Koh Samui, Thailand’s island paradise
Koh Samui has become a must-visit destination for backpackers exploring the Gulf of Thailand and a host of other international travellers keen for an island retreat that promises a stunning setting. Beaches lined with swaying palm trees shade the shining, white beaches that meet the warm, blue water. Luxury resorts and vibrant nightlife make this a mixed location that has something to meet the needs of most travellers.
From the moment you arrive at Koh Samui it will be instantly clear why this location is so popular. The tropical climate is warm and sunny virtually all year round, meaning blue skies to match the surrounding Gulf waters and a clear view from the many beaches. Head to the Samui highlands to marvel at tumbling waterfalls and for a refreshing swim. The jungle tours that are typically taken on elephant-back take you deep into the plantations and other areas that a variety of wildlife calls its home. The south coast is where you can admire the Hin Ta and Hin Yai rock formations at Lamai Beach, while Choeng Mon Beach is made up of peaceful bays on the edge of an upmarket village.
There are active ways to take in the island’s breathtaking land and seascape, including what is found below the water. This diver’s paradise is great for snorkelling or scuba diving in comfortable and calm seas. A boat tour allows you to see the coast from a distance and hop between beaches or over to another island for the day. Visit the northern coast to see the famous Big Buddha shrine and to wander the small market that is found there. The elaborate Wat Khunaram temple is where the mummified body of Luong Pordaeng - Koh Samui’s most famous monk - is kept, and you can see it as part of a safari city tour.
Koh Samui holidays let you cut loose and make friends at some of Thailand’s best nightlife spots, notably the famous Full Moon Party. A number of the beach resorts are self-confessed party destinations, combining poolside nightclubs with buzzing bars. Live music and DJs attract large crowds of revellers, but you will also find places to relax and have a drink at a slower pace. There’s even an Irish pub for those evenings where you may be feeling a little homesick.
Many of the nightlife destinations double up as cafés and restaurants during the day and early evening. They offer a dining option for virtually any budget, and range from fine dining to straightforward dishes made from fresh, local produce. You can sit back and savour a dish while gazing out to sea, or make a quick stop at a market stall or bakery before heading to your next adventure. Thai food is popular, just as you would expect, but cuisine from countries a little closer to home can also be enjoyed.
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