My time in Thailand was bittersweet. I was ready to enjoy the beauty, tranquility and diversity of another southern Thai island – Koh Samui. I was ready to rest, rejuvenate and take in the culture. After my terrifying tubing accident in Khao Sok National Park (though a favourite destination in Thailand!) I was ready to enjoy the next stop. My resort was located just steps from the main city centre of shops and vendors. With only a short walk to the beach, I was incredibly excited to call this home for 3 days.

Koh Samui Thailand
Koh Samui Thailand

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island. (Phuket is the largest). Over 63,000 consider this island paradise home and welcome thousands of tourist yearly with open arms and unbeatable hospitality. With tourism growing yearly, hotels and airlines have increased capacity and flights to accommodate the peaked popularity.

Visitors to Koh Samui arrive with excitement, joy, and desire to relax and soak up the sun and culture. While there, you should take advantage of all the amenities the island has on offer. We are here to help guide you in the right direction.

Essential Guide to Koh Samui Thailand
Essential Guide to Koh Samui Thailand

Take a Stab at Muy Thai Boxing.

Why not try Thai boxing!? Learn the basics of stand-up striking and clinching techniques alongside a certified instructor. This martial art form requires physical and mental discipline combined with succinct hand and eye coordination. Muay Thai has grown in popularity over the years and has become an internationally practiced and competitive sport. After a supervised session, why not take home a pair of authentic shorts to remember your experience? The studios offer a variety of styles in all sizes.

Muy Thai fighters by moonlight
Muy Thai fighters by moonlight

Get a Sak Yant Traditional Bamboo Tattoo.

Many who visit Thailand wish to receive an official blessing in form of a tattoo. For those wishing a permanent souvenir and blessing from their trip to Thailand, this just may be the experience for you. There are many parlours available to visitors on the island.

Sak Yant Tattoo Designs Thailand
Sak Yant Tattoo Designs Thailand

What is Sak Yant?

Sak Yant are blessing tattoos of bamboo ink artistically tattooed by monks. Today it is practiced mainly in Thailand, however, travellers can also get them in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

You can easily identify a Sak Yant tattoo by its very distinct design of bamboo strips or stars. They are applied to the skin with sharpened thin metal rods instead of the usual needles. Hopefully you have a large pain tolerance!

Sak Yant tattoos come with strong beliefs in Thai culture. They have core sacred meanings of protection from hardship and ills. When getting one, do respect the religious background of the symbolic inking and honour the tradition properly.

The ceremony may be expensive depending on which parlour your choose and do remember the finished product is permanent. Do take heed in knowing these things before going forward. At this point The Thai people are in a mourning period and various tourist activities may have less availability. Do take care in choosing a sacred request in the event that the locals feel unable to accommodate.

**** Heading to Thailand soon? Do check out our guide on what to expect in respect to the recent passing of their beloved King.****

Browse the Many Shops on the Island Strip.

Thailand is well known for its beautiful island wear at reasonable prices. Many visitors stock up on this attire when on vacation to avoid packing large amounts of clothing. Koh Samui is not short of options for a variety of dresses, sarongs, swimmers, trunks, and beach shoes. Price points are extremely reasonable and the collections ranging in styles and fabrics will please any traveller.

Hats for sale Koh Samui
Hats for sale Koh Samui

 

Sandal display
Sandal display

See a Thai Ladyboy Caberet Show!

You haven’t lived until you have watched a traditional Thai Ladyboy show! Complete in drag from head to toe, Thai models take the stage and perform an evening of pure entertainment.

Thailand’s Ladyboy shows and drag performers are embraced by the country and its culture. These world famous shows are an expectation of travellers venturing to the Kingdom and are a tick off the bucket list. Performers are truly admired and revered in these shows as they are incredibly feminine and full of personality. Some Ladyboys look so feminine you will struggle to differentiate them from the girls!
Thai Ladyboy Performer
Thai Ladyboy performer
What is included in a typical Performance?

Shows usually include karaoke and covers of popular tunes, elaborate and impeccable costumes, perfectly flawless foundation, lipstick, and rouge, and incredible choreographed routines completing the show-style trifecta of acting, singing, and dancing. The sparkle, glitter and disco-style sets will have you toe-tapping all night long!

Get a Thai Massage.

Achy tired muscles? Why not consider a relaxing Thai massage! Quite reasonable in price, traditional Thai massage combines ancient healing practices with soothing pressure points and deep tissue. Traditionally Thai massages do not use oils or creams.

Patients remain clothed for the massage and are constantly in contact with the masseuse. Traditional treatments are done on mattresses or other cushioned surfaces close to the floor.

Thai Massage Koh Samui
Thai Massage Koh Samui

Enjoy an Evening Fire Show!

