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Rain or Shine Clearing the confusion about Thailand’s seasons

For the Love of Fashion

Fashionistas will love what designer Nikky Noodles has up her sleeve for her fashion brand, NiCol B


SAMUI’S LUXURY VILLA BEACHFRONT HIDEAWAY

THE SEA BEACH WEDDING On the secluded Bang Po beach, The Sea Koh Samui – Samui’s luxury beachfront villa hideaway offers an unrivaled combination of relaxation and sophistication. Enchanting pristine beaches and seductive intimate spaces create just the right atmosphere for a romantic wedding or honeymoon. Whether you picture an intimate drinks party in a contemporary space streaming with daylight or a traditional dinner and dance for 50 of your closest friends, our Executive Chef and Sommelier provide a bespoke service to ensure your day is as perfect as you imagined.

For more details call our wedding planner on T 077 960 567 l E book@TheSeaSamui.com l W TheSeaSamui.com


A Warm Welcome

Editor

Graeme Malley graeme@siammap.com

Graphic Designer Wunvilai Punnern - Meow

Photographer Ugrit Komlue - Grit

Feature Writer Rob De Wet

Feature Writer Rosanne Turner

Feature Writer Colleen Setchell

Feature Writer Annie Lee

Webmaster

Seksak Kerdkanno - Klauy

Sales & Marketing Director Nipawan Chuaysagul - Ning 0 898 783 891

ning@siammap.com

Financial Director Kasper Bjørk kasper@siammap.com

Managing Director Henrik Bjørk henrik@siammap.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: info@siammap.com www.siammap.com

In January, it’ll feel like déjà vu as we celebrate New Year not once, but twice! Yes, that’s right. Not only do we celebrate New Year on January 1st with the Gregorian calendar, but this year, Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) falls on the 31st. So just as you thought you could recover after the celebrations, it all begins again! Perhaps it’s better to save those resolutions until February… They say you can’t really get lost on an island – well not for too long anyway. If you keep going in the same direction, you’ll end up back where you started. But if you’re not one for enjoying the adventures of getting lost (or temporarily geographically challenged), then read our story on finding your way around the island.

All Rights Reserved

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. 2014

Weather in Thailand is about as predictable as, well… weather in Thailand! But if you’re planning a holiday or event, and want to better your chances of selecting the best weather month, in this issue, we play weatherman and give you a rundown on what to expect, weather-wise that is. There’s plenty more to keep you entertained in this issue, including finding out about our neighbour, Koh Tao, reading up on the history of Thai music and finding out the best way to bring your holiday money to Samui. Happy reading!

Distribution at Bangkok Airport courtesy of Bangkok Airways. Reservation Center: 1771 Samui Chaweng Office: 0 7760 1300 www.bangkokair.com

Please recycle or pass on to a friend.


CONTENTS

32 18 Tiny Tao A look at one of the nicest little getaways anywhere; Koh Tao.

26 Let’s Rumba! Magic Alambic Rum Distillery has been producing top quality rum on Samui for 11 years.

32 A Ten Year Anniversary Chandra celebrate by opening their third and biggest store on Phuket

38 Rain or Shine Clearing the confusion about Thailand’s seasons.

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For the Love of Fashion Fashionistas will love what designer Nikky Noodles has up her sleeve for her fashion brand, NiCol B.

50 The Art of Nature Chaweng’s Nature Art Gallery is one place you’ll keep coming back to!

56 Why Here? We put the question to John Ens, hotelier, green coordinator and well-known Samui personality.

86 60 Lost and Found Some hints and tips about navigating your way around the island.

64 Competitive Cooking Nora Beach Resort’s kitchen staff get the chance to be chef for a day.

68 Sacred Sakyant The ancient art of sak yant, or spiritual tattooing, is practiced here on Samui by Ajarn Panthep.

74 Express Yourself Psylo is for free-thinkers who like to stand out from the crowd.

80 Tunes of Thailand Thailand has some interesting instruments and musical history.

86 Sublimely Personal Furnishing your house requires more than a visit to the local megastore!

92 Surf, Turf ’n Sport, Sport! Heading for a great time at Bondi Chaweng.

98 Mind and Soul We take a close look at SCL International School to see what it has to offer.

64 104 Benji and the Best What inspired two young Thai professionals give up their corporate careers for an island lifestyle?

110 Aqua Desire Aqua Samui’s luxury development is nothing short of stunning!

116 La Belle Hideaway Sumptuous, smooth and serene sums up one of Samui’s newest resorts – Vana Belle.

122 Don’t Splash Your Cash! A look at the best ways to bring your holiday money to Samui.

128 More than Just a Pharmacy Morya increases our feeling of well-being

132 Small but Perfectly Formed Hin Lad waterfall is well worth the hike.

140 West Coast Wonder If you’re looking for a villa-type retreat, Siam Residence is a fantastic beachside option.


Natural Elegant Boutique Resort Koh Samui, Thailand

Royal Thai Taste Former Royal Family private chef, Ajarn Amintra Dinakara takes you to a world of Ancient Royal Thai Cuisine.

Ciccio Pizza Chef Marco’s magic hands blend the finest Italian ingredients with his own signature dough, using a wood fired oven to cook to perfection.

Portofino Ristorante The only true Italian fine dining restaurant on Koh Samui, in the talented hands of Chef Pasquale Procida.

Imperial Boat House

Sala Samui < To Big Buddha

Choengmon Beach, Koh Samui

Choengmon Road

+66 7742 8700

rsvn_msv@muangsamui.com

To Chaweng Beach >

www.muangsamui.com


Mediterranean Mediterranean Cuisine Cuisine Amidst Amidst aa panoramic panoramic dreamscape dreamscape that that overlooks overlooks the the pristine pristine Crystal Crystal Bay, Bay, The The Cliff Cliff warmly warmly invites invites you you to to aa truly truly unforgettable unforgettable dining dining experience experience on on Koh Koh Samui. Samui.


www.thecliffsamui.com www.thecliffsamui.com

3

, 2013 & 2014

Choeng ChoengMon Mon

For For reservations reservations call call 077 077 448 448 508 508 Kitchen Kitchen open open 12:00 12:00 pm pm 10:00 10:00 pm pm -- Bar Bar open open 12:00 12:00 pm pm -- 2:00 2:00 am am

Tapas Tapas Bar Bar open open from from 12:00 12:00 pm pm -- 7:00 7:00 pm pm


THE R E S TA U R A N T

Pavilion presents the best in Samui Boutique Resort dining.

The Patio Restaurant serves authentic Italian and Thai delicacies. Experience a romantic meal with outstanding sea views. The Look-Out Bar is the ideal place to unwind with a drink by our beach side pool. Wedding on the Beach Experience the most special day of your life in romantic tropical surroundings at Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort. Select from our Western, Thai and Chinese wedding options. Let us tailor make a celebration for you or choose one of our wedding packages.

Lamai Beach, Koh Samui Tel: 0 7742 4420, 0 7742 4030 Fax: 0 7742 4029 info@pavilionsamui.com www.pavilionsamui.com


Serving an exciting variety of Thai, Italian and seafood from our open, show kitchen with genuine pizza oven. Choose from open air seating on the first floor with ocean view or air-conditioned seating on the ground floor. Live music every night.

Open daily from 5 pm till 11 pm Located on Lamai Beach Road opposite Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort Reservation: 077 424 420


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

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.

Lamai

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. 14 l www.samuiholiday.com

Mae Nam

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.


NathoN

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

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

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.samuiholiday.com l 15


Bang Rak

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. 16 l www.samuiholiday.com

Hua Thanon

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.

