If you prefer places away from the hordes of tourists, here are some of the best places for the peace and quiet you long forby Dave Stamboulis
Koh Samui certainly has some nice beaches but much of the island has been highly overdeveloped. Not to mention that on some of the best beaches, you’re more likely to be sitting in a chair in your room if you want to have some space, as opposed to the white sand, which is occupied by one thousand other sun-lovers. Fortunately there are a few alternative spots both on Samui and on the nearby islands for escaping the hordes of tourists, allowing you to have a bit more of one’s own slice of tropical paradise.
Taling Ngam-Thong Krut
On the southwest of Samui, from Taling Ngam to Thong Krut, is a reminder of what the island was some 10-15 years ago. There are quiet and little-developed beaches, some hidden off of small side roads that only get visited by a handful of intrepid day-trippers. The long beach of Taling Ngam has some of the prettiest water and untrammelled white sand to be found on the island, and while the best place to enjoy this is from the Intercontinental Baan Taling Ngam (www.samui.intercontinental.com), just remember that all of Thailand’s beaches are public and that you don’t need to be a hotel guest to plop down a beach mat on a prime spot of sand.
The same goes for the west side of Maenam Beach, on Samui’s northern coast. It’s one long, beautiful, endless strip of sand, with only a handful of resorts dotted along the beach. The best spot belongs to the super elegant Santiburi Resort (www.santiburi-hotel.de), but there’s plenty of beach space here for visitors. Or better yet, stop in for a drink in the resort’s lovely garden beachside bar, where hammocks in the trees and a choice of shade or sun await.
If you really want to escape the crowds, head off the island and spend the night either in the Ang Thong National Marine Park (www.angthongmarinepark.com) in the few bungalows the park offers, or in their lovely, quiet campsite. The kayaking here is superb, and the viewpoint vistas over the islands are among the best in all of southern Thailand.
If this sounds a bit too much like roughing it, head over to the untouched Koh Madsum, a small island just off Samui’s south coast, where there is only one resort: The Treasure (www.thetreasureresort.com), and here you can play a modern-day version of Robinson Crusoe to your heart’s content.
Thong Nai Pan Noi & Thong Nai Pan Yai
Koh Phangan may be host to the wild full moon party, but heading up to the northeast corner brings you far from the maddening crowds on the Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai beaches, which are some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. They are set in long secluded bays with only a handful of beautiful resorts and plenty of space to chill out in.
Haad Sai Daeng & Haad Tien
The entire south and east side of Koh Tao is mountainous and little-developed. Try the gorgeous emerald bays of Haad Sai Daeng and Haad Tien in the south for a mix of pristine sand and beautiful sea. Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative. A kayak can take you anywhere around the island, and the harder you paddle the fewer the people. If this is too strenuous, head for a spa, where you can truly escape and have a rejuvenating experience. The Samui area offers a myriad of treatments and you can have the best of all worlds here.