Valentine's day is the perfect time to appreciate the delights of tropical island life with your loved one and visitors to Koh Samui enjoy a wealth of options when it comes to a romantic outing or blissful break. With a little planning, love birds of all ages can make the most of Samui's indulgent attractions, whether looking for the ultimate private escape or a fun-filled couple's night out. The island offers so many choices that a single day is far too short a time to spend enjoying the best in togetherness.
The food of love
Traditionalists on Koh Samui are spoilt for choice when it comes to treating their loved ones to a candle-lit dinner for two. The range of fine cuisine served in equally fine locations is immense. Deciding on the perfect restaurant will obviously depend on your taste and inspirations, but the list of options is equally long whether you choose by location, food, ambience, or for the more practical couples, price.
At the more sophisticated end of the scale, the signature restaurants attached to the island's best resorts are guaranteed to please. High-end hotel eateries not only offer the absolute best in international flavours and creations, but also boast stunning locations and personalised service for what is sure to be a memorable evening of satisfied sighs. The price tag may require a credit card, but who puts a price on love?
A little more affordable, but equally delicious and also boasting some of the island's best locations are the names on Samui's ever expanding list of independent restaurants, all of which offer mouthwatering menus prepared by seasoned international chefs with a personal, relaxed tropical feel. Those looking for a more lively atmosphere can head to the quaint beachside bistros in Bophut Fisherman's Village where a quaint seaside street is lined with long time favourites serving quality food and rink from around world in a bustling, holiday atmosphere. Then, of course, there are the authentic Thai restaurants, many of them hidden gems that mainly draw a local clientele by serving up some of the best traditional Thai dishes in the Kingdom.
For the ultimate private meal, guests who rent a private holiday villa on Samui can easily arrange for a private chef to prepare a personalised feast just steps from their luxury master suite. Villas such as those managed by Samui Villas and Homes come with skilled chefs and extensive suggestion menus. Alternatively, couples can simply order their favourite dishes and the villa's staff will shop, cook and serve the culinary delights to their guests' schedule, either in the villa's tropical grounds, next to the pool or with table set right on the sandy beach.
Koh Samui is also known internationally for its fabulous spa and wellness options, once again providing visitors with a wealth of options to relax, recharge and replenish together in secluded tropical surroundings, often to a soundtrack of wind chimes and trickling water features. The treatment menus in Samui's spas cover everything from simple but effective massages to indulgent couple's packages that include steam or sauna time, aromatic baths and even spa cuisine.
Some of the spas located within Samui's luxury resorts are attractions in themselves, boasting unique designs, skilled therapists and an unrivalled selection of natural oils, organic scrubs and rejuvenating skin products. As is the case with restaurants, Samui independent day spas also offer a vast range of therapeutic treats, with award winning centres like Tamarind Springs also known as top class training centres for massage therapists and Kamalaya hosting regular visits by world renowned experts in the field of wellness.
Thailand's heritage should not be forgotten in the face of such an array of contemporary spa choices. Excellent traditional massages can be enjoyed right on the beach or in modest massage shops that line the roads most in most of Samui's popular beach areas. Another option is to hire a private masseuse to sooth you in the comfort of your own private villa. Many properties boast cushioned "salas" in the garden, which provide the perfect spot to drift away, cooled by the tropical sea breeze. Some villas even come with their own dedicated spa or massage room, complete with purpose built massage beds, private steam rooms and outdoor, seaview showers.
For guys and girls that like to party together, Samui is also a becoming a famous destination. Chaweng beach is known for its buzzing bars and late night club scene, while for a more sophisticated vibe, the island's beach clubs offer chic poolside parties day and night with DJs spinning an eclectic playlist of dance and chill out tunes, champagne and cocktails served to your sun-bed. At Beach Republic in Lamai, guests enjoy sweeping ocean views and striking futuristic architecture as they lounge under clear blue skies on super large beds and private cabanas. Over on the west coast, global fun seekers head for Nikki Beach where the Sunset Happy Hour blends a breathtaking natural spectacle with an appealing range of fashionable poolside pleasures.
Of course, more private love birds may prefer to host their own Valentines party, plugging the iPod into their villa's sound system and chilling by the pool in sweet, serviced seclusion. On Samui, the choices for personalised romance are as varied as the options for social revelry. The only real challenge is choosing the perfect way to share those special moments.
By Jules Kay