Beauty, the beast, and balance. Ko Samui is a dreamy island in the Gulf of Thailand. This is a good destination for divers traveling with non-divers. For divers, Ko Samui offers a mesmerizing mix of coral reefs and lively pinnacles, all within easy reach of a popular island base. For non-divers, spend time at a Muay Thai training camp and a world-class wellness retreat.
DIVING IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND
Ko Samui has a reputation as a dive course factory, yet experienced divers still flock here for the irresistible mix of pelagic and macro, fringing reef and open-ocean pinnacles. It’s easy to understand the attraction: Ko Samui’s turquoise waters average balmy temperatures of 84°F (29°C) and seas tend to be calm, thanks to geographical protection from the Gulf of Thailand. Most of the diving is on shallow reefs, speckled with brightly-colored reef fish. However, the area also holds submerged pinnacles and rocky seamounts attracting schooling barracuda and jacks.
DIVE SHOPS IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND
We dove with Silent Divers. It is run by ex-military expats (with an all-Thai crew), and is therefore run very efficiently, with safety and comfort being paramount. Silent Divers is one of the few shops on the island that run their own boats; they also offer courses, snorkel trips, and private charters.
THINGS TO DO IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND
There’s a wide range of activities to do in Ko Samui, but we recommend spending time at Superpro Samui (a Muay Thai training camp) and Kamalaya (a world-class wellness resort). At Superpro, fighters stay in spartan rooms and train in open-air rings and spaces lined with boxing bags. The training is intense and the camaraderie more enjoyable than you could imagine. Like Superpro, Kamalaya is the real deal. This east-meets-west establishment takes holistic health (mental, emotional, and physical) seriously, with a team of top professionals from around the world bringing together diverse traditions of healing and culture.
Attending a traditional Muay Thai fight is a great cultural experience and opportunity to see this ancient art form. There are several stadiums in Samui, with fights most nights (around $50 USD).
BEST PLACE TO STAY IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND
Kamalaya is sublime, with a wonderfully warm and attentive team. There are 76 rooms, offering sea and garden views, some with their own plunge pools, all spacious with relaxing and comfortable interiors. The resort also features an architecturally-striking pool, a pristine slip of beach, and a centuries-old Buddhist monks’ cave, all surrounded by lush greenery.
BEST RESTAURANT OR BAR IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND
Chaweng Night Market is a large, open-air food market surrounding a cluster of tables and chairs. Authentic, local Thai food is served here, and it’s delicious.
TRAVEL ADVICE (INSIDER TIP)
If your baggage is not checked all the way through from point of origin to Ko Samui on a single ticket, allow at least an hour in Bangkok Airport to collect your bags and re-check them.
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