5 Reasons To Take Your BFF On A Romantic Holiday
Bye bae, bye.
Koh Samui, much like the rest of Thailand, is beyond-your-wildest-dreams gorgeous. Think palm-fringed, golden beaches and crystal clear, azure blue waters and you’re at least half the way there.
It’s because of this that the island is often billed as a couples’ paradise – honeymoons, minimoons, megamoons – you name it, this island caters to 'mooning of every variety.
But what if you’re not anywhere near close to “mooning” with your significant other – or even having a SO (*sob*)? I wondered what it would be like to subvert the norm and holiday with another kind of SO – my BFF. Could we still have a dream vacation? Or would the adventure become awkward after a while? We got on a plane and ticked off a selection of ‘must dos’ to find out...
The Dinner Date
They say food is the language of love (okay, no one says that – but I think it’s salient) and in Thailand I lost my black heart. Authentic Thai food is nothing like the slightly spiced sludge you get back in Blighty. (Pad Thai, for example, is flavoured with tomatoes – it felt blasphemous until we started shovelling it into our pie holes.)
From street grub, through to Michelin-starred cuisine, Samui offers an irresistible array of tasty morsels. Some of the best food we were treated to was at the Lamai Beach Night Market, which gave us the chance to sample everything from tasty island dishes to less standard fare (think silkworms and crickets – surprisingly yummy). It's the full Thai experience. And BFFs win this category hands down: bloated stomachs and the unattractive shovelling of food is best witnessed by your mates.
BFFs: 1 / Couples: 0
Koh Samui may be small, but it’s perfectly formed, with a wealth of cultural attractions that have something for everyone. The biggest and best draws are the island’s sacred religious sites and one of our favourite places to explore included the beautiful temples and statues at Wat Plai Laem. Ensconced in this tropical paradise you can watch and talk with practicing monks and immerse yourself in beautiful Buddhist culture.
Top tip: visit the huge Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai Temple at sunset, before heading down to the SunSet Lounge Bar for some post-culture happy hour cocktails. It’s a perfect evening.
And you’ve not done Koh Samui right until you experience one of their awesome walking streets. These markets are virtual treasure troves, containing beautiful trinkets, intricately carved soaps and just about any souvenir your little touristy heart desires. Who doesn’t enjoy perusing knock-off jewellery while simultaneously bartering and holding onto several cocktails for dear life?
Lastly, if you find yourself at The Fisherman’s Village, walk all the way through the market until you find Coco Tam’s. Get comfy on an oversize beanbag on the sand, or perch on a swing seats by the bar, and enjoy the best damn light show you’re ever likely to see.
BFFs: 2 / Couples: 1
The Luxe Hotel
Koh Samui is famed for its luxury 5-star resorts and flash spas. And while there are plenty of fancy hotels catering for a Sandals-style couples holiday (yergh), there are also some out-of-this world venues that are geared up for parties and mates. We’re not kidding when we say “out of this world”. Seriously.
Take Villa 30 at Samujana, for example, where we enjoyed 360 degree views of the island, outstanding service from our own personal butler, and gluttonous amounts of food. It’s enough to make every other holiday ever look like a pitiful waste of time. Everyone should stay here at least once in their lives, even if you have to sell your SO to get there.
BFFs: 3 / Couples: 2
Ah, the private sunset cruise - normally billed as the ultimate romantic activity with bae. We decided to make it a BFF affair. Commanding our very own 18-man catamaran (we needed the space to cut some interesting shapes), we set out on an epic ride to chase the beautiful Koh Samui sunset.
While we have a lot of love for them in the right time and place, Lionel Richie, Adele and similar power ballad purveyors were forgotten in favour of banging beats from Jess Glynne and Drake. The endless supply of champagne, unbelievable scenery and blazing, spectacular sunset makes this an unforgettable experience for anyone - no matter who you’re watching it with.
BFFs: 4 / Couples: 3
The Health Retreat
Perhaps for most couples, a nice sporting activity might have involved a gentle hour of Ashtanga: you know, being at one with the universe and all that. Not for us. Rather than achieve that perfect, not-too-sweaty yoga sheen, we went for something a wee bit more brutal and trained with Samujana’s resident Muay Thai boxer.
Muay Thai is a combat sport and hardcore – as our battered bodies could attest to. The next day we couldn’t move our arms above our heads, but it didn’t matter. We got to pretend to be Black Widow for an hour and kick the living daylights out of our lovely (somewhat bemused) instructor. It was a magical day.
BFFs: 5 / Couples: 3
So there you have it. Koh Samui - designed for lovers, but even more perfect for taking your best mate.
By Emma Jeffers