Koh Samui really isn’t the sort of place where you can say you went and got away from it all. Compared to Koh Kood
where tranquility is a given, Koh Samui is touristy, loud, developed all along the coast and completely Thai- in a way that Hangover part II is Thai. However, it is possible to have an insouciant holiday here and what’s more , it is possible to do it without dipping too much into the dark underbelly of garishness. Start off with booking yourself into Four Seasons Koh Samui – it is set on 17 hectares of coconut plantation and it possesses a private beach so stunning you will feel as if you are on a quiet , unspoilt , middle of nowhere island. Add a private villa with an infinity pool and endless views of the Gulf of Thailand in the equation and you may start thinking : “Koh Samui-who?” as you relax into the impeccable service and stunning beauty of this resort. When I say impeccable service, I mean it – buggy carts on demand, dedicated staff always willing to help and a beach service like no other. With ever changing daily activities,an outdoor spa and a Kids Club, this resort is all about putting the feet up, and how !
Unfortunately for my family , who were quite happy at the resort , I do have this annoying thing about exploring every place I go to , so off we went and hired a rickety 4 wheel drive (by rickety I mean it had holes in the floor). There is one road that goes all around the island and it takes about an hour to go full circle. On the way you can pick up a kilo of mangosteens from a stall for 3$, enjoy a trained monkey show, visit saucy Grandmother & Grandfather rocks, go for a swim under a waterfall or take a ride on an elephant at a conservation program near the national park. At the same place you can also be photographed petting a tiger. I don’t know about you but when we got there and we saw this tiger cross the road a couple of meters from us ,his trainer not yet in sight, my heart was beating in my throat pretty bad , it was huge,close and very free – I don’t think petting it was an option for me! A beautiful elephant walked past instead and the carer offered us a ride, my daughter jumped for joy, so up we hopped with no saddle, not an easy feat, especially when the carer tried to impress us by making the elephant stand on it’s hind legs and I felt we were going to tumble backward. Still this lil’ elephant was incredibly cute, we found it hard to say goodbye to him.
All the fear makes one hungry so we decided to find a restaurant that came highly recommended : Krua Chao Baan. Wedged between a few other restaurants on the left side of the road by the beach near Silangu Temple, finding this simple gem took a while and a bunch of U-turns but boy was it worth it. Not touristy, not spruced up- just authentic Thai . Have the salt and pepper crab, green papaya salad, fried fish and morning glory and drown the heat with a fresh coconut or a swim on the beach below. Everything was so fresh and delicious we came back here again the next day.
The Ang Thong Marine National Park first gained Western notoriety when it appeared in the novel ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland as the secret island utopia camp. This archipelago of 42 islands consisting of hidden coves, jungles, limestone mountains, lakes and mangroves is a kick to explore . Charter a boat and go on an adventure – we loved snorkelling, island hopping, hiking up crazily steep stairs and grabbing a traditional Thai lunch .
Finish the day by enjoying one of hotel’s many night specials and experience traditional Thai dancing, fire twirling (well we are in Samui after all) , bonfires and beach barbeque…or you could hit Koh Samui’s Chaweng strip instead and party the night away ‘Hangover” style – waking up with a monkey optional!
Next stop : Ko Racha