This year’s Boxing Day was a little different for me in that it didn’t involve eating leftover Christmas food and a long walk to the pub. I was off to Heathrow to catch my flight to Bangkok; super excited at the prospect of a bit of winter sun in Koh Samui.
The pictures of this trip aren’t all of beautiful blue skies and glorious sunny days; even though December is supposed to be a great time to visit Thailand, we had the most bizarre bag of weather! Luckily we got the odd bit of sun as you’d expect but the trip included cloudy days, extreme winds, to even full on monsoon! I couldn’t understand it.. but hey ho; we made the most of the ‘Happy Hours’ and Thai massages and didn’t let it dampen our spirits.
This was my third visit to the island; previously when backpacking in 2009 and again for a family trip two years prior, (see blog post here!) meaning that I’m was pretty familiar with the island; so for me it was more about chilling than exploring.
Our first three nights were spent in the exquisite Hansar Resort & Spa in Bophut; adjacent to Fisherman’s Village, before moving slightly along the coast for six nights at the Prana Resort with my boyfriend’s family. Both we’re lovely and different in their own ways. The Prana was slightly more family friendly as it had a choice of two swimming pools, plus with eight of us staying over New Years it meant it was slightly more affordable! BUT as a warning, Thailand at Christmas is not cheap!
If you want to experience the slightly quieter side of Thailand than Bophut is perfect. It still has a glorious beach, Fisherman’s Village – which is full of great restaurants and could be seen as a slightly more tasteful part of the island when compared to the craziness of Chaweng beach – I sound so old!
My favourite thing about the Hansar was the free breakfast (shock!) at the hotel’s restaurant H Bistro. You could literally have anything you wanted; from delicious tropical fruit, pancakes, waffles, any type of eggs or even full on thai food. The hotel itself is pretty pricey but for a few nights of pampering, you can’t really go wrong here. The hotel is beautifully designed from every room having a sea-view, to the surrounding grounds; it’s impossible not feel happy. The hotel pool bar also has x3 happy hours a-day! Heaven…
When weather permits, there’s also free cinema screening’s in the beach area shown below:
Things to do:
Daily massages, enjoying traditional thai food, soaking up glorious beaches and taking a boat trip (although not advised in monsoon weather!) are all obvious activities when in Thailand. On a cloudy day, we hired a driver which cost around £15 an hour I think! And left Bophut to explore parts of the island. This is generally the best way to do it; it means you don’t have to faff around with tuk-tuk’s or taxi’s and can plan exactly where you want to go beforehand.
We stopped at the Big Buddha which is the tallest statue in Thailand and the ninth-tallest in the world. (A warning – if you’re visiting here, ensure you have your knees and shoulders covered). After this, we went to Lamai beach and stopped for lunch before heading to Na Muang Waterfalls. So we saw a few of the main attractions, then decided to skip the rest and instead get our driver to drop us at the InterContinental Baan Taling Ngam for a cocktail to watch the sun (well, clouds) go down! This is an absolutely stunning and 100% worth stopping for a drink, or a night if you’re feeling very flush.
Where to Eat:
Seafood and local thai dishes but also it’s Thailand, meaning that you can get anything and everything you fancy. Every popular beach resort whether it’s Chaweng, Lamai, or Bophut, are full with plenty of restaurants meaning you’re spoilt for choice.
This time, our top pick restaurant was Barracuda which was recently voted Bophut’s no1 restaurant and we could understand why! The interior was pretty minimalist with an open kitchen and it felt like a fine dining experience that wasn’t crazy expensive. We shared the scallops to start and for mains had the duck breast with bok choy and the sesame-crusted yellow fin tuna; so good! With drinks the bill came to around £65 all in.
One day for lunch, we walked the full length of Chaweng beach, before stopping for lunch at the hotel The Library for sharing plates and appetisers. The hotel has a very modern & red(!) design; it’s worth a visit.
Would I go back again? No I don’t think so. That was my third time to the island and there’s so much of the world I’d still like to see.
Trip in a sentence: Relaxing, family-orientated & slightly wet! 🙂