Koh Samui, Thailand

On previous trips to Thailand we had never been able to fit the island of Ko Samui in our itinerary so when we had another long holiday weekend in July we thought it seemed like a good idea to check it out.
We took an after-work flight to maximize our time there which also meant that we would arrive to Sallamai Resort pretty late in the evening.  It still gave us enough time to walk down the road and grab our first of many pad thai dishes at a place called New Hut.  New Hut was right on the beach and also its own little hotel that was made up of about 2 dozen little huts that were just big enough for a bed and seemed to be really popular with the backpack community.  After dinner and a few Singha’s we walked back towards the hotel and stopped at the Beach Club/Bar at the Manathai Resort (just a 5 min walk from our hotel) and got some information for the following days as it seemed like a solid choice for a beach club during the day.  After getting what we needed we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel.
The next day we got up early and found a local gym that will allow us to do cheap day passes before we grabbed breakfast and began exploring for the day.  We didn’t really have much of a plan other than exploring the island a bit and figuring out our plan for the rest of our trip.  We walked past some interesting shops and art gallery’s until it started raining a bit so we escaped getting wet by heading into a massage parlor for a couple of cheap but fantastic Thai massages.  Once we were relaxed and the rain subsided we continued on to do a little shopping and see where some of the nightlife would be happening later at night.  We found our way to a little beach bar for a quick drink before a long walk down the beach to Grandmother and Grandfather rocks.  From there we walked all the way back near the Manathai Resort where we found, of all things, an Irish Pub that seemed to hit the spot for lunch.  Since the sun wasn’t cooperating we headed back to our hotel to relax, read and play cards before we got ready for dinner.  We weren’t really sure where to go but did some research and found a place called Treetops Sky Dining at the Anantara Lawana Resort which entailed a private table in 1 of 8 different huts that felt as if you were among a forest of tropical trees.  The highlight of the experience was by far the food which was a 5 course meal with wine pairing dinner, an unbelievable experience.  We were so stuffed after that we headed back to our place and called it a night.
On day 3 we woke up and were finally greeted by sunshine.  After a quick trip the local gym we headed to the Manathai Beach Club to soak as much rays as we good while relaxing by the pool.  We grabbed lunch there and relaxed in the sun long enough until we decided it was time to head back to the spa and enjoy another very cheap but excellent massage.  That evening we booked the “Thai Experience” which was the top rated activity on Trip Advisor for the island yet we had no idea at all what we were getting ourselves into.  The Thai Experience did not disappoint.  It was part dinner party, part cocktail making class/part Thai food and history lesson but a whole lot of fun.  We were picked up in a van with a bunch of other travelers all in the same boat and quickly realized there were people from all over the world (Australia, US, Europe) that would be there.  At the “restaurant” we grabbed a couple of cocktails and then were sat at a community table across from a newlywed couple that just moved to of all places, Chicago.  It was great to chat with mid-westerners as we learned to make the cocktails we were drinking, were educated on Thai street food while making our own dipping sauces and enjoyed a wonderfully prepared Thai meal while learning some of the do’s and don’t of Thailand.  It was a great night and by far one of the must do’s if you ever find yourself in Ko Samui or in Buenos Aires where the original “Argentine Experience” started.  If we knew about it when we were in Buenos Aires a few years ago we definitely would have attended.  The experience was all we needed for the night as we headed to bed after the van took us home.
After a bit of debate we finally decided that on day 4 we would head on a tour to Mu Ko Ang Thong, a marine national park on the surrounding islands.  We had multiple different stops along the way which included hiking up to a viewpoint of Emerald Lake, Kayaking followed by lunch on the beach and lastly a bit of snorkeling in the marine park before heading back to shore.  Unfortunately we didn’t find the day as enjoyable as these types of tours are very heavily dominated by organized tour groups so it took a little of the authenticity out of the tour.  We probably wouldn’t recommend it to others unless you were really into checking it out.  Once we got home and showered a bit we decided to get ready and head out for our last night in Ko Samui.  We stopped at Italian/seafood place for an appetizer (ceviche and garlic bread) then strolled around the night market did a little shopping before grabbing a last dinner at a Thai restaurant (Scot pad Thai, Sarah massaman curry) where we met a few guys on a stag do.  So naturally we bought them some shots, then they bought us some shots and we went on our way for a bit more shopping before our last stop.  We finished the night watching some amateur kick boxing at what was the equivalent of Town Square surrounded by a bunch of inappropriately named small hut bars.  After a drink or two we decided we were spent on Ko Samui and headed home.
The next day we woke up and worked out then headed towards town for one last cheap Thai mani/pedi and a massage before grabbing lunch and heading to the airport for home.
Ko Samui was on our list so we wanted to check it out but as popular as it is for Honeymooners, in our opinion, there are just way better places in Thailand or Southeast Asia you could spend a long weekend at.  However, it is still always nice to get away for a bit and enjoy the cheap massages!

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