The Interior

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.


Iconic Beachfront Restaurant Daily Modern European Asian Cuisine. Oyster Sunday Brunch from noon - 4 pm. With breathtaking views and an unrivalled ambiance, RockPool is an unmissable Samui dining attraction. Resting on the rocks just a few metres above the ocean, the RockPool terrace offers an exquisite beach-side dining experience. Chef Christopher's menu is an a la carte journey embracing an exotic tapestry of the freshest ingredients, delicately prepared to enhance each individual flavour. RockPool is the perfect location for all celebrations, and is equally delightful for a casual, gourmet lunch or a romantic dinner. Sunday Brunch is a long, lazy affair. RockPool is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Samui Royal Holdings Project

RESERVATIONS: 077 234 500 LOCATED BETWEEN CHAWENG AND CHOENG MON. COMPLIMENTARY ONE WAY TRANSFER TO OR FROM YOUR RESORT. Email: info@kandaresidences.com www.kandaresidences.com


TINY TAO A look at one of the nicest little getaways anywhere; Koh Tao. Koh Tao is the third island that’s north of Samui, about 30 kilometres to the north-west of Koh Pha-Ngan, and about the same distance away from the mainland city of Chumphon as it is from Samui. It’s small, only around 21 square kilometres in all. It’s easy to wonder just how such a tiny island could have become probably more popular than the much larger Koh Chang (which has in excess of 250 hotels and resorts). But then all becomes clear when you realise that Koh Tao (in association with Chumpon) has now developed into one of the most popular diving centres in Thailand.

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And also, interestingly, Koh Tao has a more colourful history than either of its two neighbouring, and larger, islands. It seems that European explorers mapped this part of the Gulf of Siam as far back as the late 17th century, with cartographer John Thornton dubbing the island ‘Pulo Bardia’. In 1852, the explorer Frederick Arthur Neale, describes the people and wildlife of ‘Bardia’. According to the account there were farms and even cows in a village on the bay on the west side of the island. And he includes a somewhat imaginative illustration of showing huts and palm trees (although no signs of a dairy industry!).


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It wasn’t all that much later when Thailand’s most beloved monarch, HRH King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, visited Koh Tao. He was an enterprising and forwardlooking ruler, and the first of the Thai Kings to seek trade and diplomatic ties with Western nations. He often went abroad for long periods and, on his return and prior to taking up his duties again in Bangkok, would take a two or three week break on Koh Pha-Ngan. On June 18th, 1899, it appears that he sailed over to inspect Koh Tao. Already the island had become sparsely populated by nomadic Chinese trader-pirates and the name had changed, becoming locally known as ‘Turtle Island’ – in the Thai language, ‘Koh Tao’. Whether to mark the territory as Thai, or simply as a gesture – the reason is unknown – he left his monogram on a huge boulder at Jor Por Ror Bay, next to the island’s main beach, Sairee Beach. This has since become a holy place and is still worshiped today.

In 1933 the island was used as a political prison. Conditions were harsh, as there was no natural water and nothing growing there apart from coconuts and fruit. And so, in 1947, Thailand’s prime minister ordered a stop to the use of Koh Tao as a prison and received a royal pardon for all prisoners there. They were returned to their families on the mainland, and Koh Tao became once again uninhabited. But as soon as this happened, two brothers from Koh Pha-Ngan, Khun Uaem and Khun Oh, sailed out and claimed the most fertile part of the island for their own, even though it was still under Royal Patronage. They brought their families over and began to cultivate their patch, thus forming the first generation of the present-day community.

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It was in the 1980’s not long after Samui was ‘discovered’, that the first travellers came across Koh Tao – “a gorgeous, untouched island paradise”. There was no ferry service (certainly no airport, not even on Samui) and the journey was an adventure in itself, haggling to negotiate a trip in one of the ‘long-tail’ boats from the neighbouring islands to get there. And, over the years, Koh Tao’s reputation as a diving, snorkelling and beach destination continued to grow steadily. Initially everyone went purely for the diving: even all the dive schools on Samui took their customers there, and still do. The area around Tao in particular, and in-between there and Pha-Ngan in general, was not only teeming in every sort of marine life but there were also numerous wrecks to explore. Today it has emerged as one of Thailand’s prime island destinations and has become one of the top diving location for PADI scuba certification in South East Asia And, as the island grew in popularity, so the associated amenities of guest houses, resorts, restaurants, bars and shops appeared. Dive packages which included accommodation abounded. Only a few years ago, there was little in the way of night-life. Divers take their activities seriously, and an early night was the order of the day! But today more and more people are now venturing there 22 l www.samuiholiday.com

simply to enjoy a quiet and comparatively unspoiled beach holiday. The number of bars and restaurants have increased, and some notably-up-market resorts have sprung up. Although there as yet no 5-star names (and that’s possibly one of the attractions for many visitors) there are several dozen which are rated in the 4-star bracket. Plus, of course, there’s everything in-between, from budget family accommodation through to huts on the beach. Some say that Koh Pha-Ngan today is like Samui used to be 20 years ago. If that’s the case, then Koh Tao can’t be following all that far behind. It hasn’t sprouted ATMs and 7-11s on every corner, that’s for sure. Yet it probably has all the amenities that most people could ever want. All-in-all, Koh Tao has developed into one of the nicest little getaways anywhere!

Rob De Wet


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 and Choeng Mon. 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: info@baanhaadngam.com, booking@baanhaadngam.com www.baanhaadngam.com


The Place! The People! The Party! …amazing place for extraordinary people…

KC Beach Club & Pool Villas – new stylish & modern hotel with 42 luxury rooms & pool villas. Great entertainment program in the Beach Club. Open bar & à la carte dining.

Follow us on

: KC Beach Club & Pool Villas Koh Samui


KC Beach Club & Pool Villas Koh Samui on Chaweng Beach Every Saturday & Sunday Pool Party from 12 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 6 pm Weekend Lunch Buffet from 1-5 pm In House DJ Club Music

www.kcbeachclub.com rsvn@kcbeachclubsamui.com Tel: +66 (0) 77 915 155


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LET’S RUMBA! Magic Alambic Rum Distillery has been producing top quality rum on Samui for 11 years. The French have a long history of being master distillers and winemakers, from the wines of France to the rums of the French Caribbean. And French expats to Samui, Michel and Elisa Gabrel have ensured the reputation of French liqueur is no less superior here in Thailand at the Magic Alambic Rum Distillery. Sadly, Michel passed away in 2012, but Elisa continues to produce outstanding rum with the help of their Thai manager, Khun Mee Sak Dirawwanich. Located on seven rai of land in Baan Thale, between Hua Thanon and Thong Krut, Magic Alambic is a small distillery by international standards – but here, quality is more important than quantity. Still, this season, they’ll manage to produce 18,000 bottles of rum from 220 tons of sugar cane from Nakhon Si Thammarat in Southern Thailand, where a farmer grows sugar cane especially for the distillery. The

cane season is from January to May, and it’s all hands on deck when a truck of cane arrives, as it needs to be crushed as soon as possible after being cut. Elisa explains that there are two kinds of rum, agricultural (more properly known as rhum agricole) and industrial rum, which are very different kinds of alcohol. Rhum agricole is produced by distilling fresh, fermented cane juice, while industrial rum is the result of distilling molasses, a residue of the sugar manufacturing process. Magic Alambic produces rhum agricole, which is famed throughout the world for its aroma and flavour. Elisa says that her rum is top quality, similar to the famous rums of the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe … and countless comments from happy customers in the visitors’ book back this up.

