The wheels hit the runway, the doors open, the heat hits you. You and your luggage made it one piece! You leave the air conditioning behind for 30 degrees heat.
As you leave the single luggage carousel, you wander up the tiny ramp and boom. You've left the airport!
One thing to note; when traveling through Thailand, you will mostly transit via Bangkok- this is where you will gain your Visa stamp in your passport. Other airports on the Thai Islands are deemed Domestic, hence being able to walk straight out of the airport. Be sure to check embassy or government websites for travel visa information before departing.
Thailand is known mostly for "backpacking" or "luxury beach resorts", temples and elephants.
I have chosen to focus on the island of Koh Samui; miles of white sands contrast with the dense jungle behind. Koh Samui is the perfect Thai getaway.
Samui is full of wonderful experiences to explore.
Pick a tour to the Buddha Gardens in the north of the island, or visit the Big Buddha (pictured below, left) and Temples (pictured below) and gaze in awe. If visiting religious sites, remember to dress appropriately- legs and arms covered; I tend to take a maxi skirt and shirt rolled up in my bag to quickly cover my shorts and tank tops. Scarves are often provided but best to be aware beforehand.
If eating is your scene, visit the night market at Fisherman's village on a Sunday evening; try everything from BBQ Crocodile to fresh coconut milk ice cream (pictured below) whilst browsing through the market stalls of trinkets, handicrafts and jewelry. There are plenty of traditional Thai restaurants dotted over the island, but Samui is known for its delicious fresh seafood.
Love animals? Visit the Elephant Sanctuary (pictured below) for rescued working elephants. The sanctuary doesn't allow elephant rides or any activities that may harm the animals. This was so refreshing after visiting Bali's elephant sanctuary where the animals were kept hidden and chained when not being used for tourist rides. The fee for entrance into the sanctuary covers the cost of future feed and care. The money directly helps the sanctuary in caring and rescuing mistreated elephants. They carers also teach you how to correctly feed and show affection to the animals both in person and via an information video.
Thai Thunderstorm threatening your tanning time? Take a browse round central festival park- a huge complex consisting of a food market, sit down restaurants, cinema and a multitude of fashion market style stalls and upscale boutiques. There is also a department store. Anything you could possibly need can be found under one roof! Don't be fooled by the initial entrance- the more you explore, the more you find. It's easy to get to, just jump on a tuk tuk or local taxi. Surrounding the festival park are lots of independent boutiques selling everything from swimwear to handbags. These are worth scouring for a bargain (some you can barter with!) or a piece that is really unique. My unique purchase was the dress pictured below, left.
There are 2 places that are definitely worth a visit:
Coco Tams located in Fishermans Village for sundown cocktails on the beach (pictured above, middle and right).
Jungle Club located high in the mountains giving amazing views over the island; should you want to dine here, you should make reservations in advance (pictured below).
Points of note:
This trip was self funded, in no way funded by any third party. Views are entirely my own taken from personal experience. Images are my own.
Copyright Lauren Toner 2019