Banyan Tree Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most famous islands – a destination renown for its beauty as well as its culture. As far as Thai islands go, it’s one of the more developed destinations, but as Ryan Nerone from Banyan Tree Samui told us, the island still maintains its rustic charm. Find a tropical oasis of ocean villas in a private bay at Banyan Tree Samui and use the resort as a base to explore marine parks, sunbathe on white-sand beaches, visit stunning Thai temples and burn your tongue off with the island’s fiery cuisine. Ryan tells us how to do Koh Samui right.

How would you describe Koh Samui in three words?

Sea. Sand. Sun.

What makes it unique and worth visiting?

Samui is an island that has retained its rustic charm, yet has welcomed modern development. In doing so, the island delivers an opportunity to escape to tropical splendour, yet keep within reach of numerous options for dining, entertainment, shopping and nightlife.

Visitors to the island should definitely fit the following into their itinerary:

  • Wat Phra Yai – the famous landmark of Samui is the 12-metre tall Big Buddha that sits at the peak of this temple. Climb to the top for a fantastic view of the surrounding area.
  • Jungle trekking – explore the relatively untouched inland of the island to retreat to nature, soak in the natural beauty and delight in scenic views.
  • Ang Thong National Marine Park – Samui serves as the departure point for trips to Ang Thong National Marine Park, an archipelago of 42 islands off Samui’s west coast.

Where would you go for a local breakfast?

Enjoy a ride on one of our complimentary bicycles at the resort and take the three-kilometre journey into Lamai.

  • Stop by the Fresh Market to delight in the aromas and unique selections available. Try salapao (steamed buns) or khao niaw ping sai gluai (sticky rice with banana wrapped in a banana leaf).
  • Next, go to Go Pha Ka to enjoy patongo (Thai doughnut) a light snack that is a popular dish in the morning hours for locals, as well as a glass of cha yen (Thai milk tea) a tea sweetened with condensed milk and served either hot or cold.
  • Last stop is Dara Kitchen located next to Lamai Temple which offers the ever-popular dim sum dishes served in small portions allowing patrons to mix and match to their preference.

What would you recommend as a morning activity?

Inside the resort

  • Rise before first light and delight in the stunning hues delivered by sunrises over the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Take a complimentary yoga class led by our in-house instructor.
  • Enjoy non-motorised marine activities in our private bay. The waters are calm and the sun is less overbearing in the morning hours. Activities include kayak, stand-up paddle boards, sailing, snorkelling.

Outside the resort

  • Hin Ta Hin Yai – Grandfather and Grandmother rocks in Lamai which are famous for their intriguing shapes which resemble certain body parts.
  • Lamai Viewpoint – nestled in the hills behind Hin Ta Hin Yai and featuring a scenic view overlooking Lamai.

Where would you go for lunch?

Sands, our beachside restaurant, which features a relaxing terrace for dining views of our private bay. A range of culinary options are on offer, but I suggest the tiger prawns on tropical fruit som tam (som tam is fresh, grated papaya salad) or kraprao pizza, a unique creation which blends traditional flavours of basil with elements of a well-known Thai dish.

What would you do in the afternoon?

Inside the resort

  • Take a cooking class at The Edge. Let our culinary team teach you the tricks of the trade in order to create your favourite Thai dishes in the comfort of your own home.
  • Muay Thai. Learn the basic techniques of Thailand’s national sport. Break a sweat in a fun-filled environment.

Outside the resort

  • Visit Lad Koh Viewpoint (commonly called Chaweng Viewpoint) for a sweeping view of Chaweng with the neighbouring island Koh Phangan in the distance.
  • Next stop is Wat Plai Laem. One of Samui’s most beautiful and colourful temples. It features statues of the Laughing Buddha and the Chinese goddess, Guan Im, as well as various smaller statues and a lake with plenty of fish waiting to be fed.
  • Last stop is Wat Phra Yai. The famous landmark of Samui is the 12-meter tall Big Buddha that sits at the peak of this temple. Climb to the top for a fantastic view of the surrounding area.

Where would you go to watch the sun set?

Book a sunset cruise aboard our resort’s private speedboat, Sense of the Sea, to enjoy a three-hour journey along the southern coast of Samui, past the famous Five Islands as well as Koh Taen and Koh Matsum. Then sit back and relax with your favourite beverage in hand as the sun dips behind Ang Thong National Marine Park and illuminates the surrounding sky.

What would you recommend for dinner?

Not to be missed is the incredible dining experience on offer at the resort’s signature Thai restaurant, Saffron. The special touches throughout the service are only topped by the delectable cuisine from our culinary team. Highlights include: crisp rice noodle-wrapped prawn, with grilled tender chicken breast satay, roasted peppered pork spare ribs and the mango sticky rice for dessert.

What would you recommend do to after dinner?

Retreat to the privacy of your private pool villa to unwind on the sunken lounge just off the villa’s terrace or go for a late-night dip in your pool. Order a beverage or dessert of your choice and kick back while taking in the natural surroundings and starry sky above.

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