Fire show in Koh Samui
Koh Samui is like a well-established travel celebrity. She's been in the tourism business longer than almost any other Thai island, but rather than becoming passe, she's embraced a new generation of resort goers, many of them upscale. Nowadays Samui Island is a cosmopolitan melting pot, attracting budget travelers staying for a month or two in simple beachside bungalows, to the wealthiest holidaymakers dropping in for a weekend at one of the many luxury villas on the many white sand beaches that dot the island. From the hustle and bustle of Chaweng Beach to the lively yet relaxed atmosphere of Lamai Beach to the timeless feel of Bophut's Fisherman's Village to the tropical beach paradise of Maenam, Koh Samui is unique among Thailand's islands in maintaining a broad appeal for everyone.
Not convinced yet? See our tips below to make a trip during the 2016 festive season totally awesome.
As with any destination, Koh Samui offers a wealth of NYE activities. The good news is that it’s not all about rowdiness, much of Maenam Beach and Choeng Mon Beach remain very family-friendly on the night. For those of you who love fireworks there is a simple rule of thumb: the bigger the beach, the bigger the fireworks show! As such, consider Chaweng, Bophut, Lamai, Maenam and Choeng Mon beaches for great pyrotechnics.
Guests staying at MANATHAI Koh Samui and friends from around the island are encouraged to dress in white and gold and secure a table at Waterline restaurant for an unforgettable international buffet dinner overlooking Lamai Beach. Great stay+dine and dine-only packages available; but with limited space, it’s best to book early. Click here to discover more.
Any time of year is perfect for treating the kids to a day out at a fun park! Coco Splash Adventure is a modestly-sized water park in Lamai, a short distance from the beach. Featuring four pools with seven slides, as well as other enjoyable activities for children, it is a family-friendly place to escape the heat of the day and have some fun. Covering 10,000sqm, the park’s attractions include the titular waterpark, a mini golf course, bungee trampoline, bumper boats, pedal go-karts and a bouncy castle. Big kids (aka adults) looking to relax while the young ones burn off their excess energy can enjoy simple Thai and western food from the restaurant and can laze in rustic-style cabanas or on the sun loungers available around the pool. The pool is watched over by guards, making it quite a safe environment. Entry costs Baht 490 per person over 90cm (those under that mark get in free).
You won’t be able to do and experience all Samui has to offer if you don’t eat, and what’s the best option on the island… seafood of course! Seafood is undoubtedly the island staple, with most of it caught fresh daily; you’ll soon notice busy fishermen at work along the shore. The larger beaches have a number of local and Western restaurants, with Bophut having a particularly good reputation. One thing worth noting – because we presume you’re a conscientious citizen – is the Fin Free Thailand campaign, which promotes restaurants that keep their kitchens and menus shark-fin free.
In addition, Southern Thai food, renowned for its spiciness is a must-try. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (Khanom Jeen) and chicken birayani.
For those that love a good buffet, Christmas Eve brings with it a dinner extravaganza at MANATHAI Koh Samui. Great stay+dine packages are available, or if staying elsewhere just book a table to feast in style. Click here to discover more.
On December 23rd the park officially re-opens after the rainy season. It’s beautiful, and you need to go there. Actually, you’ve probably already seen it without realising. Leonardo DiCaprio character in The Beach spent some time at Ang Thong’s beautiful, bright blue lake: Thale Nai, or Emerald Lake. What exactly is Ang Thong? Well, the name itself means “Golden Bowl” and 42 islands comprise this protected archipelago, which covers 250 square kilometres (though most visitors will see only a tiny portion). If you’re picturing a “park-park”, replace picnic benches in your mind with, oh, three dozen more islands. 41 of the islands are uninhabited. Why visit? Even if you’ve spent time in other beautiful corners of Thailand – this place is incredibly stunning and remote (just a few hours’ boat ride from the mainland). Do yourself a favour and come here on a day trip for work-class snorkelling and vistas.
Koh Samui’s nightlife is already lively in the most popular resort towns – Chaweng and Lamai – but, for people who really are hard core partygoers, Koh Phangan’s (in)famous full moon party is the unmissable monthly event. The full moon party scene attracts between 3,000 and 10,000 visitors to this small island located 12 kilometres north of Samui. This event is so successful that there are now Half Moon (7 and 22 Dec), Full Moon (14 Dec) and even Black Moon (28 Dec) parties! The Half Moon party takes place on Haad Rin Beach, in a small forest clearing about 2 km inland from Baan Tai (on the island’s southern coast); and the Black Moon Party brings Mac’s Bay of Baan Tai Beach (on the island’s southern coast) to life. These parties have more of a chilled-out hippie vibe than the larger and more famous Full Moon events and the music is generally much less mainstream.
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