Saturday In The Neighborhood: Koh Samui, Thailand
BASK. The island's beaches are an embarrassment of riches. The livelier party crowd hangs at Chaweng Beach, with surf shops and bar crawls along the Green Mango strip. Families gravitate toward lower-key Lamai Beach (less bustling, but still near shopping and restaurants) and Bophut (with its Chinese wooden shop-houses). Backpackers and others who really want to chill head straight to Maenam Beach.
UNWIND. Tamarind Springs, between Lamai and Chaweng, is renowned for its creative "forest spa" concept, which includes a steam cave and a rock plunge pool.
CONTEMPLATE. The majority of the island's residents are Buddhist, so beautiful temples abound: Wat Phra Yai, known for its golden, nearly 40-foot Big Buddha; Wat Plai Laem (one of the most colorful complexes); Wat Laem Sor (known for its golden chedi, or pagoda, by the sea) and many more.
DINE. The island possesses prodigious culinary delights. Among the leaders is H-Bistro in Bophut, which has frequently wound up on "Best of" lists.
DIVE. Charter a boat for a day trip exploring Ang Thong National Marine Park, a string of 42 pristine jungle islands offering some of the best kayaking, snorkeling, and diving in the world. Langur monkeys, otters, reef egrets, Hawksbill turtles-they thrive on land and in the secluded bays and lagoons. A major marine spawning ground, it's also home to majestic whale sharks.