A new shrine in Hua Thanon pays tribute to the Chinese god, Guan Yu
Raya Spa offers professional spa treatments in a stylish modern setting
W Retreatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Namu restaurant lifts the art of subtle dining to a whole new level
A Warm Welcome
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Graphic Designer Wunvilai Punnern - Meow
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Financial Director Phew! Well, we managed to survive the end of world on the 21st December 2012, as predicted by the Mayans whose calendar finished on that date. So, to those people who didn’t blow all their money in the weeks and months leading up to that date, and decided to look into the future and book a holiday to Samui in January or February, well done – you made the right decision! And that’s the right decision in more ways than one. Samui is a perfect holiday destination choice as it offers the best of both worlds, being a ‘castaway’ tropical paradise with top-of-the-range restaurant, spa and shopping opportunities. On top of which, there’s exciting sports and watersports, adventurous day-trips and tours plus a wealth of interesting cultural places to visit. Not to mention a vibrant nightlife, with its huge free-to-enter open-air nightclubs being famous the world over. If you’re here in February, you’ll have the chance to see the locals celebrating the Chinese New Year – The Year of The Snake – on 10th February, when there’ll be firecrackers exploding throughout the day as various ‘lions’ will be dancing their way through the villages to mark the festive occasion. Then on 14th, Thais and foreigners alike will be sharing intimate dinners with their partners to mark St. Valentine’s Day. And there’s no shortage of ‘special’ restaurants on the island, many of which will be offering one-off romantic menus loaded with aphrodisiacs and accompanied by Champagne. So, maybe the Mayans didn’t really think that the world was going to finish on 21st December 2012. Perhaps they just didn’t get around to making the second part of their calendar before they disappeared from the face of the Earth. Either way, I’m still here, you’re still here, and this wonderful life on our idyllic little island in the Gulf of Siam is going on as normal – thank you very much.
Kasper Bjørk firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing Director Henrik Bjørk email@example.com
Siam Map Company Ltd. 52/6 Samui Ring Road, Moo 3 Bo Phut, Koh Samui, 84320, Thailand Tel: 0 7742 2201 Fax: 0 7741 3523 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.siammap.com
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Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content in any manner is prohibited without written permision from Siam Map Company Ltd. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Siam Map Company Ltd. assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. Siam Map Company Ltd. 2013
Happy holidays! Distribution at Bangkok Airport courtesy of Bangkok Airways. Reservation Center: 1771 Samui Chaweng Office: 0 7760 1300 www.bangkokair.com
Steve Taylor Editorial Director
Please recycle or pass on to a friend.
44 16 Red Faced!
A new shrine in Hua Thanon pays tribute to the Chinese god, Guan Yu.
22 Boho-Hippie Meets Urban-Chic
Chandra Boutiques have been impressing Samui shoppers with their original fashions for nearly a decade.
28 A Place in the Sun
The island of Samui gets some famously good weather.
34 Nothing is as it Seems!
A meal at Imperial Samui’s Twisted Thai is a sensory overload - in a good way.
All roads lead to Samui – Nick Hall, Executive Chef at SALA Samui, will vouch for that!
44 Pampering Pleasure!
Raya Spa offers professional spa treatments in a stylish modern setting.
50 Bits and Pizzas
A look at the history and evolution of the humble pizza.
54 Own a Piece of Paradise
Beach Republic offers a unique opportunity to own world-class properties at a fraction of the price.
60 Sublime Saucery
W Retreat’s Namu restaurant lifts the art of subtle dining to a whole new level.
66 Living the Dream
A day in the life of General Manager, David Daguise of X2 Samui Resort.
70 Naturally Beautiful
Nature Art Gallery in Chaweng, creates bespoke jewellery using only natural materials.
76 Purpose and Pleasure
Why more and more people are coming here for medical reasons as well as for a great holiday!
82 I Do?
Considering tying the knot on Samui? Here are some reasons why it’s a good idea.
The inside scoop on what happened behind the scenes during a TV shoot aboard the Naga.
104 Birdies and Eagles
A run down on what golfers can expect at the magnificent Santiburi Golf Course.
110 It’s the Year of the Snake! Here’s what to expect when visiting Thailand over Chinese New Year.
116 Release Your Inner Goddess! Nail Design offers nail and beauty treatments in a stylish setting.
120 Sacred Sak Yant
The ancient art of sak yant, or spiritual tattooing, is practiced here on Samui by Ajarn Panthep.
126 Art not Craft
A look beneath the surface to see what makes ‘The Night Sessions’ tick.
88 Running Away with the Circus Spark! Circus, sparking creativity through play.
94 What’s Cooking?
Nora Buri Resort & Spa’s fun cooking classes offer a great alternative to a day on the beach.
134 Wats to See
The legend of Guanyin, the many-armed goddess at Wat Plai Laem.
Island Insight An overall guide to Samui’s towns, villages, beaches and hotspots.
Samui is an idyllic tropical paradise. A blend of traditional Thai hospitality and remote island life has joined hands with modern traveller expectations. But the towns, villages and interior are home to much more than just luxury resorts, restaurants, bars and retail shops. And whilst the main beaches are recognised as some of the best in the world, there are also secluded coves and magical hideaways around many corners – if you know where to look. And this quick guide will point you in the right direction.
Chaweng’s main beach is five kilometres in length and is lined with 5-star luxury resorts, boutique hotels, budget accommodation and great oceanfront restaurants. Behind the resorts, the Chaweng Beach Road is filled with restaurants, bars, spas, shops, street stalls and mobile food vendors. The lake sits to the rear of them and is a wonderful place for an early morning walk or jog. Near the southern end of the lake is the Soi Reggae entertainment area which also has two Muay Thai boxing stadiums, a temple guarded by carved monkeys and the huge Laem Din market complex. All manner of fresh produce is delivered here every day and the adjoining Dow Seafood market is a hive of activity from the early hours.
Samui’s second most popular beach is around four kilometres long and the waters are perfect for swimming. There’s plenty of choice in accommodation, restaurants, bars, spas and health resorts. It also has a free Muay Thai event every Saturday and just off the Beach Road there’s a children’s water park. Wat Lamai is home to a cultural centre and museum that houses artifacts of Samui life before the advent of tourism. On Sundays there’s a ‘Walking Street’ along part of the Beach Road. And just outside of Lamai town on the ring-road is the famous Hin Ta-Hin Yai rock formations that has dozens of small local Thai restaurants around it. 10 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
Nestled on the northern shores of the island, Mae Nam Beach stretches for several kilometres and overlooks the neighbouring island of Koh Pha-Ngan. High-end resorts and beach bungalows are dotted along the coast and many visitors love it for its peacefulness, soft golden sands and wonderful views. It has seven side streets that meander into the mountains: from Soi 1 you can follow the road over the mountains all the way to Lamai; Soi 4 has a ‘Walking Street’ every Thursday from mid-afternoon and also houses an ornate Chinese temple overlooking the beach and a large Buddhist temple set a few hundred metres back from the ringroad; Soi 5 has a tree-top canopy adventure theme park a few kilometres into the hills; there’s a buffalo fighting stadium a couple of hundred metres off the main road between Soi 5 and Soi 6; an early morning market is also in Soi 6; an evening market near to Soi 7; and the world-class Santiburi Golf Course in the hills above Soi 7. There’re dozens of bars and restaurants in Mae Nam, many of which are on side roads that lead down to the ocean. And at the western end of the beach the Lomprayah ferry takes passengers to the neighbouring islands several times a day.
This is the island’s main administrative centre and the major ferry port for boats to and from the mainland. There’re some hotels but it’s more a town you would visit for an afternoon rather than stay in. Beside the terminal, there’s a local food market every day from mid-afternoon until late in the evening. Along what is known as the ‘middle road’ there’re old teak shop-houses and small businesses and a ‘Walking Street’ on Saturdays. And on the one-way road that goes through the town there’re dozens of shops and restaurants. Just off the main road there’s an ornate Chinese temple and garden in Soi 4. And near the far end there’s a renowned open-air duck restaurant – just follow the crowds around lunchtime.
Bo Phut is best known for Fisherman’s Village. It’s a single narrow street that still has authentic wooden houses that Samui folk have lived in for generations. Parts of it have been modernized but it’s still awash with local foods, international restaurants, bars, shops and market stalls. It becomes one huge ‘Walking Street’ every Friday and you’ll find lots of local delicacies that few other restaurants have. Along with small hotels, there’re several 5-star luxury resorts at the far end and the beach curves around a large bay that also overlooks Koh Pha-Ngan. And small speedboats leave from the village pier heading for the Full Moon parties that take place there every month.
Big Buddha and Plai Laem
The magnificent golden Big Buddha statue that watches over the island from the north-east corner of Samui is one of the first things you see as you fly into Samui Airport. Built on a tiny island (Koh Farn) with a connecting causeway, it’s the most iconic image of the island. Many Thais pray at the temple so dressing and acting appropriately is expected when you enter the site. There’re some very good Thai restaurants and small stores around the temple. It also affords some beautiful views and along the road from it you’ll see another large Buddha image at Wat Plai Laem. Half-way along the road between the temples is a side road that cuts through to Choeng Mon. Down this road there’s access to some quiet secluded beaches, although some of them are through resorts.
Choeng Mon lies just 15 minutes or so from the middle of Chaweng but it seems like worlds away. There’s a small town that the road runs through with a couple of dozen restaurants and bars. The beach is a favourite for many locals as it’s quiet, picturesque and safe for swimming most of the year round. There’s every class of accommodation with some old-style beach bungalows at one end. And they all overlook the tiny deserted island of Koh Farn Noi which you can walk out to if the tide is low. www.samuiholidaymagazine.com l 11
In between Fisherman’s Village and Big Buddha is where you’ll find Bang Rak. There’s a few very good resorts and some private villas for rent along the beachfront that stretches around for several kilometres and has stunning views. Bars and restaurants line the main street and there’re two piers. The one nearest to Big Buddha has daily ferries to Koh Pha-Ngan, Koh Tao and on to the mainland port of Chumpon, from which a VIP bus takes passengers to Hua Hin and on to Bangkok. Start to finish, it’s a 12-hour journey with about half of it on the boat. Just beside the ferry terminal in Bang Rak is one of the busiest fish markets on the island. Local fishermen drop their catches here and the place is bustling with people all day long. At the other end of town there’s a short-cut into Chaweng on a road called Soi Bond Kai (which the locals refer to as the ‘Ghost Road’).
Taling Ngam and Lipa Noi
The south-west part of the island is known as the ‘Virgin Coast’. It’s largely unspoiled with lots of secluded bays, although most of the shoreline tends to be rocky. The west coast overlooks the famous ‘five islands’ and some of the closer islands of the Angthong National Marine Park (which is a perfect getaway for a day’s boat trip excursion). In this part of the island there’re some hotels, private villas for rent, up-market and local restaurants and several temples of note, including two that house a mummified monk. A second car ferry terminal is located in Lipa Noi and, like the one in Nathon, boats to and from Donsak on the mainland arrive and depart every hour from 5:00 am until 6:00 pm (check for details). And inland on the island’s main ring-road there’re several large waterfall sites and a safari park with elephant trekking, animal shows and adventure tours. Further along, next to the Ford and Mazda dealers is a new Butterfly and Insect Kingdom Park. 12 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
This predominately muslim village is home to the descendants of some of the island’s earliest settlers. There’s still a thriving fishing fleet and fish market and a natural coastline that’s survived the ravages of time. Just after the village (coming from Lamai) you can turn off the ring-road to the left and signs will direct you to the nearby Tiger Zoo, Aquarium and Sea-life Show, the Butterfly Farm, the Snake Farm and the local Rum Distillery. There’re also dozens of little side roads that lead down to quiet beaches and out of the way local restaurants.
Samui predominately consists of hills, mountains and coconut plantations. And few visitors make the time to appreciate its hidden beauty. One way to do so is to take the turning into Mae Nam Soi 1. A new road has recently been constructed that goes over the mountains all the way to Lamai. The drive is only about 20-25 minutes over 15 kilometres with a couple of stopping off areas that offer fabulous views. Another way to really get the full picture of Samui is from Tar Nim’s Magic Garden at the top of one of the island’s highest peaks. Built during a 25-year period by a local farmer the stone statues in the garden were sculpted by hand and sit over 2,000 feet above the beaches below. It’s a part of Samui that shouldn’t be missed.
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Dress code: trendy or smart casual. Minimum age: 12+ (Screaming children will not be tolerated.) Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 16:00 – 24:00, Friday – Sunday: 16:00 – 02:00 (Kitchen Closes 23:00) Tel: 0 7725 6125 Mobile: 0 806 920 520
RED FACED! A new shrine in Hua Thanon pays tribute to the Chinese god, Guan Yu. A big red head. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what has been stopping traffic and frightening the daylights out of drivers along the ring-road in Hua Thanon. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to miss the new Chinese shrine to Guan Yu, with its bold, modern construction and colourful statue out front. So who is Guan Yu, and why does he deserve a shrine in his honour? We chatted to Khun Virach Pongchababnapa, Managing Director of the Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort, who is an islander of Chinese decent. Khun Virach has taken on the mission to build awareness of the Hainan-Chinese heritage on the island. Heading the committee, he has gathered donations and constructed a shrine to Guan Yu just south of Lamai, opposite the Hua Thanon fishing village. He explained to us who this red-faced warrior with a long lush beard is, and why he is important in Chinese culture. Historians are unsure of when Guan Yu was born, but he died in the year 219, after serving under the warlord Liu Bei. He played a fundamental role in the civil war that lead to the demise of the Han Dynasty, and the establishment of the Three Kingdoms period, of which Liu Bei was the first emperor.
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Historians are unsure of when Guan Yu was born, but he died in the year 219, after serving under the warlord Liu Bei. Guan Yu has been granted god-like status over the centuries, and his life stories have largely been fictionalised through books such as the historical novel, ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’. These stories have also been passed down through generations, leading to his escapades becoming hyperbolised. Guan Yu now represents loyalty, righteousness and honesty among the Chinese people, particularly in Southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and their descendants overseas. He is a figure in Chinese folklore, popular in Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism, and small shrines pay homage to him in many traditional Chinese shops and restaurants.
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Khun Virach aims to build an impressive 16-metre tall bronze statue of Guan Yu, valued at 20 million baht, that will be a future tourist attraction, particularly for Chinese tourists. On the 29th of September 2012, the ‘Ceremony of Molding for the Bronze Model of a Great Deity, Guan Yu’ was held, and attended by respected members of the community including the Governor of Suratthani and the Mayor of Samui. At this time, only the rather ominous red head rested on the platform where the statue will stand. Once complete, this statue will stand a full four metres taller than Big Buddha, which is 12 metres high. The Chinese have a long history on Samui, with the first immigrants arriving from the Chinese island of Hainan in the late Ayutthaya era. The Chinese were not wellreceived in all of their travels, and large numbers were killed in the Philippines and Indonesia. However, the Buddhist communities of Thailand hospitably welcomed the migrants. The Hainan-Chinese integrated with the
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1/26 Moo 4 Maenam, Koh Samui Tel: 077 447 222, 077 247 979 www.thefarmerrestaurantsamui.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org Free transfer for dinner guests - Nathon - Maenam - Bophut. Other areas 300 Baht return. TOP TEN 2011 www.tripadvisor.com
Для гостей из районов Nathon - Maenam - Bophut - трансфер бесплатный. Гостям из других районов острова мы возвращаем 300 батт от стоимости такси.
local people by marriage, and the next generations would be Thai-Chinese. Later, during King Rama III’s reign, the King, who spoke Chinese well, opened trade routes with China which encouraged more Chinese and Hainanese to settle in Thailand, including Samui. These settlers were mostly traders, dealing in cotton, porcelain and silk. They also introduced Chinese rum and pig breeding.
The shrine will also be used for wedding ceremonies, with the couples paying respects to Guan Yu, who symbolises loyalty and honesty - important traits to keep a marriage off rocky ground. The cost of such ceremonies will be 25,000 baht, and funds will go towards the expansion of the temple and the creation of the Chinatown, as well as support of the language and skill lessons offered to the community.
In 1872, leaders of the Hainan-Chinese of Koh Samui, erected a small shrine at Ban Na Kai, about one kilometre south of the current shrine. This wooden shrine was dedicated to Guan Yu, as well as his two guardians Zhou Chang and Guan Ping. In 1935 it was relocated from Na Kai market to Hua Thanon market, next to the road. In 2008, the committee, headed by Khun Virach, began designing the new shrine, as well as working on a project to celebrate the Chinese community.
Whether you want to pay homage to Guan Yu or not, there is no doubt that the building and features are impressive. Khun Virach describes the shrine as “Modern Chinese style, but preserving traditional artefacts”, many of which have been donated by other Chinese communities. A small room upstairs is used for tea-drinking, and offers a beautiful view of the long-tail boats in Hua Thanon harbour.
The Guan Yu shrine will be the centre of the Chinese community on Samui, and Khun Virach is planning on offering Mandarin lessons to the descendants of the Hainan-Chinese on Samui, as he feels that it is important for the children to reconnect with their heritage. He plans on offering other languages, as well as skill sets, in order to improve employment opportunities. These classes will be free of charge, with only text books costing the students any money.
Those interested in history will enjoy the old photos of Samui hanging on the walls, and booklets are available with information on Guan Yu as well as the heritage of the Samui-Chinese. Khun Virach is an endless source of knowledge regarding not only general Chinese history, but that of Samui too. His passion on the subject is evident, and he is happy to share this information over a cup of tea with anyone willing to lend an ear.
Khun Virach feels strongly about maintaining a record of heritage, and the shrine’s walls are adorned with old photos of Samui residents who have Chinese lineage. In keeping with this objective, the shrine encourages families of Chinese or mixed Thai-Chinese decent, to come into the complex, and add information about their family tree to the records. This will be done in the way of written information, portraits, video and audio, so future generations will be able to hear their great-grandmother’s voice - quite a noble project. Land behind the shrine has been secured, and future projects include an attractive building to house a ‘Chinatown’ with restaurants, shops and Chinese practitioners. 20 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
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BOHO-HIPPIE MEETS URBAN-CHIC Chandra boutiques have been impressing Samui shoppers with their original fashions for nearly a decade.
The term ‘hippie-chic’ seems a contradiction. But for Chandra owners, ‘hippie’ refers more to a way of free-thinking and rejecting conformity, rather than just a way of dressing. ‘Chic’, on the other hand, means elegant and stylish. So these two terms together sum up Chandra’s fashions pretty well – elegant, stylish garments that don’t conform to the norm. ‘Hippie’ also tends towards the natural, and owners Barak and Dana, prefer using natural fibres such as cotton, rayon and silk, ideal for a hot climate.
