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Destination Samui, Thailand, City-to-Island Retreat

Have you ever seen an airport that just screams out ‘Vacation’? Wait until you check out Samui International Airport, also known as Koh Samui Airport, one of the most picturesque airports in the world.

For starters, there are no indoor areas except for the gift shop. So picture walking to your departure gate while enjoying the sunset? Pretty cool, yeh?

Located on the northern part of Samui island, the airport officially opened in 1989 with a 2100 meter-long airstrip, open-air passenger terminals and jaw-dropping architecture where nature and traditional architecture merge together befitting the island’s vibes.

Domestic and international terminals are about 50 meters apart, and the domestic terminal features ONE luggage belt—yes, you read that right—ONE, which simply adds to the airport’s overall charm.

Samui International has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful airports according to recent airport surveys worldwide. Privately-owned, the airport was built by Bangkok Airways, and is roughly 2 kilometers north of the main city and the largest resort center on the island.

Dusit Thani, Heaven in the Heart of Bangkok

Location, location, location! Before flying to my favorite airport, I stayed in Bangkok at Dusit Thani in the heart of the city. My room, on the 19th floor, overlooked the busy city below. Right under the hotel, I took my morning jog in Lumpini Park, the inner city haven, tranquil and peaceful, right in the middle of a pumping city, and located next to two rapid transit stations, making it close to pretty much everything.

In the midst of all the action, Duusit Thani offers you that special mix of Thai traditions and hospitality. Dusit Thani’s 517 rooms and suites are sumptuously appointed, inspired by distinctive Thai features and well-designed facilities. The ‘Dusit Room’ is 60 sqm with a separate bedroom, living area and large bathroom designed to meet anyone’s taste.

Cuisine-wise my choice of impeccable dining includes 22 Kitchen & Bar, which features Pacific coastal cuisine (Must-try with our own Sarab Seal of Approval), Benjarong (modern contemporary Thai), Hamilton’s Steak House (American steak house), The Mayflower (Cantonese), The Pavilion (International), Thien Duong (Vietnamese), Dusit Gourmet (pastries and cakes), Benjarong Terrace (drinks and snacks) and Shogun (Japanese). Talk about unlimited options for every taste bud.

After a fabulous stay in Bangkok at Dusit Thani, and an hour or two at Chatuchak market (a shopper’s dream destination), I grabbed my flight to Samui where another part of my adventure was about to begin.

Banyan Tree Samui, Dream Place

I landed in Samui after a 50-minute flight then slid into one Banyan Tree Samui’s insanely comfortable waiting limos, and roughly 30-minutes later took one step into their lobby and disappeared. I switched off my mobile immersed in too much beauty to be distracted—I was hit, all at once, by a stunning view of the water, the hill with villas all around, ginger, lime and coconut fragrances floating in the air and gentle background music.

The check in was extremely smooth. I hopped a buggy driven by the villa’s host, who pointed out hotel features along the way. I felt even more relaxed immersed in the green world of nature.

I tried out the family villa with its outdoor jet pool, a huge sundeck area for sunning and relaxing, stupendous views of the water, sandy beaches, two bedrooms (one with a king-sized bed and the other with twin beds), each room had its own bathroom, rain shower and full amenities. Sounds tempting enough?

Relax and Unwind at the Spa

The two-hour spa session alone was worth the trip. I’m a huge fan of spas generally and an even bigger fan of starting my trip with a spa session just to set me in the right ‘Vacay-State-o-Mind’.

An hour’s signature Rainforest treatment started my spa session featuring Koh Samui’s first hydrotherapy spa. The Rainforest is a holistic innovative wellness experience designed to heal and soothe, then right after it, I tried their Balinese massage, which I have to admit, was the best I’ve had.

I followed up my spa session with a day at my own pool, then ended the day at Saffron, which offers, aside from a flawless view of Lamai Bay, a selection of daring authentic Thai cuisine with ‘a touch of avant-garde in a setting of understated elegance’. My personal favorite included their signature ‘Goong Sarong Beua Thod’, made from crisp rice noodle-wrapped prawns, wild pepper leaf tempura, and sweet mango chili sauce. Mouth-watering!