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25 Romantic Trips

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Photo: Todd Marshard & James Waddell

Thailand Beach Escape

By Sonia Faleiro

My boyfriend and I visit Thailand often from our home in India. We shop in Bangkok, snorkel in Ko Chang—but Ko Samui?Nothing kills the mood faster than ticketed Full Moon parties and a Technicolor strip with neon that assaults the eyes. Rapacious development over the years had kept this fabled island paradise off our list.

Then something surprising happened: on a recent trip to Thailand, we discovered a secret Samui.

As you move away from the east coast and its hub, flashy cosmopolitan Chaweng, the island becomes a rural idyll, moving to a slower rhythm. Cobbled roads are overrun with wildflowers; pink-cheeked houses come with slanting roofs. And in corner pubs, locals and farangs—foreigners—commune over Singha beers and pad thai. More intimate still are the north coast’s nearly deserted golden beaches. We hung out on Bo Phut, where our hotel, the Sila Evason Hideaway, was located—one of a crop of new resorts we’d heard about that were springing up in the area.

We knew from prior visits that Samui’s selling point over neighboring Thai islands is its fusion cuisine. After some exploration, we found the freshest fish at Sushi 2 and a place to sip Bellinis overlooking Chaweng Beach at the Banana Fan Sea Resort. There are also dozens of custom clothing stores that, curiously, have names like Armani and Versace. At Uomo Collections we commissioned four suits from a tailor who promised to finish them in 24 hours. The last set was delivered to us at the airport by a motorbike that overtook and sped past our taxi en route. (Unfortunately, as we discovered later, haste does make waste.)

Our favorite meal turned out to be at our resort. At Dining on the Rocks, an origami of bamboo and polished-teak screens, supports, and interconnected walkways, we indulged in coupes of champagne, plates of sashimi, sliced kingfish, and jasmine tea-flavored chocolate pots. The dinner was out of a time-worn recipe for love, complete with view (fishermen’s boats lighting up the private bay below) and candles (tall, white, scented). But we weren’t above being a little trite, and stayed until the candles burned themselves out, then watched as the staff untied their aprons and left for the night.

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