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so they sold the juice to the government distillers. After holidaying on Samui several times, Elisa and Michel decided to ‘retire’ to the island, but wanted a hobby to keep them busy and their minds active. Michel researched rum distilling and thought it would be a fun project. As Elisa explains, had they known how much work and red tape it involved, they might not have considered such a bold venture – it took a year and piles of paperwork to get the license to produce white spirits, and the business turned into more than just a hobby. Thankfully they persevered, as now Samui has a locally produced rum to be proud of. Of course not everyone can drink rum neat, so Magic Alambic have developed a delicious syrup as a mixer for the spirit. Its main ingredient is lime juice – they go through a whopping 80,000 limes a year to make the syrup. Brown sugar and cinnamon add flavour, and the syrup is generally added in proportions of ‘one part syrup to three parts rum’ to tone down the kick of the rum a little. Of course, you can add more or less according to your taste, and the syrup is delicious mixed with water or soda water too, for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Top quality machinery has been purchased to ensure a smooth operation in the distilling process – a giant crusher imported from China makes sure every drop of sweet juice is extracted from the cut sugar cane which is fed through its menacing iron jaws. The cane juice is then filtered and placed in fermentation vats along with yeast. Once the fermentation process has ended, the juice is distilled in a special alembic, which was purpose-made in France. This process removes the ‘bad’ ethanol – that’s the alcohol that gives the famous hangover headache. This slow process means that the rum only needs to be distilled once. Thereafter, it’s placed in stainless steel vats, and here it sits, for up to a year, slowly getting smoother and refining its taste. The rum is then bottled at 40° according to Thai regulation, and some batches are flavoured with fresh fruit (no essence is used), to make up a range of pineapple, lime, mandarin, coconut and natural rums. But how did it all start, and what made a retired stonemason and his wife decide to open a rum distillery in a place where it had never been tried before? Elisa tells how Michel was a talented stonemason, crafting beautiful bespoke pieces such as fireplace facades for clients in France. Unfortunately, working with the heavy stone took its toll on his back, and so they moved to the south of France, where they grew fruit trees. As much as Michel was interested in distilling the fruit juice, it wasn’t legal to do so except for personal consumption,

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If you’re looking for a place to stay and appreciate the quiet side of island life, Elisa has three bungalows to rent on the grounds, surrounding a freeform swimming pool. They are air-conditioned and comfortably furnished, complete with small kitchens so you can get into island life and try out produce from the local markets. It’s well-worth a visit to Magic Alambic’s cute little tasting-room sala where you can sample the rum varieties on offer before making a purchase – either to enjoy yourself, or as a unique souvenir or gift from Samui. Bottles are available in two sizes, with the option of an attractive presentation box too. So if you’re in the south of the island and looking for something interesting to do, pop in to Magic Alambic, and don’t be afraid to taste – it’s only pure sugar water after all!

Rosanne Turner

_____________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 862 826 230. www.rhumdistillerie.com


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TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY Chandra celebrate by opening their third and biggest store on Phuket Celebrating a ten year anniversary is an achievement in any business, but celebrating a milestone of this length on an island as small as Samui is definitely a cause for celebration. Chandra first arrived on Samui way back in 2003, and have spent the last ten years bringing more and more of their creativity to the island they call home. And what better way to celebrate their ten years in business than by opening their third and largest store yet, in Phuket.

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If you’ve not heard of Chandra before, do make a special effort to visit them. Their beautifully crafted designer clothes for men and women are definitely worth the trip. They have two shops on Chaweng Beach Road, one just in front of Tops Supermarket and the other next door to Tropical Murphy’s Irish Bar. Their clothes are all produced with a focus on quality, with fine detailed stitching and craftsmanship. The materials they use are all made from natural fibres in lovely, soft colours. Inspiration for their designs comes from Indonesia, Korea and Hong Kong and more, and their favourite materials are fine cottons, silks and chiffons. They don’t only stock clothing but also scarves, chiffon hand-made sarongs, genuine leather handbags and shoes, South American top brand bikinis, clutches and purses, sandals and even have French and Indonesian designers designing a range of very unique jewellery. You can buy a complete outfit here!

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Even though Chandra has been successful over the years, the owners resisted opening another store until they felt the time was right. They have always stayed true to their core style, and wanted to ensure they offered excellent quality goods at reasonable prices. And when you see their irresistible designer wear, and the prices attached, you’ll see that they’ve pretty much achieved that. Perhaps that’s why locals also shop here, and tourists return each holiday to buy more items. Their new collection arrived just after Christmas so it’s always worth popping in to see what’s new. The Phuket store will be split evenly between menswear and womenswear, so don’t leave your man at home when you visit. Keep checking the website for details of the grand opening and location details. A new collection will be 36 l www.samuiholiday.com

available to coincide with the opening, so there are two reasons for visiting the store. So if you’re after a timeless well-designed look, make sure a visit to Chandra is on your holiday itinerary.

Colleen Setchell

_________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 77 422 311. www.chandra-exotic.com


RAIN OR SHINE Clearing the confusion about Thailandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seasons.

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There is nothing more confusing than being in a strange land. Quite often, the shock is cushioned if the language is familiar, or if the common-tongue is English. But Thailand can be disorientating. It’s never been conquered or invaded, you see. So it’s developed in a bit of a vacuum all by itself, with its own alphabet and language, and with a calendar unlike any other. But there is nothing that makes newcomers scratch their heads more than the weather. Well, not the actual weather itself, but what they read about it. And nearly all of the time this seems contradictory and completely confusing.

You’d think it would be simple enough, wouldn’t you. Summer, autumn, winter and spring? That’s clear-cut enough. But when it comes to Thailand you’ll read from one source about seasons here being ‘cool’, ‘wet’, and ‘hot’, and then somewhere else about there being just two; ‘dry’ and ‘rainy’. And to make things even worse, one place will tell you that the rainy season is from July to October, yet elsewhere it’s on about November and December being wet. In order to get to the bottom of all this, you need to look at the bigger picture!

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The secret is that Thailand doesn’t actually have ‘weather’. It has lots of different weather, all at the same time. It depends upon where you are, and when. Actually, the whole Kingdom of Thailand is very much like the island of Samui itself. Samui has a local microclimate. Depending on the geography and the atmospheric conditions (plus what time of year it is), it might pour with rain in Lamai for a while, but be quite dry everywhere else. The truth is, unless there’s a storm system affecting huge areas, sweeping across from the Philippines or China, for example, it’s almost impossible to forecast the weather on Samui and the neighbouring islands. Any forecast is based on the local weather conditions on the mainland anyway, and this ‘guesstimate’ often just doesn’t apply further out to sea. Imagine Thailand to be the head of an elephant, with a long and lumpy trunk dangling downwards. Round its neck to the right is the protective scarf of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And on the left, its face is shielded by Myanmar. Further to the right is one of the most volatile climatic regions in the world – the 7,000-plus islands of the Philippines. This is the source of many storm-systems that head towards Thailand, but due to the buffering effect of the surrounding countries, by the time they reach northern Thailand, their power has been spent and they arrive as just rain. Storms and hurricanes are one thing. But the monsoon seasons are a different matter. In places like India, ‘monsoon’ means the best part of two months of uninterrupted rain. As outlined, Thailand is geographically buffered. Which is just as well, as placed where we are Thailand actually experiences not one, but two monsoon seasons. Of these, the Southwest Monsoon, is the one to which most articles about Thailand refer. This sweeps up from way down south, from the Indian Ocean – in-between the landmasses of Southern Africa and Australia. It precipitates rain for almost six months of the year, although the Kingdom only catches the edge of it. This is the basis for the ‘three seasons’ of cool, wet and dry, which everywhere north of the Central and Bangkok area experience. Thus, the rainy season in these regions runs from May to October. This also includes the left-hand side of the ‘trunk’ (the western coast) and includes the Andaman Sea and the region around Phuket. But not the coastal strip of beaches running all the way down the other side of the long peninsular – our side, the eastern coastline. As stated, Thailand only catches the tail end of the Southwest Monsoon, and the thin landmass between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand is enough to cancel it out completely.