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Their designs carefully play with colours and prints, fabric and cut to create special pieces that flatter the female form.
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Most of us like to buy something a little different while on holiday – something that we cannot get our hands on back home. We want something just different and special enough to get a tap on the shoulder and asked, “Ooh, where did you buy your dress? I must have one!”. And Chandra’s customers frequently report this happening. Now Chandra’s fashions are unique, and not what you’ll find in your run-ofthe-mill clothes store. Their designs carefully play with colours and prints, fabric and cut to create special pieces that flatter the female form. Oh guys, don’t worry, they’ve introduced a range of casual-wear for fashion-minded men too. Chandra’s range of menswear includes shirts, pants, vests, tees, and tie-pants in
cotton and silk blends, allowing men to look great effortlessly. While most of the range leans towards a natural colour scheme, there are also a few funky prints for the more adventurous men. The gorgeous photos you see on these pages were shot on location at Inasia Beach Villa, perfectly located on the white sandy beach of Lipa Noi. As Chandra co-owner Dana says, “It’s a truly stunning contemporary Thai-style villa in an absolutely breath taking location. We had so much fun shooting there, and we were very well taken care of by the very professional and welcoming villa manager and her team.”
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There are two Chandra Boutiques along Chaweng Beach Road, one near Tropical Murphy’s and the other near the entrance to Tops Supermarket. Why the two stores? Well each shop has its own signature. And you won’t find the same merchandise in both, so it’s definitely worth browsing in both. Aside from clothing, Chandra also carry a range of accessories, to help complete your look. Choose from handbags, jewellery, scarves, belts, sandals and swimwear. Speaking of swimwear... a well-cut swimsuit can flatter the body. And the right fabric and print are important too when it comes to making a lady look and feel good on the beach, or alongside that pool bar. Columbian designers, Agua Bendita and Maaji, were chosen by Chandra to feature as the boutiques’ swimwear range. Their bikinis, crafted from carefully selected fabrics that allow for movement, are cut to ‘WOW’. But what makes them stand out is the intricate detailing work, such as stitching and beading, as well the incorporation of unusual materials. Wearing these little ‘works of art’ lets the wearer release their inner goddess so to speak. Chandra’s fashions undoubtedly make a statement. But what do they say? Well, they show that the wearer is confident and not afraid to express their individuality. At the same time, as a Chandra customer, you’re not going to compromise comfort for fashion. Chandra’s cuts are comfortable to wear – whether they’re soft-flowing or hugging curves on ladies, or enhancing a toned male form. You’re also prepared to pay a little more for quality, style and comfort, knowing that you’ve acquired a garment that’s a timeless classic, but also a unique piece. You’re bound to draw attention with the boutiques’ beautiful apparel and accessories enhancing your natural beauty. Tempted yet? All of us are unique. Express your individual style by shopping at Chandra. It’ll be one of the most memorable and cherished purchases you’ll make.
____________________________________________________________ For more information or to view Chandra’s current collection, visit www.chandra-exotic.com For more information about the villa, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Crew List & Credits: Clothing Designers: Dana Cohen & Barak Weiss – Chandra Styling: Dana Cohen – Chandra Fashion Photographer: Barak Weiss – Chandra Photography Consultant: James Redrup Ladies-wear Models: Guitar Chayanun & Maythavee Burapasing Menswear Model: Julien Mouze Assistants: Som & Bow – Chandra Hair & Make-up: Neung & Olay – Victory Hair II Photo Shoot Location: Inasia Beach Villa, Lipa Noi Beach
BOUTIQUE RESORT KOH SAMUI
A PLACE IN THE SUN The island of Samui gets some famously good weather. Tropical weather is notoriously unpredictable. When it’s good, it’s good. And when it’s bad, it’s very bad – torrential downpours, monsoon winds and floods that turn roads into rivers are commonplace in many Southeast Asian countries. Thankfully the average flood on Samui only reaches a few inches and is more of a photographic opportunity than a reason for panic. Resilient locals trudge through the murky water on foot, whilst others bravely chug through the roads-come-rivers on motorbikes, seemingly unconcerned with the potential consequences of water running into their vehicle’s engine. But there’s a reason people flock to Samui every year. Well, many reasons actually. Not least because of its abundance of sun, sea and sand – the perfect holiday combination. Surrounded by sea, dotted with beaches, and getting an average of about six hours of sun a day, sun, sea and sand is certainly what you’ll get. The island provides the perfect environment for sunbathing or relaxing by the pool. There are plenty of watersports that you can enjoy during your stay too, from windsurfing to jet skiing, and many are accessible directly from the beach. Warm seawater temperature is another great draw to the island. It stays pretty constant throughout the year at a very comfortable 29 degrees Celsius. The air temperature averages about 28 degrees Celsius, and although it gets a few degrees hotter in the summer, and a few colder in the winter, there’s not a great deal of change throughout the year. Samui’s seasons can broken down into three categories: the dry season, the hot season and the rainy season. The dry goes from December to February, when the temperature will be a little cooler so you don’t get that sweltering midday heat but it’s still wonderfully warm. It’s the most popular of the seasons and therefore busiest time of the year on Samui. But if it is that sweltering heat that you’re after, then perhaps the hot season’s the time for you. During this period you’ll get that 30 degree heat and a lot of fairly strong sunshine, with not so many clouds – so remember to wear sunscreen! The wettest time of the year is from September until November, but the rain tends only to fall for a short time each day, leaving the rest dry and sunny – albeit a little cloudier than other times of the year. 28 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
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But if it is that sweltering heat that you’re after, then perhaps the hot season’s the time for you.
Many people head out to Samui deliberately during the rainy season because it’s at this time of year that you get great deals on flights and hotels. On many hotel websites there will be a clear distinction between peak and off-peak prices – peak sometimes being almost 50% more. But the island’s also much less busy during the off-peak season, so those who prefer a quieter holiday come for that reason. There are fewer people in the streets, shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. But not too few, because lots of other people have got the same idea! Whatever season you come to the island during there are a few items that you mustn’t forget. A hat is the first one, but if you didn’t remember to pack one then you’ll easily be able to pick one up while you’re here. There are countless stalls up and down Chaweng Beach Road where you can find a bargain. Caps with logos from all over the world are available, and there are those branded with various sports teams as well as ‘designer’ ones.
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Summer hats with wide brims are popular with ladies and trilbies with men. And of course you can barter down the price of all of them. Sunscreen is another staple item while on a holiday island. If you didn’t bring your own then you can easily buy some at one of the many pharmacies that you find on Samui. Just walking up and down Chaweng Beach Road you’ll pass a pharmacy every few minutes. One particularly good one with a wide selection of goods and great prices is Morya, of which there are numerous outlets on the island. We all know what to do when it’s sunny: go to the beach, have a swim in the pool or laze around on a deck chair. But what about when it’s overcast? Many people feel stumped looking up at the gloomy sky and at the beach, 32 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
which somehow looks a little bit greyer. Days like this are great for outdoor activities like trekking up a waterfall, because as the sun’s not out, it’s not too hot and you’re less likely to get burnt. Namuang Waterfall 2, is a great day out for all the family. It’s a beautiful natural waterfall that you can climb up and swim in. And if you do go to the waterfall don’t forget to check out the famous Namuang Safari Park where you can ride elephants, as well as see tigers and many other animals. Whatever the weather, there’s always something fun to do on Samui.
Laung Pu Si Tha Ni yo
Laung Pi Leng
Laung Por Lai
Laung Por Yid Wat Nong Jok
Pha A Tikarn Prasan (Kung)
Pra Palad Su Khi To (Dang)
Abbot of Wat Lamai
Sacred, spiritual tattoos, or 'sak yant' by Ajarn Panthep, who has studied the scripts as well as the art of sak yant for more than 20 years at various temples throughout Thailand. His teachings, along with the sak yant, will help to balance your four elements of earth, wind, fire and water, and therefore lead a more balanced life. It also opens up the body for good luck and happiness, and offers protection.
Water Tank Shop To Lamai
146/43 Moo 4 Thongtakien bay, Maret Koh Samui Suratthani 84310 Thailand www.samuisakyan.com, www.spiritbuddha.com Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0 86 9437464, 0 811 739 232
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NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS!
A meal at Imperial Samui’s Twisted Thai is a sensory overload - in a good way. Alice: This is impossible! The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is. A meal at The Imperial Samui Beach Resort’s Twisted Thai restaurant can be compared to an adult version of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. The name is apt, as well-known dishes are literally twisted and contorted to create the bizarre. Opened in January 2011, Twisted Thai is certainly one of the most
memorable dining experiences on the island. Head Chef, Khun Pornpirom Khunwong (Tom) takes the purest Thai food, with its famous flavours, combines these with modern cooking skills such as smoking, freezing, slow cooking and drying, and presents the dishes as art. By adding new techniques and equipment, his kitchen has changed the look, sensation and feel of the classical, and developed it into something parallel to the original. Chef Tom is Samui’s answer to Heston Blumethal, the famous TV chef, who brought molecular gastronomy into the public eye. So what exactly is this? Well, it’s is a sub-discipline of food science that involves understanding and utilising how ingredients transform during the cooking process. Some of the methods used are rather technical, and involve great precision to get the desired effect. Chefs that practice this need to be showmen too, as presentation is paramount and often involves a dramatic effect when dishes are brought to the table, with the intent to wow the guests. Some chefs choose to reject the term molecular gastronomy, preferring others such as ‘culinary physics’ and ‘experimental cuisine’, but whatever you choose to call it, Twisted Thai’s
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If you’re looking to impress guests, and are in need of dinner table conversation, Twisted Thai is the place to bring them.
style of cooking aims to impress diners, and incorporate all the senses. Now we all enjoy a pretty plate of food, but taste is important too. Chef Tom’s team doesn’t disappoint in this department - as long as you come with an open mind. Be prepared for your taste-buds to go into overdrive as flavours and textures one would not expect to be combined, are put together to confuse the palate. When the team designs a new dish, it may take months to perfect, and when they’re finally happy, it becomes a fixture on the Twisted Thai menu. There are constantly dishes in the developmental process, mind-mapped on the kitchen blackboard. Serving staff are trained to deal with questions, which no doubt there’ll be. They understand the processes and guide guests through the minefield of flavour explosions. Bland is banished from the Twisted Thai kitchen. To make the most of the menu, ordering an assorted appetizer platter to share, from the degustation menu is recommended. A large tile of artistic creations is presented to the table, with Chef Tom beaming from ear to ear, as he watches the reactions of diners tucking in. There are ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and ‘What do you think of this?’ and ‘You HAVE to try this!’ coming from tables. What can you expect from these assorted appetizers? Here are a few examples: Tom Yum Parmesan. The flavours resemble a normal tom yum or spicy hot-and-sour prawn soup. However, they don’t put the prawns inside, but mix them with whipping cream and parmesan cheese, and serve it with a parmesan crisp. Who would have thought cheese goes with tom yum, but it does. Tom Kha Gai, or chicken in coconut milk soup. Rather than the chunky herbs and spices such as lemon-grass and galangal, that usually flavour this soup, the flavours are infused with the broth, which is then put into a cream gun, and served resembling whipped cream, accompanied by crispy chicken skin. Moo Kai Toile, or Thai omelet with pork sausage, is traditionally served with sweet chilli sauce. At Twisted Thai, the sauce is made into jelly, and then into tiny little balls resembling caviar; an interesting texture on the tongue. That old Thai favourite of satay with peanut sauce takes on quite a different form with Chef Tom in the kitchen. The spicy peanut sauce comes as ice-cream, served with pickled cucumber and topped with either crispy chicken skin or prawn-cracker powder and a prawn tail. The mouth is pleasantly confused by the slightly sweet nutty ice-cream, with a chilli after-bite.
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HAND-MADE JEWELRY MADE TO ORDER. GOLD, SILVER, LEATHER, PRECIOUS AND SEMI PRECIOUS STONES.LEARN TO MAKE SILVER JEWELRY WITH US IN 1, 2 OR 3 DAYS
LOCATED AT CHAWENG BEACH ROAD PHONE: +(66)0 7742 2594, +(66)08 1370 1791 WWW.THAILAND-JEWELRY.COM CHAWENG BEACH ROAD
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Yam Talay, or seafood salad, is made into a terrine with prawns and sea bass, topped with a seafood dressing and fruit jelly, and garnished with crispy salmon skin. Twisted Thai’s Kai Hin Nin, at first glance resembles a regular salted egg. However, the egg is slow cooked, coated with minced pork and deep fried. It is served cut in half, with the hard yolk removed, and replaced with a soft filling. Main courses are equally as unusual, with a distinct Italy-meets-Thailand feel. The kitchen is also happy to oblige vegetarian guests. Who would have thought that green curry could be served inside calzone pizza? Here the vegetables are flavoured with green curry and served inside a bread dough, while the curry soup is served as a cappuccino, complete with foam on top. The idea is to dip the calzone into the soup. Twisted Thai’s version of massaman is served as a risotto, flavoured with massaman curry paste, and topped with grilled chicken breast, crispy potato and peanut, and served with an onion and tamarind sauce.
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One needs to have an adventurous palate, when visiting Twisted Thai, and there’s nothing traditional about the desserts. Mango and sticky rice has been converted from the old classic, to a mango mousse, wrapped in a mango jelly, shaped like the fruit, sliced and served with a coconut and sesame sauce, topped with crispy rice. If you’re looking to impress guests, and are in need of dinner table conversation, Twisted Thai is the place to bring them. The conversation is sure to flow as senses are heightened and norms are challenged. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland. If Alice came to Samui, Twisted Thai would surely be her restaurant of choice.
_________________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 774 220 203. www.imperialhotels.com
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WHY HERE All roads lead to Samui – Nick Hall, Executive Chef at SALA Samui, will vouch for that!
Did you realise that a little way north of Samui is one of those esoteric spots on the surface of our globe where there appears to be ‘zero magnetic gravity’? You can tie this in with Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat, at least according to some of the Newer-Age friends I’ve acquired (and a couple of the olderaged ones. too!). Be that as it may, and for whatever the reasons seem to be, our little island most definitely draws people to it. People who don’t just come for a sunshine break: people who come to live and work here. There’s definitely something in the air here that slows down the pace of life, makes stresses and tensions disappear. If we look carefully at the lives of some of the people who’ve settled here, two distinct pathways emerge. Firstly there are those who have always been deliberate with regard to their career progress. These are men and women who have weighed their options and progressed, thoughtfully, in a series of steps up their chosen career ladder. And then there are those individuals who have tended to, shall we say, follow their nose: the sort of people who will cheerfully sidestep towards unexpected opportunities. Or suddenly decide that what they are currently doing is getting them down. People who see the world as a melting pot of cause and effect, chance and opportunity, and are content to head towards their current goals, only to then look around to see what else is going on. And Nick Hall is one of Samui’s residents who falls into this category.
two years later when his school-chums were set for university, he’d been sidetracked by several additional subjects of interest, but never quite felt committed to any in particular. The unusual result was that he eventually accumulated 15 GCSEs, but without any strong feelings of where his abilities lay. A relative, herself a chef, suggested that a change of direction might appeal to him. So Nick headed off to explore a qualification in hotel management and catering, and found himself at Nottingham’s Clarendon College of Further Education, but unexpectedly excelling in the sphere of interpersonal management. “This was a broad course which covered all aspects of hotel-work,” he explained, “I learned how to clean rooms, wait at tables, help the accountants, work behind a bar, and in the engineering department, and also deal with guests via the reception and front office, where I discovered that I had an instinctive ability to relate to people and soothe their troubled minds! By the time I was in my final year I was working (initially to
Nick was born in Nottingham, England, into a middle-class environment, the youngest of a family of four, his father being a consulting-engineer and his mother an accountant. Unlike many starry-eyed boys he didn’t have dreams of being an engine driver or fighter pilot, but he does confess to having been intrigued by the idea of flying a helicopter in the army – although a degree of myopia later put paid to that plan. Nick was a bright and responsive young man but, as he admits cheerfully, without much direction at the age of 16. Because he had always been praised for his intellectual abilities, like many others he was content to drift into his school leaving exams, but with disappointing results. He headed off to college to re-sit these but,
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“Once you’ve seen the rest of the big world outside, it’s really hard to limit yourself to a little, cold, wet island.”
earn a bit of cash) virtually full-time in a nearby 3-star country house hotel. I began as a waiter but quickly advanced to beverage manager. I was then 21, had my own office and staff under me, could come and go as I pleased and was succeeding in quite a responsible position. I worked there for almost five years. And then, one day, I looked around and knew I needed something new. I needed some kind of a change. If not actually a break, then something that would take me in a new direction.” In effect, Nick was heading towards what many of his school friends were already doing after university, he was working towards a ‘gap-year’; or as he wryly refers to it, ‘a sabbatical’. He initially worked with the customer services department of England’s Powergen corporation before packing his rucksack, and hopping on a flight to Bangkok, en route to Australia. He explored Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia before eventually landing in Sydney, where he remained, working in and out of restaurants in differing capacities, for another seven months. On his return to the UK he was offered a position in a new restaurant in Nottingham, called Harts. This was an offshoot of a long-established nearby Michelinstarred hotel, Hambleton Hall, but Nick was pleased to suddenly find himself working alongside several old school friends who had progressed there in a far more linear way! He began as chef de partie but progressed to work alongside the Head Chef, Mark Gough. “Mark shaped me completely,” Nick expanded. “He was precise in everything he did. He was utterly thorough, insisted on meticulous attention to detail, and in the time I was with him he pushed me into every nook of the kitchen – pastry, seafood, meats, entrées. And, when he left to open his own gourmet pub, he insisted I went with him. We set everything up from scratch. But, after another six months there, it was time for me to move on. Things had become routine once again.” Nick had got the itch. As he explained, “Once you’ve seen the rest of the big world outside, it’s really hard to limit yourself to a little, cold, wet island. In 2004 I headed back to Samui. It was the one place that still called to me. But I decided on Koh Phan-Ngan as it
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was smaller and less-commercialised. I met a girl, Khun Ann, and knew I wanted to marry her. And so, the following year, that’s what I did!” Nick and Ann opened and ran their own restaurant on Koh Phan-Ngan, Me ’n U, an adventurous and successful excursion into fine-dining on the island. But by now their first daughter, Aimee, had come along, and when Nick was head-hunted for the post of executive chef at the prestigious 5-star Rasananda Resort, he decided that the financial security took priority. Then, two years later, as the resort was in the throes of a takeover by the Anantara Group, he moved across to take up the post of executive chef at SALA Samui Resort and Spa. At SALA Samui he was delighted to find that he had a large degree of freedom. He’s gradually overhauled the menu, revitalising it via his own very individual approach to contemporary Asian cuisine, honed by continual experiments and trials in the developmental kitchen in his house. And, to give you an idea of the texture, flavour and contrasting temperatures of one of his signature dishes, just pop along to the resort and nibble at Nick’s ‘Me So Tuna’ – Sesame and Peppercrusted Japanese Tuna with Green Tea Saba Noodles, Shaved Daikon, Black Sesame Paste with Wasabi and Miso Soup. Nick and Khun Ann, plus daughters Aimee and (now) Maiya, are here and happy on Samui. He has no plans to move on; just the opposite. And, whether it’s the zero magnetic gravity or simply that it’s a sunny spot to stop, Nick Hall and his family have a hundred reasons to tell you ‘why here’!
