Koh Samui is south east Asia's new developing tourist hot spot and Thailand’s most glamorous holiday island. Samui island is a lush tropical island paradise near both Singapore and Bangkok in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Samui is only an hour's flight from both Singapore and Bangkok. Samui beaches are among the whitest in Asia, and live up to that dream of a tropical island with white sand, blue water and swaying palm trees many of us dream of escaping to. Travel to Samui while you can before it becomes too popular, because Koh Samui is still quaint with an innocence like Bali had 20 years ago. This is Thailand's great new alternative to Bali, with plenty of quality beachfront restaurants serving a variety of Thai and western food.
Top, photo of Choeng Mon Beach Right, photo of Samui's most popular beach, Chaweng Beach near most of Koh Samui's hotels
When you consider Bali was consistently voted the world's favourite island until its recent terrorism, you can understand why Koh Samui is the must-see best beach holiday of the 21st century.
Near the holiday beach resorts are streets full of delightful shops and markets, where western currency is still king despite the global economic downturn. Inland, Koh Samui features jungles where you can get lost in nature. There are rides on well-treated elephants that many a wide-eyed child will remember for many years.
There is a magical place on Koh Samui that fulfills any traveller's dream of a perfect holiday. It's a story of love between a local Thai woman and a European man, where east meets west, where the best of both worlds meet.
You can have a good time on Koh Samui, but you'll have a great time if you stay at the resort named Zazen, which gets our vote as the world's best beachfront holiday resort. Zazen is on "Bophut beach", near Chaweng beach in Koh Samui.
Thailand is a Buddhist country, and Zazen means seated meditation. You'll emerge from a holiday at this holiday resort feeling enlightened and uplifted. The gentle Buddhist elements of happiness combine here with the western elements of hospitality, thanks to a Thai girl Ti who fell in love with Belgian boy Alex.
Their love has transformed this resort into the perfect place, where lush tropical foliage leads to the beautiful, romantic bar and restaurant overlooking the seductive curve of Bophut beach.
When you arrive at Zazen by one of the many cheap taxis, you'll enter a tropical paradise that has a new entry; the soothing sound of running water and a gently curving path that leads to the pretty pool and bar overlooking sandy Bophut beach. The burgundy-coloured lounges to languish on are matched by the wine coloured pool table in the Casbah-inspired bar overlooking Bophut beach.
And upstairs near the beach is the new Le Salon de Ti, named after Ti the owner and also highlighting the exquisite teas from around the world that can be enjoyed here with a panoramic ocean view.
The real Italian "Yellow Hut Pub"Lamai Beach, near "Molly Malone Bar", is the best pizzeria on Koh Samui.
The iconic champagne and tea cocktail bar overlooks the new "Chef’s Table", where master European chef Stephane Courtin serves up a glamorous menu of Mediterranean and Thai cuisine. Bophut has a fisherman's village which is the local version of New York's Greenwich village of years gone by. It's full of attractive boutique shops and delightful little restaurants with freshly-caught seafood.
Traditional Thai Massage or oil massages in Koh Samui cost $10 for one hour
The best restaurant on Koh Samui is at Zazen Resort, where the kitchen produces mouthwatering meals overlooking one of the world's best beach views. Koh Samui has a number of boutique resorts and European restaurants clustered mainly near Chaweng Beach and Bophut Beach, and Zazen Beach resort hotel is truly the best of the best.
Best Beach Holidays travel writers have travelled to many of the world's best destinations, and we firmly believe Zazen beachfront resort near one of the best Samui beaches, is the ultimate in wonderful beach holidays at a reasonable price.
Accommodation at Zazen beachfron villas Samui is in 26 attractive rooms with eclectic art and al fresco ensuites. Your comfortable bed is on the floor in keeping with Thai tradition, stepping down to a lounge with an L-shape sofa to watch the latest in flat-screen TVs if you must. Outside under cover are two more lounges facing each other that allow you to be a part of nature and take in the peaceful feeling created by this resort.
Near your hotel room is the new "Zen day spa" where the gentle Thai staff will fulfil your dream of perfect relaxation.
Zazen hotel beachfront rooms are fantastic, with panoramic views and only a few sandy steps to the gentle waters of the Gulf of Thailand. This fulfils the ultimate beach holiday dream of staying at a beautiful resort and stepping out of your very cute beach bungalow onto a white sandy beach fringed with palms.
