Finally climbing its way out of a reputation for being old fashioned, Malta is picking up the pace as a place to party, soak up the sunshine and eat great food. Of course, its relaxed atmosphere is a huge part of its charm, but, where blue rinsers once gathered, now you’re more likely to bump into ravers and all without the inflated prices of other Mediterranean destinations.
Early spring is the best time to hit the capital Valletta. The weather is one of the best bits, found tucked away between Sicily and Libya, right now it’s the perfect time to soak up the sun while shaking off the crowds. It gets very hot in summer, so it’s ideal for an early-in-the-year-break to get that golden glow. Valletta might be the smallest capital city of Europe, but it’s location on the sea, and atmosphere make it the beating heart of Malta. Find out more in our expert Valletta destination guide and make your holiday to Malta one to remember.
Here’s our idea of heaven: powder soft, pure white, sandy beaches, never having to lift a finger as you’re brought cocktail after cocktail directly to your hammock. Long days of doing nothing except slapping on that bit of sun cream and watching your tan creep up on you. Palm trees swaying in the breeze and coconut milk served fresh from the tree. Hey, wake up! Sorry, we thought you might have been daydreaming like we do when we start to think of Koh Samui holidays
Beaches of Koh Samui
Primarily, people travel to Koh Samui for its legendary beaches. There are busy ones, quiet ones, water sports and relaxation, beach bars and epic parties, and beautiful people. All in a days’ work for Thai beaches really.
Laem Yai A quiet, secluded beach, perfect for couples or anyone just looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
Mae Nam A very beautiful, quiet and relaxed beach, perfect if you’re on a Christmas break on the island and really want that get-away-from-it-all kind experience.
BoPhut Otherwise known as the fisherman’s village, a great place to simply relax, and watch the world go by. But, go quickly! As this is becoming a firm favourite with tourists.
Chaweng This is the biggest and busiest beach on the island. You’ll find every type of life here from knackered looking backpackers, to luxury travellers in designer bikinis.
Lamai This is the island’s second beach, you’ll find a few more backpackers here than in other parts.
Bang Rak Home of the Big Buddha, it’s in a great location for hopping on a speedboat over to Had Rin on neighbouring island Koh Pha Ngan for the utterly legendary Full Moon Parties.
Click here to read more about family friendly beaches in Crete.
Things to do
Koh Samui with the kids Of all the Thai islands, Koh Samui is one of the most family friendly choices but there are still plenty of things to consider, pavements aren’t very pram friendly and high chairs aren’t readily available. Thai food is quite spicy, but there are generally child friendly options and childcare might not be available everywhere but locals definitely dote on children. We suggest sticking to the international style beach resorts for your own comfort and that of your little ones. There is plenty that kids will love and Bo Phut and Mae Nam are a great choice for travelling with youngsters.
A night of boxing Thai or Muay boxing is the national sport and the stadium near the Reggae Pub in Chaweng is at the centre of the action. The matches kick off (pun intended) around 9 and go on ‘til midnight. This is the real thing too, a noisy, exciting, hardcore night out.
Check out the creepy crawlies The Samui Butterfly Garden and Insect museum is a fun day out. You’ll find butterflies up to 25cms in length, while the insect museum has lots of different species and rare bugs as well as a bee house.
Sunset Snorkel Or morning snorkel or afternoon, anytime really. The diving here is wonderful, because the beaches are beautiful, the water is crystal clear and you can dive practically all year round.
Make friends with Nelly A jungle trip on an elephant’s back is a joy. The elephant is Thailand’s national animal, and Samui’s tropical rainforest centre makes it the obvious choice for exploring on this mighty animal’s back.
Party If partying is your thing, then there is possibly no better place in the whole world than Thailand. Head for Chaweng, the busiest and most party-centric beach on the island. Green Mango Square (named after the Green Mango club!) is just a couple of minutes from the beach and it’s filled with eye opening shows, featuring dancers in all stages of dress, there are booming sound systems, cocktails and hundreds of serious partying travellers. Join up with friends (or make new ones) in one of the many bars.
Full moon party Another option for those with partying in mind is to head for Bang Rak and hop on a speedboat for one of those Full Moon parties. There are bucket parties, dancing beaches and lots of health and safety issues to take note of. On big nights, like New Years, it draws up to 30,000 revellers. It tends to kick off with the bucket party. Each one is filled with some spirits and a handful of straws. That will give you a bit of an idea of what’s in store…
Na Muang Waterfall the spectacular pair of cascades are found a little inland from Nathon Bay and nicknamed the ‘Purple Waterfalls’ (so of course we’d love them!) They are named after the purple shade of their rock faces, if you go there, we want a picture!!
Mummy Monk In Lamai Beach, you’ll find the Mummified Monk, who died in the 70s in a seated position. Ever since his body’s been on display and even after 30 years shows little sign of deterioration.
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (pictured above) Ahem, these are a little on the risqué side, but obviously that’s what people are into, as these cheeky rock formations are one of the biggest attractions on the island. Just ask a local about the legend of the rocks that resemble male and female bits.
Where to stay
LuxuryMelati Beach Resort and Spa, Bophut: On a secluded beach, you’ll find this luxurious 5* resort, with outdoor baths, private pools and all sorts of food and drinks option. It has its own spa and the seafood and BBQ at the on-site restaurant are to die for.
FamiliesCocopalm Beach Resort: In Mae Nam Beach the Cocopalm is a far from the crowds of Chaweng, but still has plenty to keep kids busy. They’ll love the colourful surroundings and the quiet beach is ideal for building sandcastles.
CouplesDara Samui Beach Resort and Spa Villa: Think canopy draped beds, with luxurious traditional surroundings and a modern twist, that’s what you’ll get at this romantic 4*. This little slice of paradise is the place to go for a couples’ pamper session with excellent service and great facilities so you can do as much or as little as you like.
PartyingBeach Republic, Lamai: This is where the beautiful people go to party on Koh Samui. A really unique hotel, the Beach Republic is well equipped with entertaining people and prides itself on its ‘sexy, sophisticated and cosmopolitan’ atmosphere.
Click here to find more hotels in Thailand from Purple Travel.
Make the most of your holiday with our Marrakech Travel Guide. Everything you should see, do, experience and stay in one handy place! Enjoy the Purple Travel Marrakech Travel Guide.
It might seem like an exotic, bustling place to go and, well, it is! But Marrakech is a lot more than that. The Moroccan city makes an amazing autumn holiday and here’s why: it’s got fantastic weather, great atmosphere and lots of budget friendly options and it’s just over three hours away. You’ll feel like you’re worlds apart after just a couple of hours.
The iconic city of Marrakech dates back to the 11th century. It probably looks a bit familiar since it’s been used as a backdrop for tonnes of movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and even an episode of the Apprentice, while it’s become intertwined with The Rolling Stones who fell in love with the ‘anything goes’ atmosphere in the 60s.