Regional Spotlight: Hello, Koh Samui!
Stay: Koh Samui is Thailand’s third-largest and second most popular island destination, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Nearly 500 miles south of Bangkok, Koh Samui’s points of entry are made easy via an international airport that connects the island to various Thai and international locations (while on the island, tuk-tuks are a common way to get around). Koh Samui, with its tropical forests, golden sands and turquoise waters, provides a nice mix of high-end and budget-friendly destinations. It’s also home to some of Thailand’s finest spas.
Treat: A frequent SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Award winner, the Kamalaya Koh Samui, Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa on Thailand’s southeastern coast sits tucked away on a hillside, surrounded by granite boulders, sea views, lagoons and verdant flora. Holistic wellness takes precedence here, and you’ll be enlightened by Eastern and Western treatments (taken in sea-view treatment rooms or massage salas in a spa with a steam cavern and outdoor relaxation areas, no less), healthy cuisine and wellness programs and fitness endeavors in a solo or group setting. An initial complimentary consultation with a naturopath begins each stay, and a Buddhist monk cave creates a meditative respite for reflection.
On Koh Samui’s southwest coast, affording far-reaching, glittering sea views, is Conrad Koh Samui. Here, you can enjoy elegantly refined villa accommodations bordering the Phang Ka Peninsula and a spa tucked away in a secluded corner of the resort. After a treatment performed with Aromatherapy Associates products, take a dip in the outdoor infinity pool, or head to the floating private pier, the starting point for private boating trips. An on-site diving and sailing center caters to water sports fanatics.
Play: Stepping away from a spa treatment, explore the Ang Thong National Marine Park, temple hop to sites like the Big Buddha temple, golf, shop at bazaars and open-air markets, reinvigorate with yoga and stay up late with the several nightlife options. Like Phuket, Koh Samui sparkles with beautiful beaches, from the private stretches of sand found at luxury resorts and hotels to the more public beaches.
Eat: Visitors have their selection of savory Thai and international eats at the majority of restaurants in Koh Samui. If vacationing in Chaweng and Lamai, considered to be major beach towns, make reservations to dine seaside.