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One set of people on Samui who really know what they’re talking about when it comes to the weather are the divers, particularly those who have their own businesses here. Because, as the year draws to an end, sometime in October, they’re watching out for signs of the smaller monsoon that means their business has ground to a halt for the rest of the year. Watch the water off the north coast of Samui – most of the time the wind, ripples and tidal flow are coming in on a diagonal, on a slant from the west. But, and you can bet money on it, a day or so on either side of the full moon in the last half of October, this will change. Overnight the tide will be flowing from the opposite diagonal, and on the north coast of the island you can clearly see the water rippling across from the direction of the eastern headland, over to the right. The Northeast Monsoon comes out of the Pacific and only affects the south of Thailand, particularly our eastern coast, but also running all the way down to major cities such as Hat Yai, not far from the Malaysian border. It doesn’t last so long, it’s only a couple of months before it starts to wane, but it always makes the New Year celebrations a cross-your-fingers affair. Although, in theory, the rainy season here should run from October until February anyway. 42 l www.samuiholiday.com

And in practice? Well, yes, it rains. Already, back in August, heavy showers have become the order of the day, as the sun sets and the island cools, and clouds form inland. And this is where the ‘localised rain’ comes into the picture, as it’s anyone’s guess down which part of the coast the thunderheads will chose to tumble. By September, those unbroken blue skies turn grey for several days at a time, with occasional sudden downpours. And, as the tides turn and the Northeast Monsoon arrives, grey clouds start to take over and the blue patches become a rarity. It will rain every day. But usually it’s an hour or two on, and an hour or two off – it’s rare to get two days, or even just one, of solid, unbroken rain, although it will happen at least once in the rainy season here. So do check your dates, and keep it in mind that there’s Thailand and there’s beachside Thailand, and the rainy season is different, depending on where you are. Phuket gets its rain between June and October. And then it’s all-change when Samui gets out the waterproofs between October and, usually, the middle of January.

Rob De Wet


● Largest pharmacy chain on Samui ● Over 4,000 medical & health care products ● One stop service pharmacy and wellness center ● Multi-language assistance ● Refill your personal prescriptions

12 yea r

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● Free consulting by certified pharmacists

Open from 8 am - 10 pm everday

Hotline: 0 7741 3298-9

Email: moryapharmacy@hotmail.com


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FOR THE LOVE OF FASHION Fashionistas will love what designer Nikky Noodles has up her sleeve for her fashion brand, NiCol B.

Samui, like the rest of Thailand, has long been known as the place to buy copycat fashions, with little innovation shown for new designs. But every now and then, walking through endless shops stocking identical garments, you’ll come across something that’ll make you stop in your tracks. Something that first catches the corner of your eye, and then draws you in closer. In a vibrant, cosmopolitan corner of the island, Fisherman’s Village, you’ll come across just such a boutique, NiCol B – run by the designer herself, the equally as vibrant, ‘Nikky Noodles’, as she’s known. The colour is what first entices you into the store when passing. Bold blocks of colour, in all sorts of combinations, which somehow, work together. NiCol B was founded by Nikky and Colin in 2001, hence the company name NiCol B. Nikky and Colin hail from London, and she’s the designer behind the brand. On asking her how she’d describe herself as a designer, Nikky’s reply is, “I am an accessories junkie; this is the source of inspiration for my creations. My pieces are full of colour and print, some harmonising, and some clashing. Silks, chiffons and leather are my guilty pleasures. My signature style is flirty and energetic, impeccably crafted and figure-flattering. Nikky Noodles designs are eye-catching investment pieces for the haute-hippie.”

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As Nikky shows me around her boutique, it’s clear what she means, and she’s not just blowing her own horn so to speak. Nikky is as bold in her statements as she is with her designs. She personally makes each and every garment in her range, and she’s in the store, dealing one-to-one with her customers too, meaning that she gets direct feedback, as she fits them in the style most flattering to their figure. As she explains, “There are no right or wrong bodies, just clothes that are cut right for different bodies.” For this reason, she’ll randomly try new designs on customers that come into the boutique, trying her designs on real bodies rather than mannequins. And she begins any new design on herself as a model, and starts tweaking it from there. Nikky’s signature garments are dresses and jumpsuits, and in order to create a flattering piece, she believes in starting at the bust, making that fit well, and then letting it skim over the hips to flatter the female form. NiCol B dresses come in a variety of forms, from mini to maxi dresses, and of course, her fun-to-wear jumpsuits. As garments can be made to order, customers can choose from 24 designs across a range of 15 colours that can be mixed and matched. Prefer the top of one dress but the bottom of another? No problem. And you can play around with colour combinations too, as Nikky has the fabrics on hand in her on-site studio, so she’ll literally wrap you in the cloth and position you in front of the mirror to see if the colour blocks work together. Although she’s open to ideas, as the designer, she knows what works best and will advise you accordingly. All Nikky’s fabrics are imported and tried and tested as her own wardrobe. She chooses materials that not only hang well and are flattering, but also work well in all climates (not clinging to you in the tropical heat). They also wash well and don’t need ironing, making them great little dresses for travelling. Simply roll them up to pack, and hang them up when you reach your hotel. Who has time for ironing when on holiday?

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Dream Holiday under Palms Only a 35 minutes drive from Koh Samui’s small scenic airport, close to the island´s picturesque little town Nathon and near the Public hospital this prestigious address is one of the best known secrets of the island. Located on Santi Beach the Siam Residence Deluxe is nestled in tropical gardens. Created to provide the very best of Thai hospitality, this small luxury retreat incorporates luxurious accommodations, attentive service and excellent cuisine in an atmosphere of calm and seclusion. The perfect destination for an unforgettable holiday ‐ a place to return to …

1 or 2 bedroom luxury villas, separate living room, marble bath, two toilets, party second open air bath, familiy villas (130 m2!).

Nikky flutters around the store, as she enthusiastically pulls out dresses to point out the cut of each and what works well together. She keenly explains how most garments can be dressed up or down, depending on the use of accessories. And she really does have a fetish for accessories, feeling that her garments should act as showcases to perfectly display them. Nikky carries a few ranges in her boutique, all of which she’s sourced from fashion hubs such as London and Italy, and you’ll find handcrafted handbags by Hookman, as well as a funky range of shoes. Worthy of a mention is the range of handmade agate bracelets by Happy Annike, made in Moscow. No two are alike, and their bold colours perfectly complement Nikky’s designs. She’s by no means new to the world of fashion, and having graduated from the prestigious London College of Fashion, Nikky then worked her way through the industry as a buyer, merchandiser and stylist. She’s been in Thailand for 10 years now, the last two and a half being on Samui, where she’s built up a solid customer base of locals, expats and visitors to the island. When a woman feels comfortable, sexy and feminine in an outfit, she usually goes back to the same designer for more. Nikky personally advises each client on what suits her, and won’t let her leave the store in something that isn’t flattering – in this way, each customer is an ambassador for the NiCol B brand. She’s excited about opening a second showcase boutique in the new Central Festival Mall when it opens in Chaweng, in March 2014, and she’ll be expanding her work station in the Fisherman’s Village store, making it her permanent studio. Here, customers will be able to see her at work, and have their dresses tailored to their taste and form.

