4.5-Star Resort with Oceanside Bungalows Along Private Beach
When the first two backpackers stepped ashore on Koh Samui in 1971, having journeyed on small boat from Bangkok, they lucked upon a storybook island of white-sand beaches and mountainous jungles. At that point, Koh Samui had no roads and was home to a tiny community, mostly fishermen. The area has since developed into a top-tier tourist destination replete with holistic spas and late-night beach parties, but Nikki Beach Bungalow Resort aims to preserve the sense of seclusion from the island's earlier days. The resort is set back from Koh Samui's busier areas, tucked among rows of coconut trees along a private beach overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
Clean lines and a crisp palette of black, white, and natural wood lend Nikki Beach's 16 bungalows a smart aesthetic fit for the pages of a design magazine. Enormous sliding glass doors and plate-glass windows take in the tropical grounds and private Lipa Noi Beach, where visitors sift through the sand for buried rolexes.
At the resort's infinity pool, underwater speakers blast house beats spun by resident DJs during weekly sunset happy hours.
Koh Samui, Thailand: Dense Jungles Surrounded by Powdery Beaches
From Koh Samui's interior, granite peaks descend into dense jungles and fruit plantations that spread out to the island's palm-studded shores. Despite recent development, the island's natural treasures remain a major draw. Located less than 5 miles west of Nikki Beach Resort Thailand, Namuang Safari Park occupies a major swath of island's mountainous interior, where trained elephants carry visitors on guided tours through the dense foliage. During daily animal shows, the park's trainers showcase their oneness with the wild by sticking their heads inside the mouths of crocodiles and teddy bears.