Destination: Thailand: Koh Samui
Thailand’s third-largest island (roughly the size of Martha’s Vineyard) was not discovered by Western travelers until the 1970s, when wellness seekers came to practice yoga and meditation, transforming Koh Samui into a self-improvement mecca—though its gorgeous white beaches and clear, warm seas helped. Since then it has exploded with development, and tourism is now the main industry (Koh Samui is the country’s most popular beach destination after Phuket). Though some locals voice concern that the island is en route to becoming hopelessly overrun by big-name resort companies (Banyan Tree and W are slated to open in 2010), Samui has some spectacular properties, like the recently opened Four Seasons and the romantic Six Senses Hideaway. The scenery—sparkling turquoise sea, lush green jungle and expansive beaches—remains as stunning as ever, and most resorts continue to champion a wellness philosophy that’s intricately tied to the island’s past.
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