Tropical garden, designer‐pool, german‐speaking management, Restaurant, Sala directly at the beach!

Enjoy your lunch or spectacular sunset dinner at the open air Pavilion restaurant directly at the beach overlooking the sea and the intimate atmosphere of a small luxury villa resort. Authentic Thai and international cuisine and wines. Join us for a relaxed and unforgetable dining experience! Open daily from 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. (ask for free pick‐up service)

Santi Beach – Lipanoi Tel: 077‐420008 – Fax: 077‐420009 e‐mail: samui@siamresidence.com www.siamresidence.com www.samuiholiday.com l 47


Nikky describes her dresses as having a ‘60s and ‘70s influence – they’re feminine, with a sporty feel, and can be worn day or night. Back by popular demand, she’s currently busy with a line of oversized T-shirt dresses that can be worn on their own or over denims. They’re embossed and bejewelled with her own designs of skulls and crossbones, and she’s even stressed and aged some of the prints to create unique designs. Once again accessories make the outfit, and a range of bracelets that she’s sourced, complete with silver skull charms and shiny black agate beads works well with this funky range. But by far the most interesting range is that of Nikky’s convertible dresses – one piece that changes into something completely different just by her pattern cutting manipulation. Secret inner sleeves, folds in the fabric and clever design mean that you get two equally beautiful garments instead of one – again, a great holiday packing item. And NiCol B garments are not just for the ‘young’ but the young at mind and heart too. Nikky explains that the 20to-30 year old bracket only makes up about 20% of her customers, with the 40-plus being the biggest market. As they say… 40 is the new 30, so no need to hide from fashion

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when you hit this age. Most dresses come in two forms, the classic, ‘toned down’ version, as well as the more edgy option, depending on your personality and dress style. If there’s an area of your body you’d rather hide such as the upper arms, Nikky will adapt a garment to draw attention away from this area, and towards your best feature. Nikky thrives on inspirational quotes and has them dotted around her boutique to inspire her as she gets creative. As she proclaims, “It’s my mission in life to be different, to be an individual, to create an identity that lets me choose what trends and rules I want to follow or break – to learn and to grow, and be true to my fashion self.” If you have similar views about what life and fashion should be about, then perhaps a visit to the NiCol B store should be on the cards during your stay in Samui.

Rosanne Turner

__________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 847 716 948.


THE ART OF NATURE

Chaweng’s Nature Art Gallery is one place you’ll keep coming back to! There are a great many things to spend your money on. Of course, there are all the cheap bargains, like DVDs and tee shirts. But these you can get anywhere. Thailand is a country that’s rich in crafts. And there’s a whole range of gorgeous ethnic work around, from hand carved wood to fabrics, textiles and jewellery. Although, it has to be said, many of the Thai traditional designs are geometric in style, and so it’s not always easy to come across interesting hand-made work that’s a bit more flowing and free-form. Artists have always taken their inspiration from nature, whether it be the misty hues and tones of a sunrise or the embryonic swirls on tree bark. But here, on Samui, if you’re looking around for some nice examples of crafts and jewellery, there seems to be two extremes. Firstly there are the ‘gold shops’. But you’ll find the designs are all rather safe and traditional – old-fashioned, even. And there are the ‘street-smiths’; those vendors you’ll come across in the little side streets and the Walking Street markets. And here you’ve really got to have

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the eye of an engineer to be able to tell the well-made items from the junk that’ll come to pieces the first time it gets a knock. Some of these necklaces and bracelets might be very pretty but, if they’re cheap, there’s probably a good reason for that. However, there is one place that fills the gap. There’s a whole assortment of hand-made objets d’art from wallets, money clips, shoulder and handbags, through to a huge range of every sort of jewellery you can imagine. The materials here range from leather, wood, metals, the skins of snake, shark and stingray, crystals, pearls, silver, gold and semi-precious stones. The items are made on the premises by experienced craftsmen, to a very high level of quality. The people who run and manage it all are sensitive, aware and positively spiritual. Everything here shines with excitement and creativity. You’ll find it in Chaweng, a few hundred metres south of Soi Green Mango, on the corner of the road to Tops Supermarket. And the name of the shop is Nature Art Gallery.


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It’s hard to miss – it glows warm and bright from the neon that surrounds it, with the floor, walls and ceiling all covered with the same rich timber. Nature Art Gallery began here about four years back as a joint venture between owners and partners, Michael Trav and Shai Nissim, although the original shop, still on Koh Pha-Ngan, first saw the light of day in 2002. Both partners are well versed in the arena of crystals and stones, having more than 20 years experience in the business. But they’ve gone further than just selling jewellery. The Chaweng shop is on two floors. Upstairs is a suite of small rooms. This is where the workshops are. And it’s where you’ll usually come across Hari Shankar.

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Nepalese Hari Shankar is a master-craftsman, and was previously appointed as one of the goldsmiths to the King of Nepal (as was his father and grandfather before him). He’s not alone here, either, as there are another two Nepalese craftsmen working in association with him. These are the rooms where you’ll find gold or silver being melted down for casting, or intricate fine work in progress in the mounting of stones. Indeed, such are the range of skills on hand, this is probably the only place on the island where you can get quality repairs or have a stone re-set. Interestingly, it’s also the only place that also runs regular courses in jewellery making. “We also design and make jewellery to order,” Michael explained. “There are some wonderful stones and crystals, like the blue amber, citrine or moldavite. And our matching wedding rings are very special and in some demand. We’ll sit and consult with the bridal couple and get an idea of the sort of thing they like. Then one of our craftsmen will show examples or prepare some drawings. One of the most beautiful stones is the wild pearl. The usual ones are popular too, but each of the wild ones is unique. They are asymmetrical and lend themselves wonderfully to a more organic, artistic setting, usually in silver. And we cast both rings from the same piece of silver, for unity. We have met many sweet couples who were thrilled to design and make their own weddings rings here on the island as a lasting token of their stay here in Samui.”

Noodle Specialties from all over ASIA

at Akyra Chura Resort open noon - 22.00h reservation 077 915 100 www.theakyra.com www.facebook.com/Theakra

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The esoteric and healing properties of different crystals are well known, and here you’ll find an impressive display of many different types. Shai has a background that includes many years study of Reiki, massage, reflexology and energy-work, and he’s well-qualified to offer advice. “Their properties can direct you towards better health or tranquillity,” he explained. “Each has a specific sort of energy, and by matching up the energetic vibrations with your chakras, you can use them to improve concentration, heal physical maladies or open your heart.” And to supplement Shai’s consultation and advice, there’s a selection of crystal charts and stone-handbooks to guide you. There’s even detailed information about the rare crystal, moldavite, created from the impact of a meteor strike. The heat melted the surrounding rocks and sand, creating a ‘strew field’ of moldavite tektites that are only found in parts of the Czech Republic, Germany and Moldavia, and that will one day, inevitably, all disappear. Such is the power of this crystal that people often feel tingling sensations or a subtle vibration or hot flush, until they become acclimatised.

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This is one shop in which I really just can’t imagine anyone not buying something – there’s just so much variety and a dizzying range of styles. But, even though the prices at the top end reflect the materials (yes, they also keep stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires), there are plenty of less-costly items, too. And, not only is everything uniquely hand-made, but all the natural, positive energy here will make you keep coming back to see what you missed the first time around!

Rob De Wet ___________________________________

For further information, telephone 0 7742 2594 or 0 822 766 596. www.thailand-jewelry.com.


