Koh Samui


Why Honeymoon Here?
Thailand has got plenty of beautiful tropical destinations to choose from, but Koh Samui has proven to be the most popular with honeymooners and couples looking for a romantic Thai getaway. The country’s third largest island, Koh Samui is blessed with plenty of picture-perfect waterfalls, lagoons and white sand beaches set against soft rolling hills and swaying coconut trees.

Since it first popped onto backpackers’ radars in the early 1970s, Koh Samui’s tourist industry has transformed from a handful of beach bungalows to, in recent years, a large and impressive collection of high-end hotels and resorts. Despite all of the development, the island has managed to maintain most of its idyllic charms, due to strict building and zoning regulations, while still stepping up its game in terms of dining and nightlife options. It is also conveniently part of an archipelago chain of 80 islands, meaning there are plenty of seriously secluded spots you can get to for truly romantic day trips.

Romantic dining and drinking options
The growth in luxury resorts on Koh Samui has brought with it an equally sophisticated dining culture, with cutting-edge cuisine paired with scenic views creating some spectacularly sensual dining experiences.

Offering one of the most modernist eating experiences on the island, Six Senses Samui’s Dining on the Rocks (sixsenses.com/resorts/samui/dining; 9/10 Moo 5, Baan Plai Laem, Bophut; 66 7724 5678) offers a number of creatively deconstructed and reinvented dishes on their numerous multi-course tasting menus. The restaurant’s alfresco dining area encompasses ten terraced decks suspended on boulders by the ocean, giving diners 270 degree views of the surrounding sea and shoreline. Several of the set menus are themed around concepts such as “natural,” “pure” and “experience.”  To give you an example of the creativity on display, the “umami” menu includes a salmon three ways dish consisting of cured, smoked and grilled salmon, salmon “powder,” pea puree and balsamic tiles.

The name Orgasmic (147/24 Moo1; 086 276 9101) might be a bit over the top, but it’s not entirely inappropriate for describing the dining experience at this restaurant set along a picturesque stretch of Boput Beach. Chef Walter “Wally” Andreini, who is something of a local celebrity after winning great acclaim for his work at other eateries on the island, cooks up a range of Western and Thai specialities. Presentation and service always get top marks here, with the chef frequently visiting tables to make sure his guests feel welcome and catered to.

Koh Samui offers plenty of raucous nightlife options, but if you’re looking for something stylish and sophisticated to end your romantic evening, head to Woobar at the W Retreat Koh Samui (starwoods.com; 4/1 Moo 1 Tambol Maenam; 66 77 915 999). This is where the island’s jetsetters come to play, drink delightful martinis and dance the night away to the resident DJ’s hipper-than-thou playlist. Pod like lounges are set up as islands in the middle of the bar’s pool – providing intimate areas set apart from the pulsing crowds of beautiful people.

Lovers’ retreats
If you’re looking to escape to someplace even more secluded, there are multitudes of nearby, nearly uninhabited islands to take advantage of. While there are a plenty of options on how to go to these, if you want to get there in style, you can consider taking the Red Baron (redbaron-samui.com), a luxury yacht with bright red sails giving it the look of a classic Oriental junk. They offer a schedule of trips to nearby islands, including a romantic sunset dinner cruise to Koh Som, a tiny island off Samui’s coast where the birds are known to call back at you. The Red Baron is also available for private charter.

If you’re the sort of couple that likes to keep their chakras in alignment, the island offers numerous yoga retreats and wellness spas. The secluded Kamalaya (kamalaya.com/wellness-retreats.htm; 102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Road, Na-Muang; 66 77 429 800) features one of Samui’s best wellness centers, with personalised, multi-day  programmes focusing on detoxing, revitalisation and yoga.

The Four Seasons Koh Samui (fourseasons.com/kohsamui; 219 Moo 5, Angthong; 66 07 724 3000) is a favourite for both wedding parties and honeymooners. The reasons for that are as clear as the water off of its private white sand beach bay. Located on the northwest corner of the island, every one of its 40 one-bedroom villas, as well as the 14 residences, feature breathtaking views of Laem Yai Bay and nearby party island Koh Pha Ngan. Each of the spacious and well-appointed villas and residences come with their own infinity pool from which you can soak up the scenery. Couples are well catered to here.  The resort’s team will be more than happy to set up a romantic candlelight dinner, or a celebratory champagne breakfast, in the privacy of your villa or residence. The spa, set against a lush jungle, offers a range of exotic couples treatments such as the “Divine Night Ritual,” which involves a sensual massage as well as a energy balancing via Tibetan singing bowls and healing crystals to revitalize your Swadhisthana chakra, which is associated with sexual health.

Set in a lush grove of cashew and palm trees, Napasai (napasai.com; 65/10 Baan Tai, Maenam; 66 77 42 92 00) is another good choice for couples looking for a mix of natural beauty and luxury living. Honeymooners will definitely want to opt for one of the private pool residences, which are located right along the edge of the azure blue ocean. In addition to the pool, they also feature ample living space and traditional Thai sala open pavilions. The resort’s Honeymoon Package includes a private beachfront dining experience, a couple’s Thai massage session and all around VIP treatment.

Boasting of being “Koh Samui’s most romantic hotel,” Tongsai Bay (tongsaibay.co.th; 84 Moo 5, Bo Phut; 66 77 245 480) helped lead the island’s luxury transformation, becoming the first five star on Samui when it opened in 1987. Encompassing its own completely private bay on the island’s northeastern tip, the 25 acre resort is set on a hilltop and features lush gardens designed to blend into the nearby surroundings. Having been in business longer than most luxury resorts here have taught them how to keep their customers loyal. The 83 suites, cottages and villas often see repeat visitors, with returning guests making up 35% of the resort’s business. For honeymooners and other couples, the eco-friendly resort is offering a special “Do Not Disturb” package until the end of the year that includes 5 nights in one of their Pool Villas, a bottle of Moet et Chandon champagne on arrival, rose petal turndown service, daily breakfast for two on your terrace, daily one hour Thai massages, and even a personalied, handcrafted souvenir Do Not Disturb sign.