the honeymoon part 5: koh samui
*for part 4, chiang mai, click here.
Our last stop of #honeymoon2k14 was the beach. We'd been quite busy sightseeing for the rest of the trip, so we figured ending on a peaceful note was the way to go. Not quite as advised: gorging yourself on pastries and noodles for two weeks straight before hanging out in a bikini for five days. HIYO.
If you've ever done any research into Thai vacations you'll find that you have literally hundreds of different island locales to choose from, on both coasts of the country. We decided on Koh Samui, which is an island on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand (off the eastern coast of Thailand). We'd been told by a few other returning honeymooners that it was little less developed than Phuket, plus you could still fly there directly from Bangkok.
|Our own plunge pool!|
Samui itself isn't huge, but it seems like most travelers opting to stay in a resort pretty much reside on premises, except for field trips to the marine park or maybe out to "town" for dinner. While Mike and I are not normally the homebound types, by this point in our trip we were more than happy to hang out in our own little villa and soak up some last minute rays before heading back to the polar vortex that is New York in this year's winter.
|Our bedroom at FS KS.|
After having great experiences at FS properties in the north of Thailand, we chose the Four Seasons Koh Samui for the final leg of our trip. We liked that the beach was essentially private due to the cliffs on either side of it, plus each room is actually its own little house, complete with a private pool and deck. The best part? Tropical fruit plates that were refreshed every morning. God, I miss that mango.
|Can you name everything?|
Since the resort is rather isolated at the northwest corner of the island, they make sure that you have every amenity on site, including a spa, lounge areas, multiple bars and two restaurants. Breakfast is included in the room rate, and good Lord was it an awesome spread.
|House made compotes, yogurts, juices, all for free!|
|One of my favorites. Chocolate and lemongrass latte.|
Apart from a selection of tropical fruits that would make any elephant squeal, there were the above-pictured treats, homemade pastries, plus a full menu of pancakes, eggs, and rice dishes. All. for. free.
Luckily for our waistlines, there was also a full gym, yoga lessons (for free!), and thai kickboxing. Mike and I took a private lesson, in which it became apparent that I may be small, but I am mighty.
The resort is also built onto a cliffside, meaning it's a pretty active hike up from the beach to the top of the hotel, where our villa was. While they do offer buggys to drive you around, we pretty much walked everywhere, even if that did elicit a few odd looks from the staff. Then we would shoot them a look that said, "We're NEW YORKERS."
I kid, of course, since the Thai are the nicest people you will ever meet. To wit: our first night on Samui, the general manager of the hotel organized a cocktail reception at one of the private homes on the property (yup, here too you can actually buy a house and LIVE THERE ALL THE TIME). It was a great way to meet the staff (and many other honeymooners). There were many other activities organized every day we were there, including cooking lessons, flower arranging and live music on the beach.
And this being the last stop on the honeymoon, we had to arrange for one last romantic dinner, this one on the beach:
|Our private table on the water.|
We had live music, rose petals and a bonfire. I definitely recommend this for anyone visiting; it was spectacular.
Most nights we also ate dinner on property, specifically at KOH. They had just revamped the restaurant a few weeks before we came and the food was some of the best we had in Thailand. I've already tried to make my favorite dish, the crab curry, with less than spectacular results. Fish sauce is a tricky mistress, what can I say? Here is a picture of the real deal, though.
|Pad thai with all the fixin's.|
Since the hotel caters to a lot of honeymooners, there are also many romantical type activities, many of them free. One of my favorites was the coconut milk bath: you call housekeeping a couple hours before and when you get back to your room, there are candles, roses and the most delicious smelling bath drawn for you and your significant other.
|This was not THE bath, but a different pretty one they drew for us.|
Our last day we were lucky enough to fly out in the evening, which meant we had a full beach day before we had to pack up. Since the resort wasn't at full capacity, they also let us stay in our room until we had to leave around 5, which was truly excellent.
Through the hotel, we joined a tour group and headed out to the Ang Thong Marine Park, which is about an hour away by boat. It's a collection of gorgeous rocky outcrops, tropical fish and secluded beaches. We snorkeled, lay on the beach, and hiked up a few lookout points before heading back home.
And that's a wrap! It was our first vacation for longer than about a week and a half and it truly did feel different than just a regular trip. Word of advice: tell everyone it's your honeymoon! Most places will absolutely go out of their way to make your vacation that much more special, whether that's a bouquet of flowers on arrival or a complimentary spa service.
If anyone needs advice on planning on a Thailand trip, give me a holler! I'd also be happy to share contact details of our BADASS travel agent Josh at ProTravel, without whom this trip would not have been possible. Thank you, thank you, J!