Best and worst memories of an unforgettable beach vacation in Thailand

  • Koh Phangan (7)
    Head to the Gulf of Thailand for amazing vacations filled with white-sand beaches, alluringly blue water and Thai food.

Read about all the fun Tanja had exploring the Gulf of Thailand:

Last September, I finally toured the famous islands of the Gulf of Thailand—Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, and Ko Tao. My friend I actually braved the monsoon to go there. We started by staying 4 days in Bangkok, mostly spent binging on Tom yum and exploring city highlights. Then we took the overnight train to Surat Thani, Thailand’s southern province, and ferried to Ko Samui. After an almost sleepless night in the train and a scenic ferry ride, we arrived at beach paradise. As it turned out, our vacation was many things except boring.

Koh Phangan (7)

All set to explore the Gulf of Thailand.

When we arrived at Ko Samui, we were picked up by our hotel on Lamai Beach. I didn’t think the beach could be as spectacular as in the photographs, but it really was. Lamai was pristinely white and powder-fine, and the water, the very definition of aquamarine. We spent two days hanging out by the beach, swimming in warm water and working hard on our tan.

Koh Samui

Ko Samui took my breath away.

We hiked in the lush jungle, which was very memorable, and explored the island on a rented scooter. We saw many glitzy temples along the way.


Koh Samui (1)

Literally dazzling temples.

renting scooter Koh Samui

Scooter-ing around.

We ate out a lot at Ko Samui. One time, a waiter asked me if I liked my curries spicy and I said yes. He returned with this super-spicy green curry that made me cry while eating! After that, I was smart enough to stick to red or yellow curries, which are only mildly spiced.

Lunch by the beach in Koh Samui

Crying after super-spicy green curry.

After almost a week in Ko Samui, we took a ferry to Ko Tao to learn diving and discover another island paradise. We took a PADI open water course at Buddha View diving school. We had never tried diving before, but we totally ended up absolutely loving it! We went diving at least twice a day and also had theory lessons. Finally, we graduated with an Open Water Diving license!


Perhentian Islands diving

Ko Tao offers paradise beaches, and wonderful diving spots.

After we passed a theoretical diving exam, we went to Ko Phangan for 4 days to experience a black moon party (because there wasn’t a full moon). It was awful. I wouldn’t wish a black moon party on my worst enemy. Despite this disappointment, Ko Phangan is my favorite island of the Gulf. The beaches are stunning and there’s beautiful vegetation all around. We rented a scooter again and went around the islands enjoying the beautiful scenery.

Koh Phangan (4)

Ko Phangan is great for stunning scenery, not parties.

We were so into diving, we changed our travel plans. We returned to Ko Tao to get the Advanced Open Water license as well. Yay, more diving! After graduating, we decided we were ready for a night dive. It was a bit scary, being surrounded by all that darkness. But then again, it was awesome, too. There were bioluminescent sea algae all around. When I made a sudden move, the algae would make a glowing trail, like sparklers underwear. It was breathtaking! We all moved around in a circle underwater for a while and felt like magicians.

divers silhouette

Our night dive was a bit scary, but awesome.

Afterwards, we went back to Ko Samui for more relaxing time under the tropical sun. This was one of the most eventful vacations I’ve ever head. Everyone should go to the Gulf of Thailand at least once to experience the utter exhilaration of spontaneous adventure.


Ko Samui

We returned to Ko Samui to relax.