Right photo of day spa / massage parlor at Zazen beachfront villa accommodation near Koh Samui beaches.
Breakfast at Zazen resort is the best we've seen anywhere in the world, a true feast for the senses. Imagine every brightly coloured fresh juice from mango to carrot to tangerine in attractive long bottles. Past them, every brightly-coloured fresh fruit from banana to pineapple to mango and even exotic fruits including mangosteen and delicious dragon fruit.
If you want a western breakfast near the beach, there's gourmet bacon and eggs, delicate omelettes, organic toast and wholemeal or local farmers' bread. There's even sparkling wine to satisfy the Europeans and start their day with a smile.
The smell of the salt air and the delicious produce make this Koh Samui beachfront resort hotel a soul-satisfying start to your daily Samui adventure. Lunch near the swimming pool is vastly superior to anything we've seen in top location hotel restaurants including Waikiki Beach, Tahiti and even the Maldives. If you want a club sandwich, it's exotic.
If you order fish, for US$15 you get delicious crispy skin white snapper with sweet Hoisin "glacage", white wine sauce, extra virgin olive oil mash, three colours of mild chili and an arty squiggle of balsamic that looks like chocolate, all served on a fine china plate.
<< Photo of Koh Samui's accommodation with swimming pool and air-conditioning
Dinner under the stars at Zazen resort with fresh produce and a gentle warm breeze blowing down the beach will show you why this is one of the world's best value luxury resorts. On some nights you'll be treated to a traditional Thai cultural show with beautiful young Thai women and their handsome male partners.
Right: Photo of Koh Samui beachfront accommodation restaurant
The 15 minute taxi ride from Bophut beach to Koh Samui's Chaweng beach is less than $10.
On the fine white sand of Chaweng Beach you'll find beach vendors who are much less intrusive than in Bali and a multitude of watersports including ballooning, surfboard hire (yes there is surf at Koh Samui), jetskii hire, etc. The best beachfront restaurant near Chaweng Beach is "Eat Sense", closely followed by Italian restaurant Prego.
If you want a cheap delicious local meal, go down the lane near "Centara Resort Samui" to "The Terrace restaurant", and the best beach massage in Koh Samui is to the right of Centara on Chaweng beach - look for the blue "Beautiful Massage" sign. See the girls including Moon for a vigorous "Thai massage" for the princely sum of US $8 an hour. Koh Samui has it all and is certainly one of the world's best beach holidays for luxury and value.
It's worth taking a taxi or hiring a car or motorbike to get around Koh Samui to see everything from stunning coastal views of the Gulf of Thailand to elephants trekking through the rainforest, to beautiful Samui waterfalls. "Thai Airways" and "Firefly airlines" have started flying into Koh Samui to join "Bangkok Airways" Samui, which owns the beautiful little Koh Samui airport and has previously resisted efforts by other international airlines to fly to Koh Samui.
This is what has helped preserve Koh Samui's innocence, and unlike other travel destinations these days, there's still this wonderful feeling of safety at all times.
Other Accommodation near Koh Samui Beaches
Chaweng beach can get busy, so the perfect place to stay is at the northern end of Chaweng beach with a great view back around the white sandy crescent - close enough to walk to Chaweng, but far enough away to escape noisey night life.
<<Photo of "Chaba Cabana Beach Resort" accommodation near "Bophut beach"
Try the Chaba Cabana Beach Resort and Spa, which is very reasonable in price and has the best beachfront pool in Koh Samui, where you can sip a pina colada while looking right back down Chaweng beach. Splash out and stay in the beachfront Banana suite or Papaya suite with their gorgeous Thai timber interiors and views over the pool and Bophut beach that are just Thai-rrific. There's a timber beach bar here that every beachcomber dreams about - elevated views down the beach, palm trees swaying just outside and a casual guitarist and singer playing classic requests at night such as Hotel California.
This Tim Buk Tuu beach bar even has a book exchange and the atmosphere is distinctly reminiscent of colonial days gone by. The Chaba Cabana Beach Resort also has the delightful Heavena Spa where you just HAVE to try the soothing traditional Thai oil massage. You'll know you're alive when the skilful Thai ladies walk on your back and bend you to your limits, but afterwards you'll feel brand new and ready for action.
