Koh Samui, Thailand
While many may frequent Thailand for the bustling city life and street food found in Bangkok or the nightlife and beautiful beaches in Phuket, another destination gaining more and more popularity in Thailand is the island of Koh Samui (Samui Island). Located to the east of the mainland, this island, nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, is just a ferry ride or domestic flight away—both available at a reasonable cost.
During our visit in December, my family departed from our short stay in Phuket to board a small plane and head towards Koh Samui. The flight on Bangkok Airways, which cost about $80 USD, was short but did not lack the comforts of longer flights. Meal service was provided, because when you are in Thailand, you revel in the delicious flavors of the food, even on an airplane.
Upon our arrival, we were met by family and swept away to our hotel, Banburee Resort and Spa. Our private villa embodied Thai culture with its bamboo floors and furniture. We spent the next four days exploring this small island. From the busy Chaweng Beach and Muay Thai kickboxing matches to local sites such as the mummified monk, Big Buddha and Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandpa and Grandma rocks), Koh Samui has something to offer for everyone.
Perhaps the reason this island was my favorite destination from our trip across Thailand is because, though it offers a fun and vibrant nightlife, it offers a zen-like serenity that one associates with Thailand. Beautiful sites and peacefulness abound at the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa Resort where my father-in-law works. Here, I found peace. From the acupuncture/acupressure treatments to the Indian Marma-Point Massage, I felt as serene as my surroundings; yet, I know just scratched the surface of what this resort has to offer.
While this environment may not seem family friendly, it was. My children enjoyed a private Muay Thai kickboxing lesson overlooking the gulf. We fed elephants and went horseback riding along the beach. Monkey shows and elephant rides also avail on the island, but we were short on time. On our last night in Koh Samui, we enjoyed an all you can eat seafood barbecue, one in which you grill your own food on small grills at your table. The atmosphere, the weather, the food—a perfect way to end our time on such a charming island.