Rob De Wet
____________________________________________ For reservations or more information, telephone 0 7724 5888 www.salasamui.com
Romantic views, soothing sounds and classic Italian fare with a modern approach combine to please the most discerning diner. Olivio - a must for visitors and locals alike.
Olivio ~ beachfront at Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort Chaweng Beach. Free round trip transfer from Chaweng, Bophut, Choeng Mon, Mae Nam. For reservation please call 0 7723 1500
Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort & Spa 154 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Tel: +66 77 231 500 Mob: +66 81 751 6073 Fax: +66 77 231 520 Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org www.baanhaadngam.com
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Raya Spa offers professional spa treatments in a stylish modern setting. Oh the irony. The time we most need to relax, is when we don’t have time for it. Not so long ago, when the clock struck 5:00 pm, it was pens down, and out the door, with work over for the day. But in this modern world of the internet, and businesses trading across time zones, we never really switch off, do we? When we see that little red light flashing on the telephone, we answer that email – no matter the time. Admit it. So how do we avoid complete burnout, in a world that never rests? Well, we make time to relax. It’s not about working harder, but working smarter. You’ll be pleased to discover that the world will not fall to pieces should you take an hour or two to respond to that ‘urgent’ message. For those that battle to switch off, a spa treatment is a good way to start. Raya Spa, part of, and located opposite, Sareeraya Villas & Suites in Chaweng, offers a wide range of treatments in an atmosphere of calm and serenity. The interior epitomises Samui’s modern Asian culture, with polished concrete floors, chandeliers, stone cladding and a deep maroon tiled mural in the reception room.
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For those that battle to switch off, a spa treatment is a good way to start. 46 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
Sensory indulgences are a part of the Raya Spa experience, as trained hands soothe away worries and cares, helping guests relax with aromatic oils, and subtle herbs and spices. Raya Spa’s impressive treatments highlight Western and Eastern techniques; using natural ingredients that have been available for centuries, such as honey, turmeric, coconut, lemongrass, tamarind, sesame and white clay. The spa’s body scrubs and oils are specially made for them on the island, by Dao Siam Cosmetics, using only the purest ingredients. Raya Spa doesn’t offer detox treatments. According to Customer Relations Manager, Elisa Korpivuoma, they prefer to deal with happy customers – and lets face it, hunger and headaches do not make a happy camper. Sure, you’ll be happy with the results of a detox, but at the time, few people enjoy it in the real sense of pleasure. Raya Spa caters to guests looking to relax, or for a little pampering and ‘me time’. The spa’s current promotion is the ‘Hot Stone Package’. Here heated stones are used to massage the body, the benefits being a boost in circulation, release of stored tension and a recharge of energy levels. The hot stones expand the blood vessels, calm the nervous system and detox the body (okay, so they do a little detox). This therapy is said to have health benefits for those suffering from back pain, insomnia, stress, depression, and rheumatic and arthritic conditions. A three-hour hot stone package includes 30 minutes of herbal steam or water bath, followed by a 30-minute coconut body scrub. Thereafter, lie back and enjoy the hot stone massage for 90 minutes, and finish off with a 30-minute facial treatment with Jurlique products. This three-hour pampering session costs 4,750 baht per person, or 8,750 per couple. www.samuiholidaymagazine.com l 47
Another popular treatment is the Jet Lag Massage. Designed to banish fatigue and sluggishness, the movements stimulate and invigorate the body, while the lavender oil used, is known to have ‘pick-me-up’ properties. This review on TripAdvisor sums it up, “My husband and I booked the spa’s Jet Lag Massage for the morning after our arrival, as we had an extremely long flight from Canada. The staff were all so lovely and professional and we both absolutely loved our treatment, so much so that we booked the Ancient Thai Massage as a couple for a few days later! I can’t say enough good things about the ladies at Raya and will certainly return when in Samui!” As the review mentions, the staff are professional, and Elisa advises that they are all certified therapists. Other treatments on offer include various forms of traditional Thai massage, that involve the use of acupressure and stretching
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techniques, as well as warm herbal compresses. There’s also the sports massage, great after a round of golf, as it concentrates on the back, neck and shoulders, and aroma massages using pure essential oils. Raya Spa is one of the few on the island to house a steam bath. Choose from a variety of herbs such as camphor, lemon-grass, turmeric and plai (an essential oil). Used before a body treatment or massage, the steam helps prepare the skin, and enhance the treatment to follow. Adding to the list of services on offer, are various milky baths, a wide assortment of body scrubs and wraps, as well as facials for ladies and men. To make the most of your baht, book one of the many packages on offer. The reception staff are trained to recommend the best suited to your needs, and will fully explain the
options available. Go ahead. Spoil yourself. You have no one to answer to, but you. Well, for an hour or two, anyway.
___________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 4333 www.sareeraya.com
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77427115 Tel: +66 (0) ui.com namchasam Email: info@ ui.com am as ch w.nam Website: ww ara Office al ge Opp. K la il V â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an Fisherm
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Bits and Pizzas A look at the history and evolution of the humble pizza.
It’s one of those things that just sort of . . . happened. No doubt the cave men had them. Roman soldiers certainly gnawed sheets of dough topped with cheese and honey. And even the ancient Britons slapped soup on their trencher bread. But what we do know is that the word ‘pizza’, used in our modern context, first seems to have popped-up in 1889. It just so happened that the Neapolitan restaurant owner, Raffaele Esposito, who owned an eatery named Pizzeria di Pietro, created what he dubbed ‘pizza’ to celebrate the visit of the Italian King Umberto I and his Queen, Margherita. This is thought to be something of a play on words, as the actual word, ‘pizza’, was already in existence, and comes from the old Italian meaning ‘a point’ (Pizzeria di Pietro loosely translates to ‘Peter’s Place’). It’s also worth noting that Raffaele Esposito’s patriotic creativity is still with us today. His flat (rectangular) oven-baked bread was topped with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil, 50 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
arranged to form the red, white and green stripes of the Italian flag – he had created the first-ever pizza margherita. What is certain, however, is that over the next 40 years or so there was an enormous exodus of people from Europe to America. This young and energetic country was perceived as the answer to the poverty and oppression that so many nations endured. And immigrants poured into the USA in a steady stream, including very many from Italy. In the early days it was common to see wandering Italian pizza vendors hawking their wares, with a metal wash-tub of pizza on their heads, selling their slices at two cents a time. And so it’s hardly surprising that America’s first pizzeria was opened in 1905, by Gennaro Lombardi in New York City. Whereas Italian restaurants had by this time become both popular and widespread, his was the first which concentrated specifically on just pizza.
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bought to use as the outside sign was so small that it only had the space for nine-or-so letters, and the tiny premises seated no more than 25 diners. It was not much bigger than a hut – hence the name. On their opening night they sold nothing: quite deliberately as everything was free to try to promote local interest. This they did, and with great success, selling their first franchise the following year and, by 1966, this had expanded to 145 outlets all across America. In 1970 this hit the 500-mark, with shops in Germany and Australia also. Finally, seven years later, the brothers retired as multi-millionaires, having sold out to PepsiCo and joined the legendary ranks alongside Taco Bell and KFC. Of course you’ll find that there’s a Pizza Hut on Samui – slap bang right in the middle of Chaweng Beach Road, in fact. But, naturally, you’ll also find that just about every Italian restaurant offers pizza as an integral part of the menu – and also quite a few excellent restaurants that don’t specialise in Italian food – it’s that popular. Once again (as with most food-related aspects of our little island) you’re spoiled for choice. But one of the best that you’ll come across isn’t right out on the street in plain view. As with many little gems it’s tucked away, but fortunately it’s not far to go. You’ll find it enclosed all in a little Mediterranean bubble of its own, down a steep cobbled side street in the northern part of Chaweng Beach Road, in a small and exclusive resort called Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort & Spa. And the name of the restaurant in question is Olivio.
Here it has to be noted that, in America, a ‘pie’ is considered to be anything (meat, fruit etc.) spread on top of a pastry or dough base – there is no pastry ‘envelope’ with the contents inside, as in usual in Europe. In 1904 an enterprising employee at what was then ‘Lombardi’s Grocery Store’ began selling ‘tomato pies’ wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. Predictably they were a great hit with the hordes of working Italians, both heading off to work in the morning and returning home again at night – hence Lombardi’s decision to open his ground-breaking pizzeria. Interestingly, due to the wide influence of Italian immigrants in the American culture, the US has actually since developed regional forms of pizza, some bearing only a passing resemblance to the Italian originals. Chicago, for instance, has its own particular style of deep-dish thick-crust pizza, whereas Detroit has a unique ‘twice-baked’ style, and New York boasts several different specific approaches. The popularity of pizza as a meal in itself quickly spread away from the Italian population and into America’s mainstream, with numerous other pizza parlours opening all over the country. The big turning point, however, came with the advent of the Second World War. With the stationing of American soldiers in Italy, there arose a growing appreciation for Italian cuisine. And, when these soldiers returned, they brought back with them a pronounced taste for such and, in particular, pizza. Following this trend, Pizza Hut was the first national chain to emerge, in the first instance being simply one tiny shop put together by two brothers on a shoe-string budget. In 1958 Dan and Frank Carney took the plunge, in their hometown of Wichita, by borrowing $600 from their mother. The second-hand light-box they 52 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
Olivio has long-since established a reputation for being one of Samui’s foremost Italian eateries. This was certainly a result of the quality of their chefs. Plus items like herbs, spices, sauce-bases, ricotta, black truffles, sundried tomatoes, Parma ham and regional cheeses are imported to maintain the original flavours. But it’s their pizza menu that’s really impressive. All of these are made in-house, including all the dough for the 12-inch light, crispy, thin-crust bases (and you can ask for a super-thin and crispy base if you want!). There are no fewer than 18 different choices here, all available during the day, and all of them ‘gourmet’ in quality, featuring such enticing items as ‘Salmone Affumicato’, ‘Frutti Di Mare’ and the exciting chef’s signature pizza, ‘Olivio’, that’s laden with mozzarella, bacon, fresh cream, egg yolk and sliced fresh tomato. The pizza menu is also available in the evening, as a part of their super dinner menu. They are additionally offering a free pick-up and return service for evening dining (Chaweng to Maenam area only). Just call them in advance to book your table. Now that’s an offer that’s hard to refuse!
Rob De Wet __________________________________________________________ For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7723 1500. www.baanhaadngam.com
Samui Lapidary Fine Jewelry
Fine gold and silver jewelry manufacturer with diamonds, precious stones (ruby, sapphire, emerald, etc.) semi-precious stones (blue topaz, amethyst, tsavolite, aquamarine, etc.) and pearls (cultured and South Sea pearls - Tahitian pearls)
Tailor-made with modern designs. We also offer professional wood carvings, paintings and local souvenirs. Most competitive prices and best quality on Samui. Open for more than 25 years, we are the largest retailer and producer on the island. All our pieces come with certificate of authenticity. Доступные цены и лучшее качество на Самуи. Более 25 лет мы являемся крупнейшими производителям, занимаемся розничной торговлей на острове. Все наши изделия имеют сертификат подлинности Samui Lapidary, Maenam, Koh Samui Free transport service. Open daily 09.30 - 18.00. Tel: 0 7724 7845-6 Email: email@example.com www.samuilapidary.com Осуществляем бесплатный трансфер ежедневно с 9.30 до 18.00.
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OWN A PIECE OF PARADISE
Beach Republic offers a unique opportunity to own world-class properties at a fraction of the price. After a memorable time here on Samui, everybody wants to take a piece of the tropical island home with them. Holidaymakers take photographs, collect shells and buy souvenirs to remind them of the beautiful memories they had here: carefree swims in the turquoise sea; invigorating treks in the jungle; merrymaking evenings in Chaweng, and so on. People love Samui because the island reminds them of the simplicity of happiness. So is it any wonder people seek to return year after year?
A native Samuian once said that the island has a unique energy which makes it a very special place. People who come for spiritual reasons always end up finding solace and truth. People who come for love will find deep connections and soul mates. People who come for rejuvenation will find energy and motivation. “Many holidaymakers return to seek residency eventually. Why? Because the Grandmother and the Grandfather rocks beckon them back. But if one truly wants to leave for good, one must bring a coconut to the temple and have a monk bless it, and then bring the fruit with them out of the island. That way, Samui’s energy will release you and let you get on with life.” www.samuiholidaymagazine.com l 55
Furthermore, if you are unable to visit Samui on your ownership dates, you can also have the Beach Republic team rent your suite or villa for you.
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ars 11 ye
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.moryasamui.com
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But if you are not ready to pick a coconut and put it in your hand luggage just yet, you are likely to find your way back. And what better gift to yourself than to own your own spot here? Bearing in mind that it is an often mind-boggling legal process to put the name of a non-Thai national on a title deed, and that not everyone can afford a luxury villa here on Samui; there is an alternative solution. Beach Republic - a name as famous for their quintessential Sunday brunch as their luxury villa and apartments - runs a fractional ownership scheme, which allows buyers to share a fraction of an actual residence without having to fork out the full purchase cost. The scheme has won the Thailand Property Awards ‘Best Share Ownership Development’ two years in a row, and was also named ‘Highly Recommended Best Shared Ownership Development’ in the South East Asia Property Awards. Built to overlook the northern end of Lamai Beach, the spectacular Beach Republic al-fresco restaurant, as well as the chic spa, apartments and villas are all structures conceived and designed by British-born architect David McCormick, whose portfolio of world-class projects also includes London’s Chelsea Harbour, Beijing’s Olympic Village and Tianjin’s Maison Louis Vuitton.
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Owning a piece of architectural excellence combined with Beach Republic’s five-star service and exceptional amenities certainly isn’t solely for multimillionaire’s. The award-winning fractional ownership scheme allows both sensible investment and lifestyle owners to make their property-owning dreams come true. Ownership of a high-end asset in a desirable location for a fraction of the price is achievable in two ways. First of all, for the returning holidaymakers who have a clear idea when they are likely to return every year, they can choose to become lifestyle owners at Beach Republic. Depending on the choice of accommodation (there are 39 units in total, including one-bedroom superior or deluxe suites, two bedroom deluxe suites, one or bedroom pool villas and one or two bedroom penthouse sky pool villas), each fractional ownership is priced differently, and represents a fixed two-week occupancy period. The cost of the share depends on the season in which the fortnight falls, with the said seasons divided into low, mid, high and peak. During the summer, in the peak season, each share possesses a higher value than the low season alternative. Furthermore, if you are unable to visit Samui on your ownership dates, you can
also have the Beach Republic team rent your suite or villa for you. This hassle-free rental means that you will get back 60 percent of the rental income. And when you have finally brought the blessed coconut with you on the plane, you can sell your share any time, and enjoy the fruit of the rising property prices on Samui. A share of lifestyle ownership starts from US$20,000, and Beach Republic provides a one-year payment programme, in which the total cost of a share is divided into 12 monthly instalments. Once you have completed the third instalment of your share, you can then check-in to your apartment or villa during the purchased two-week slot. For investors looking to enhance their portfolio, they can also purchase a share, and pay it off all in one go. And then, their payment is rewarded with a guaranteed annual return of 5.75 percent. Investment owners can choose to rent out the purchased biweekly slot themselves to reap 100 percent return revenue; or similarly to the lifestyle owners, Beach Republic can do the work on the owner’s behalf, and allow them to receive 60 percent of the net rental returns. Whichever method you choose, fractional ownership is a most convenient and worry-free real estate investment. Furthermore, the scheme also allows the ownership of luxurious living without a hefty price tag. If you have a familiar place to return to every time you come back to Samui, the chances are you will never want to pick the coconut in the first place.
______________________________________________ For more information, telephone 0 7745 8100 www.beachrepublic.com
With it’s breathtaking views and unviralled ambiance, RockPool is by far one of the most beautiful dining locations on Koh Samui. Resting on the rocks just two meters above the ocean, RockPool brings you the ultimate seaside dining experience. Sit back and enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon brunch or award winning tapas from British Chef David Lloyd’s decadent a la carte menu, while listening to the waves gently lapping the rocks below. This is one of the absolute “must do” dining experiences on the island, and is open for beautiful breakfasts, gourmet lunches and romantic dinners.
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W Retreat’s Namu restaurant lifts the art of subtle dining to a whole new level. Over the last few years our little island has become host to some pretty impressive 5-star names. But what’s more interesting is the wide spectrum of architecture that’s now to be found here. Quite obviously you’re going to see some palatial examples of traditional Thai styling, with their complex nested roof designs and extravagantly handcarved wood. There are quite a few ‘Western classics’ around, too, with acres of marble, and gold-plated fittings. But, on the flip-side of the complexity coin, there are now quite a few resorts which revel in a minimalistic approach to layout and décor. Here and there you might discover that this is a substitute for aesthetics – with the vast expanses of unadorned concrete looking more like something you’d want to escape from, rather than be drawn towards. But, when done properly, this simple and subtle approach to architectural design is a joy to behold. Such as you’ll realise, for example, when you first set foot in W Retreat Koh Samui, at the edge of Maenam Bay. The ‘W’ brand isn’t quite yet a household name in some of the more far-flung outposts of Europe. But a few moments on Google will bring up tags to conjure with: Hollywood, ’Frisco, San Diego, Silicon Valley, New York, Chicago, Washington, Seattle; and that’s just the home territory. Over the last few years W Hotels, Residences and Retreats have marched outwards like Hannibal’s army to appear in Spain, Italy, Russia, France and London, and is now starting to sprinkle it’s brand across the Middle East and Asia, too, including Thailand – in which their only beachside resort is currently to be found on Samui. The location is enviable - on its own big private peninsula. During the daytime the panorama from here is nothing short of wondrous; right across the whole of Maenam Bay to the left, all of Bophut Bay and Big Buddha to the right, and with the placid silhouette of Koh PhaNgan right in front of you. Plus, as the resort straddles the peninsula at the junction of two bays, it can boast almost a full kilometre of private beach, too. Few others can match this. But it’s really only after the lingering hints of sun-oil have faded and the tropical sky is ablaze with stars that W Retreat comes into its own. This is when you’ll fully appreciate the simple, subtle minimalism.