BAR & RESTAURANT

Open from 10:00 am - 01:00 am (main kitchen), with pizzas being served until 1:00 am. For reservations and further information, telephone 077 961 648 www.spagosamui.com

Grill & BBQ Fish and Seafood Open from 12:00 am - 01:00 am For reservations and further information, telephone 077 963 213 www.galangasamui.com www.samuiholiday.com l 55


Poppies Owner David Hill & General Manager John Ens

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WHY HERE?

We put the question to John Ens, hotelier, green coordinator and well-known Samui personality. In any community, you’ll find people who stand out from the crowd. They have a certain unassuming presence. They’ll pop up quietly, now and then, here and there, but see them you will. They’re the sort of people who don’t just have a job; they have several, and most of these unpaid. They’re quietly involved with what’s going on around them. Modest people like this are at the heart of every community. And, here on Samui, one of the people who fit this description goes by the name of John Ens. Anyone who has been on the island for more than just a few years, and who has been to more places than the bars and the beach, will have seen his face, even though they might not know the name. Usually in a story like this, at this point it’s conventional to backtrack and go into how things all began. But in this case the man and his story somehow sidesteps convention, and I’m going to begin at the end, at where he is now, and then slide back a little later on. John Ens has been the General Manager of Poppies Samui since March 2010. Before that he was managing Rocky’s Boutique Resort, in Lamai. And for those who are not familiar with these names, there are possibly four or five exclusive family-owned, small Euro-managed resorts here, and these are two of them. But a few months back I came across his photo on a passing Facebook page, as Vice President of the (voluntary) Samui Branch of the Thai Hotels Association (THA). John was on-stage dedicating another recycling project to a local school. He’s also chairman of the more-specialised offshoot of this, the THA Samui Green Committee. He has a Thai wife and two very bright teenage children. He’s been on Samui for the last 10 years. And he really doesn’t want to be anywhere else.

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“I first came here 16 years ago,” John mused, “as the manager of Siam Residence, over on the west coast. But at this time, I was still primarily building a career. I went back to Europe again after two years. To Portugal, then Vienna – but I’d bookmarked Samui. I was coming back here again. Samui is very special. It’s quite different to Bangkok or Phuket. It’s far less anonymous. Smaller. And it was ready to burst into development when I was first here, in 1997. Since then there has been a whole world of change. But the people of southern Thailand, to me, are the loveliest, most warm-hearted people in the world. And now on Samui we have a local government with integrity, and people with the biggest hearts anywhere. The quality of life here just can’t be equalled, anywhere in the world. All that remains is for everyone who can to better themselves and help their local community.” John is possibly one of the most plain-speaking men I’ve come across. But (most of the time anyway!) he combines this with a defusing degree of diplomacy and tact. He’s a big man and this adds to his presence, but he’s gentle with it, and will take the soft approach every time. But some things he is passionate about. “I can’t understand some of the people who have chosen to live on Samui”, he continued. “Their first impulse is towards themselves, not to help others. Happily there are many more to take their place.” “We have 26 schools, and there are 18,000 children here. And we are really fortunate to have a mayor, Khun Ramnet, who is dedicated to raising standards on Samui, right the way across the board. Samui is now the only local education 58 l www.samuiholiday.com

authority that I know of, which has green awareness and conservation built into the curriculum. The government now funds the money part and the THA hotels add their engineers and gardeners to install projects, such as garbage separation or rain gutter installation. As a part of this, the THA Green Committee works together with the local army, the local police, Tessaban, the Tourist Association of Koh Samui with President Tanongsak, Samui Green Divers, Samui Rescue, and the local volunteers from Samui and Suratthani, on projects such as beach cleaning, reef cleanings, construction of dams and waterway structures in the mountains, and cleaning of the Chaweng Klong (canal). Moving back to John’s career as a hotel manager – one way and another, it doesn’t take a lot of analysis to realise that training is a vital component in just about every aspect of the hospitality business. I was impressed with the programs that he had put into place with the team at Poppies –the majority of whom have been on board for more than 10 years. There’s advanced technical training for the engineering department. Fire drills and practices for all the staff. The beach boys get rescue and life-saving/first aid training. There are weekly structured English language lessons for everyone. The whole resort is geared to conservation, with talks and background philosophy about this for all staff. There are flower arranging tutorials for the housekeeping staff, and even make-up instruction for everyone who deals with the residents. As an outsider, looking in, it’s not hard to see that what John has built at Poppies could well be an ideological blueprint for the island – i.e. ‘it might not yet be possible to put all of this into place all over, but at least I’m putting my money where my mind is!’


Then I popped my last question, and was inspired by his reply. When I asked John what he could see in the future for him, he had no hesitation. “I want to be able to show my grandchildren just how beautiful Samui is,” he replied. “And now everything is finally heading in the right direction. The Mayor is committed to limitations on new building projects and development. Samui is going to stay green, and this is certainly why we have been selected as an APEC low carbon society. Blots on our landscape, for sure, are a thing of the past. All of us have responsibilities, and are answerable to our children. And I know I will be able to look my children and my grandchildren right in the eyes and say – ‘Samui is a lovely place. That’s why we came here.’”

Rob De Wet

______________________________________________________ For reservations or more information, telephone 0 7742 2419. www.poppiessamui.com

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I was in a petrol station a few weeks ago, filling-up next to a couple on a motorbike. They’d already finished, and I could overhear them trying to get directions. The girl they were talking to was confused, so she called the boss over – I happen to know that he’s the owner and speaks very good English. He looked blank when they repeated their request. And then, with a completely expressionless face, he pointed to the left and said, “. . . go this way.” To most observers this would all have seemed very straightforward. But I’ve been around long enough to understand what was happening under the surface!

Well . . . even this can be problematic. You see, if you need to use a map then right away you just have to know two things or else it’s pointless – where you are now, and where the spot is that you need to get to. The first thing you need to realise is that many Thai people don’t understand maps: they have no concept of compass directions and relative scale or position. And it’s not just Thais – it happens in any country where this isn’t taught in school, and that also happens to include a lot of the nations in Europe. So if you’re using a map, then put your queries to a succession of ‘farangs’ until you strike lucky and get one that’s not a tourist like yourself.

LOST AND FOUND

First and foremost was the ‘loss of face’ thing. The girl didn’t know, but didn’t lose face because she didn’t (or could pretend that she didn’t) understand English. But the boss didn’t know either. And no way could he admit this in front of his staff. So he said the first thing that came into his head. The other layer of complexity is the assumption that people here actually know their way around the island. Samui might only be the rough shape of a circle, and a small one at that, but it’s amazing just how many of the locals have never needed to go outside their own little patch. So the first thing is – if you want to ask for directions, think carefully about whom you ask. A guy wearing a suit in a car is more likely to know his way around than a young kid in a shop. And it’s better to ask someone who has a good command of English, too! And, even better still, ask someone else in a few minute’s time, just to check. Or, of course, you could always use a map.

Problem solved? Not really! First, there’s the constant irritation of addresses, street names and districts. This is all highly confusing if you need to find a specific address. Do you know where Bophut is? Go on – go online to see, or check a paper map to find the answer. Yep – it’s an area up on the north coast, in between Bangrak and Maenam. And yet most of Chaweng has a ‘Bophut’ address – courtesy of the stunning logistics of the local postal service. And, to compound the aggravation, quite often the actual street name doesn’t match the postal one – always assuming that the street is labelled with a name in the first place; the vast majority are not.

Some hints and tips about navigating your way around the island.

