We are definitely the relax on the beach with a tropical drink type people when it comes to vacations. The beautiful island of Koh Samui was a little over an hour via plane from Chiang Mai and was exactly the tropical paradise we imagined it would be. It was the perfect contrast to the busy streets of Bangkok where we ended our trip.
We got to Koh Samui on Monday (you can read all about what we did in Chiang Mai here) and absolutely loved the resort we chose and the beauty of the island. Breaking up the trip like this with three different places gave us the perfect mix of adventure, culture, and relaxation.
We stayed at Six Sense Samui located on the northern tip of the Island of Koh Samui. It was a secluded jungle like resort where each hotel room was its own room separate from the others making us feel like we had our own little piece of the island. Our room had an infinity pool overlooking the ocean which I highly recommend if you are going to travel all the way over there! Every morning we drank coffee poolside watching the breathtaking sunrise. Yes, the big adventures of the trip were great, but it was these little moments watching the sky turn from golden yellow to orange, to blue that made it unforgettable.
The resort offered transportation to Chaweng Beach and Fisherman’s Village Bophut for a small fee which were each about 15-20 minutes away. That’s one thing to think about when deciding where to stay on this island. For us it was more about enjoying the quiet beach and the pool vs. venturing to one of the bigger beaches known for nightlife and activities.
We ventured out to Chaweng Beach on our first night and unfortunately ended up at a very touristy restaurant filled with westernized sushi and Asian food! From then on we knew the more authentic looking when it came to restaurants, the better. Fisherman’s Village was much more our speed and we had one of the best meals of the whole trip at a restaurant there. Other people vacationing were always so great to talk to and had the best restaurant recommendations!
One really unique aspect of Six Sense Samui that I loved learning more about was their sustainability and efforts to reduce waste and reuse resources on the resort. The property had its own farm with goats, chickens, and ducks all helping to fertilize the plants and flowers growing around the resort. Instead of plastic straws they used hollowed out lemon grass in the drinks and cleaned the rooms with a solution made from citrus skin that they ferment onsite.
Make sure you pack mosquito repellant especially if you are prone to bites! I am a mosquito magnet and did get quite a few bites on the island. The resort also had repellent available and I never felt sick from the bites, just itchy! Fisherman’s village was definitely more our speed and is where we had great food, less crowded shopping and a Nutella crepe dessert.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
On the second day in Koh Saumi we took an hour long boat ride out to Ang Thong National Marine Park, an archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand. One of the islands most famously known for inspiring the book called The Beach, which later became the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio…you know that one?!
The island hopping adventure started with snorkeling, something I was a little nervous about because it was my first time but once I made it into the water, I absolutely loved it! We were really lucky to be able to see so many different types of fish and ecosystems in the water. Our tour guides were so knowledgeable and pointed out some really cool fish and creatures of the sea.
From there we kayaked to another small island with amazingly clear blue water and then back to one of the main islands for a traditional Thai lunch and relaxation on the beach. The last stop on the tour was the island with the blue lagoon that inspired The Beach (the movie itself was actually filmed on Phi Phi islands). Word of warning if you’re not a fan of heights, climbing the extremely steep steps to the top of the lagoon might not be for you! The steps were more like a latter. It was totally worth it but something I know might not be for everyone!
The rest of our time on the island was filled with tropical drinks and relaxing. Hanging at the resort and enjoying their infinity pool and a traditional thai massage at their gorgeous spa was exactly what we wanted to do. The resort also had a beautiful full size gym overlooking the ocean and I enjoyed a very relaxing yoga class on the beach one morning.
Bustling bangkok was the last stop on our tour of Thailand. Our agenda wasn’t set in stone but we knew we wanted to explore the famous floating markets, the Grand Palace and Chinatown.
On our first night in Bangkok I unfortunately had a little bit of a stomach bug (I was thankful that it was at the end of the trip vs. the beginning) It was no fun but luckily white rice and emergency room service french fries (I couldn’t imagine eating any Asian food at that point!) helped calm my stomach. I highly recommend packing a couple different stomach medications in case one doesn’t really help. I found that pepto didn’t really help but was glad we had a couple different extra strength medications with us.
Admittedly uber busy cities are not my thing, so having two full days in Bangkok felt like enough time to see the sights and enjoy it for what it is. We checked out a huge mall and walked up and down the stalls of the ultimate market in Bangkok where we bargained for tshirts, handmade jewelry, ceramics and of course a lucky elephant.
Exploring Chinatown stimulated all of the senses. The sights, the smells, the lights were all so different everywhere you turned. We tried durian for the first time–a fruit notorious for its pungent smell and even banned in some places because it’s so stinky. It had a custard like taste that lingered in your mouth a little. I’m not rushing back to eat it but it was fun to try and little did I know it is very high in nutrition!
Mangosteen and the traditional alphonso mangoes found in Asia were my favorite fruits to eat during the trip. The mangoes are so unlike any mango that I have ever had here in the states and we ate one pretty much every day!
We wandered the bustling streets of Chinatown and grabbed a dinner down one street where the best smells were coming from. I couldn’t tell you what the place was called but I think that’s part of the experience–finding the hidden gems with some of the best foods you’ve ever eaten.
On our last day in Bangkok we visited The Grand Palace and The Emerald Buddha. We thought we were getting ahead of the crowds by going early but the grounds were still bustling with tourists also largely due in part to the fact that Chinese New Year was approaching. We opted out of a guided tour but rather took in the grounds at our own pace. I loved looking at all of the details and opulent colors and old world design. Totally worth the trip when you’re in Bangkok!
The Bangkok airport itself could be considered a tourist destination. It was super huge but very efficient. It’s further than I thought from the actual city of Bangkok itself. We gave ourselves plenty of time as we said our goodbyes to Thailand and I headed home by way of Japan!
If you are playing a trip to Thailand and have any other questions that I didn’t cover in these blog posts, feel free to leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org