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Arriving at night, and making your way to their signature restaurant, Namu, is an experience in its own right. Surfaces seem unobtrusive, often of low-key scrubbed concrete, but with sudden and ingenious patches of contrasting texture; stone, fabric, wood; sometimes creative tangles of dried twigs or timber shavings. The essence here is the use of lighting as a active element of the design. The change, intensity and spread of the light not only compresses the dimensions, but also dynamically animates unexpected nooks and crannies, making some elements merely shimmer unobtrusively, whilst others seem to dance invitingly towards you. The first little tease comes as you enter the resort through a short, dark ‘tunnel’: lights concealed in both the floor and ceiling interact with your movements, creating a stepping-stone path one moment, and then morphing into an illuminated echo of your shifting silhouette the next. And, in gentle contrast, as you emerge, with the far-off lights of Koh Pha-Ngan glimmering in the distance, in the darkened foreground and seemingly suspended underfoot are deep, dull circles of muted hues surrounded by brightly-illuminated circles, ‘buried’ in the ground, cosily kitted with sumptuous, circular, loungers and cushions. The sheer size of the real estate here isn’t apparent until you’ve been picked up and whisked off to Namu in an electric buggy. There’s a network of low-lit lanes and paths to navigate (dotted here and there with one of the several ‘sweet stations’; little jaunty ice-cream, coffee and snack bars, open 24 hours) before you suddenly find yourself heading right into a dead-end wall that’s bedecked with thick, curly chunks of intertwined and under-lit bleached timber. A passageway appears, labyrinth-like, with darkened walls, and you’ll end up in front of another dark outer wall, with a huge rectangular slab of timber bedded into it – no nameplate, no wording – which slides silently to one side to reveal the busy and cheerful warmly-wooded contrast of Namu. (And, if you’ve been wondering, ‘Namu’ is the Korean word for ‘wood’.)
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Which gives you something of a clue as to the cuisine on offer – although this is so excitingly unique that it defies conventional labels. It’s not simply ‘Japanese’, although you’ll see many familiar elements from this nation featuring on the menu. Chinese? Well, there are aspects. Nor is it ‘Korean’; although ‘SK’, the outgoing and friendly sous chef, hails from that land (and has experience of 5-star eateries in Korea, Japan, the Philippines and, most lately, Las Vegas). And, perish the thought; the oft-misused word ‘fusion’ is absolutely never on anyone’s lips here. No, Matai Gilroy, the Director of Sales and Marketing (and an enthusiastic Namu aficionado) explained the thrust of the cuisine in this way: “It’s Asian cuisine – elements and ingredients from all over this region – but created with the imagination to envision this as it might be in the future. It’s ‘a taste of Asia tomorrow – today’. All cuisine everywhere is constantly evolving – just go back a couple of hundred years and see what people were eating. This is the same idea, but with the verve and boldness to project the menu into the future.” In the same manner that a minimalist décor can be blindly adopted or thoughtfully applied, so it is with food. (Not that Namu itself is ‘minimalist’: it’s a warm and comfortable oasis of bustle, with an open kitchen along one side.) I’ve eaten Japanese food before where it’s actually been rather tasteless, needing liberal applications of wasabi. But here you just don’t need it. This is food that you’ll consume thoughtfully, slowly, and with pleasure. Pairs of dishes will complement each other with taste, texture, and subtle contrasts of flavour and after-taste. Try the Hamashi Sashimi with Leeks, Chilli Mint and a light Pesto, together with Sea Bream Carpaccio, Tomato, Sherry Vinegar and Shiso. The flavours of the sauces will dance enticingly back and forth on your palate. Follow this with the spectacular signature dish of Lobster Udon with
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Lemon Yuzu Sauce, and discover how the sturdy flavour of the lobster precisely complements the light and zingy yuzu sauce. It won’t only redefine your mindset towards ‘Japanese’ food in general, but you’ll also discover sets of taste-buds you never knew you had! Although the menu here is as thoughtfully composed as everything else, you’d be forgiven by being a bit over-awed at first – it’s all so extensive (there are additionally well over 150 different labels of wines to mull over, too . . .) – but not to fret! The floor staff is superb, hand-picked and knowledgeable, and you’ll immediately be eased into a comfortable selection of what’s on offer. However, as with everything that’s just so fab that it’s almost hard to believe, there’s just one teensy snag . . . It’s not only exclusive, it’s popular, too. Further, it’s not big: there’s seating for around 20 diners inside, three tables outside on the terrace and just six highlycoveted seats along the kitchen-side counter. Not only will you need to book, but in the high season you might have to look into the future of your personal dining schedule. But then, that rather ties in with the whole philosophy of the futuristic cuisine, here at Namu, doesn’t it? You’ve been warned!
Rob De Wet
___________________________________________________________ For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 7524. www.whotels.com/kohsamui
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LIVING THE DREAM A day in the life of General Manager, David Daguise of X2 Samui Resort.
Just imagine. What would your dream job be? For some, it’s travelling the world and writing about it. For others it’s being a bigshot in the corporate world. For David Daguise, General Manager of X2 Samui Resort in Hua Thanon, it was always to manage a five-star resort in an ideal location. Kudos to him. He made his dream a reality – unlike some who continue day-in and day-out on the hamster wheel, hoping for that ‘break’. Well, we make our own breaks, and David did just that. A chat with David reveals whether living the dream is all it’s cracked up to be. And there’s an insight into what it’s like being the GM of a top resort. Perhaps David’s story will inspire you to dive from that hamster wheel; ‘tuck and roll’ so to speak, as you take that leap of faith and pursue your dreams too. As David proves, it’s not ‘mission impossible’ but rather a case of staying focused. David started his career working in London for Hilton International as a switchboard operator; starting at the bottom, and proving
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himself in an attempt to climb the corporate ladder. He chose this route, doing on-the-job training, rather than formal hotel school studies. Being immersed into the hospitality industry, albeit at a low level, fuelled David’s passion to reach his dream of becoming a general manager in the five-star hotel industry. Having travelled to different parts of the globe for work as well as pleasure, Thailand was always somewhere in David’s mind and heart. And of course, being a resort professional, where else could he end up but Samui – being one of the best, if not the best island in Thailand. Considering that he’s been to exotic locations such as the Seychelles, Mauritius, the Caribbean, Maldives, and Indonesia, it’s saying something that Samui tops David’s list. We asked David to clarify something for us... how exactly do we pronounce X2, as we’ve heard so many variations? To set the record straight, it’s pronounced ‘cross to’. Their marketing department must have a perverse sense of humour, as the resort’s
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Having travelled to different parts of the globe for work as well as pleasure, Thailand was always somewhere in David’s mind and heart.
restaurant has an equally unusual name. All X2 resorts have their signature 4K – that’s pronounced ‘fork’, restaurant and bar. The menu is a mix of Eastern and Western fusion dishes, with seasonal local produce dominating the menu. Now that we know how to say the names of both the resort and the restaurant, it’s worth trying out. Rumour has it... the food is excellent, and the beachside setting beautiful. Living the proverbial dream is one thing, but are some days nightmares? David filled us in on what life as a resort manager entails. Not everyone’s dream job is the same, so come to your own conclusions about whether this is an ideal life.
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David reckons there’s never a dull moment in the life of a hotelier. Every day is different, and you never know what to expect from the minute you wake up. “My day usually starts in the shower, where I often have great ideas,” David says with a smile. “It’s important most of all, as a general manager, that you are present and visible for your guests and employees. You need to ‘feel’ the property and take its temperature on a daily basis. I walk the resort three to four times a day, meet with people, discuss ideas, challenges, and eventually sit in the office to do the necessary and unavoidable administration work.” Having worked at large properties in the past, his favourites have always been boutique resorts. According to David, “In boutique properties, you get to know your guests and employees; you’re not just a room number! X2 Samui is a unique product to work and stay at. It’s simple and luxurious; it’s natural and homogeneous with the environment. It gives guests the privacy and freedom to set their own agenda. It’s also sophisticated and dynamic – just like the people who work and stay here. The opportunity given to each of us to express ourselves without being too traditional is a unique concept and vision that we all share and live for. If you want to chill, relax and cross to a new dimension of luxury; why don’t you just ‘chillax’ at X2 Samui?” We’ve all heard the stories. You know, the ones about ‘those guests’. The difficult ones with the bizarre requests. We asked David to share his experience of such guests, which he did – rather tactfully. Says David, “One could write a book about the life of a general manager. Though some requests might sound funny, there’s nothing we can’t achieve or fulfil. Guests have different approaches as to how they want to spend their holiday; from a relaxing time by the pool, to cruising on a private yacht with champagne and caviar first thing in the morning. More than requests, I sometimes get comments such as ‘Why do you have to heat the pool in Thailand; the water is so warm’. And my response is, ‘Sir, my apologies for this wonderful and sunny day but the pool is not heated’.”
It’s a general manager’s responsibility and duty to be available at all times. David is proud of the great team he has supporting him, but the GM is captain of the ship, so there’s no switching off, even in paradise. “Time passes by very quickly and without notice, you just look at the clock and it is already 9:00 pm. There’s no such thing as ‘time in – time out’ and as long as you work with passion, it’s just secondary. Actually I should not be wearing a watch,” he says with a grin. David feels blessed to work in this environment and industry. “Every day is different, you get to meet with so many people from so many nationalities, with different cultures, habits, and languages. For me it’s the fascinating part of the job. To meet and discover new people every day, is a bit like travelling the world whilst you are sharing a cup of tea with them,” he says with enthusiasm. “The fact that we deliver some sort of happiness to people is also very rewarding. We contribute to people’s lives in a way, and we make every effort to make sure people will remember us during a family dinner, sharing pictures of their holidays or talking about their experience to their grandchildren.” As General Manager, David lives at the resort. Hey, it’s a tough life. His family is in France, but he sees them regularly. After all, what family wouldn’t want to come visit this tropical paradise. During his (rare) off time, David likes to spend it with friends, travel or go to the beach. He’s a big fan of the beach, making Samui the perfect location for him. He’s also a keen golfer, and likes to hit a few balls to help him relax and clear his mind – in preparation for all those creative and fantastic ideas that will pop into his head again the next morning in the shower...
_______________________________________ For more information, telephone 0 772 330 33 www.x2resorts.com/samui
CRAFTED LIVING SPACES Oriental Living is a contemporary Asian furniture gallery featuring exclusive award-winning brands with an extensive range of handcrafted furniture and home decor objects.
SAMUI 9/18 Moo1 Maenam, Koh Samui 84330, Thailand T +66 (0) 77 247 675 E email@example.com PHUKET 424 Srisoonthorn Road Cherngtalay, Phuket 83110, Thailand T +66 (0) 76 325 419 E firstname.lastname@example.org www.samuiholidaymagazine.com l 69
NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL Nature Art Gallery in Chaweng, creates bespoke jewellery using only natural materials. Who doesn’t like to feel a little special or unique, right? When it comes to jewellery, we could buy something mass-produced; or something made especially for us, or for a special someone. It says so much more giving a bespoke piece of jewellery, choosing the stone and materials to be used, yourself. Nature Art Gallery on Chaweng Beach Road is just the place to go, should you be looking for something a little different. Co-owner, Michael Trav, describes their style as ‘ethnic’, and sticks by his philosophy of using only natural products. They use a variety of materials to create an interesting array of pieces – leather, precious and semi-precious stones, shells, fossils, silver and gold. And, thinking about it... when Mother Nature has provided such beautiful materials, why would we possibly want something synthetic? Their range includes rings, bracelets,
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necklaces, pendants, belly chains, anklets, earrings and buckles. What makes Nature Art Gallery unique, is the fact that 90% of the jewellery is made on site, by a team of four goldsmiths. Interestingly, these craftsmen are all from the same family. The Rasaili’s hail from Nepal, and are lead by head goldsmith, Hari, who proudly says that the family has been crafting jewellery for generations. He reminisces about how Hari, his father, and his grandfather before that, were all goldsmiths to the King of Nepal – quite the accolade to add to your résumé. Taking a look through the workshop, you’ll see them tinkering away old-school style, heating and hammering away at the metal. There’s nothing massproduced about their work whatsoever. Pieces are designed as a team, with input from owners Michael and Shai, and also from customers wanting personalised pieces.
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The range includes handbags, wallets, purses and mobile phone covers.
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The owners have had a store on Koh Pha-Ngan for 15 years, and the Chaweng branch has been open for four years, where they enjoy sharing their love of stones with customers. There’s a large selection of gems, as well as polished and cut shells and fossils to choose from, should you not find exactly what you want ready made in the store. There are crystals too, if you prefer a gift with healing powers. In ancient times, shamans, priests and healers used crystals and stones for protection and healing. Many are convinced that crystals have the power to lift the spirits, open chakras, clear auras, prevent electromagnetic emissions as well as improve memory. Whether you believe in a crystal’s magical powers or not, there’s no doubt that wearing a beautifully crafted piece of jewellery will make you feel good, so perhaps there’s truth in it, even if only on this level. Now taking home a souvenir that’s made right here on Samui is great. But what’s even better, is taking home one that you made yourself. Nature Art Gallery offers one, two or three-day jewellery-making www.samuiholidaymagazine.com l 73
workshops under the guidance of the Rasaili gold and silversmiths. Whether you have a design in mind, or need some inspiration, they will help you from the conceptualisation stage through to the finished masterpiece. Guys, can you imagine designing and making your own engagement ring and then popping the question at one of Samui’s romantic venues? How could she possibly say no to such a gesture? Aside from jewellery, Nature Art Gallery stocks leather accessories, that have been made especially for them by a specialised leather craftsman in Bali. The range includes handbags, wallets, purses and mobile phone covers. Various exotic leathers have been used, combined with stones and metal trims making them unique, and still fitting with the store’s ethnic style. Braiding is a difficult skill to master in the leather trade, and here you’ll find a range of beautifully braided belts. The braiding pattern of one belt in particular, resembles the scaly skin of a snake, and the piece is finished off with a silver snake’s head shaped buckle. It’s quite spectacular. Leathers used include ostrich, with it’s unique texture of raised bumps, and crocodile, 74 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
as well as skate, which resembles tiny shining beads. Other than the usual precious and semi-precious stones that most of us are familiar with, the shop (or should we call it a gallery, as all pieces are works of art) uses some lesser known stones. One that is particularly beautiful, is moldavite, which resembles a dark green moss. It looks equally as exquisite in its rough as well as polished state. Larimar is a blue stone from the Caribbean; its colour fittingly glows the same intense turquoise as the water from where it originates. As one would with a gallery, allow enough time to browse. There’s bound to be a piece of jewellery that you can’t resist. And unlike other souvenirs, don’t worry about luggage space – you can just wear it home!
_____________________________________________________________ For more information, telephone 0 774 225 94 or 0 822 766 596 www.thailand-jewelry.com
SAREERAYA CHAWENG BEACH
Hot Stone Package Hot stone therapy boosts your circulation, releases stored tension and recharges your energy levels. 3 hour package includes: 30 minute choice of Herbal Steam or Water Bath 30 minute Coconut Body Scrub 90 minute Hot Stone Massage 30 minute Facial Treatment by Jurlique Only 4,750 baht net/person, 8,750 baht net/couple
Early Spa Bird Begin your day relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated with one of our sensational Spa Treatments! Take advantage of our Early Bird Discount* every day from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. *Early Bird sessions must conclude by 2.00 pm. Raya Spa is open daily from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm (last booking at 8.00 pm).
SAREERAYA CHAWENG BEACH
Thai Buffet & Seafood Beach BBQ Spice up your evening with our superb Thai Buffet using only the freshest ingredients available to create a real Thai taste. Includes a large selection of Thai appetizers, Main Courses, Salads, Desserts, Beach BBQ, Beef, Steaks, Seafood. From 07.00 - 10.00 pm 1,200 THB adults 600 THB kids (6-12 years) Children below 6 years old free of charge
Asian Buffet & Seafood Beach BBQ Come enjoy all of your tasty Asian favorites! We offer a varied menu to suit all tastes including Asian & Western food, Sushi, Sashimi, BBQ with Australian Beef, Steaks, Seafood caught fresh from the Sea, Dessert Buffet and other delicacies, over 40 dishes of delight. From 07.00 - 10.00 pm 1,400 THB adults 700 THB kids (6-12 years) Children below 6 years old free of charge Day and location of Buffet subject to change, please double check with us for a guaranteed booking
at Sareeraya Villas & Suites, Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui. Tel: 0 7791 4333, Email: email@example.com www.sareeraya.com
at Sareeraya Villas & Suites, Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui. Tel: 0 7791 4333, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.sareeraya.com
PLEASURE Why more and more people are coming here for medical reasons as well as for a great holiday! The last thing that most people want is to end up in hospital while they’re on holiday. And yet there are now a huge number of ‘medical tourists’ – people who have deliberately combined treatment with travel – coming to this part of the world every year for anything from a hip replacement to a new set of breasts. The three established centres for such excursions are India, Singapore and Thailand. But of the three, it’s Thailand which has emerged as the clear leader. The hospitals and standards of care here are some of the most modern and up-to-date in the world. But Thailand additionally beats the others when it comes to the costs of aftercare and convalescence. Even allowing for the devastating floods, 19 million tourists visited Thailand in 2011 (a 20% jump from 2010), and of these there were 500,000 travelling specifically for medical treatment, making it the world’s most popular medical tourism destination. The reasons for this are straightforward. Healthcare and medical costs have increased globally at the same time that many countries have been cutting back on their programs of state-sponsored health care. Costs have risen and waiting lists for treatment have increased. This has led to two very sound reasons for the exodus of treatment-seekers. The first is urgency: it is simply not a realistic option to have to wait weeks, or months, for vital medical treatment. The second (which often goes hand-inhand with the first) is the overall cost. Simply total the expenses of a specific operation in Europe or America, along with in-patient aftercare. Then add a period of convalescence with associated day-care and prescriptions costs. And then compare this to the same operation in Thailand. Even factoring-in the air fares, it’s likely to work out cheaper, and that’s including two or three weeks in a luxurious hotel, and in a country with a warm and sunny climate, that’s conducive to speedy recuperation (and great for patient morale, too).
