not as intense as in other parts of the world, as here the birds are only allowed to use their beaks and natural spurs. Every small village has its cockpit and bouts take place on Sunday morning. Although not always fought to the death, birds often endure significant physical trauma. This is a highly popular sport in Thailand, but it may not be for visitors with gentle spirits.
For nature lovers, Angthong National Marine Park is well worth visiting. This pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand has everything you expect of tropical south sea islands… think jungle, white sandy beaches, hidden coves and lagoons, spectacular waterfalls and some fantastic scuba diving… all waiting to be explored. Islands are close to each other and make for stunning visuals. Snorkelling in the shallow coral gardens is a popular day trip.
The Best Watersports, Tennis, Golf and Spas
One of the great resources of Koh Samui, and the reason that so many people vacation here, are its many and varied beaches. These are the archetypal beaches you see in travel brochures… swaying palm trees, powdery white sand, gentle, crystal-blue waters… Some beaches are popular and have every amenity you can imagine, others are almost deserted.
Chaweng Beach is the most recognized as well as the busiest and best beaches on the island. Chaweng offers a wider range of accommodation options than anywhere else on the island and claims a nightlife that caters to every taste.
Lamai Beach is the second largest resort area on the island and is smaller and marginally more quiet than Chaweng. Again, a full range of accommodation is available here as well as dining, shopping and spas.