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hit and miss, not showing the myriad of wide dirt tracks that run uphill towards the center of the island. To my knowledge there are only two maps that have been updated to reflect Google satellite imagery, and that’s our company’s own ‘Samui Guide Map’ and ‘Samui Island Map’ – a bit of trumpet blowing, but true, none the less. Which brings us to the everyday technology of smart phones, iPads and GPS systems. All of which are totally useless if you can’t go online with them, and there are very few places out of the major towns where you can find Wi-Fi. So, the best thing, if you plan to tour around, is to go to somewhere like Tesco Lotus or Big C and choose between the services of ‘True’, ‘AIS’ and ‘DTAC’, any of which will happily sell you a cheap SIM card with an inexpensive data package attached. But this will only work if your device is not locked to your service provider. If that’s the case then it’s cheap enough to buy a low-end phone (in the same store) with data/GPS facilities. Thus while you’re here you can reliably track your location to within 20 metres or so, courtesy of Google and its amazing maps. You’ll still be able to use it back home, or you can give it to your favourite waitress as a tip when you leave – it’ll make her day!

This, it has to be said, really is very much a Thai way of thinking. It goes, “. . . everybody knows where things are so what’s the point of going to the bother of writing names on them?” One of the best examples of this is the major road, Highway 44, which leads from just outside Suratthani, south towards Phuket. Driving here for the first time I missed this junction the first time around. Turning round and coming back again I hesitantly ventured down an exit that was big enough to be the right turning. And it was, as was confirmed by a big sign swhich appeared several hundred metres down the road – no doubt added as an afterthought, when some enlightened town planner told a work crew that it couldn’t just be left un-signposted. Still on the subject of maps, specifically the free ones that you see everywhere around the place, take care here, too. They are not all the same. Some were put together based on local government surveys, together with a bit of self-modification to bring things more up to date. For general navigation between major towns they’re fine, although the relative scale might be occasionally dodgy. But away from the major concrete strips they’re completely 62 l www.samuiholiday.com

And you thought that a map is a map is a map or, if that was a scornful idea, that you could just use your iPhone and GPS! Well, if you’re rich enough to afford international roaming charges, fine. But now, hopefully, you can avoid this expense and you’ll also know how to avoid getting lost. And, even if you do, you’ve now got all the info you need to get yourself found again!

Rob De Wet


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COMPETITIVE COOKING Nora Beach Resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kitchen staff get the chance to be chef for a day The atmosphere is one of great excitement. 21 eager people stand around, whispering and gesturing to various dishes laid out on tables in front of them. Some are taking photos with various phones, cameras or tablets. The delicious smell of grilled meat and seafood along with various Thai herbs and spices slowly fills the air. There are three tables, each with an appetiser, a soup, a main course and a dessert - the presentation is first class. The food has been rolled, balanced, fried, raised, surrounded, marinated, dripped, drizzled and floated. Can you guess what is going on? You might be familiar with Nora Beach Resort & Spa at the north end of Chaweng Beach Road, and you might already know Prasuthon restaurant and its Executive Chef, Khun Sitthichai. His passion for cooking overflows to such an extent, that he is constantly trying to nurture this passion in others. He knows all his staff work in the kitchen because they love to be around food, so he created a competition where each staff member would get a chance to create a dish for his new menu, or be part of a team that creates a new set menu. The competition was in two parts. The first part was to create a main course dish, and the second part was to split the staff into teams and have them create a new set menu. The winners would then have their dishes featured on the

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new menu that Khun Sitthichai is releasing this year. We were delighted to be invited to attend the second half of the competition. The staff had been split into three teams. Each team voted for its leader, and it was this leader who was responsible for not only leading the team, but also delegating tasks, collecting the ideas and making final decisions. What was the task of each team? To create a new set menu consisting of an appetiser, a soup, a main course and a dessert. Each team would be scored by a panel of judges on the taste, overall goal achieved, presentation and creativity. At the end, the team with the most votes would be declared the winner. All the food on display was so striking and it was clear to see the look of pride on Khun Sitthichaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face. He has a great team working with him. First up were Team 3, and they talked their executive chef through the ideas behind their dishes. Their appetiser consisted of three different types of seafood (tuna, prawn and scallop) coated in spicy herbs and each placed on a large tortilla chip. Next up was a clear soup with ginger, followed by a main course of rolled strips of duck and chicken served with deep-fried balls of mixed white and Thai mashed potato. The dessert was a tower of sliced crepes decorated with neat balls of mango and other fresh fruit. This competition was going to be tough.


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Team 2‘s appetiser consisted of three small glasses each containing a different slice or chunk of meat in its own sauce. Their idea? A kind of mini-mixed grill - a piece of beef in tartar sauce, a piece of fish in a Thai herb dressing, and a piece of pork in a black pepper and bruschetta sauce. What a great idea! They followed on from this with a seafood soup and a fantastic looking main course. A few huge prawns had been wrapped in spaghetti, and then fried and alongside them, two large servings of a similar mashed potato mixture to Team 3. Their dessert looked incredible - a huge ball of battered and deep-fried lemon ice cream sitting on top of a finely grated and fried to a crisp, potato nest, giving the dish an ‘egg in the nest’ look. As if that wasn’t enough, there was a small glass with panna cotta and tangy strawberry jelly too. Lastly, Team 1 explained their simple, yet very tasty fresh tuna salad in spicy Thai sauce, and then their Tom Yum potato soup (another great idea). Their main course was another wonderful display - white snapper with a mildly spicy green pepper and ginger sauce with a small portion of fried rice and onion, all sitting 66 l www.samuiholiday.com

in a large tortilla shell. Their dessert (or rather collection of desserts) was a panna cotta and strawberry jelly, Nutella ice cream (heaven in a glass) and a huge cookie topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Wow, this wasn’t going to be easy for the judges and even after the tasting, it was still hard. Siam Map were very proud to be asked to be part of the judging team but to be honest, I would excel at finding the best in any food so I wouldn’t make a very good food critic. But since giving them all full marks for taste wasn’t an option, I had to try and think what I would order again if I returned. And even that was hard. All these dishes were fresh, beautifully presented and tasted delicious. But I did my best and separated them into ‘very good’, ‘excellent’ and ‘simply delicious’. I could see the staff’s excitement building as the judges filled in their sheets and handed them back to Khun Sitthichai. After an agonising five minutes, the scores were announced. Team 2 had won the competition with an incredible 371 out


of 400 points, and both Team 1 and Team 3 had drawn at 359 out of 400. There was great applause and an overall sense of satisfaction. Now that the competition is over, Khun Sitthichai will select the best appetiser, soup, main course and dessert from all three teams - and it is these four dishes that will become the new set menu. A wonderful way to encourage your team and help to further their skills and abilities, as well as a fantastic way to boost morale. Make sure you head down to Nora Beach Resort and give the new set menu a try.

Colleen Setchell

______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 9400. www.norabeachresort.com www.samuiholiday.com l 67


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SACRED

SAKYANT The ancient art of sak yant, or spiritual tattooing, is practiced here on Samui by Ajarn Panthep.

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 symbolises 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. 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. 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 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? 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.

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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 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. 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 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, 70 l www.samuiholiday.com


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and applies the ink by hand, not machine. Gold leaf is applied to the image or text for good luck. This is the only place in Thailand where you can experience this traditional consecration ceremony. 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.

Rosanne Turner

_____________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 869 437 464 www.samuisakyan.com

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EXPRESS YOURSELF

Psylo is for free-thinkers who like to stand out from the crowd.