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It’s not only one of the leading establishments in the field of overall medical tourism, but it also has fully-equipped branches in Phuket and on Samui. Given Thailand’s reputation for graceful and attentive service, it’s not hard to see why Bangkok has quickly become the medical tourism hub of Asia. Suvarnabhumi Airport is serviced by airlines from around the world and reasonably-priced hotel rooms abound. There is reliable and plentiful public transport, and 30-day visas are issued on arrival; all of which help to make a stay – in a hotel and/or hospital – both easy and affordable. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), which actively began promoting medical tourism in 2004, has a detailed medical tourism website that highlights many of the most popular treatments available, including dental work, dermatology and cosmetic surgery, as well as listing accredited hospitals, making it easy for potential visitors to decide on a procedure. Forward-thinking in many of its approaches, the TAT has also recently partnered with state-owned Krungthai Bank to offer tourists a debit card called the ‘Miracle Thailand Card’, which provides some medical and life insurance coverage in case of an accident. More details of this are also on the TAT website. This is all just perfect for the first-time visitors to the kingdom who will no-doubt feel a little unsure about the whole business. But for those of you who have been here before (including, of course, the readers of this article!) you will probably find that the advertised costs for website ‘packages’ are somewhat higher that you would be quoted on a walk-in basis. It has to be said that this is a lucrative arena, with general tourism making-up 6% of Thailand’s GDP but with specifically medical tourism now pullingin 0.7% and rising. Western accreditation is also a vital element, and Bangkok’s Bumrungrad and Samitivej hospitals were among Southeast Asia’s first recipients of the United States’ prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) certification, which is seen as the gold standard for healthcare service providers around the world. Now Thailand has no fewer than 13 JCI-accredited hospitals for medical tourists to consider. The prestigious Bangkok Hospital, which specifically caters to medical tourists, has an entire Japanese wing, and there are translators on hand to accommodate the wishes of patients from Germany, France and Russia. English, of course, is spoken across the board.
Fine Beachfront Dining serving Thai, Seafood & International Cuisine. Chaweng Beach Road, Chaweng North For reservation Tel: 0 7742 9400 E-mail: email@example.com www.norabeachresort.com
Fax: 0 7742 9498
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Bangkok Hospital is particularly worth looking at for a number of reasons. It’s not only one of the leading establishments in the field of overall medical tourism, but it also has fully-equipped branches in Phuket and on Samui. They are geared-up to proceed with a host of cosmetic surgery options, right through to organ transplants, and also such orthopaedic aspects as cataract removal, knee and hip replacement, hysterectomy, angioplasty, and various spinal treatments. Brain and spinal chord analysis (using Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and the associated invasive treatments, are more specialised and will need to be carried out in Bangkok. But, again, Bangkok Hospital has got this covered via their specially-negotiated relationship with Bangkok Airways. They will arrange any one of a number of options for you, including flying to Phuket or Samui to recuperate at your leisure (and all your case-notes will be on hand for the local staff to refer to) or they can even make arrangements for you to return directly back to your country via Phuket – meaning no change of planes in Bangkok. But what if you just happen to be here, anyway, in perfect health and having a great holiday? Well, there’s absolutely no need at all to waste the chance! You’ll find, for example, that a simple dental de-scale will be utterly thorough (taking up to an hour) and will cost just a few hundred baht or so, and can often be done on the spot with no prior appointment. Or what about a comprehensive diagnostic health check, using the latest CAT or ultra-sound and echo-cardiogram scanners? It’s all hugely affordable, and it’s yet one more reason why Thailand (and Samui) isn’t merely a place to come for culture and a tan!
Rob De Wet _______________________________________________________ For further information visit www.thailandmedtourism.com
Siam Ten Senses Treatment focuses on Ten main Senses in human body. Restoring body systems and improve the balance.
Natural Wing Health Spa & Resort 11/5 Moo 6, Maenam, Koh Samui, Thailand Tel: 0 7760 2111, 0 7760 2112 Fax:0 7760 2112 Mobile: 0 819 682 796 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com www.naturalwing.com
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Considering tying the knot on Samui? Here are some reasons why it’s a good idea.
He popped the question, and the answer was ‘yes’. Now what? Where should you get married? Who should you invite? What should you wear? What food should you serve? Should you have a religious ceremony to keep the parents happy? Stop right there! Planning a wedding should be a memorable occasion for the right reasons. It should not be so stressful that the couple considers divorce before the nuptials even happen. Luckily, Samui has a plethora of professional wedding planners to take all the stress out of the organisation. And with pictureperfect beach backdrops, it makes a perfect wedding location. Favourable exchange rates mean that you get a lot more for your euro, pound or dollar, making an elaborate affair cost the same as a simple wedding back home. Many of the leading resorts offer wedding packages that can be tailormade to suit even the most demanding bride’s whimsical desires. Imagine having your every wish fulfilled with just the sending of an email? All you have to do is turn up, looking relaxed and gorgeous. And of course Samui has enough spas and beauty treatments to help you do just that.
So what’s the catch, you ask? Well, you do still have to make some decisions yourself, such as should you invite rude Uncle Al, who chews with his mouth open, or Cousin Phyllis who always drinks too much. But that’s about it really. The hotels usually offer discounted room rates for wedding guests, and work with neighbouring resorts across several price ranges. Wealthier relatives can stay in the swish 5-star spots, and your brother working two jobs to pay his way through college can stay in the 500-baht backpacker bungalows down the road. With tailors being so reasonable on the island, it can be much cheaper to have not only the bride’s dress, but also the wedding party’s outfits made here too. Should the bride have an elaborate meringue-inspired frock and veil, or just a simple white slip with flower in her hair? Should the groom don coattails and top hat, or wear a white shirt and board shorts? The choice is theirs really. But do take the tropical climate into account. You may have always dreamed about that full-length multi-layered dress, but when the thermometer hits 35 degrees Celsius, you don’t want to be smelling like the boys after the bachelor party, and have mascara running down your cheeks as you sweat, or should we say ‘glow’. Let the glow be from happiness, not from the heat.
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All you have to do is turn up, looking relaxed and gorgeous.
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Speaking of outfits, fancy arriving at the ceremony on an elephant dressed in the wedding colours? No problem. Want to get married under water with tropical fish swimming among scuba gear-clad guests? Consider it done. Pretty much anything you want can be organised on the island, for less than youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d probably imagine. Other favourites include letting off fireworks or hundreds of wish-lanterns to light up the sky. Traditional Thai dancing and music adds a bit of local culture too. Samuiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wedding co-ordinators have DJs, duos, one-man-bands, dancers, magicians, contortionists and just about every act imaginable on speed dial, so you name it, you can get it. Ceremonies can either be traditional Thai complete with monks, Western-style, or a merry mix of East-meets-West depending on what the wedding couple desires. Buddhist, other religions or simple blessing ceremonies can be performed as well as
Dolce Vita Gems Samui : Samui Ring Road, Opp. Makro Contact: 077 426 959, 085 0296 046 Fax : 077 426 960 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Samui Discover authentic Indian Cuisine
vow renewal, should you decide to make your Samui holiday a second honeymoon. Wedding companies can also assist with the legalities and paperwork, freeing couples from a couple of days spent in Bangkok at embassies and government offices; a huge relief. Other than the bachelor or bachelorette parties, weddings in the coupleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home town would usually only involve the day itself. However, when guests travel far to witness the special occasion, they often expect the festivities to be spread over several days. Pre-wedding parties, dinners and events are quite common, and sometimes require nearly as much planning as the actual wedding.
Noori India Restaurant - Chaweng Center Chaweng Beach Road, opp. Chaweng Buri Noori India Restaurant - Chaweng South at Chaweng Cove Resort Noori India Cooking Center - Chaweng South Soi Colibri, opp. Centara Grand Beach Resort For reservation (English) - 0 867 407 873 or 0 7741 3108 For reservation (Thai) - 0 813 960 283 E-mail: email@example.com www.nooriindiasamui.com
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So how could you fill the days building up to the main event? The inlaws may not have met before, so these activities can be an ideal way of building rapport and bonding both sides of the family. Or, it could have the opposite effect if Uncle Al and Cousin Phyllis get an invite! So think carefully about fun events that cater to all ages, or arrange separate ones for the youngsters or young at heart. Boat trips around Samui or to the Angthong National Marine Park are a great activity for all, and with Samui’s calm waters, few should get seasick. Cooking classes, beachside dining and spa packages for the wedding party are all great ways for family and friends to enjoy the island together prior to the big ‘I do’. The mark of a good wedding planner is one that plans so well, that the occasion comes across as effortless and no hassle whatsoever. Simple weddings have less that can go wrong. Affairs with all the bells 86 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
SCL International School
International Education from Pre-school to Secondary Educating the Mind Nurturing the Soul
Small classes Individual education plans Fully qualified teachers A family atmosphere
With these qualities, it’s not hard to see why the children at SCL are achieving so much A warm welcome is extended to anyone who wishes to visit the school
and whistles mean more mishaps are possible. What if that pachyderm decides the flower arrangements would make a delectable treat? What if there’s a power failure and the DJ can’t play? No wedding planner can guarantee that nothing will go wrong. But the good ones have the experience to deal with any obstacles without disturbing the happy couple, who would most probably never even be aware that there was a problem in the first place.
Samui’s ideal weather, photogenic backgrounds, accommodation, delicious food and friendly people, all co-ordinated (well, except the weather) by efficient wedding planners, mean that the bridal couple can concentrate on the marriage, rather than fussing about the wedding itself.
SCL International School
206/26 Moo 4 Maret, Lamai, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand Phone: 0 7741 8789 Mobile: 0 810 910 714 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.sclinternationalschool.com
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RUNNING AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS
Spark! Circus, sparking creativity through play. My first words in Burmese are “Don’t push! Everybody will get a turn...” Perhaps the tone is unconvincing, as the little bodies seem to jostle even harder. This is my first day as a face painter with Spark! Circus. I’m defending my make-up box of glitter and bright stickers behind a small desk I’ve set up to keep my elbows free for work, and my anxious ‘clients’ are scores of refugee children, each hoping to be transformed into a tiger or a fairy. Or maybe just craving a moment of kind attention.
Drawing a heart with the make-up pencil across the tender skin of a small girl, I’m the one who is suddenly paying attention. Her breath is warm on my cheek and I feel a rush of tenderness for this unknown child. But I have to work fast, taking time only to let her choose her own sticker (bought in bulk in Bangkok’s Chinatown). I improvise confident-looking strokes. More glitter. As I hold up a little mirror to ask her approval, she’s hurried off the bench by an elder boy, who trustingly presents me with his smooth cheek.
Outside in the playground, my colleagues, volunteer performers from all over the world, are holding circus-skills workshops, teaching children to juggle or hoop, leading them through obstacle courses and creating a spectacular riot of colour, noise and dust under a giant multihued parachute. Who are these people and how did I get to run away with a circus? Over 200,000 registered refugees (some say over 400,000 unofficially) line the borders of Thailand and Burma, held in refugee camps with minimal facilities. Tens of thousands are children, often traumatised by a civil war waged against the region’s hill tribes, that has earned the Burmese military dictatorship its cruel reputation.
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Many of the NGO workers, teachers and volunteers face considerable stress in their work, and look forward to the circus’ annual visit to lift their flagging spirits.
While much is changing in Burma, the displaced people’s situation has not been fully addressed, and in cases such as the Rohingyas, things are much worse. The children are especially at huge risk of being taken into the sex trade, suffering malnourishment and neglect. Most have no papers and no chance of getting any. Community and non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers provide basic necessities like shelter, clothes, food and education. But children also need hope and joy. And play! So once a year the circus comes to town. Spark! Circus’ primary goal is simple — to make children smile. Spark! was founded by ringmistress Andrea Russell, who realised the therapeutic benefits of play after working with post-traumatic tsunami victims, and designed this program that now brings joy to over 4,000 children a year. Andrea explains when I first sign up, “We learn so much through play. About ourselves, the space around us, our relationship with others.” Play is a fundamental part of any child’s health and develops creativity, physical fitness, communication skills, teamwork, confidence and cultural awareness. Spark! administers a much-needed dose of silly happiness, love, and amusement to the children and to those who work with them. Many of the NGO workers, teachers and volunteers face considerable stress in their work, and look forward to the circus’ annual visit to lift their flagging spirits. I first met Andrea when she performed pro bono at a Samui Mala festival, held at Tamarind Springs, in 2007. Since then, the local community has assisted Spark! with sponsoring Thai volunteers, donating funds, and contributing prizes and support to last January’s hugely successful gala circus performance. This year, on January 12th, the Spark! troupe will lead skills workshops at a circus-themed fun day at the International School of Samui for all local children to join, and on January 13th at a fund-raising performance at Bandara Resort and Spa, Samui, for the second year running. There will also be a January 9th show on Koh Pha-Ngan. Last year, enthusiastically championing Spark! with its magic tagline ‘run away with the circus’, I was surprised to find myself in a rainbow tutu transported to Mae Sod in Tak Province, near the Burmese border. I proved singularly unskilled in a team of energetic and creative young performers! These volunteers generously donate six weeks of their time for this inspiring mission. They also raise money in their own communities to bring to the party (typically around $1,000 each to buy toys, gear and supplies) and pay their own food, accommodation and transport costs. We travel on local open songtaews, spilling out in a messy heap of spangles and glitter onto scores of playgrounds in camps, municipal playing fields, orphanages, clinics, special needs schools, and factories, everywhere bringing colour and light to this hot and dusty border region. We come bearing toys and circus gear to donate to each school, so that the fun can continue after we go home. I find a role helping with logistics, documenting the tour, running errands, providing first aid. Apart from the daily visits to schools and afternoon rehearsals, at night the crew performs spectacular light-and-fire shows for students in colleges, at temples, for the townsfolk, and in remote camps. Joining as individual performers, the crew members learn from each other, working as a troupe - mastering music management, choreography, or the responsibility of fire safety drills. 90 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
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And other skills. Playing with children cannot but spark empathy — whether you engage them one on one, as at my face-painting station, or with huge audiences at a fire show. We cultivate a growing appreciation of how similar we all are, despite the huge difference in our material circumstances. Speaking with the aid workers who care for the children, I realise that almost all of them experienced similar moments - sometimes through a traumatic personal event, more often by a profound recognition that we do not live alone, and that our happiness is rooted in empathy and connection. “I’d worked in Mae Sai for a few months,” Guljohn Jeamrum (Kru Ngaow), founder of Childlife in Mae Sai, once told me. “But then there came a day when I just couldn’t walk away from the children begging on the bridge any more.” And that’s when he found himself, he added wryly, with over 140 children in a shelter to care for. I don’t learn to hoop or juggle, but I do learn a new language of gratitude and a humility that comes with recognising the resilience of the human spirit. Walking home one day with my new young friends, I notice a trail of glitter in the dust reflecting the last rays of the setting sun. A group of factory workers wave gaily, recognising us in our rainbow getup. “Min ga la ba”, we call out in chorus, “Ce-zu tin ba deh”. Goodnight, thank you!
________________________________________________________ For more information, please visit www.sparkcircus.org or www.samuimala.org
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Nora Buri Resort & Spa’s fun cooking classes offer a great alternative to a day on the beach.
An old Chinese proverb goes ‘Without rice, even the cleverest housewife can’t cook.’ Now what’s great about Thai cuisine, is that most of it is very quick to make. By the time the rice has steamed, the curry, stir-fry or soup is ready too. Thai cuisine is not about complicated methods like some other styles of cooking. It’s all about good flavours that mix well together. It’s about being social, from the cooking process to the eating afterwards. It’s not about fussing for hours over a stove, but about bumping into friends at the market while selecting the ingredients, and chatting over a wok while preparing the meal. Even the way of eating a meal in Thailand is sociable. Each person gets their own plate of rice, and a selection of dishes is placed in the centre of the table for all to share. None of that ‘this is mine, and that’s yours’ nonsense! Makes sense – you get to taste more of the wonderful flavours. Now anyone can buy a Thai cookbook back home, and try to emulate the dishes that they tasted on their holiday. But without
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understanding the ingredients, such as when to use a fresh chilli and when to use a dried one, it’s just not going to taste the same as it did at your favourite Samui eatery. Taking a Thai cooking class while on holiday is the answer to this problem. Nora Buri’s is held at their restaurant, The Barge, and is a great way to learn the tricks behind making Thai cuisine. Classes start at 1:00 pm, last about two hours and cost only 1,700 baht per person, which includes a branded apron and chef’s hat to keep, a certificate to frame for your kitchen, and of course enjoying the results of your labour afterwards. Not a bad deal really. Arriving at your work station, you’ll find a gas burner with two woks – one for you and one for the chef, and dishes set out with everything ready for you to just cook. No washing and chopping of veggies, no opening of tins, no making of stock. All done for you. Just wash your hands and let Chef Nuie take you under his culinary wing.
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Now anyone can buy a Thai cookbook back home, and try to emulate the dishes that they tasted on their holiday. To make the most of your experience, watch and listen closely, and ask questions. Make sure you know what ingredients you are using, so that you can find them at shops when home. When do Thai chefs use palm sugar, and when do they use white sugar? If you can’t find Thai basil, can you use Italian basil? Can you use salt instead of fish sauce? Be sure to ask, and make notes on the recipes handed to you, so that you can impress guests when you host the perfect Thai dinner party. Oh, and smell... don’t forget to smell. The aromas that waft up to your nose as a curry paste fries, or coconut milk is added to the pot will make the mouth water, and you’ll be looking forward to the meal afterwards. Holidays are no time for dieting. There’s a different menu each day of the week, but book in advance, and the chef is flexible about what you would like to cook. There’ll usually be a curry of sorts, as well as another Thai favourite such as chicken with cashew nuts, and then a dessert. Chef Nuie is jovial and chatty while cooking, encouraging you to taste and decide the quantities for yourself rather than using a measuring spoon. The recipes provided indicate measurements, but it’s up to the individual cook to increase or decrease according to taste – particularly when it comes to the chillies, as let’s face it, few Westerners can take the heat quite like Thais can! On the day of Samui Holiday Magazine’s visit, Chef Nuie showed us how to prepare ‘Roast duck in red curry’ as well as ‘Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts’. This curry has the perfect 96 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
amount of spice, eased by the sweetness of pineapple, grapes and lychees. Chicken and cashew nuts is the perfect Thai dish for those not too keen on spicy food – it’s mild, yet far from bland as the ingredients blend together to form a mix of sweet, salty and spicy to gently coat the crispy nuts and tender chicken. With the three colours of sweet bell peppers, it also looks pretty on the plate. A cooking class is a great way to bond and team-build too. Conversation flows as cooks stir, taste and compare, and finally sit down to the meal together. Nora Buri, frequently host weddings, and offer the cooking class to wedding parties – what a great alternative to the usual ‘dress up and get drunk’ hen parties. And those with an artistic flair might want to try the fruit and vegetable carving class. Now that’s a skill that will surely impress, making yours the dinner party to beat in the neighbourhood. So often we buy souvenirs when travelling that, at the time, seem like a great idea, only to be tossed in the back of the cupboard, forever forgotten. Instead, spend the money on something useful, and what better than a cooking course. Each time you cook the meal, you’ll not only eat well, but have fond memories of your holiday too.
