I have to admit: it’s growing on me. For years, I’ve dismissed Thailand as not a viable option for me to live, or at least visit for an extended time. It was too commercial (true in some parts), the people weren’t really friendly (depends where you are), and the prices were too high (not true if you do it right).
But thanks to a few good friends, Thailand is slowly growing on me – and especially, KohSamui. In fact, I’ve been to that island three or even four times now over the years, but I think never really fully appreciated it until this last visit.
Hanging out with my buddy from Australia and his family from Down Under as well as the Philippines, I had more of a clear-eyed, daytime look at the place (OK, I wasn’t drunk and out partying all the time.).
Taking a new inventory of Samui, here are some of my highlights and personal favorites. (Note: I stayed in the more chill Lamai Beach area, not busier Chaweng.) Please note that this is just part one, because I’ll share far more things to do, see, eat, drink, and experience in KohSamui coming very soon.
The night markets
From the Lamai food market to the main market near all of the bars and Beach Road, KohSamui has some seriously awesome night markets. My favorite is the Sunday market, where hundreds of vendors take over the roads in a three-block area for some serious shopping fiesta fun.
Centered in the touristy area of Lamai Beach you’ll find a fun complex of just outdoor beer bars, where you can hop from stop to stop playing games, chatting with locals, meeting travelers, and putting down some serious Chang or Leo beers.
The best part about that beer bar complex? Right in the center of it sits a boxing ring where they have lady Muay Thai fights a few nights a week. This is no joke, as many of the girls that work at the bars punch and kick it out for big prizes!
Absolutely gorgeous (more sheltered and less crowded) strip of white sand beach along the bay, with plenty of resorts and restaurants where you can lounge and really cool rock formations dotting the water.
There’s no shortage of amazing restaurants and inexpensive, healthy,and high-quality grub in KohSamui. But it’s my crew’s tradition to hit Bikini Barbecue at least once, where we can jam out to reggae music, drink a few beers by the beach, and smash some super grubalicious American barbecue and Jamaican jerk wings, ribs, and the like.
Since we’re in a reggae mood, head up the coast to the incredible Rock Bar, where the establishment is literally built in, between and even beneath giant boulders and rock formations by the beach. You can also sit outside at sunset drinking cold beer, listening to good music, and getting your inner Bob Marley on. (Hint. Hint)
Keep the party going into the evening at Bear’s Cocktails, a tiny drink stand set up in an outdoor parking lot every night. While its genius is its rustic simplicity, Bear and her sister serve some seriously amazing (and strong) cocktails, and you’ll meet, mix, and mingle with interesting and fun people from all over the world there.