If your idea of a holiday heaven is spending your entire vacation frolicking in sun-kissed beaches, tucking into delectable street food, and indulging in full-on pampering spas, then consider your wish granted. This small island off the east coast of Kra Isthmus, Thailand, has all the ingredients for an exceptional vacation.Be it the gussied-up Bophut Fisherman’s Village, the massive, gold-painted Big Buddha, or one of the countless postcard-perfect islands off Koh Samui’s shore, visitors will be in for a treat. As a firm believer of the expression “good things are meant to be shared”, here’s our been-there-done-that 4-day-3-nights Koh Samui itinerary for your reference. So begin fashioning memories set to last you a lifetime, when you fly Bangkok Airways this summer to the action-packed Koh Samui!
We opted for Bangkok Airways as they had the best flying time that lets you make the most of an extended weekend, to and from Singapore. And thus began our boutique journey!
The sheer diversity of quality accommodations in and around Koh Samui, are impressive, to say the least, but if you crave a luxurious bolthole featuring jaw-dropping vistas of the magnificent Gulf of Thailand, then the stylish Conrad Koh Samui is the perfect choice. Its spacious villas are spread over 25 acres of tropical hillside, and each of them are fitted with contemporary comforts such as oversized bathtubs, glass-walled rain showers, twin vanity sets, and romantic spa baths. Guests can snorkel alongside coral reefs in clear waters, visit the Samui Butterfly Garden and Samui Tiger Zoo, or simply indulge in one of the splendid on-site restaurants that offers contemporary Thai cuisine or Mediterranean specialities. All in all, this is a top-quality spot to rest and recharge prior to your exciting adventures in Koh Samui.
Day 1 (Friday): Night
Our flight landed at 17:30 in the evening, and since we didn’t want to waste a single second, we headed straight to the Fisherman’s Village Plaza and Walking Street first! As its name implies, fishermen used to live on the street in the past, but it has evolved into a bustling strip of shops, boutiques, and cafes that comes alive only on Friday nights (17:00 to 23:00). Known as the largest street market in Koh Samui, you’ll definitely not be disappointed by the diverse range of goods, from interesting handicrafts and one-of-a-kind jewelry to cheap T-shirts, eye-catching sunglasses, and cute handbags. Those who don’t fancy shopping will also be fascinated by its impressive selection of food stalls, which offer the usual local delights like Pad Thai and fresh spring rolls, as well as more exotic treats like banana pancakes and meat satays. You can also have fun taking part in the street performances in front of the town’s old pier, including Muay Thai demonstrations, beatboxing, and traditional Thai dances!
A night of hunting and bargaining for your shopping loots is pretty hard work, so rest your legs at Sabiengtae - a popular local restaurant! We’ve tried them out and their fare is delicious. So tuck into hearty servings of papaya salads, refreshing bowls of Tom Yum soup, and end off on a high note with the classic mango sticky rice.
After your tummies are filled and (wallets emptied), chill at one of the enchanting beachside shacks and grab a drink from a nearby beach bar! Then engage in a bout of beer pong with your travel companions or simply sway to relaxing tunes as you gaze at the starry night sky and the mysterious ocean.
Day 2 (Saturday): Morning and afternoon
Start off your day with an exciting island-hopping trip! Head to the pier and take a speedboat to Koh Wao Yai, one of the most popular diving spots in the Angthong National Marine Park. You’ll see towering limestone rocks surrounded by clear turquoise green waters, which reveal a sneak peek of the beauty underneath its glistening surface.
When you arrive on the island, visit the Emerald Lake first, which will be much better appreciated from a vantage point that can only be reached after a short but strenuous 15-minute hike up several (steep) stairs. Find yourself on the virtual edge of the gorgeous island, where you will be gifted with terrific views of the uninhabited islands of Angthong National Marine Park and, of course, the alluring saltwater lake. As tempting as it is, swimming is prohibited in the lake for conservation reasons, so just head back to the open waters and enjoy kayaking or snorkeling with your travel companions!
(Tip: To avoid the crowds, visit Angthong National Marine Park as early as you can – boats start departing from the island at 2.30 pm in the afternoon.)
Day 2 (Saturday): Night
After a day of adrenaline-pumping activities, head back to the hotel for some well-needed rest, or if you are still good, then venture out for more local eats in the neighborhood or some clubbing in the Chaweng district.