Rosanne Turner _______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information telephone 0 7791 3555 www.noraburiresort.com
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REALLY? The inside scoop on what happened behind the scenes during a TV shoot aboard the Naga.
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Reality TV. Love it or hate it, there is no argument that this has become a popular genre of show around the world. One of the first reality shows to hit the circuit was the popular series, ‘The Bachelor’. The concept was created in the USA by Mike Fleiss, with the first series airing in 2002. The show has become a huge success, with other countries following suit and filming versions geared towards their local markets. So what is the show about? A single bachelor (supposedly eligible) is the central focus. Let’s call him the hero. It all starts with 25 hopeful ‘girlfriends’ or contestants, who all vie for his attention and love interest. (You can see why he would be considered a hero in the eyes of some!) The cause of all the hype is the elimination-style process, whereby girls are booted off the show each week as the hero’s interest in them wanes, for whatever reason. Early in the show, The Bachelor and his girls go on group dates, and the show’s producers go all-out to find fun things for them to do. Some girls tackle the activity presented to them with gusto, in the hope of showing the hunky hero what they are made of. Others are a little more reserved, worried about ruining their make-up and hair. As the show progresses, this changes to one-to-one liaisons, with the heat being turned up as more intimate moments are filmed. The Bachelor is supposed to use these dates to discover how he connects with each girl on an intellectual, emotional and also physical level. Lucky guy, some would say. He gets permission to make out with 25 girls, no consequences. At the end of each episode, the hero of the show delivers a rose to each contestant he wants to stick around a while longer. In a similar fashion to musical chairs, there is one less rose than there are contestants, so one young lady’s hopes and dreams of finding her soul-mate are dashed. Samui is becoming a popular filming location, and recently, an episode of ‘The Bachelor Switzerland’, was filmed on board the ‘Naga’, an elegant Turkish Gullet that operates as a tour and private charter boat for trips to the Angthong Marine Park, as well as around Samui. With the dramatic backdrop of limestone islets, turquoise waters and powdery white beaches, it’s no wonder why. I was lucky enough to be on board for the day assisting the Naga’s crew, and getting out the inside scoop on what actually happens when filming reality TV shows.
So here’s the spin. Reality TV. There is nothing real about it. Just consider for a moment how romantic it must be with 15 crew members watching your every move, and cameras and sound equipment shoved in your face every time an intimate moment is about to occur. Kind of kills the moment wouldn’t you say? Several previous contestants of The Bachelor USA have admitted in interviews that the show is scripted to a point. On March 15, 2010 creator Mike Fleiss appeared on 20/20 and confessed that he develops contestants into characters that will cater to the audience’s tastes, and that the show needs its fair share of villains every season. Fleiss has come under fire for admitting that The Bachelor has less to do with reality than it does making good television. After witnessing the making of an episode, albeit the Swiss version, I can confirm that these allegations are true. Although contestants are not given a specific script, they are prompted what to say, and so-called ‘spontaneous’ conversations often have take after take until the director is satisfied that the result is gripping enough for the audience. Another point worth mentioning, (and it’s probably the same for all reality shows) is the way it appears as if the contestants are the only people around. Not so. Besides the Naga’s crew of five staff, there were at least 15 others assisting with set layout, directing, cameras, sound, and even someone just to babysit the girls (apparently they go from being unknowns to divas in no time at all). By this point, there were only five girls left on the show, so tension was mounting as to whom our prince charming was angling towards as his final princess. But, from the viewers’ perspective, the only people on board the Naga, were The Bachelor himself, five girls batting their eyelashes at him and Captain Sa, to sail them into the sunset to their private beach. For the crew, it’s a tough job staying out of the camera’s way. At one point, a flying camera known as a ‘drone’, was launched from shore and smoothly flew towards the Naga, to film the ladies lazing on sunbeds, while our hero oiled their brown bodies. As this was an aerial shot, everyone else had to hide inside the cabins out of view. That’s reality TV for you. It also takes a lot longer to film an episode that the one hour it airs. Everything is tedious, from retake after retake, to setting the scene and staging, to prompting and coaching the contestants on what to say. At one point, the plan was for The Bachelor and a lucky girl to be whisked away in the speed boat to a deserted tidal beach. Here, they were to enjoy a romantic interlude with champagne and who knows what else. Experienced seafarer, Captain Sa,
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It also takes a lot longer to film an episode that the one hour it airs. warned the production team to get a move on, as they had about ten minutes until one of Samuiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s infamous storms approached, and the beautiful blue skies turned to torrential showers. Did they listen? No. So while the crew and the four remaining girls sat snugly undercover, our hero and his princess sat on the beach alone in a downpour. Who were the lucky girls now? Fortunately the shower was short-lived. As the skies once again cleared, the speedboat collected the two love-birds looking the worse for wear, for them to freshen up and start again. So there you have it. As interesting as the day was, being part of it forever ruined reality TV for me. I can no longer watch Survivor, The Amazing Race or 102 l www.samuiholidaymagazine.com
MasterChef without wondering what is going on behind the scenes. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Apologies to all the reality show junkies out there for bursting the bubble. At least Switzerlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s TV viewers will get a glimpse of how beautiful Samui and the Angthong archipelago are, so we can expect many more visitors from the land of chocolate and cheese!
______________________________________________________ For further information on The Naga, telephone 0 806 950 801 www.boutiqueyachting.com
Big Buddha Café The signs say ‘Free Sunset at BBC’ and ‘Best Sunset on Samui’. Although no single restaurant has actually had the audacity to charge for viewing one before, there can’t be many places on the island better than BBC Restaurant where you can enjoy a sunset in such comfortable surroundings whilst eating such good food. And if there was such a place that you would ever consider paying to watch a sunset from, it would be there.
The menu’s extensive, to say the least. The fare’s both Thai and International, including favourites from both cuisines. For mains, there’s a large selection of tasty snacks, salads, tried and tested favourites of both Thai and International cuisine and a special Italian food section, including some great pizza and lasagna dishes. And if you’re a fish lover, then you’ll certainly enjoy the salmon steak with basil sauce and side salad.
It’s located right next to the Big Buddha temple complex in Bangrak. The causeway to the temple starts virtually from the restaurant and from parts of the deck you can see the ornate archway itself. And the restaurant’s a prime spot for seeing the landmark statue of Big Buddha itself, floodlit at night, which is just a couple of hundred metres away.
Whatever you order, don’t forget desserts. BBC Restaurant has a select range of them and they’re hard to resist (even if you have just got through a massive main course!). Order the chocolate mousse and it arrives as a mini-mountain topped with whipped cream. Also highly popular is the apple pie (just like mum used to make) with custard or ice-cream.
BBC Restaurant has become an institution in itself and after extensive refurbishment it’s back again. It’s bigger, better and has more choice of seating than before. And it’s one of those very versatile places that offers somewhere perfect to sit for everyone. If you’re on your own with a loved one, you’ll find sitting at one of the beachside tables for two highly romantic. And if you’ve come with your family or a group of friends, you’ll have many options, too, including sitting on the expansive decking at one of the large tables or even in the new upstairs air-conditioned section.
The wine list has been expanded to offer a more broad range of southern hemisphere wines. The owners are a Thai - New Zealand family who enjoy the quality of southern wines and meats, as well as using the best that Thailand has to offer.
Meanwhile, on another upper deck, close to the spreading branches of a tamarind tree, there’s a generous-sized patio; again ideal for groups, and for those magnificent views across the sea. And, incidentally, if you’re getting married, BBC’s also an ideal place to hold your reception, not just for the setting, but also for the excellent catering.
BBC is open every day from 9am to late (generally the kitchen is open until 10pm, with a bar snack-menu available after 10pm until closing). For information and reservations, contact: Telephone: 0 7742 5089 or visit their website: www.bbcrestaurant.com
BIRDIES AND EAGLES
A run down on what golfers can expect at the magnificent Santiburi Golf Course. I wonder. Just how many golf balls do you think are lost, just waiting to be found in the roughs and wooded areas of Santiburi Golf Course? Driving around the course, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to see why golf carts are not only compulsory, but may only be driven by the caddies. The views are just too distracting! Add to that a challenging landscape, and well, there would just be too many carts in need of repair. This five-star, 18-hole, par 72, championship course is managed by Santiburi Samui Country Club. It was designed jointly by Pirapon Namatra and Edward Thilele, who were able to make the most of not only the mountainous landscape along Samuiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northern shore, but also the sweeping views. The terrain stretches from 30 to 290 metres above sea level, with greens and fairways strategically positioned between waterfalls, creeks and ravines.
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Santiburi Golf Course does not have members, meaning that no player gets preference.
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It’s estimated that an 18-hole game should take about four and a half hours to complete. That’s a long time in the tropical sun, especially with hills to climb and clubs to carry; another reason why carts and caddies are compulsory. According to Golf Operations Manager, Derek McKenzie, a driver is not needed on every hole, due to it being a mountainous course. And for non-golfers out there, he means the club, not the person driving the cart! For players teeing off from the correct tee, the course rewards accuracy, not a distance shot. Now most golf courses have tee boxes for men and for ladies, changing the distance appropriately. Santiburi has four, all marked by coloured coconuts. There are the gold coconut markers for professionals, blue for those with handicaps of four to ten, white for players with a handicap above ten, and ladies tee off from the red coconuts. This appeals to the pride of male golfers with high handicaps, who, at this course, don’t have to use the ladies tee box! There is no handicap requirement to be able to play on the course. But beginners should start on the 9-hole variant of the course, due to its less demanding nature.
www.impiana.com 91/2-3 Moo 3, Chaweng Noi Beach, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Thailand Tel: 66 (0) 77 448994
Fax: 66 (0) 77 448999
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Santiburi Golf Course does not have members, meaning that no player gets preference. Samui residents however, can play for half price, upon showing a work permit or long-stay visa. Golf can be a relatively costly sport, so it’s good to take advantage of specials and promotions. Wednesdays are ‘Sports Day’, meaning that the cost including green fee, golf cart rental and caddy fee is only 2,750 baht for 18 holes, and 1,400 baht for a nine-hole game. The ‘Twilight Promotion’ is available every day from 3:30 pm, and nine holes all inclusive will only set you back 1,500 baht per player. Shoes and club sets are available to rent for golfers who travel light, and don’t pack their clubs. What makes Samui’s only 18-hole course so spectacular, is the diversity of not only each hole, but also the landscape. There’s a sharp contrast between manicured areas and wild regions. Alongside rolling fairways, you see rugged moss-covered rocky outcrops, dripping with water, or coconut groves next to a perfect green. The hilly landscape means that the course’s own reservoirs fill naturally from runoff, and this is used to irrigate the course outside of the rainy season. Operations Manager, Derek, feels the toughest hole is number 10, which is the shortest par four. Then of course there is the signature hole, number 17, which is a 640-yard par five double-dogleg. As you reach the summit from the cart path, take time to admire the view across the bay to the neighbouring islands. Due to its beauty and design, Santiburi Samui Golf Course has been an essential stop on the PGA Asian Golf Tour for some years, hosting the tour from 2005 to 2008, and The Queen’s Cup from 2009 to 2012.
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Non-golfers who are looking for a lunch spot with a view are more than welcome to enjoy a meal at the open-air clubhouse, which overlooks the course as well as the bay of Maenam, and over to Koh Pha-Ngan. The menu offers Thai favourites at reasonable prices, and the bar is fully stocked. The road to Santiburi Country Club is concrete all the way, and is well sign-posted. Other facilities at the clubhouse include a fullyequipped locker room, as well as a driving range and practice green to sharpen skills before a game. The pro shop sells anything a golf enthusiast may require, from branded clothing to the latest equipment. “Golf without bunkers and hazards would be tame and monotonous. So would life.” B.C. Forbes, founder of Forbes Magazine. Now who’s up for a game?
____________________________________________ For more information, telephone: 0 774 217 00-8, or email email@example.com. www.santiburi.com
ENJOY THE VIEW - FEEL THE QUALITY - LIVE THE LIFESTYLE
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Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what to expect when visiting Thailand over Chinese New Year.
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Nobody can celebrate like the Thais. Point in fact – Thailand celebrates three New Years. Yes, three. The first is the evening of 31st December welcoming in the ‘Western’ New Year. The second is Chinese New Year, marking the first day of the of the Chinese calendar. And the third, is Thai New Year, known as Songkran, on 13th April; which is basically the world’s biggest water fight. In 2013, Chinese New Year falls on Sunday, 10th February. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. Festivities begin on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar, and end with the Lantern Festival, on the 15th day of the first month. It’s the most important annual festival observed by the Chinese and their descendants around the world. Although it’s widely celebrated in Thailand, Chinese New Year is not an official public holiday. However, some Chinese-owned businesses will close for a day or two. So what can you expect to happen over this time? Well amongst other things, a lot of noise! But here’s how a typical Chinese family would celebrate: Before New Year, it’s common practice to clean the house
thoroughly. It’s thought that this will keep the household from bad luck, and welcome good luck. Homes are decorated with lanterns and paper signs displaying fortune words such as ‘wealth’, ‘happiness’ and ‘longevity’. Red is the dominant colour, as it’s considered lucky for all Chinese. On New Year’s Eve, they usually enjoy a feast with their families. The meal will include pork, chicken, duck and traditional Chinese delicacies. The evening will end with a blast – literally as hundreds of red firecrackers set the night alight. Should you be joining a celebration, be sure to bring ear plugs as the sound is overwhelming, and the smell of sulphur hangs heavy in the air. As with Western New Year, people greet and wish each other peace and happiness for the year ahead. Children receive red envelopes, known as ‘lai see’, containing money as a token of good luck and good fortune. And traditionally, there’ll be lion-dancing too. So why the red, why the crackers, and why the lion-dancing?
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Although itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s widely celebrated in Thailand, Chinese New Year is not an official public holiday.
Mythology tells of a monster named Nian, who came in the New Year to eat the harvest as well as the people of the village. He particularly enjoyed devouring children. So, to prevent him eating someone inside the house, food was prepared and left outside, in the hope that the monster would prefer this to a juicy family member. One day, it was discovered that Nian was terrified of a small child wearing red clothing. It became apparent that he was afraid of red in general. So homes were decorated in red, people wore red, and red firecrackers were used to scare the villain away. Apparently this plan worked, as Nian never returned to the village again. This legend has inspired traditions over Chinese New Year. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not hard to spot where the celebrations are happening â&#x20AC;&#x201C; just listen for the firecrackers, and look out for the red glow from the lanterns. Lion-dancing is fascinating to watch.
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With teams competing, they dance on raised poles, leaping from one to the next in daring manoeuvres, to the sound of drums. Several participants fit inside the lion costume, so it takes quite a bit of co-ordination, and many hours of practice in the lead up to New Year. Other entertainment such as music, dancing and acrobatics can be seen at the celebration hubs, which will usually be around a Chinese temple. On Samui, you’ll find a lot of activity around the temple in Maenam, in the same area that the Thursday night walking street market is held. It’s well worth heading there for a bit of culture, and you’ll soon get caught up in the excitement. You’ll also find celebrations in Nathon, near the pier, as well as at the new Guan Yu Shrine in Hua Thanon.
compatible zodiac signs would be the ox or the rooster, but best to stay clear of monkeys and pigs. Whether you believe in the powers of the zodiac and astrology or not, it’s worth joining in the fun of Chinese New Year. Remember to wear red, and don’t forget the ear plugs.
According to Chinese astrology, the year beginning 10th February, 2013 and ending 30th January, 2014 in the Western calendar, is called the Year of the Snake. The snake is the sixth of the 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, and it’s considered lucky to have someone in the house with the snake zodiac sign. Now let’s face it, few of us would consider it ‘lucky’ to find a snake in our house. But, this much-feared creature is a good omen – well the zodiac variety, anyway. It symbolises the fact that nobody will ever go hungry, and anyone born in the year of the snake brings luck to himself, as well as the house – like having an amulet permanently around your neck, just by being born at the right time. The snake (or anyone born in the year of the snake) is considered to be intelligent and graceful. They’re materialistic, and like to be surrounded by luxurious things. Snakes are analytical, so seldom make impulsive decisions. They’re known to be convincing, getting whatever they want with ease, often resorting to devious plots to get what they desire – some would call this manipulative. Fancy being seduced? Then the snake is the partner for you. They’ll charm their way into your heart, but love you truly. They’re also insanely jealous, and can treat their partners as prized possessions, so beware if you’re an independent sort. On the work front, snakes are efficient and hard-working. But, they easily become bored, so the job better be interesting, or they’ll move on. Good career choices for snakes (of the human variety that is), would be jeweller, dietician, sociologist, painter, scientist or astrologer. Mmm... considering that they like to be surrounded by material possessions, none of these make the list of top moneyearners, so they’d do best to marry into wealth. Speaking of marriage, the most
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RELEASE YOUR INNER GODDESS! Nail Design offers nail and beauty treatments in a stylish setting.
