This island has become one of the favourites among locals and foreign visitors. Located in Surat Thani province, this second largest island in Thailand offers a mix of everything you need for a short break or a long holiday from home. From one of the most beautiful coral reefs in Thailand to one of the world’s best beachside restaurants, and just a short ferry ride to Thailand’s most famous party destination, there are many reasons why people choose to extend their stay on the island. Still, in just 48 hours, you can do so much to hit your reset button and re-energise.
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9 am A Motorcycle Diary
Once you have landed and checked-in, the easiest way to get around the island is by motorcycle. Rental shops can be found easily, but many hotels have friendly deals with partner shops. Of course, there are private car services and public transportation, like minivans or a Songteaw, but getting a motorcycle means you won’t have to wait around and you can go through some small alleys very easily. The cost is cheaper as well. For popular scooter models, it can be around 200-250 Baht per day. Plus, with your own transportation, you can explore interesting local areas on the island where it can be tiring to reach by feet. Once you are set, ride away and feel the sea breeze on your face.
10 am The Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai) Koh Samui
Once you get settled in and have your ride, take a trip to the island’s most revered landmark. If you are flying into the island, this will be the first thing you notice from above. Located on the small island of Koh Fan, to the northeast of the main island, connected by a causeway, the majestic 12-metre tall Buddha stands and since it was built in 1972 has become a star attraction to local and foreign visitors. The image is in the ‘Mara’ gesture and portrays Buddha in a state of tranquillity and pure virtue. The temple is colourfully decorated and offers so much to be seen: like the Nagas on the sides of the stairs up to the image or the big bells you can ring. Some buildings in the temple also offer beautiful views of the Gulf of Thailand, giving you a preview of what you will be enjoying during the trip. Take time to walk around the local village, Bang Rak, commonly known as Big Buddha Beach, where you will find plenty of souvenir shops and places to eat or just sightseeing local life. During the night the Buddha is as impressive, shining in gold over the endless sea.
As with all places like this…don’t wear your beach clothes, and dress conservatively out of respect.
12 pm Lunch at a Top Seafood Restaurant
Once you are on an island, it’s difficult to miss great seafood since everything is freshly caught. Samui has many great eateries but nothing will beat Bangpo Seafood. Located on Bang Po Beach, this family-run restaurant looks authentic from the settings, to the food they serve. International lifestyle magazine Travel & Leisure named the restaurant as one of their top picks for seafood and also one of the best places to eat like local. The best dish? It’s Khoei Jii or grilled shrimp paste which is the very original appetiser that will make you salivate for more. If you’re keen on authentic hot and spicy flavours, Bangpo will perfectly suit your taste and the price is relatively cheap compared to other places.
3 pm Visiting Grandma & Grandpa
The crystal-clear blue water isn’t the only fascinating piece of Mother Nature in Samui, the rock formations on the south coast of the island have certainly become one of the island’s main attractions for their captivating shapes and their folklore. The rocks were naturally formed over thousands of years due to wind and water erosion. What makes them unique is that nature imitates art as they are shaped into male and female genitals. Hence, the name of Hin Ta (Grandpa) and Hin Yai (Grandma). There are several old tales but the most popular one believes the rocks are converted bodies of an elder couple Ta Kreng (Grandpa Kreng) and Yai Riem (Grandma Riem), who were on a quest to find love for their son. Be ready to see some giggles from many tourists as some are embarrassed by the shapes. Set on Lamai Beach and Hua Thanon, the area is also full of interesting things to explore as well. The street from the parking lot to the rock is probably the only place to find Samui’s traditional sweet Kalamae, a sticky fudgy coconut caramel. It is one authentic Thai sweet that should not be missed. Plus there are cool cafés and bars you can take a seat for some rest and a fishing market where you can experience traditional southern markets, where people go for freshly caught produce.
5 pm Sunset in the Jungle
What a better way to spend an evening than at Samui’s best kept secret, overlooking the glorious view of Chaweng beach. Head up to The Jungle Club, a resort situated on an isolated mountain with a beautiful view of the bay. Founded by a Thai-French family, the jungle club has welcomed locals and tourists for more than a decade and offers a wonderful dining experience with in a candlelit atmosphere. While the resort has their own accommodation, many go there for the famous barbecue party. Their menus include meals prepared from the catch of the day, exotic cocktails and you can chill out on the beautifully decorated traditional hut on the cliff and swimming in the pool (if you wish). The resort also offers pick-up and drop-off for diners. The best part of the evening, though has to be the sunset as the sun dives into the ocean and Chaweng beach is transformed and lit up by the neon lights inviting you to enjoy a fun night out afterwards. Check out the Jungle’s event list to see what is happening, as they regularly hosts musical events and parties. Obviously, no one wants to miss out on the coolest party in town.
9 pm A Night at Chaweng
Just a 12-minute drive from The Jungle Club, lies the island’s biggest nightlife area, offering an eye-opening experience with diverse bars and cafés to match your desire. While the main strip is three-kilometres long, the Chaweng area is lively and vibrant at night, where you can find lots of fun things to explore. For Sci-Fi lovers, head to the modern-looking Solo Bar for a happy hour deal to start the night off. If you wish to escape the heat, the Bar Ice Samui will fulfil your wish! This LED-lit bar is spacious enough to enjoy the cocktails while at a -7˚C environment. For those to be entertained, the famous Paris Follies Cabaret is the place to be. With extravagant costumes and set design, the show borrows international hit songs to create memorable performances that will get some people on their feet dancing along as well! Lastly, once in Thailand, a boxing match should be experienced. Petchbuncha Boxing Stadium is at the very central of Chaweng, seating 1,500 to enjoy an original Thai boxing or ‘Muay Thai’ match. The stadium regularly holds bouts every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9 pm. Get your boxing gloves on!
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