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What you need to know about Koh Samui vacations
Tumbling waterfalls, giant Buddhas, and secluded beaches; Koh Samui has a lot to recommend it. Thailand’s second largest island, you’ll find everything here, from luxurious beach clubs to bustling markets and traditional temples. The best time to visit is November to May, with over 200 hours of sunshine per month, but the rainy season has its charms too. Direct flights to Thailand are hard to come by from the USA - in fact there are none at present - but from Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco you’ll find plenty of one-stop flights to Bangkok. Once you’re in the capital a short internal flight south will bring you to Koh Samui. The island has a relaxed, barefoot vibe with a mixture of luxe beach lovers, backpackers, and adventurous families.
There are an estimated 40,000 temples in Thailand, and you’ll come across one in practically every town and village you pass. With elegant sloped roofs and intricate carvings, they are fascinating places to explore.
The most famous temple on Koh Samui is Wat Phra Yai, known in English as the Big Buddha Temple. Built in 1972, and the 39-foot gold-painted statue is located on Koh Phan, connected to Koh Samui via a causeway, and for many people, it’s one of the first things they see on the island - a lot of planes fly over Buddha’s head just before landing. You can stroll over the causeway to the temple complex for your photo op - a selfie with the golden man himself. As you explore the complex you’ll get great views over the ocean and Bangrak beach, also known as Big Buddha beach, which you can visit afterward for a refreshing dip and lunch in a beachside cafe.
When you’re out exploring temples, remember that you are in a place of worship, and dress appropriately. It’s also customary to remove your shoes before entering any holy areas. Follow these simple rules and you’ll enjoy your visit even more.
No trip to Thailand is complete without tasting the country’s delicious, spicy cuisine. From curries flavored with coconut milk, lemongrass, and fiery chilies, to fresh green papaya salad with zing lime juice and peanuts, there’s a whole lot to discover when it comes to Thailand’s culinary scene.
A great way to start your gastronomic journey is with a Thai cooking class, either at a cooking school or right in your own villa. Classes often include a guided trip to the market to learn about local ingredients before returning to the kitchen to whip up a feast. Most of our homes on Koh Samui come with your own personal chef, so why not take the chance to learn from your very own expert? If you’re interested in organizing a cooking class, speak to your Luxury Retreats concierge.
Spectacular Scuba Diving
Thailand is a fantastic scuba diving destination, and some of the best diving in the country can be found in the waters around Koh Samui. Learning to dive is a popular vacation activity in Thailand - and many people complete their PADI certification while they are here.
If you’re a beginner, a three- or four-day PADI Open Water course with an experienced instructor will give you the confidence you need to start exploring underwater on your own. If you’re more experienced you can upgrade your qualification with advanced or divemaster courses.
When you’re ready to get underwater, you should make a bee-line for Sail Rock, known locally as Hin Bai. The coral-covered rock is one of the best places in the country to see Whale Sharks, so bring an underwater camera if you can to capture these magnificent creatures on film (or screen). Another popular destination is Angthong Marine Park, where you’ll find limestone caves to swim through, plenty of colorful corals and a whole host of tropical fish, including stingrays and barracuda. Remember, your Luxury Retreats concierge can organize diving courses, equipment hire and boat charters for you.
Experience the luxury of our home rentals in Koh Samui
With spectacular infinity pools overlooking pristine beaches, expansive outdoor areas and beautifully decorated interiors, our luxury villas in Koh Samui are ready and waiting to welcome you. Many of our homes have a full staff including a private chef who will cook up a delicious feast night after night, and even teach you a thing or two about Thai cuisine along the way.
The island of Koh Samui is all about the beach - and if you don’t want to waste any time in between waking up and stretching out on the sand then our Koh Samui beach villas will make the ideal choice for your upcoming vacation. With shaded daybeds, swimming pools and just steps away from the beach and the ocean, our beachfront homes have everything you need for a memorable stay in Thailand. Our concierge team can organize a host of romantic extras for your trip such as in-villa massages and candlelit dinners on the beach, just let us know what them thinking of and they’ll do the rest!
Villas in Bophut
Just south of Samui Airport, Bophut is one of the oldest settlements on the island, a former fishing village that was the main French outpost in times past. In the village, you’ll find upmarket shops selling clothes and jewelry, as well as dive shops, market stalls, restaurants and beach bars. Our villas in Bophut are located close to the many attractions, but far enough away to retain a peaceful atmosphere - built on a hillside overlooking the village and the beach. All homes have swimming pools and many have sweeping views of the turquoise ocean.
Villas in Chaweng
On the eastern coast of the island, not far from Bophut, Chaweng is known for its expansive beach lined with coconut trees, which stretches over 4 miles. Central Chaweng is a top destination for young backpackers, and is more touristy, while the southern part of the beach is more secluded with upmarket homes and resorts. Many of our Chaweng vacation rentals are dotted around the hills above the beach so you can enjoy the buzz of this busy beach town whenever you like, while still getting plenty of rest and relaxation at home in your villa. Sleeping up to 30 people, whether you’re traveling with friends or family, there’s room for everyone at our luxurious homes here. t.