Everyone needs their own space. If you’re sharing a home or hotel room with someone else, even the people you love, sometimes you need to take a break. This may involve a walk on the beach, a coffee with a good book at your favourite café, or ladies, perhaps a little pampering is in order. Taking time for yourself gives you a chance to unwind and gather new energy. Well, Nail Design in Bophut (opposite Peace Resort) opened its doors a few months ago, and has fast become the preferred escape and recharge spot for expat ladies and hotels guests in the area. Regulars are probably not too pleased that we’re sharing their secret, as now they may battle to get an appointment with their favourite nail therapist, Khun Ning. She’s been shaping and colouring nails for more than 15 years, and previously worked at Top to Toe in Chaweng, before joining Nail Design. Other than manicuring natural nails, the salon also offers both acrylic and gel treatments. For those that are new to the pampering game, here’s a little explanation of the two. Gel nails have become popular as they look really natural. Basically a hardening gel is applied to the nail, slowly being built up to form the desired shape and length on top of the real nail. Now what’s great about the product used by Nail design, is that the gel is already coloured. No chipping of polish, no fading, no touch ups required. Now that’s low maintenance for a busy lady. The gel nails last about one month, before a filler is required as the nail grows out. Oh, and it can be applied to toenails too. And in a tropical climate, every lady loves pretty toes peeking out of sandals. Leaving shoes outside, also means there’s no escape for ugly feet! A full set of finger or toenails costs 2,200 to 2,600 baht depending on whether you’d like natural, crystal or French sets. A fill-in session ranges from 800 to 1,200 baht.
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Crystals can be added to give a ‘bling bling’ effect.
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Acrylic nails on the other hand, are those pre-made nails that are glued to your own, and then filled in with gel. Those that prefer really long nails tend to go for this option. According to Khun Ning, French manicures – be they on natural nails, gel or acrylic – are the most popular. She is however, very talented when it comes to design, and has a steady hand to paint the most intricate and fine patterns on the nails. Crystals can be added to give a ‘bling bling’ effect. There’s a sample selection of designs to choose from, or you can come up with your own. Nail Design’s owner, Khun Sapawan Ruangchan (Khun Boom), believes in using the best products on the market. Nail lacquers, cuticle creams and other items used by the therapists are also available for sale. Pretty surroundings are important, and Khun Boom definitely has an eye for design. She’s also the owner of the swish New Star Resort in Chaweng Noi. Her good sense of taste has carried through to the salon, where she’s introduced a vintage theme with black crystal chandeliers that she sourced in Bangkok, patterned wallpapers, white leather couches and plush berry-coloured chairs. Now a good massage at a beach sala is great, but sometimes we’d prefer a little privacy, not to mention some air-conditioning. Well Nail Design offers more than just nail treatments, and the massage room is located on the second floor. Here massages are offered at beach-sala prices! Choose from a foot massage for 250 baht, or perhaps a coconut oil massage at 400 baht. A traditional Thai massage is only 300 baht, or de-stress after a hard day of shopping with a back and shoulder massage, also 300 baht. Hey, carrying all those shopping bags can pull you out of alignment you know! Need to get that body beach-ready? Nail design offers waxing at reasonable prices. A top of the range product is used, but does that translate to less painful? Well, no pain no gain as they say. Guys, we’ll let you in on a secret … they do waxing for men too, and handle their clients with the utmost discretion. If your pain threshold can take it, go from gorilla to gorgeous in a matter of minutes. We all know that beauty isn’t just skin deep. We could give the most perfect gift in a brown paper bag, and it would be well received. But hey, who doesn’t want to add a little bow or glitter to the packaging for effect?
_________________________________________ For more information or to make an appointment, telephone 0 7742 6993 or 0 831 736 444
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SACRED SAK YANT
The ancient art of sak yant, or spiritual tattooing, is practiced here on Samui by Ajarn Panthep.
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To most Westerners, Thailand is a mysterious place. But something is only mysterious if it’s not understood. Tattoos have gained popularity in recent years, with celebrities taking the lead and inspiring the masses. This body-art somehow symbolise bravery, in the sense that unlike having your hair coloured, this fashion statement is the result of hours of pain. They also symbolise confidence. Don’t like your new hair colour? Well, you can change it. Getting rid of a tattoo is not as easy, so you need to be pretty confident about what you want and where you want it.
would be a tattoo, and the trend for religious tattoos has been fuelled by so many celebrities sporting sak yant, including the influential Angelina Jolie. But surely it’s disrespectful to display a religious symbol, without truly understanding it’s meaning, as well as believing what it represents?
Lately, the trend has moved away from the ‘I love so-and-so’ or images of barbed wire and anchors type of tattoo, and has headed to something, hopefully, a little more meaningful. To understand the mystery behind these symbols permanently etched onto the bodies of Buddhist Thais – and now popular with Westerners, we spoke to Samui’s sak yant master, Ajarn Panthep Phruekthara, who explained the process, as well as what these intricate body-art patterns represent.
Many commercial tattoo parlours happily take money from tourists willing to pay for a sak yant. They merely browse through a catalogue, and pick the image they like, oblivious to its meaning. This is not the case with Ajarn Panthep. In fact, the application of the sak yant is the very last step in the process. Many visit him only for his teachings and never actually have the sak yant. Ajarn Panthep proudly states (with the help of his translator Pii Lek), that he’s taught visitors from over 40 countries. These teachings can last an hour, for those that are familiar with Buddhism, or could be days for those who have much to learn. He won’t proceed with the steps in applying a sak yant, until he feels the wearer understands what it symbolises.
Sak yant comes from the Thai words ‘sak’, meaning a tattoo, and ‘yant’, a sacred design; they are derived from Hindu texts which originated in India around 3,000 years ago. As Buddhism spread through Asia, their use spread into Cambodia and Thailand. The writing is a variation of an ancient script known as ‘khom’. Ajarn Panthep has studied the scripts, as well as the art of sak yant, for more than 20 years. He worked as a spiritual advisor and tattoo master – or ajarn sak – at various temples throughout Thailand, before setting out on his own here on Samui, a few years ago. Ajarn, is the Thai word for teacher, and once he explains the process, his title becomes less mysterious, as he’s more than just a tattoo artist. Many a tourist feels that a great souvenir from Thailand
Ajarn Panthep encourages you to look within, and examine your way of life. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and it’s important to understand that what we do in this life, will determine our fate in future lives. In much the same way, we need to rectify our mistakes from past lives. He wants his students to open up to him, and tell him things that they may not be able to tell family or friends. Forgiveness is important, as is saying sorry, and thank you. It’s considered crucial for the person receiving the sak yant, to understand ‘sin haa’ (five precepts), which are the five basic principles for all Buddhists to live their lives by. One of the functions of a sak yant, is to help the bearer to have control. Acquiring a sak yant would be a particularly good idea for anyone that struggles to control their
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Captain Kirk First floor restaurant in a central location on Chaweng Beach Road. Huge portions and reasonable prices make it a very popular choice. Highly recommended are both the Plate of Mixed Grill Seafood and the Australian Beef Tenderloin. Desserts are equally tasty and there’s a good selection of value-for-money wine to complete the dining experience.
Tel.: 0 812 705 376 Email: email@example.com For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ชั้นสองของตึก ติดกับพิซซ่าฮัท
Villa Bianca RISTORANTE ”EXCLUSIVE” ITALIANO Tastefully designed, and located at the beach, Villa Bianca features lobster specialties, and other superb cuisine prepared by its own Italian Chef. Excellent wines and French champagne complement all dishes. A unique experience that leaves diners wishing to return for more. Villa Bianca is nestled in amongst the converted old Chinese shop-houses overlooking the water in Fisherman’s Village.
Tel.: 0 7724 5041 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ที่ถนนหาดบ่อผุด
thoughts or emotions, such as anger or lust. The goal is to live life by these sin haa, which are: Don’t kill. Don’t lie or speak ill of others. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal, and control your use of alcohol and drugs. The sak yant is different for each person. With Ajarn Panthep, it’s not a question of browsing through a catalogue. From your birth date, he’ll work out not only what image or script is best for you, but also where on the body the sak yant should be placed. His teachings, along with the sak yant, will help to balance your four elements of earth, wind, fire and water, and therefore lead a more balanced life. Each person has a different part of the body that is lucky, and this is where the sak yant will be placed. It opens up the body for good luck and happiness, and offers protection.
Asia Travel is the most popular travel agency on Koh Samui. Established 15 years ago, they are well known to provide updated travel information reasonably priced for all international and domestic needs. Their second to none consultancy service will help you with all aspects of long or short stay requirements such as visa, work permit or company registration and finances. Asia Travel is well known for their quality services as mentioned in The Lonely Planet. Tel.: 0 7723 6120, 0 7742 1342 Fax: 0 7742 1185 Email: email@example.com For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ที่ถนนหน้าทอน
When Ajarn Panthep feels that you understand enough about the teachings of Buddha, and have reflected enough in order to change for the future; cleansing and starting anew, he’ll begin the five-step process of applying the sak yant. Firstly, you’ll prepare flowers and offerings, and pray together with Ajarn Panthep – pray for what you want to change about yourself – this would have been discovered in the hours of consulting with him before. Next, you’ll put water on a tree, symbolic of giving back, and saying thank you to the animals that have given their bodies for food. You’ll also give thanks to your family, both past and present, for all they’ve done. The third step is to pray again, before the fourth, which
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This is not the case with Ajarn Panthep. In fact, the application of the sak yant is the very last step in the process.
is meditation. Now some find meditation difficult, but Ajarn Panthep teaches you how to do this. This process calms the heart, and clears the mind. Look inside, and learn to control love and anger as well as your needs. Finally, he’ll begin to apply the sak yant. He uses metal needles, kept specially for sak yant, and applies the ink by hand, not machine. Gold leaf is applied to the image or text for good luck. Donations received by Ajarn Panthep for his teachings go to the Tepangkorn Temple, which is located on the mountain, about six kilometres behind the Lamai temple. Anyone interested in studying Buddhism or meditation further, can go to this temple with Ajarn Panthep, and learn with him as well as with the resident monks. Translator, Pii Lek, reminds us that it’s important to dress conservatively when visiting a temple, as well as to control our senses and sexual thoughts. If it’s just a fashion statement you’re after, by all means, visit a regular tattoo parlour, browse through endless designs, and pick the one that tickles your fancy. If you’re searching for more, and need help spiritually, perhaps a visit to Ajarn Panthep is the way to go. Respect the fact that the ancient khom text and and Buddha images are religious symbols, so don’t apply them unless you mean to live by what they represent. Just remember that although a sak yank can offer power and protection, if you don’t live by the sin haa, it won’t have any effect at all.
_____________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 869 437 464 www.samuisakyan.com or www.spiritbuddha.com
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The Library When the breakfast is not just a breakfast! Breakfast Culture” at The Library, Koh Samui Move away from bed to white mattress on the beach, just a step to the sea. Enjoy the first light of the dawn at Chaweng beach. Gather with friends at a big breakfast culture table with daily baked bakery, chic menus, fresh fruits & juice, hip magazines and the unique atmosphere of East Coast at The Page. “Be prepared for the difference of the breakfast here!”
Tel.: 0 7742 2767-8 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.thelibrary.co.th For Taxi: โรงแรมตั้งอยู่ข้างๆ บ้านสมุย รีสอร์ท
ZaZEN RESTAURANT If you are looking for something wonderful and different, Zazen restaurant is the place for you to discover. Their master chef emphasises the use of healthy organic ingredients while infusing dining participation. Zazen is truly one of the most romantic and serene beachside dining restaurants on the island. Every night this charming establishment lights up over 100 candles to set the ambiance for you to experience.
Tel.: 0 7742 5085 Email: email@example.com For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ในโรงแรมซาเซ็นบูทิครีสอร์ท
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radiance This is the original health destination on Koh Samui offering only the best Vegetarian, Raw and Healthy Thai Food. Listed as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world. Over 17 years serving the freshest mouthwatering healthy food. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Daily @ both locations 7:00 am until 9:30 pm. Radiance is a part of The Spa Resorts.
Tel. Beach: 0 7742 4666 Tel. Valley: 0 7723 0855 For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ในโรงแรมเดอะสปา รีสอร์ท
Noori india Discover authentic Indian cuisine at Noori India restaurant. Every conceivable Indian dish is on offer here - and they are all delicious. You can also visit their cooking school to learn the secrets of Indian food for yourself.
Tel.: 0 867 407 873 or 0 7741 3108 For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยตรงข้ามโรงแรมเฉวงบุรีรีสอร์ท และตั้งอยู่
THE DINING ROOM The Dining Room restaurant is an award winning Thai and international cuisine restaurant overlooking the ocean. Featured on the cover of Dining in Paradise, the restaurant is stunning and picturesque, and a perfect place for a romantic dinner by candlelight. Often described as one of the most beautiful restaurants on the island, The Dining Room offers weekly beachfront barbecues, live entertainment, music, great food and excellent service. Located between Lamai and Hua Thanon. Tel.: 0 7723 3020-4 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ในโรงแรมร๊อคกี้บูติครีสอร์ท
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ART NOT CRAFT A look beneath the surface to see what makes ‘The Night Sessions’ tick.
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Music and painting run parallel to each other. They both communicate a feeling or idea. And they both need technical skills in order to express this. That’s the bare minimum that’s needed. You need skill to paint a portrait, as you do in order to play a tune on a guitar. And the more skill there is, the more that people will marvel at it. But, woven into this, somewhere between the subject matter and the skill with which it’s conveyed, there’s another element. It doesn’t have to be there and it very often it isn’t. But, when it is, it makes the difference between a good piece and a great one. It’s the notion of heart or spirit, perhaps. Or integrity. But, call it what you will, it somehow touches at whatever there is in us that’s human. And it’s something that you’ll very quickly sense the presence of when you listen to The Night Sessions in action. The Night Sessions is made up of two young men, Alex and Pete, both originally from England, and both with lives which have run woven together since their late teens. But, as far as the early years go, there seems to have been little in common between them. Alex grew up against a constant backdrop of music: mainly roots blues and soul. “It was my mum.” he explained. “She was a real old blueser and loved to listen to people like Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howling Wolf and gutsy soul ladies like Aretha Franklin or Billie Holliday. My father owned a pub, and it was there, when I was 12, that I first heard Jimi Hendrix. I was completely stunned. The raw spirit and power – the sheer soul that drove his music. That was when I got my first guitar. I’d spend every minute – hours, days – up in my bedroom practising, playing, and practising some more. It was an intensely personal experience; a private thing. The idea of going outside and playing, performing or jumping around, made me cringe. I was constantly playing in the presence of close friends, but would stop if someone else came in to the room.”
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“But, over the next few years, fate kept pulling us back together again.”
Pete, on the other hand, emerged in a different direction. He was a sportsman through and through. “Football and cricket,” he reminisced. “I went through school being captain of both these teams, year after year, and it looked like I was all set for a career as a professional footballer. And then, when I was 16, I had a bit of a revelation – one of those ‘turning point’ moments. I injured my back. And during the long summer there was a lot of physiotherapy and treatment and I realised something. A career in sport could be over instantly, in a moment, at any time. And another thing: the whole aspect of competition was getting me down. I was being trained to pitch myself against others. We had to be stronger, better, and we had to work against the other teams, each and every time. I suddenly became aware that I needed something which had more harmony. I wanted to work with people who were doing the same thing as me, not work against them. So I switched to the music course.” This change of direction quickly revealed that Pete had an exceptionally fine voice. “I started to play guitar and piano at the same time,” he continued, “but it was my voice that did the trick, and my singing teacher took me under her wing. She was an oldschool type of opera singer, and she trained my voice for power and projection.” Pete enrolled on a music course at North Herts College, which at the time was the place in the region to study music. It was also where he was introduced to Alex by a mutual friend, and now prominent Brighton MC, Damien Lim, and started their musical relationship. At this time Pete was dynamic, a showman, the lead singer of a rock band. But, although he was only in his late teens, already this had become somehow lacking in the glamour and glitz that it seemed to promise. “I realised that I was more or less back where I started,” Pete continued. “But instead of being in competition against another football team, I was getting exactly the same feeling by posing about on stage. There was still some sort of harmony missing.”
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Pete: soulful yet outgoing; dynamic, powerful, talented. Alex: introverted, lacking in confidence in many respects, private, intense, subtle, talented. “Somewhere along the way we hit it off immediately,” Pete explained. “It was a turning point for both of us – we found we were swapping influences.” It appeared that they were, in all respects, opposite sides of the same coin. Now Pete’s vocals, before over-riding and powerful, found a new dimension and became more controlled, gaining more subtlety and a wider dynamic range. Now Alex’s introversion became less so. Neither wanted or needed to perform, content with the sharing, and the expansion into each other’s musical awareness. “Pete introduced me to the realm of vocal harmony,” Alex revealed. “He was aligned with The Beatles and Oasis. I was living in a kind of ‘electric ladyland’, a world of instrumental self-expression. We spent a couple of years writing music together before we went our separate ways. But, over the next few years, fate kept pulling us back together again.” Alex found himself in Germany, attached to a loving girlfriend, Lara. Pete, after following a winding path, emerged in Phuket, teaching English in the daytime and playing in the bars and restaurants at night. They kept in contact. Pete found himself missing the musical interaction that he’d enjoyed with Alex, and there were constant urgings to ‘come and give Thailand a try’. This finally happened in January 2012. Alex and Pete got together in Phuket – with the over-riding thought of ‘what to do in Thailand to make a living’. It had to be about music and playing together. Thus they spent days, nights, months, working to make and knit together enough material to perform several hour’s worth of music. And in April 2012, following a contact from a friend, they secured a provisional short contract on Samui, playing at Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa in Chaweng. And, when the management realised fully what they’d taken on board, this was immediately extended. www.samuiholidaymagazine.com l 129
When you first see them, at the beginning of a set, they don’t seem to be anything particularly out of the ordinary; two professional-looking musicians, both singing, one playing guitar and the other percussion. The first thing you’ll notice is that Alex’s electric solid-body Stratocaster sounds more like an acoustic – there’s a soft finger-strummed sound, not a metallic jangle. Then you’ll widen your eyes in pleasure as Pete’s mellow high-register alto voice handles U2’s ‘With or Without You’. His control will make you shiver – from a breathy talk-in to a sudden leap of one more octave up – again effortless, and with exactly the right amount of projection, so that it appears to be the vocal-equivalent of standing up and stretching, all in one fluid motion.
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Apart from the soft tone of Alex’s subtly-presented guitar-work, he seems at first to be almost a kind of addition to Pete’s front-man presence. Until they harmonise together – and then Alex’s gentle and tightly-twinned voice makes the two bigger than the sum of their parts – it’s exquisite. And also until you suddenly notice that Alex seems somehow to be playing the bass line as well as both rhythm and lead – all at the same time. It’s at this point that you’ll realise why both sides of the same coin work so well together. It all boils down to just one thing – no pretensions. No drum machine, no synthesiser, no posing. They’ve done away with the clichés and the packaging
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Come and Relax with us at The Cliff and River Jungle Resort in magnificent Khao Sok. Enjoy the natural beauty and fresh air at this Scenic Riverside location. Sightseeing Info - Canoeing - International Restaurant Luxury Recreation Facilities - Elephant Trekking
for more information and reservation please call 0 872 718 787, 0 812 721 221, 0 7791 3050 Fax. 0 7791 3099 www.thecliffandriver.com
and have finally been able to make some roots by being appreciated for exactly what they are â&#x20AC;&#x201C; superb musicians who have learned to effortlessly adjust to each other and project this combination to their audience. They are currently only to be seen playing at the Anantara Lawana and Banyan Tree resorts but, with their talent and integrity, you can bet it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take long until they find a much wider audience!
