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Samui Itinerary

How long was your stay?

2 months

How did you travel?

Solo

Tell us why you traveled to this destination.

Samui, one of the best islands I’ve ever been to stands for the utmost delight you can get on a trip. I first arrived here at the age of 13, with my mother and spent two great weeks here. We did swimming and went to some of the island’s best Thai eateries, and when alone I would drop by a bar and watch adults dancing and grinding. After that stay, I returned to the island many more times. Here I find calm and feel like a child again. On my latest visit I Ko Samui, I also found a place where I really do feel at home, Chaweng Beach. What made me stay here so long was its authentic pirate island atmosphere where there seem to be no Ten Commandments and just an unquenchable collective thirst for feast-making and rum. Nevertheless, it has a wealth of attractions like yoga, Thai cooking classes, and real gastronomical and shopping bonanza for the most jaded fashionistas at its vast shopping malls like Central Festival.

Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.

I arrived on the island after a brief stay in Bangkok. I yearned for a week or two of calm after spending months in Europe, where the situation seemed to be becoming tense. Instead of taking the cheapest ticket, which combines flying from BKK to Surat Thani with a bus ride from Surat Thani to a ferry jetty and then a ferry ride to Samui, I opted to fly to Samui direct. Upon my arrival, I split the price of a taxi with an Irishman, who jumped off near Green Mango, Samui’s main nightclub, a place of great emotional significance to me. I got dropped off at the end of Chaweng road. The first thing I did was to call a friend of mine and schedule a meeting for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I went to the Chaweng beach and plonked down at a bar. I drank beer and gazed at the tranquil tidal undulations. The bar I was at, Lipsmackers, is one of the island’s best reggae bars. Here you can listen not only to good reggae music but also drink delectable cocktails, and even eat tacos (the kitchen is soon to open). What is more, it is situated on the stretch of Chaweng beach where the water is at its deepest and where the sand is silk-soft and really fine. The palm-fringed bar is also one of the most romantic places to see sunsets when the sky above the rustling coconut trees grows pink and golden. One can while away vespertine hours at other neighboring establishments too. When the dark sets in, beach bars around the place start blaring out music, thus drawing throngs of beach-party-goers with the best pool parties at LUBD and Elephant luring mostly the well-healed while less upscale establishments like Surf Up, situated close by catering to a more diverse bunch of party-animals. It was the same before the pandemic but now some iconic night venues like Ark Bar are still shut (Ark is set to reopen later in the year).

Nevertheless, at 11.30 crowds at beach and pool parties start to thin, as beer pong gives way to bucket-swashing. Now migration further inland swells from a trickle into an anthropomorphic tsunami, towards the area of Green Mango, Hush, and Black Bamboo to dance for real and then soldier into the early morning hours, making new friends and doing new things and finding a watering hole for the day. Join with the flow and let yourself surrender to the beauty of Koh Samui Nights. Since all bars and clubs are huddled together in Chaweng it makes sense to live here too.

I rented a studio at a hotel close to Sans Souci at just 8000baht a month, which is a great price if you consider the property’s advantageous location, close to the beach and the bar areas. Other options are even cheaper: a room for a month at Pott Guesthouse off Chaweng walking street will set you back at just 6.000baht per month l. Food is another advantage of your stay at Koh Samui’s Chaweng. Street hawkers with their portable grills, food stalls under siege from the famished tourists at night markets, and many Thai restaurants like the Pott and signature Japanese sushi bars like Benzo all make Chaweng Samui’s best place not only to party, bask in the sun, splash around and but also to gorge on great food, washed down with ambrosial Caipirinhas or Thai Milk Tea, all of which is available on a budget.

All in all, I’ve spent almost three weeks here even though according to my plan I was supposed to have moved on to other islands. It was the tranquil dreamy, somewhat somnambulistic ambiance of the day hours coupled with ravenous and torrid parties by night that made me stay. I had my fill of the nonchalant and somewhat indolent calm of the island and found myself in thrall to the charms of the island. I just got a Covid 19 visa extension for another two months, an arrangement that allowed many foreigners marooned on the island to breeze through their coronavirus pandemic on the island, in calm and utmost comfort, but which is set to be soon phased out in favor of STV visa or other post-COVID options.

In the coming weeks, I plan to travel to other beaches and even a nature reserve off shore and do some pink dolphin watching. Keep in mind that apart from Chaweng, Samui is home to other great beach settlements like Silver Beach and Cove Beach, featuring secluded stretches of sand with upscale facilities, situated between Lamai and Chaweng and Chaweng Noi, another semi-private beach great for a romantic escapade. Also, don’t miss out on local architectural marvels like Big Buddha Temple and its great beach; Chinese temples and shrines with one of the island’s best Chinese prayer houses, Chao Eng Sae Shrine, situated in Maenam, one of the island’s most budget places to live, and the island’s often overlooked capital, Nathon City, exuding serene vibes and happiness and renowned for its low prices. In brief, head to Ko Samui, chill on one of the world’s most paradisiaque beaches, Chaweng, and party hard in its kinetic night locales. Don’t forget that weed is now delisted so even though you can’t use it recreationally, you can also check out one of the local weed-infused drinks or cannabis cookies.

Would you recommend this trip to a friend?

Yes

What was the highlight of your trip?

Big Buddha Reggae bars Chaweng Beach Green Mango Pool at Apple bar

If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?

I’d wear more sunblock and learn to ride a bike instead of taking a songtaew, a shared open-rear taxi.

Instagram: Ivan Ivoylov


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