Koh Samui : La Isla Bonita ( The Beautiful Island )
Above is a Video Summary of our trip..
So for my 2019 summer holidays, I was wondering where to go and because travelling within India has become quite expensive due to expensive flights and hotels , I thought Thailand would be a good choice because most importantly, it is very popular with my wife and kids because of the endless shopping one can do in Bangkok. Having been to Bangkok and Phuket a couple of years ago, this time I decided to visit Ko Samui and Bangkok, in that order. the weather also played a part in this choice because while Phuket and Krabi receive heavy rainfall in June, Koh Tao and Ko Samui are mostly dry in June and there are some bargains to be had in accommodation , local tourism etc.
We flew in to Bangkok on Indigo, an Indian airline and then flew to Samui airport ( USM ) on Bangkok Airways. Now, one drawback about flying to Samui is that only Bangkok Airways has monopoly on flights To Samui so the BKK-Samui fares are slightly expensive most of the times. There is an alternative route, flyin to Surant Thani and then taking a ferry to Samui but that takes longer of course.
As you land in Samui after a 60 minute flight from BKK, you are struck by the design of the airport, it is really unlike any other airport I have seen. Samui Airport is built more like a resort.
Now I had done a lot of research on where to stay in Samui and the universal opinion seemed to be that for first timers Chaweng was the best option. I had booked ourselves in Poppies Samui which is highly rated on various forums. I had shortlisted other resorts like Sala Samui , Banana Sea Fan, Amari , Boujis but in the end I went with Poppies and I am glad I did. You can read my detailed review of the hotel here.
Poppies Samui is a beachside resort situated towards the southern end of the Chaweng Beach which is the nicest part of this beach. At the same time the resort is very much in the center of the town with everything a short distance away and there are laundries , massage parlors, 7-Eleven and a very nice Indian Restaurant ( a branch of Noories ) right next door to the hotel. Taxis are always standing at the entrance of the hotel.
Poppies has only 24 cottages spread over in a very green area and the number of staff I think is over 170 which leads to a very favorable Staff to guest Ratio and their service is top notch. We only had breakfasts at their restaurant which was excellent on all days but I believe it is highly recommended for Thai food also.
The staff at the hotel were super welcoming and efficient and in no time were we in our cottage, since our kids are teenagers we had booked 2 Interconnecting Cottages for the 4 of us which was super convenient. We had had a mostly sleepless night so we got settled in fast and then took a taxi to an Indian restaurant called Noori , not the next door branch but the main one which was 10 minutes away by Taxi the big McDonalds. The Indian food at Noori was superb, as good as any you get in India and We ate there several times during our 4 day stay there. Water sports like Jet Hover Board , Banana boat, Jet Ski were all available near the hotel beach.
Samui is full of top class restaurants of all types of cuisines and I would say most of those places are good value for money. We had dinner once at the Pasta House and our kids deemed that to be our best meal in Samui so that’s impressive. We also had a meal at Duomo and that was excellent too.
I would also like to mention Samui lets Travel ( and laundry ) which is situated just to the right as you exit the Poppies hotel, they arranged tours and cars for us, they did the laundry by the kilo at reasonable rates and the MS. Thitaree at the counter was helpful in every which way.
In the evening we headed to the Central Festival Mall which is the biggest
( only ? ) mall in Koh Samui. It is quite well made and has many local and international chains like Uniqlo and has a huge food court too and I was very happy to see a counter for Indian food there too….Also the juice i had at the food court was very fresh with a wide variety of choice.
The next day we headed off to the Na Muang Waterfalls. There is Na Muang 1 which we went to which is hardly 500 meters from the car park and there is Na Muang 2 , the base of which is around 1 km from the car park and the top is another 15 mins fairly strenuous hike.
From Na Muang we headed to the Jungle Club Koh Samui which is a club situated atop a steep hill overlooking the Chaweng Beach. The views from the club are stunning and it is recommended you book in advance, especially if you are going there at sunset time since people flock there to see the sunset click their insta pics .
We Ordered several drinks at the club and I must say all of them were quite well prepared and the food was excellent too . It was around sunset time and there was a long line of people waiting to get in because they had not booked in advance.
The next evening we headed to one of the most happening nightclubs, The Ark Bar. Now if you visit only 1 beach club in Samui, then let it be the Ark Bar because come evening, it is simply the most hip and happening place in town.
The Fireworks Display at the club was outstanding as you can see from the video above and it went on for more than an hour. The menu was huge and had the widest variety of vegetarians options we had come across in Koh Samui and the food was fresh, tasteful and delicious and we even tried the vegetarian thai food which was a very welcome change from the food we were having in Samui. The club was huge, was divided into 4-5 sections there were different types of seating by the beach, inside, on the first floor etc and the service was prompt everywhere. We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours at the Ark bar and I think it was one of the high point of our trip to Samui.
From the Ark bar we moved to the The Absolut Ice Bar located a short distance away from the ark bar . I have never been to an Ice Bar before where everything is frozen. The entry charges per person was around 250 Thai Baht and they gave Thick Winter Gear coat because naturally if you go in your normal clothes you will freeze your …..nose off. As soon as I entered a blast of chill hit me and I thought I wouldn’t be able to stay for more than a few seconds because of the cold but very soon , in less than a minute i started feeling comfortable and started looking around through the haze of chilly air.
Once inside , they gave us the choice of a complimentary soft drink or a tequila shot, I settled for a can of Coke while my better half had a shot of some Pink Raspberry thingy, since I am a teetotaller I don’t recall what it was but seemed pretty nice judging from her reaction. All in all it is certainly a place going to once.
As we were leaving the Ice Bar, right next door was a very popular place called Henry’s Africa Bar . We didn’t go inside but it seemed a very popular place and was packed to the gills.
The final attraction I wanted to see in Koh Samui was one of the Night Markets. It so happened that our last night in Samui was a Friday and every week on that day from 17:00 to 23:00 there is a Night Market in Fisherman’s Village in Bophut. There are several night and day markets in Samui but let me assure you that all of them have the same goods from the same vendors at more or less the same prices so If you go to any one, that is enough. The atmosphere was absolutely electric and amazing and the variety of food and drink of offer was mind boggling as you will see from the pictures below.
Have a look at the picture below for my entire trip to Koh Samui and do let me know if you liked them in the comments below…