Saturday, 11 July 2015

Beyond Oman: One week in Koh Samui

My probation period at work is over and I've had the luxury of being able to plan and book my future holidays. The plan, while based here, is to explore the east while we can enjoy the reduced traveling time. We spent our honeymoon last year in Thailand, with four days in Bangkok doing the typical tourist attractions and one week on the beautiful island of Koh Samui.

Join me as I reminisce...

We flew to the island from Bangkok airport via Bangkok Airlines. They are the only airline that fly directly to the island, or you need to make the journey by boat. We stayed at the SeaDance resort, which had only been open a matter of months by the time of our stay. The resort was new and the staff friendly and keen to do all they could to make our stay a pleasant one. I loved our room, which was decorated beautifully, and we had a fantastic view of the pool and the sea when we woke each morning. Although the hotel hasn't defined itself as a couples hotel, I would say it is more suited for couples or friends than a family.

Day 1
Having arrived late the previous night we spent the first day lounging by the pool, tanning and, after all that relaxation, went for a pamper session at a local salon. We enjoyed an herbal ball massage, a traditional full-body oil massage, and a facial.

Day 2
While my husband spent the day scuba diving, I spent the day with Sonja, a French/Italian German-born trained chef, who has lived on Koh Samui for the past 17 years. She taught me how to cook three Thai dishes: Tom Yum soup, green curry, and Pad Thai. The class was one-on-one and got to benefit from being able to ask questions whenever I needed. Sonja is a character, and she had me giggling all day as she shared her anecdotes of life on the island. Although I have only attempted some of the dishes a handful of times, Sonja really got me excited about cooking and I was much more happy to be a bit adventurous with our meals when we got back home, which my husband appreciates.

Day 3
We enjoyed another semi-chill day, we hired a moped for our time on the island as it was the easiest way to travel around. We visited Fisherman's village for lunch and my husband had what he still considers the best meal of his life at the Happy Elephant restaurant (pictured).

Day 4
We hit the waters on our fourth day and set sail on the Chantara, Junk Boat. According to the captain, the idea behind the day was to do whatever we wanted as long as we had fun. We sat outside and caught some more sun, and after a while had lunch, which was freshly prepared on the boat. We then stopped a bit for snorkeling and continued towards the island of Koh Lanta, which is meant to have a gorgeous beach. Unfortunately, we got hit with heavy rain and ended up inside the boat, which turned out to be just as fun as the staff kept us entertained and provided hot drinks and nibbles while we headed back to the island. Even though the day didn't quite go to plan, we still had a great time. Actually, it rained every day we were in Koh Samui, but it is usually not for long and you can’t complain about it because it is what makes the place so beautifully green.

Day 5
After a day at sea, we headed up to the hills of Koh Samui and spent a day riding a Polaris quad car. It was essentially a tour of the island, with stops to take pictures and appreciate the beauty of the island from a high point. After a home cooked Thai lunch, we then visited the waterfall, which was the highlight of the trip for me.

Day 6
For our final full day on the island, we decided to hit the road on our moped. The island only has one main road, which does a full circle, and it is small enough that you can drive around it in a couple of hours. We stopped at a pub, run by an Englishman, who had been living on the island for 20 years. The location was quite isolated, which can said of any part of the island once you get away from the main tourist areas. It was here we decided that our retirement plans include running some sort of guest house somewhere beautiful.

Day 7
For our last few hours in Koh Samui we decided to treat ourselves to a visit to Eranda Spa, after checking out of our hotel we had a few hours to kill and a pamper session before the long flight home seemed like the best way to end our trip. After picking the various scents of the scrubs and oils we wanted used to our own hut where we were left to start with the steam room and jacuzzi before, getting our scrub, wrap, massage and finally a facial. The whole treatment took around 3.5 hours, and in between each treatment we were provided with drinks and even a cake. It was the perfect way to end the holiday. 

This year we will be visiting Singapore and Bali, and I can't wait. I have been using TripIt to organise all our bookings and to come up with a rough itinerary. If you have any suggestions for activities, or places to stay I would love to hear them.

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