Ang Thong National Marine Park
45/1-2 Moo 1
You know those photos of dense jungle and white sand next to gigantic mountains jutting out of crystalline water? That’s the Ang Thong National Marine Park. This archipelago, made up of more than forty islands, is so bright and vivid, it looks Photoshopped. It's about an hour or two from Koh Samui (depending on the type of boat you choose; you can take a touristy slow boat, like the Red Baron, or a speedboat for the day). Depending on whether you take a private charter or a group tour, the local companies will tailor the day to what you're looking for, which will likely include some type of snorkeling, swimming, and trekking along the trails of a few of the inhabited islands (most are uninhabited).
Sweet Sisters Cafe
4170, Tambon Na Mueang, Moo 1
It's a charming, totally unassuming little café that serves up some of the island's best fish cakes, handmade spring rolls, and papaya salad. There's also a variety of freshly squeezed juices and green smoothies with coconut milk. But if you're going to have one thing, make it a piece of the spongy, buttery, vanilla-y macadamia nut cake. It’s that good.
62/1 Moo 1
It's a little touristy, a little loud, and totally worth it: Get a daiquiri made with island fruit and sit on one of the massive beanbags on the beach. Once you’ve settled in, you'll probably want to get another daiquiri and stay for the beachside fire dancers who perform every night. And if you spend at least $30 (about 1,000 Thai baht), you’re free to lounge in one of the hammocks. The food (mostly fried) isn't exactly healthy, but it hits the spot when you're craving a late-night snack.
99/9 Bophut Bay, Tambon Bophut, Moo 1
We fantasize about making a permanent move to Anantara. The resort is on the larger size—106 rooms—but still feels quaint and private with its thatched roofs and intricate walkways woven through lush greenery. (And the greenery is everywhere.) It’s a playground for the active and curious. There's Muay Thai, paddleboarding, yoga, cooking classes, Pilates, weight training...we could go on. If you're looking to stay supine, the spa, with its ornate Chinese décor and pristine treatment rooms, is where you’ll have one of the most intense (in a good way), invigorating massages of your life.
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