A country steeped in spiritual tradition, Thailand has captured the imagination of travellers across the world. Located in the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui has managed to channel the spiritual sense of the mainland, while championing the tropical charm of an island paradise.
FOR AN INSIGHT into Eastern spiritual practices, visit the temple of Wat Phra Ya. A golden statue of The Buddha towers over visitors at a striking 12m in height. Two rainbow-coloured dragons trail down the temple staircase, guarding against ill will.
The jungle is so lush and the waters so clear that it feels as though nature offers an insight into the divine here, too. Explore the untouched inland with a jungle trek, passing thunderous waterfalls and hilltop lookouts. Nestled behind the rock formations of Hun Ta Hin Yau on the southeastern side of the island, the Lamai Viewpoint offers breathtaking views. Gaze over the treetops and out across the sea.
You simply won’t be able to resist jumping in. Learn the basics of scuba diving with an introductory lesson in Belmond Napasai’s infinity pool. Then hit the open water at Ang Thong National Marine Park. The reserve offers 100sq km of perfectly-preserved waters that teem with colourful corals and tropical fish. Be sure to stop for lunch at one of the many hidden coves.
For it is through the captivating flavours of Thai cuisine that this tropical land is truly brought home. Venture into the nearby town of of Maenam for a local breakfast from the legendary Pancake Man, or learn the tricks of the trade with a cooking class at Belmond Napasai. Led by local chefs, you’ll learn to recreate authentic recipes and will cook with ingredients grown in the hotel’s acres of farmland. The richest memories are the ones that linger long after the experience ends.