Ko Samui – paradise! Teresa responded to my appeal “Send me your best travel photograph” and promptly joined the team of bloggers at Lilies Diary. Today she’s taking you with her on a trip to Thailand’s breathtaking island Ko Samui:
Exotic fruit, colourful frangipani flowers, tropical beaches, coconuts and loads of motorbikes – these are things I associate with Ko Samui.
It was my first trip outside of Europe, getting on a plane to Ko Samui via Bangkok. What shall I say? I’ve become even more obsessed with travelling. Since my holiday to the paradise island in the Gulf of Thailand my wanderlust and my awareness for our world’s beauty have only increased.
A lot of people looked at me as if I was mad when I told them I was going to spend two whole weeks on Ko Samui. What, no tour of South East Asia? What will you do all day? Just lie by the beach? Oh no, believe me, I’m not your typical resort holiday-maker who goes home after two weeks of seeing nothing but the hotel grounds and beach. You definitely won’t get bored on this island, even if you stay for two weeks! I’ve made a list for your trip to Ko Samui: 7 things to see and do on Ko Samui!
1. Walking Street Market in the Fisherman’s Village in Bo Phut, Mae Nam or Lamai
Oh my God I could spend every evening on a walking street market… We happened upon this one by chance: Just after nightfall locals, and a few emigrants, set up small booths on a blocked off road, selling all kinds of things. We enjoyed the food in particular: yummy curries, fresh salad buffets, meat and vegetable skewers, heavenly coconut ice cream served in a coconut (you absolutely have to try it!), and loads of things we couldn’t identify. We tried a few nonetheless – sweet tasty purple lumps off the barbecue. We tried to find out what they were, but failed since the locals running the stall didn’t speak a word of English. The only thing we understood was that it was a purple root or potato, mixed to a pulp with coconut milk. Or something like that…
And all this for just a few cents – amazing. The market has more to offer than just food, though. Different ornaments and crafts, colourful fairy lights, clothes, bags and more. On Fridays the market takes place at the Fisherman’s Village in Bo Phut statt, Thursdays in Mae Nam und Sundays in Lamai. There’s a number of signs hanging up on the market street (impossible to miss on market day) to announce which market is taking place where. I can highly recommend the markets in Bo Phut, Mae Nam and Lamai. I didn’t like Chaweng as much – it was too noisy and touristy. The scenic beauty was somehow lost here, which is exactly what makes f the other markets so charming. One last tip: Try the sticky rice with mango, which is available everywhere. I fell in love with this dessert….
2. Sunday Brunch at Rock Pool (noon-4pm) on Ko Samui
This experience can be summarised in one simple image: the adverts for Raffaelo chocolates. When we arrived on the grounds of the Rock Pool we were speechless. Bright blue sky, an elevated terrace with a view overlooking the sea, white furniture and white umbrellas, and live music (piano and vocals, a bit jazzy). I’d give the world to be able to go here every Sunday…
And the food and service were incredible. There was a fish and seafood buffet with oysters, gamba prawns, lobster – anything you could possibly want, a pastry and bakery corner, fresh fruit, a hot buffet with Thai specialties and more. We sat on the terrace until 4pm, listening to the music and chatting to the other guests. Amazing – what a holiday! If you’re looking for a similar experience you can try the Sunday Brunch at Nikki Beach where you can watch the rich and famous… Of course this is way more expensive that street food or simple restaurants, but the quality of the food is well worth the money!
3. Massage under the palm trees
…definitely do this more than once! When do you ever get the chance to have a cheap massage under palm trees by the beach? So relaxing…. The Thai masseuses are really friendly and we had some great experiences with them! The hotel spa prices are still cheaper than in Germany and really good, but they cost more than the massages by the beach.
4. An excursion to Namuang Water Falls
Namuang Waterfall (or Na Muang Waterfall – things are often spelled differently in Thailand) is definitely worth the trip. We got lost and ended up on a tour way off the tourist trail. Eventually we made it to the top of the mountain though! Make sure you wear proper shoes, flip flops won’t get you very far. Take loads of water and suncream, too! It was quite the adventure, like Tarzan and Jane trekking up the hill alongside the waterfall. And the view from the top – well worth the climb! We were completely alone up there, in complete silence – spectacular! You can also ride elephants, which we simply had to try, after we made sure the elephants weren’t going to suffer! I was sitting on the elephant’s neck, without a saddle, and loved being so close to the gentle giant! We trekked through a small river and the animals loved spraying each other and their passengers with water…
5. Tanim Magic Garden
Tanim Magic Garden whisks you away to a secret and slightly creepy world. It’s a garden full of statues located up in the hills. In 1977 the 77-year-old Thai fruit Nim Thongsuk started work on the garden. He carved figures into the rocks. A derelict stone house covered in moss is hidden away up a small flight of stairs. It’s a bit like “Lord of the Rings”with an Asian twist.
Tanim Magic Garden Ko Samui
6. Dining on the Rocks at Six Senses
Often it’s the things you stumble upon by accident that are the most memorable. Not only did we find the Walking Street Market by chance, but on our first night here, when we were starving and frustrated, we came upon a huge luxurious hotel complex. We’d just started walking from our own hotel, assuming we’d find somewhere to eat. At the time, we had no clue that we’d set off in the wrong direction, where there are absolutely no restaurants. No hotels, no supermarkets, nothing. After 45 minutes (and the further we walked the more we wanted to keep going, just in case we missed somewhere!) we came across Six Senses. We didn’t care if we’d end up eating at a nice restaurant or if it would be Thai food or not – we just wanted to eat. I’m unbearable when I’m hungry… We asked at the reception if they had a restaurant and we were in luck! We were a bit confused when they insisted upon driving us through the entire resort in a golf buggy, but we simply couldn’t imagine how big it was! And as soon as we got to the restaurant, where it would have been impossible to get a table without reservations during normal dining hours, we saw we were in paradise! Tea lights and candles everywhere, various terraces at different levels set into the rocks (we were assigned our own terrace), and an ocean view (okay, we couldn’t see anything as it was dark, but we could feel the ocean’s presence). Oh, and haute cuisine. Of course, price-wise it’s impossible to compare it to street food, but it was definitely worth it. Not just for the atmosphere, but for the fantastic food. And one or two extravagancies, what’s wrong with that? Just make sure the rest of your meals are cheap street food, such as at the Walking Street markets ;)
7. Snorkelling near Ko Tao and Ko Nang Yuan
Divers flock to Ko Tao for its marine biodiversity. You can book snorkelling day trips to Ko Tao from Ko Samui and explore the underwater world. The tiny island Ko Nang Yuan is a stunning backdrop for photographs and is incredibly beautiful. If you’re staying on Ko Samui for a while I’d recommend a trip to Ko Phangan –Bottle Beach is amazing and quite empty as it’s only accessible by boat. Definitely book a boat trip around the islands, it’s easy enough to compare the tours on offer once you arrive. Of course you can book accommodation for the other islands, too!
Hotel: This is the only place I stayed on Ko Samui: Deva Samui Resort & Spa. I loved it; but the island has loads of accommodation on offer, so I recommend doing some research.
I’m Teresa, 29 years old and currently live in Aachen, Germany’s westernmost city. Just like Christine, I fell head over heels in love with travelling and use every free day I have to explore the world around me. I recently set up my blog www.teresasjournal.com and am a total blogging newbie. Lilies Diary inspired me to start my blog, and for this reason you’ll occassionally get to read stories about my travels here.