Day 3 (Sunday): Morning
Away from the beaches and the crowds of Koh Samui lies an imposing temple of transcendent beauty – the Wat Khunaram. This temple, oddly, is not famous for its well-designed facade, but for the mummified monk that is kept on display here. Exhibited in an upright glass casket is the body of Loung Pordaeng, the former abbot of the temple who excelled in meditation and died in 1973 while meditating. Usually, a body would decompose very quickly in a hot and humid climate, such as that of Koh Samui. However, the body of the famous monk has been remarkably preserved for almost 40 years after his death, with some attributing it to Loung Pordaeng’s impressive meditation techniques, which result in a reduced need for oxygen – one of the factors that greatly affect the rate of body decomposition.
Next, drop by the Guan Yu Shrine, a proud testament to the friendly ties between the Chinese and the Thai since the reign of King Rama III. Guan Yu is the epitome of loyalty and righteousness in the Chinese society, thus, a 16-meter (52-foot) tall statue of him is built to strengthen tourists’ and locals’ awareness of the Chinese heritage in Koh Samui.
The iconic Big Buddha Temple is a must-see when you visit the island. One of the most famous religious landmarks in Koh Samui, the massive Buddha statue sits atop a hill off the northeastern coast of the island and measures up to 12 meters (40 feet) in height. It is painted in a shimmering gold, making it appear as opulent as it is big.
Day 3 (Sunday): Afternoon
After all the sightseeing is done, it’s time to unwind in one of the many luxurious spas in Koh Samui. We went to Let’s Relax spa for a rejuvenating foot reflexology and Thai massage, but the spa comes with a range of other splendid facilities geared up to help you luxuriate after a long day of activities. So surrender yourself to the intuitive touch of professionally-trained therapists and reinvigorate your mind, body and soul in a soothing ambiance!
(Tip: Indulge in a spa session every single day!)
At dusk, drive up to The Jungle Club for a sundowner! Or well before the sunset hours to grab the much-coveted seats. This isolated mountain getaway was constructed using traditional materials, an attempt by the owners to keep to the organic theme. And judging by the throngs of locals and tourists that flock here every night, you know it’s a successful one! So enjoy the relaxed back-to-nature vibe and sip on one of their signature cocktails while gazing out at the illuminated bay of Chaweng. If you haven’t gotten enough swimming yet, have a refreshing dip in the infinity pool, with the endless horizon and azure blue ocean as your backdrop.
You could even book yourself into this quaint resort tucked away on a hilltop.
End the day on a high note at Charm Eatery and Bar! In addition to spellbinding vistas of the ocean, the restaurant also features a range of authentic Thai cuisines, such as spicy pomelo salad and stir-fried jumbo crab, for guests to choose from. But if you want to be a little more adventurous, then give their fusion dishes a try! The ingenious chef has incorporated traditional Thai ingredients into typical Western dishes, elevating the flavor to a whole new level. Some of the must-tries are chili basil pizza and crispy siam gourami pasta. Don’t those dishes just sound appetising on their own?
If you prefer spending your entire vacation soaking up the sun in Koh Samui’s best beaches, then head to Chaweng Beach, a dazzling blend of beachside institutions and sophisticated cocktail bars. Visitors can expect an excellent nightlife infrastructure in Chaweng, the largest and busiest town of Koh Samui. So when night falls, join the young revelers and alternate between all the amazing pubs, dance bars, and girly bars you’ll find there!
Day 4 (Monday): Morning and afternoon
With a fully packed schedule the day before, it’s best to just stay in on the last day of your trip to pack your luggage and relish the luxurious hotel amenities before you leave! But if there are any sights that you have yet to cover, there will still be time for some quick sightseeing in the vicinity before you really have to go. We had opted for the 16:25 Bangkok Airways flight, and had enough time in hand to tuck into yet another delicious local meal on our way to the airport. But you could always head to one of the beach-side restaurants for a combination of heavenly cuisine and relaxing beach vibes, and chow down on delightful Thai dishes while watching the gentle lapping of warm waves on satin sands.
When is the best time to visit Koh Samui?
There’s no better time to visit the island than between late December and September for some great beach weather and fantastic snorkeling opportunities. Try to avoid the rainy months of October and November, and you will enjoy the pristine island just right.
If possible, time your trip to coincide with the Bangkok Airways half-marathon! Not only is it a great way to tour the island, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to do your part for charity, as Bangkok Airways will be partnering with Teelakaw to donate 50 pairs of track shoes to the students of Wat Jang School and Ban Angthong School. Beginners can try the five-kilometer (three-mile) fun run, but if you want to challenge yourself, then take on the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) mini marathon or even the 21-kilometer (13-mile) half-marathon!
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