As you can see from the photos, the Chaba Cabana Beach Resort also has an elevated breakfast area with beautiful views of Chaweng beach Koh Samui. As you eat your breakfast near Chaweng Beach Samui, you'll notice the tide is mostly out in the mornings, allowing a walk out along a sandbar in front of the beach into beautiful blue green water that's great for snorkelling or just immersing yourself as you delight in the Koh Samui lifestyle.
At night, the "C Front restaurant" allows views of a different beach atmosphere - higher tide, full moon in the sky and a gentle warm zephyr of a breeze in the air.
Koh Samui people must be among the friendliest in the world and are very keen to make sure you enjoy your Samui island holiday. Nothing is too much trouble and we were asked several times by different hotel staff if there was anything they could do for us.
<< Photo of Koh Samui shopping area
You'll find everything on the street from designer jeans for $20 (still can't figure if they're real or imitation), CDs and DVDs for $3 and hidden from sight, what they amusingly describe as "genuine imitation" designer handbags. The great fun shopping in Koh Samui is to good-humouredly barter, much as they do in Bali, with light-hearted expressions of surprise on both sides.
Start bargaining at about half their suggested price and settle just above. Shopping is very cheap compared with back home, so don't be afraid to give in a little. The going taxi rate is around 150 Baht (only $5) during the day and 200 Baht at night. To and from the airport in a taxi is around 500 Baht.
The most popular island beaches near Koh Samui are at Koh Tao and Koh Phangan island where the world famous "Full Moon Pary" attracts tens of thousands of party people every month. At Koh Samui you can buy "Full Moon Party" accommodation packages including boat from Ko Samui to the Full Moon Party. If you're into COMPLETE freedom and dance music, the Full Moon Party via Ko Samui is a must for young travellers. Accommodation near Koh Samui at Koh Phangan next island north near Koh Samui.
Koh Samui Restaurants
Koh Samui 's restaurant food is very good by Asian standards and in the bigger resorts you can happily drink their filtered table water. A frequent Australian visitor to Koh Samui suggested wiping cutlery in smaller cafes before dining, but we didn't encounter anyone with the equivalent of "Bali belly." The proliferation of Italian and French chefs attracted by the romance of Ko Samui has made some of the beachfront restaurants here a gastronomic experience indeed.
Try Olivio at the northern end of Chaweng beach right next to Chaba Cabana Beach Resort for possibly the best Italian you've ever experienced. The veal with mushrooms here melts in your mouth while the angel hair pasta with fresh lobster is outstanding in taste and presentation. All this among tropical palms and candlelight overlooking Chaweng beach.
Just across the road and a little towards the main part of Chaweng Beach is Prego, a stylish and relaxed place to enjoy delicious Italian cuisine. The Prego pizzas are as good as what you'll find in Italy and the pasta is home made. On Chaweng beach itself, if you like beautiful food, beautiful island ambience and beautiful beach, go straight to "Eat Sense" restaurant.
The Thai food here is superb, with the traditional Thai dishes of Padh Thai noodles and chicken and cashews just wonderful, among many other choices. For more memorable restaurant dining, try Zazen, 10 minutes north of Chaweng near picturesque Bo Phut beach. The Thai food here is also just wonderful and the restaurant is set overlooking another wonderful stretch of white sand and azure water. Photo of Bo Phut Beach from Zazen Resort
Koh Samui island Thailand is a wonderful Best Beach Holidays destination with white beaches, dazzling water and lots of laidback beachfront bars to take it all in. You can have the best of both worlds here - play Robinson Crusoe on deserted beaches, and also fulfil your urge for something more on the beach by indulging in the variety of Chaweng Beach Samui. Genuine Thai massages from the happy local women here top it all off; a memorable Thai Best Beach Holiday that's adorable and affordable.
The publisher/editor of www.hotelssamui.mobi which is part of www.bestbeachholidays.info feel in love with his Thai wife near Lamai Beach, south west Koh Samui. They now have a baby daughter, a home in Perth Australia and a home in Thailand with a planned familiarisation tour of Samui beachfront hotels and up-date of this page first week of December 2015. Contact Suree Sribuathet to arrange a fam tour of your Samui hotel if you want your 3 star 4 star or 5 star hotel near Samui beaches included free of charge promotion on this www.hotelssamui.mobi web page.
Best Koh Samui beach holiday travel destinations are written by dedicated photo journalists, published and edited by the Best Beach Holidays Travel writer. Contact hotelmarketingthailand.info for familiarisation tours of your property and inclusion on this official Samui holiday accommodation page.