Explore the quiet of Koh Samui
Away from the crowds, Avani+ Samui offers unspoilt beaches, scenic hikes and relaxing amenities for the perfect getaway
Thailand's islands are known to be beautiful, but the influx of tourists has often added an undesirable footnote to an otherwise idyllic vacation.
But tucked away on the quieter southwestern side of Koh Samui is the Avani+ Samui.
The area where the resort is located is thankfully away from the bustle of the city.
Throughout my stay there in June, even when I was roaming the markets nearby, I hardly came across hordes of tourists, making the Avani+ Samui a great place to reconnect with your loved ones.
It is a 45-minute drive from Samui International Airport, and Bangkok Airways is the only airline that flies directly from Singapore to Koh Samui. You can also take a one-hour flight from Bangkok.
The resort is a great base to explore the lesser-known parts of Koh Samui.
Just minutes from the beach are mangrove forests. And if you are up for a scenic hike, you can go to Na Muang Waterfall.
Take some sandwiches and drinks (an ice-cold Chang beer would surely help with the hike) and you can just sit on the bigger rocks along the waterfall as you take in the beautiful sights.
Of course, when you are at a beach resort, you have to go to the beach. And the Phang Ka Beach right in front of the Avani+ Samui is gorgeous and unspoilt.
Make your friends at home jealous by capturing the pristine white sand and the clear blue sea on your Instagram.
There are many ways to enjoy the beach. Avani+ Samui offers kayaks and paddle boards for free (paddleboarding as the sun sets makes for a good Instagram photo too).
What is more, the cosy Essence Restaurant, where a buffet breakfast is served, faces the beach. What better way to start the morning than to look out onto the beach while sipping your coffee?
If you cannot get enough of the beach, I highly recommend swimming with the beautiful fishes amid some huge, colourful corals.
I jumped into a long-tail boat that took me to Koh Madsum and Koh Tan - just 15 minutes away from the resort.
These islands are so small and quiet that you almost feel like it is your own private hideaway. But if you do need some refreshments, there are a few small shops that will be happy to serve you watermelon juice or an ice-cold beer.
Make sure you leave some time to lounge about in your room too.
There are five types of rooms available ($163 to $768 a night): Avani Deluxe Room, Avani Pool Villa, Avani Beachfront Pool Villa, Avani Two Bedroom and Beachfront Pool Villa.
My pool villa was well-decorated and felt like a relaxed, contemporary living space with a few rustic touches. You will sleep well on a comfortable bed that faces the pool.
It is just three steps from the bed to the sliding doors that open to the pool and I definitely enjoyed my morning dips.
Avani+ Samui is committed to being eco-friendly and sustainable, and this was seen throughout the resort.
Crucially, the room provided amenities to encourage guests to be kind to the environment. There is a rattan shopping basket that can be useful if you buy some snacks from the pantry near the reception.
Of course, it can also double up as a cute picnic basket for your trips to the beach. The bag itself is truly indicative of the overall vibe of the resort - rustic yet stylish and modern.
Near the Essence Restaurant is the Beverage Pool Truck - which is essentially a VW Kombi van-turned-bar.
The bartender is ready to whip up any drink for you - including hand-crafted cocktails inspired by the island.
After your cocktails, dinner at Essence Restaurant is highly recommended. The cool breeze of the sea is relaxing but more importantly, the food - which includes both Thai and Western cuisine - is just divine.
While I am a huge fan of Thai food, I appreciated the chef's Western dishes more as they incorporated flavours inspired by Asia.