The second largest of the stunning islands of Thailand, Koh Samui has established itself as a sought-after destination for discerning travellers with its bountiful offering of palm-fringed beaches, world-class dining, luxurious waterfront resorts and holiday villa rentals. Treat yourself to a truly indulgent experience of this island paradise with our luxury travel guide to Koh Samui.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus, Koh Samui’s landscape is characterised by mountainous rainforest, idyllic white-sand beaches and pretty seaside villages. The range of experiences available to visitors is equally diverse, from spa and wellness retreats to vibrant beach parties and cosmopolitan dining. Follow our guide through where to stay, where to eat and what to do to ensure that you experience the very best of Koh Samui.
Where to stay
A superlative holiday experience rests on accommodation and, luckily for luxury travellers, Koh Samui is renowned for its peak selection of beachfront resorts and villas. There is no substitute for the uninterrupted privacy and superior standards afforded by a five-star stay, and nobody is better qualified to meet these needs than the luxury villa experts at The Private World. Each of its luxury Koh Samui villas features a private pool, gym, spa, cinema room and spacious entertainment areas. A fully equipped staff is on hand to assist you in every aspect of your stay, including a guest experience specialist who places the natural and cultural wonders of Koh Samui at your fingertips.
The ultimate stay for peaceful relaxation is Villa Akatsuki, perched on the shore of Lipa Noi beach on the west coast. The five-bedroom villa is centred on a cascading three-tier infinity pool which opens onto white sand, shimmering ocean and far-off horizon. Guests can also enjoy the villa’s A-Spa, complete with large heated whirlpool, and a state-of-the-art fitness room enclosed by glass walls.
Closer to Koh Samui’s main beaches is Villa Anavaya, set on a hillside with 360-degree views of the stunning northeastern coastline from just about any part of the property. The villa’s design encourages guests to spend their time outdoors, with a separate lounge and dining area located outside the main living area, as well as a cocktail bar, outdoor kitchen and open-air Jacuzzi.
Villa Sangkachai is a three-level, four-bedroom retreat designed by award-winning architect Gary Fell to cater for travellers with five-star standards. A grand entrance leads to a sunken living room with daybeds an elegant dining room. A rooftop, Japanese-style dining area offers incredible sunset views and kids will love the private entertainment area on the lower floor complete with home movie theatre.
What to do
A Koh Samui holiday certainly calls for a generous share of lazy days spent poolside or lounging in a hammock by the sea, but that’s not to say that there isn’t plenty more energetic offerings. By day, visit some of the island’s premier beach clubs like Nikki Beach and Ark Bar for a cocktail and a fun, lively atmosphere, or take a different tack and treat yourself to a spa day drifting between herbal steam caves and cooling rock pools at Tamarind Springs. Here, as well as enjoying a fusion of Eastern and Western therapeutic techniques, guests are able to schedule a private yoga class for groups of any size.
Not just a picturesque backdrop, the crystal-clear waters encircling the island are an irresistible call to adventure. Ask your concierge to arrange jet ski hire – or perhaps a Jet Pack or Hoverboard instead – for a fun-filled and adrenaline-charged day for the whole family. For an adventure beneath the waves, Calypso Diving offers a range of scuba diving and snorkelling tours aboard the most modern and luxurious day boats in the Gulf of Thailand.
The cascading Na Muang Waterfalls, spilling down from the island’s highest point, are a natural spectacle to behold. The larger of the two stands at 30 metres and, during the rainy season, visitors will be rewarded for the short hike taken to reach the falls with a large pool of fresh water for swimming at the base. Samui Elephant Sanctuary, with its emphasis on ethical elephant tourism, offer unique opportunities to feed, walk with and observe these majestic giants in a happy and peaceful environment. And a little further afield, day trips via speedboat or yacht can be organised to visit Koh Pha-ngan Island, home of the monthly Full Moon Party, or beautiful Angthong National Marine Park.
When night falls on the island, it’s time to hit the streets of Chaweng for some shopping. A stroll along the Beach Road, lined with a string of bazaar-like shops, is a veritable parade of sights, sounds and colours, and the whole family will love the experience of bargaining with shop vendors and sampling traditional street foods like sticky rice and sweet boiled chicken. Delving deeper into Thai culture, why not head along to a Muay Thai match – the country’s national sport – or check out a spectacular fire dance show in Fisherman’s Village.
Where to eat
Koh Samui is a cultural melting pot and this is most obvious when it comes to the range of cuisine available on the island. For authentic and delicious Thai dishes, head along to Supattra for a gorgeous menu served up in a cosy and comfortable environment, or Sa Bieng Lae for fresh seafood prepared in traditional Samui style.
Look no further than Prego Samui for bona fide Italian food on the island; wood-fired pizzas, home-made pasta and zesty seafood creations can be enjoyed in rustic trattoria-style surroundings. For the ultimate Italian-Asian fusion, though, stop in for a meal at Link Restaurant when visiting Fisherman’s Village: with an Italian head chef and Asian second chef, this home-made cuisine truly brings the best of both worlds to the table.
On the fine dining end of the spectrum, it’s hard to go past Zazen Restaurant for a delectable range of Meditteranean and Thai specialities, presented in wonderfully imaginative arrangements by executive chef, Trakulsak Yaoyuan. Or, for a curated collection of “rare, old-Kingdom Thai cuisine”, The Page in Chaweng Beach is a must. This is also the place to become immersed in the myriad tastes and artistry of authentic Thai cooking with a signature cooking class.
With such a wide range of enriching experiences on offer in surrounds which can only be described as paradisiacal, Koh Samui has certainly earned its reputation as a favourite destination for luxury travellers – and it’s probably safe to assume that it will remain so for a long time to come.
Here is a five-star guide to Phuket.
This content was produced in partnership with The Private World. For more information on exceptional villa and chalet rentals in Thailand, Bali and Niseko, visit the official site.