The island of Koh Samui is a mere 50-minute flight from Thailand’s bustling capital of Bangkok, and a popular tourist haunt among people all over the globe, particularly Aussies. While geographically Koh Samui is fairly small, it offers a little something for everyone.
Those that prefer to be in the thick of it head to Chewang, the island’s busiest beach and home to countless hotels, resorts, bars and clubs; meanwhile if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle and soak up the island in all its unspoiled beauty, Taling Ngam, an approximately 45 minute drive from Chewang, is the place to be.
This tiny fishing village plays host to only a small number of hotels and private residences, including the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort, which is nestled amongst a cliff face 120m above sea level and extends to the beach below.
Affectionately referred to as the “Home of the Beautiful Cliff,” the 22 acre resort comprises a total of 79 rooms, suites and villas. Prices vary from THB 12,000+++ for a room to THB 75,000+++ for a three bedroom villa complete with a butler – approx. AUD $450 to $2,817.
The lobby area, which houses Serene cafe and bar, is perched on top of the cliff, where you’ll also find Koh Samui’s first ever infinity pool, a nearby bar and a Thai restaurant.
Golf buggies transport guests down to the beach area, which is home to the resort’s second infinity pool, a pool bar and another restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner.
Here you’ll also find the resort’s stunning Beachfront Pool Villas (THB 29,000+++ approx. AUD $1,085), which as their name suggests come complete with their own private pool, sundeck and shaded pavilion and are just metres from the ocean – the view is picturesque to say the least.
The resort boasts a total of seven pools, three bars, a cafe, two restaurants, a day spa and a gym, and it offers myriad water sport activities.
Here’s a snapshot of a day well spent at the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort…
FIRST THINGS FIRST
If you’re super keen, head to a Yoga Class (THB++ 500 approx. AUD $20 per hour) at the gym’s raised outdoor yoga platform, or sweat it out on the treadmill before breakfast.
Once you’ve found your inner zen, head up to Amber restaurant for an expansive buffet-style breakfast (dial ‘0’ from the telephone in your room for a buggy to whizz down and pick you up).
Choose from custom made juices, eggs and crepes cooked to order, a bountiful supply of fresh fruit and myriad different types of cereals, breads and spreads – there’s even Vegemite!
Once breakfast is done, head out onto the water – kayaking and stand up paddle boarding is free of charge (you can arrange to have the equipment ready for you in advance).
There’s also sailing, as well as chartered tours to the nearby Angthong Marine Park, Koh Tao, party island Koh Phangan and more – prices range from THB++ 25,000 to 40,000 or approx. AUD $940 to $1500. The resort has its own boat so you can jet off and explore in style.
If you’ve opted to stay put rather than head out to one of the islands for the day, snap up a deck chair by the beach and make a beeline for the pool bar, where you can choose from the lunch menu by the nearby Flames restaurant.
There’s everything from the traditional Caesar Salad (400 THB++ approx. AUD $14.95) and Warm Scallop Salad (THB++ 570 approx. AUD $21), an Australian Steak Sandwich (THB++ 520 approx. AUD $20), selection of Pizzas (THB++ 420-550 approx. AUD $15 to $20) and Thai-style options – the Green Papaya Salad (THB++ 350 approx. AUD $13) looked particularly amazing.
Don’t forget to check out the cocktail menu, where you’ll find all of the classics as well as unique concoctions made using local produce such as dragon fruit.
Head to the resort’s cliffside Baan Thai Spa, where there is something for all budgets, whether it be an Express Manicure (THB++ 950 approx. AUD $35) or maybe you’re looking to soothe tight muscles after a day out on the water with a Sports Massage (THB++ 3,250 approx. AUD $120 per hour)?
There’s a range of signature packages, facials, body wraps and more, and only top products are used – think OPI nail polish, Sothys facials and Thai brand Haarn.
WHEN NIGHT FALLS
Perched on top of the cliff, Air Bar is a great vantage point from which to watch the sun set out over Taling Ngam bay all the while sipping on a cocktail and snacking on some Japanese fare.
For dinner, the nearby Amber serves up Thai cuisine with a twist as well as European options, meanwhile Flames’ menu is focused around charcoaled meat and seafood.
If you’d prefer to dine by the beach, jump on a buggy and head down to Flames – it has an indoor and outdoor dining area, as well as a fire pit nearby.
The Poached Lobster Salad with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Arugula, Basil, Avocado and Mango (THB++ 650 approx. AUD $25) is a great entree option, as is the Tomato Bruschetta with Oregano and Organic Olive Oil (THB++ 280 approx. AUD $10).
It’s hard to go past the signature Live Charcoal Grill options, which include a daily selection of local and imported meat cuts and fresh seafood. All are served with your choice of sides and sauces and priced between THB++ 1900 and 2400 or approx. AUD $70 to $90.
Whether its for a special occasion such as a wedding, you’re in desperate need of a relaxing beach getaway sans mobile phone and laptop (although they have great WiFi) or are seeking a night of luxury after months of exploring South-East Asia, InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort is the ideal place to sit back, relax and take in the view – trust me, it won’t get old.
InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort
Where: 295 Moo 3, Taling Ngam Beach, Suratthani, Koh Samui, 84140, Thailand
Getting there: we flew from Sydney to Bangkok direct, and then travelled to Koh Samui with Bangkok Airways – a flight from Phuket could also be an option. The resort is approximately 50 minutes from Koh Samui airport – a hotel transfer service is available, or alternatively taxis can be arranged upon arrival at the airport.
Brea stayed as a guest of the hotel. All prices were correct at the time of printing. This article was originally published on 14th January 2015. Check their website for the latest prices and details.