Rob De Wet
____________________________________________________ For more information, email email@example.com www.facebook.com/thenightsessions
P. CHAWENG GUEST HOUSE
100 ISLANDS RESORT
Located at the end of Soi Colibri, opposite Centara Grand Beach Resort. Thai owned and managed, offering the beauty of Thai style architecture combined with European comforts.
The first boutique hotel in Suratthani. Reasonably priced with friendly service and a family atmosphere. Relax by the pool or ease your tensions at the luxurious spa. Recommended by Lonely Planet
Tel.: 0 7723 0684
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PROPERTY CLASSIFIEDS House for Sale or Rent
Guesthouse for Sale - Chaweng
2 story house with 2 bedrooms en suite, upstairs master bathroom has bathtub, both bedrooms have separate dry and wet area. Downstairs has 2 rooms; kitchen and entertainment room. Flat screen TV with sound system. All 4 rooms have air-conditioning. Kitchen has oven, 4 burners & 2 refrigerators. Swimming pool 8x6 m with Jacuzzi. All furnished and ready to move in.
Guesthouse for sale with freehold land in Soi Green Mango. 5-storey building with 20 recently renovated rooms. Irish Pub and restaurant on ground floor with 4 pool tables and wide screen projector for sporting events. Chanote land title with limited company. Contact: 0 818 921 990 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Land size 1600m2, floor size 430m2 Price: 17 million baht Contact: Dr. Donya 0 846 257 222
Chaweng - Bar for Rent / Sale
House for Sale - Bang Por
Bar for rent in Soi Colibri, opposite Centara Samui Resort. Includes apartment on 1st floor with 2 ensuite bedrooms and seperate access. Price for rent : 29,000 Baht per month 3 months deposit No key money Price for sale: 4.9 million Baht
Thai style house located in peaceful residental area of Bang Por. Family home with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, spacious living room and kitchen area. Private swimming pool and large mature garden. Drive in garage and storage area under the house. Private sale by owner. Price: 12,000,000 Baht Land title: Chanote Land: 1,000 m2 House: 200 m2
Contact Khun Na: 0892914747 (English and Thai)
Contact: 0 818 921 990 E-mail: email@example.com
Private real estate 180-Degree views
Shophouse for Rent - Chaweng
The actual view from this house is the picture above. This 4-bedroom house has been built according to European standards on 972 sqm. It is centrally located near Nathon and only 500 metres from the main road in a small, warm and tidy community. Priced very competitively, this house is ideal for couples or young families ready to live in paradise. Price: 8 Million THB only
2 unit shophouse for rent in Soi Colibri, opposite Centara Grand. 2 floors (each floor appx. 8 x 14 meters). Ground floor comprises of an unfurnished restaurant. 2nd floor comprises of 2 unfurnished rooms/apartments (no kitchen).
Tel: 0 819 709 632 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Khun Na: 0892914747 (English and Thai)
Price: 40.000 Baht / month, paid every 6 months in advance. (no deposit or key money).
Shophouse for Sale - Chaweng
House for Sale - Chaweng
2 unit shophouse for sale in Soi Colibri, opposite Centara Grand. 3 floors (each floor appx. 8 x 14 meters). Ground floor comprises of an unfurnished restaurant. 2nd floor comprises of 2 unfurnished rooms/apartments (no kitchen). 3rd floor comprises of one large luxury apartment with jacuzzi, western kitchen etc. 3rd floor apartment has separate entrance.
House for Sale close to central Chaweng with small private garden. This kid-friendly residential project features a communal swimming pool, concrete road access, security and no through traffic. Located 5 minutes from Chaweng Beach, Bangkok Samui Hospital, Tesco Lotus, Big C, Makro.
Price: 13,900,000 Baht
Land title: Chanote
Contact Khun Na: 0892914747 (English and Thai)
Call Khun Na: 0 892 914 747
Price: 3.200.000 Baht
Chaweng - Shophouse for Sale Shophouse for sale in Soi Colibri, opposite Centara Samui Resort. Ground floor ideal for office space, retail shop or small bar/restaurant. Apartment on 1st floor with 2 ensuite bedrooms and seperate access. Price:
4 million Baht
Graeme 0 860 193 166
Profitable Established Business for Sale 18 hole, concrete tracked, mini golf course. Member of the World Mini Golf Federation (one of only 2 in Thailand). 3020 m2 of land including 2 storey house with foreign ownership. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 2 extra apartments. Sale includes well established, profitable Thai Limited Company. Location: Near Choeng Mon Price: 1,300,000 Euro Contact:
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Jojo, 0 817 879 148 www.minigolfsamui.com
Chaweng Whispering Palms Condominium Suites for Rent / Sale
Samujana Villa 17
1-2 bedroom apartments, 51 sqm - 117 sqm. Fully furnished, TV, DVD, fully fitted kitchen, fridge, microwave. Free Wi-Fi Internet, Telephone, CCTV, 24 hour security. Tropical landscaping, 2 Swimming Pools, Sauna/Steam, Fitness. Free shuttle Service. Located in Chaweng (near Tesco Lotus). Rent from 15,000 baht monthly (yearly contract), sale from 2.8 million baht.
Combine nature and luxury at this spectacular, contemporary residence built right into the Samui hillside. Situated just ten minutes from the island's airport, Samujana 17 crowns a brand new development on Koh Samui's northwest coast and offers the ultimate in secluded luxury living. The award winning design features flat, planted roofs, open-plan living spaces with natural rock features and tropical landscaping.
Contact: Steve: 081 452 5895, Pop: 081 832 5895 Website: www.samui-condo.com, www.dsdsamui.com Email: email@example.com
Price: US$1,800,000 Tel: 0 811 901 540 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.punrai.com
LH0012: Bangmakham 2 Bedroom House Located in the up and coming area of Bang Makham. Two double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, infinity pool, high specification Kitchen and fittings throughout. Good off street parking and easy access to the beach, less than a kilometre away. Stunning sea & sunset views. Land area 1,120 sqm, Chanote Title. Priced to sell at 15.8m Thai Baht. Tel: Email: Website:
0 811 901 540 email@example.com www.punrai.com
Bophut - Whispering Palms Private Pool Villa House for rent/sale 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms with shower and bath tub. Living room with furniture, TV, DVD and UBC. Fully fitted kitchen. A/C throughout. ADSL, telephone line. Private swimming pool. 24 hour security & CCTV. Land size 440 sqm, floor size: 240 sqm. Locatied in Bophut (near Sunday Resort). Rent from 55,000 baht per month (yearly contract), sale 9.7 million baht.
Contact: Steve 081 452 5895, Pop 081 832 5895 Website: www.dsdsamui.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RH0015: Samujana Villa 19
Chaweng – Holiday Villa Houses for rent/sale
Located in the desirable Choeng Mon area overlooking Chaweng Bay & Koh Matlang is the up market Samujana Estate. Villa 19 has 4 double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, massive infinity edge swimming pool, great in door outdoor flow for dining and living, fully equipped Media room with Sono’s surround sound system indoors and out. Fully specified Kitchen, Jacuzzi, BBQ area, ample pool deck space and fully furnished. On-site staff, maid quarters. The estate has a doubles Tennis court, full CCTV and manned security patrols and only a stone’s throw to the beach. Just move in! Priced well at USD2.5m.
2 storey villas with 2/3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with shower and bath tub. Living room with furniture, TV & DVD, fully fitted kitchen. 4 A/C’s. ADSL, CCTV and 24 hour security. Landscaped garden with swimming pool, pavilion and waterfall. Private jacuzzi and whirlpool. Located in Chaweng (near Tesco Lotus). Rent from 25,000 baht per month (yearly contract), sale: 4.5 million baht. Contact: Steve 081 452 5895, Pop 081 832 5895 Website: www.dsdsamui.com Email: email@example.com
Tel: 0 811 901 540 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.punrai.com
Samujana Villa 11 A contemporary design home with 3/4 bedrooms, with stunning sea views across Koh Samui's east coast toward Chaweng Bay. Stylish & unique this beautiful villa is a highly specified build, residential project in the desirable Choeng Mon area, just 10 minutes from Chaweng. Sale US$1.5 million, rent from US$250 / night Tel: Email: Website:
0 811 901 540 email@example.com www.punrai.com
Bophut - Whispering Palms Resort Houses for rent/sale (2 BR) 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with shower and bath tub. Living room with furniture, TV, DVD and cable. Fully fitted kitchen. 3 A/C's. ADSL, telephone line. Communal swimming pool, sauna and steam room. 24 hour security & CCTV. Located in Bophut (near Sunday Resort). Rent from 25,000 baht per month (yearly contract), sale: 4.2 million baht Contact: Steve 081 452 5895, Pop 081 832 5895 Website: www.dsdsamui.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chaweng - Chaweng Pattana Townhouses for rent/sale
LH0013: Bangmakham 3 Bedroom House Bang Makham, less than a kilometre drive from beach & restaurants. Presentable 3 double bedroom, 2 en-suite bathrooms, 1 separate bathroom, large living, dining & kitchen, maids quarters, ample off street parking. Sea & sunset views. Ample room on 1,560 sqm site for renovations, pool etc to make this a very desirable property. Chanote Title. Priced to sell at 11.7m Thai Baht.
2 storey townhouses with 2 bedrooms and bathrooms. Living room with furniture, TV, DVD and cable. Fully fitted kitchen. 3 A/C’s. ADSL, telephone line. Landscaped garden with communal swimming pool and pavilion. 24 hour security. Located in Chaweng (near Tesco Lotus) Rent from 15,000 baht per month (yearly contract), sale: 2.2 million baht
Tel: 0 811 901 540 Email: email@example.com Website: www.punrai.com
Contact: Steve 081 452 5895, Pop 081 832 5895 Website: www.dsdsamui.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LH0015: Bang Por 1 Bedroom House Bang Por - 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, living & dining room. Great sea view. Land size 140 Tarangwa. Chanote title. Price: 3 Million Baht
Tel: Email: Website:
0 811 901 540 email@example.com www.punrai.com
Bophut - Whispering Palms Resort Maenam - Baan Suan Neramit House for rent/sale 2 storey house with 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.Living room with furniture, TV, DVD and cable. Fully fitted kitchen. 5 A/C's. ADSL, telephone line. Landscaped garden with private swimming pool and pavilion. 24 hour security. Located in Maenam (opposite Maenam post office). Sale 5 million baht. Contact: Steve 081 452 5895, Pop 081 832 5895 Website: www.dsdsamui.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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WATS TO SEE The legend of Guanyin, the many-armed goddess at Wat Plai Laem. Samui is an island. A holiday island. And, if you don’t know the place that well, your first impressions will no doubt be that it’s fun. It’s all about taking things easy, relaxing by the pool or tripping out for the day. There’s a hundred excursions to pick, from football golf to a deep sea dive. Unlike Bangkok, this is where you come to have a good time. Bangkok’s all about culture – yes? The Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha, Jim Thompson and all the other museums, plus the cruise up the Chao Phraya River. But Samui? Well, of course, we have our culture, too. Although, when you scan all the leaflets and brochures on your resort’s excursion desk it doesn’t exactly leap out at you from amongst all of the fun things to do. And yet there’s a definite off-beat humour here when it comes to the spiritual side of things – an aspect that’s not apparent in the cultural vastness of Bangkok. Being a Buddhist nation you can’t go far without seeing evidence of this – just make a note of how many gigantic old trees are swathed with prayer ribbons and gifts of respect.
And then dig a bit deeper. There’s the wonderful Secret Buddha Garden up in the hills – one man’s lifetime of making sacred sculptures. There’s the mummified monk in the temple at Wat Khunaram, on whose nose some mischievous novice or another saw spiritually fit to place a pair of sunglasses. The Thais have a gentle sense of humour which runs through everything. And it’s very much in evidence at Wat Plai Laem. The most-visited of all of Samui’s temples is most certainly the ‘Big Buddha’, at the end of Bangrak Beach, on the island’s north coast – more properly known as Wat Phra Yai. The gigantic 15 metre-high golden statue can be seen for miles around, even from the air as you come in to land. And, as a result of this, some would say that it’s become a little commercialised, with its shops and souvenirs and restaurants. It’s the main attraction all right. And in many ways it overshadows its neighbour, the delightful and quirky lesser-known temple of Wat Plai Laem, that’s right next door.
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Unlike many of Samui’s other cultural attractions this one is not antique. It was built in 2004 and designed by one of the nation’s foremost artists, Jarit Phumdonming, who personally spent three years finishing off the exterior decoration. It’s main feature is a gigantic white multi-armed statue of the goddess Shiva. Two points here straight away. There are so many other treasures to examine – some wonderfully huge and slightly offbeat smiling Buddhas – as well as the big image of ‘Shiva’. And the second point is that it’s not Shiva at all. It’s a Chinese goddess by the name of Guanyin. The background of this deity is fascinating. Her origins are misty, dating back to before the time of Christ, back to the period of the great Chinese dynasties. To begin with she was very much a minor figure in the greater scheme of things, representing unconditional love, fertility and health. But by the first century, along with the introduction of Buddhism into China, her veneration had grown. And within a few hundred years her standing had spread further afield and reached Japan via Korea, soon after Buddhism was first introduced into the country in the middle of the seventh century. Even more fascinating is the myriad of forms that she takes. With statues of Buddha it’s a surprise to see a depiction that’s standing or lying down; they are rare but do exist. By far the norm is to be sitting cross-legged. But you have to keep in mind the way that the status of Guanyin has evolved over the centuries. For a very long time in her early days she was a bodhisattva – an ‘enlightened being’. And as such had the ability to take the form of any type of male or female, adult or child, human or non-human being, in order to teach the Dharma to us struggling mortals.
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Zico’s is an electric combination of colourful calypso, vibrant carnival rhythm and dance a unique party experience not to be missed! Every night is fiesta night at Zico’s. The beat goes on, and so does the dancing. Party down until the early hours at our spacious bar and lounge area with Brazilian influenced bargrooves. Tuck into a superb selection of all you can eat grilled seafood and meats, prepared just for you, complimented by Samui’s largest salad bar.
ZICO’S BRAZILIAN GRILL & BAR Discover a fantastic Churrascaria Service with 17 different meats while bumping to the beats of samba performed by 2 authentic professional dancers from Brazil.
Price 885THB net per person Price 440THB net per child (6- 12 years old) Finish your evening at the Zico’s Bar and listen to the greatest hits while sipping on a fresh and tasty Caipirinha. An unforgettable evening to enjoy with your friends and family!!!
Get 10% off our buffet with 1 free Caipirinha, signature cocktail LIVE from Brazil 100% LIVE
Everyday except Mondays From 20.00 - 22.00 hrs. Enjoy live Samba at the Zico’s restaurant & Bar performanced By 2 authentic Brazilian dancers from Sao Paulo. A true “Not to Miss “evening with your friends and family.
CHAWENG BEACH: OPPOSITE CENTARA GRAND BEACH RESORT SAMUI
T : 077 230 500 I E : email@example.com I Facebook: Zico’s Grill’n Bar Open daily: Bar 17.00 - 01.00 hrs., Restaurant 18.00 - 23.00 hrs. W W W .CEN TA RA HO TELS RE S OR T S . C OM
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More often than not, however, she is represented with her hands holding symbols of mercy and promise; a jar of water, a willow branch, a white parrot, a basket of fishes. In one legend, however, having vowed never to rest until she had freed all beings from their earthly woes, she attempted to reach out to all those who needed help, but found that her two arms weren’t enough and shattered into pieces. The Buddha Amitabha, seeing her struggle, gave her a thousand arms to make the job easier. Unfortunately this didn’t lend itself so well to creating images of the goddess, so Guanyin became depicted with anything between eight and 20 arms, and with each hand holding a symbol of blessed aid to those who are weighed down by the burdens and toil of mortal life. The statue of Guanyin at Wat Plai Laem bears witness to the strong Chinese-Thai culture on Samui – and has 18 arms. The temple compound here is built around a lake that’s teeming with fish, and Guanyin’s statue is flanked by two long halls just crammed with exquisite and colourful murals and frescoes depicting mythological tales and legends. And on the lake, on a platform of its own with a ceremonial hall and linked by a blazinglydecorative walkway, sits a chuckling Buddha that’s all of 70 feet high – even bigger than the Big Buddha! This is nothing short of eccentric, and makes one wonder if the vision of this came from a descendant of that smiling monk who popped the sunglasses on the mummy at Wat Khunaram. It’s certainly an excellent instance of the more cheerful side of Buddhism! I’ve heard it said that after you’ve walked around Wat Plai Laem for ten minutes or so, that’s it. There’s nothing to do so you may as well head for home. But that all depends on what you’re looking for. There’s no ice-creams or cafés and you can’t buy the T-shirt to show you’ve been there, true. But when it comes to splendour and majesty, together with an over-riding sense of tranquillity and peace, there’s not much to beat it. Plus, of course, you won’t often get to see a goddess with 18 arms and a gigantic grinning Buddha with a big yellow fan around his head, together in one place, either. But then, this is Samui. And here most things are lighthearted and fun – even some of the Buddhas!
Rob De Wet
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Bo Phut Resort & Spa
FEATURING THE OUTSTANDING 18 HOLE CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF COURSE FOR YOUR PLAYING PLEASURE, THE SANTIBURI GROUP WELCOMES YOU TO EXPERIENCE OUR FINE DINING AND THE HOSPITALITY OF TWO EXCEPTIONAL BEACH RESORT GOLF AND SPA.
Santiburi Resort: 12/12 Moo1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84330 Tel: +66 (0) 7742 5031-5 Fax: +66 (0) 7742 5040
Bo Phut Resort: 12/12 Moo 1, Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320 Tel: +66 (0) 7724 5777 Fax: +66 (0) 7724 5776
Sales Office: 245/7 Sukhumvit 31, Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand Tel: +66 (0) 2260 2530-5 Fax: +66 (0) 2260 7570 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.santiburi.com www.samuiholidaymagazine.com l 139
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