Head down to the beach and relax over a delicious meal and fiery entertainment. Traditional Thai dishes of green curry, pad Thai, egg-fried rice, and lettuce rolls tantalize the taste-buds as the entertainers risk their lives to entertain with wands of fire.

Enjoying Traditional Thai cuisine
Enjoying Traditional Thai cuisine

 

Lettuce Rolls Koh Samui
Lettuce Rolls Koh Samui

Fire shows are approximately one hour and include entertaining stunts and choreography. Enjoy pinwheels, fiery swords, acrobatic routines,and traditional dancing with a glorious background of the Siam sea breeze. Do take care of your belongings while on the beach. Locals will approach you with various items including handmade jewellery, photos with animals, and hair-braiding services. Be mindful of your surroundings and politely refuse to avoid confrontation or any other issue.

Koh Samui Fire Show
Koh Samui Fire Show

Catch a Koh Samui Sunrise.

Even if you are not a morning person or were out till the wee hours at a Ladyboy or Fire show, to catch the sunrise is worth the missed zzz’s. Thai sunrises usually happen just before 6 am and fill the skies with hues of pink, orange and white as the blue peeks through.

Koh Samui Sunrise
Koh Samui Sunrise

 

Gorgeous Sunrise
Gorgeous Sunrise

Consider an Upscale Spa for Island Pampering.

This had to be the best decision I made while in Koh Samui. I was picked up and taken to the beautiful Serenity Spa for some much deserved pampering. I was greeted by the lovely staff in robes, with their hair styled in buns adorning tropical flowers. They escorted me across the beautiful pond bridge with floating lilies and orchids, and handed me a small cup of honey tea as I waited to begin my lavender steam session.

Serenity Spa Entrance Koh Samui
Serenity Spa Entrance Koh Samui

There were pillows on the slate bench inside the steam room. When inquiring on how much time I could spend inside relaxing, the staff said to me – “Time? There is no time limit. the time is up to you.” I was in complete heaven. It was just what I needed after my accident in Khao Sok National Park. (Do check out our blog post about this incredible rainforest.)

Across from the steam room was a private and beautifully tropical rain forest shower situated outside among the lush greenery and enclosed by giant slate rocks. You could hear the birds and see the butterflies all around you. The water splashing the rock steps and a slight smell of coconut completed the sanctuary. The tranquility was a mini version of Eden. Beside the shower was a private whirlpool all to myself with floating lemons and flowers. Before undressing and heading into the lavender steam, the aesthetician showed me how to get hot water-  hot water in Thailand? unheard of! This was definitely a day of pampering!

Flowers in pots beside the display
Flowers in pots beside the display

I sat in the steam and just let the fumes of lavender clear my sinuses and allow my mind to relax and de-stress. I felt far, far away from the everyday bustle and the fast-paced movement of travelling in a tour group. I do feel my best when I’m travelling and seeing worlds that are so drastically different from the world I’ve come to know and adapt through.

I was able to escape from the worries of what the plan will be when I get home, how I will welcome the changes to come, and just how I would keep myself from screaming and jumping at the airport when I see my family.

I was next taken into a massage room where I was given a light massage on my injured back and a stronger massage on my shoulders and neck. The massage was rejuvenating and just the right combination of pain relief and detoxification.

Selection of oils for your massage treatment
Selection of oils for your massage treatment

When the massage was complete, I was given an incredible facial. The aesthetician brought a variety of oils for me to choose from, each having different benefits. I chose the chamomile and cucumber to combat the sun and the free radicals in the air. You could not help but fall asleep through this part of the retreat it was that relaxing.

At the end, she concluded the retreat by braiding the front part of my hair into a tropical style ready to head back to my resort with replenished energy. This spa retreat was one of the most memorable experiences I have had in Asia.

Finishing braid at the spa
Finishing braid at the spa

There is a lot of controversy over the spa treatments and quality of the massages in Thailand due to the pricing and the amount of salons throughout the country. Just be mindful and ask the resorts where you are staying for reputable suggestions so you don’t end up with a chronic injury due to inexperienced locals trying to make money off naive tourists. The reputable salons and spas may be a little more pricey than the chain kiosks and shops, but you know going in, that you are supporting aestheticians who are qualified and educated in the field.

Koh Samui is a luxurious Southern Thailand island with so much to offer visitors. Indulge, explore, discover, and relax. There is something to fit in anyone’s Thailand itinerary.

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Make sure before you go to get insurance! I would never venture, even for one day, out of country without travel insurance. Give World Nomads a try. Loved by many known travel gurus, check out their various plans and purchase what is right for you. Don’t be a ninny and not get insurance!

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Planning a trip to Thailand? Get further inspiration with our new Thailand Highlights video!

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