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With much of today’s fashion being represented by chain stores, there’s little chance to show your individuality and break out of the ‘cookie cutter’ mould. Walk into any big shopping mall, and you’ll see the same set of shops in each. Many a good label has destroyed itself by switching from being an exclusive, unique brand, to going for the mass market and losing its identity.

mainly underground events and markets. After a few years, when we received more and more interest from independent boutiques around the globe, we took the natural step of opening our own concept shops. Psylo for us is not just a clothing line; it’s a much bigger concept than just wearing cool clothes and looking good. Our line represents our way of life and who we are.”

For this reason, Psylo, whose designers see the brand as more of a concept and lifestyle than just a clothing range, have strict criteria when it comes to where and how they sell their clothing. As Psylo’s art director and co-designer, Ami Ganiel explains, “Psylo is ethnopunk clothing – ethnic tribal inspiration with a punk upbringing. We created Psylo out of need for us to wear a certain style of clothing that didn’t exist or was scarcely seen around, we promoted our style in

Ami carries on, revealing the brand’s philosophy in a few words, which, he says, they try to convey in their clothing to customers, “Use creativity to bring beauty and harmony into this world, live a conscious life with awareness of all aspects and be an individual true to yourself. Don’t follow blindly after news, trends, or anything which is made in order to blind you and to forget who you really are. Think for yourself, and question everything that you’ve been told.”


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With this mind-set, it’s clear why the owners don’t want the brand mass-marketed. So how did it all start? Back in 1999, two friends and travellers, Ami Ganiel and Dan Keller began a creative business collaboration. Based in Bali, they began to design and produce clothing to fit their own lifestyles – clothing which would be practical, whilst having a unique look. They were inspired by their travels and explorations through bustling cities, exotic locations and in particular, vibrant music festivals. Within those early years, Psylo was joined by Shoki, who became not only Ami’s creative partner, but also his life partner. This relationship now forms the creative core of the Psylo brand. In the 14 years since the company’s inception, Psylo has grown into a thriving, albeit alternative, international fashion brand. Design and manufacturing is still based in Bali, where Ami and Shoki have applied their energy, creativity and enthusiasm in developing their factory, which has over 80 staff members creating the unique lines. The company believes in an ethical work environment, and going as green as possible when it comes to production and materials. 76 l www.samuiholiday.com


Says Ami, “We try to promote a lifestyle with awareness and care towards all beings and our planet. Alongside this, we promote individualism and self-expression. Our fabrics are mostly natural from high quality cotton and rayon, along with a variety of others such as silk and leather. We use synthetics, such as polyester and nylon spandex for strength and elasticity. We ‘up-cycle’ most of our leftover fabrics, by creating designs that will make use of previously disregarded bits.” Ami and Shoki draw influence from a variety of tribal designs as well as contemporary art. Their designs are influenced by their interest in ancient history, cultural primitivism, spiritual symbolism, the retro, the futuristic, tattoos, body art and music. But as unique as the garments are to look at, they need to be wearable and durable too. Function and form are equally as important. If you’re comfortable, it’s easier to let your personality shine through. So after a humble start, with stalls at music festivals, in 2006 Psylo opened its first shop on the bustling Legian Street in Bali – a strip known for its fashion boutiques, drawing thousands of tourists annually. The following year, a second shop was opened in the trendy Camden Stables Markets of London, an area that draws up to

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But the brand hasn’t forgotten its roots and original customer base at the music festivals in Europe. And so every summer, two teams of dedicated staff tour the festivals, setting up stalls to promote the brand to their target market, keeping the fashion alive and connected to its first inspiration – the vibrant music scene. Psylo now has over 6,000 customers ordering from their website, and the brand is stocked in over 60 independent stores worldwide – stores that are of a similar signature and philosophy that the partners feel are worthy of the brand.

100,000 visitors every weekend. Here they also opened a distribution centre and show room for supplying offbeat boutiques as well as their own online store. In 2011, Psylo’s owners designed and built a complex in Bali, in the upmarket shopping district of Seminyak. Here, two boutiques, a restaurant-cum-bar, as well as a martial arts and yoga studio are housed, and the Psylo store was relocated to one of these boutiques. It was also in this year that the Samui branch opened its doors in Chaweng. The 100 square metre store, managed by Psylo co-owner, Joel Nagar, is fitted out in the signature décor of concrete screed floors, aged wood and metal, and punctuated with tribal artefacts.

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Inspired by their children, Ami and Shoki have recently added a kid’s range. Those that believe ‘accessories maketh the outfit’ won’t be disappointed with the range of belts, caps, sleeve-gloves, boots and waist-pouches on display. So if you’d prefer clothing that can carry off your attitude, and you’d rather not follow the herd, then perhaps a browse through Psylo should be on your list when you next head down to Chaweng. You’ll find both summer and winter ranges – in case you’re not lucky enough to be staying indefinitely on Samui, and will need warmer threads when back home…

Rosanne Turner

___________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7725 6157. www.psylofashion.com


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TUNES OF THAILAND Thailand has some interesting instruments and musical history.

The Chinese philosopher, Mencius, once said, “If the King loves music, it is well with the land.” It’s a well-known fact that H.R.H. King Bhumibol Adulyadej has a strong love of music, and in fact is a proficient saxophone player and composer. So if Mencius’ saying is true, it explains why Thailand is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, with a nation of happy people. Thailand is located close to China, India, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia, and was visited by traders from Persia, Africa, Greece and Rome. Its traditional music and instruments reflect the influences of all these countries, yet have been adapted to make the music unique to Thailand. For example, the musical instruments ‘klong tham’ and ‘khim’ are of Persian origin, the ‘jakhe’ of Indian origin, the ‘klong jin’ of Chinese origin and the ‘klong kaek’ of Indonesian origin.

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The development of Thai music resulted in two genres, namely traditional court music, originally only played in the Royal Court, which is generally played by a large orchestra and continues to enjoy popularity today, and also folk music, performed in diverse unique styles in various regions of the country, by smaller ensembles that play fewer instruments. Folk music was traditionally played in country areas, has a more relaxed style, and was developed in the mid-20th century to reflect the daily trials and tribulations of rural Thais. Thai classical music bands are divided into three types: The string quartet – this ensemble consists of ‘saw’ (a bowed instrument) and ‘jakhe’ (a three-string harp, shaped like an alligator) as the main sound, and with other instruments like Thai flute (khlui), Thai drums (toan: one-sided drum and ramana: flat-rounded drum) and mini cymbals (ching).


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The ‘gamelan’ has mainly percussion instruments along with Thai wood wind instruments. The band mostly performs at special occasions from festive events to funerals and in Thai performances like ‘khon’ (Thai masked performance), puppet performance, traditional dance, and ‘’talung’ (shadow play). The ‘mahori orchestra’ is an ensemble that performs at celebrations or festive events. According to archaeological evidence, several instruments such as the bronze ‘mahorathuek’ (ceremonial kettle drum), stone bell, and metal wind-bell had been used in every region of the country. These instruments were not originally created to entertain, but rather to produce signals for communication and in performing important sacred rites. Southeast Asian music is dominated by percussion instruments, and that Thai music is no exception. In any Thai musical ensemble, you’ll find several classes of percussion instruments that may vary in size. They’re made of wood, leather, or metal, with the most prominent ones being the ‘khong’ (gong), ‘klong’ (drum) and ‘ranat’ (xylophone). Wind instruments can be roughly divided into the reedless pipe such as the flute, the double reed pipe, and the reed pipe. Stringed instruments are classified as either plucked instruments, or bowed string instruments. Most bowed string instruments have two strings, although some of them have four. Most of the stringed instruments popular in Thailand are used for folk music.

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Although international music is popular among the younger generation, Thais are still proud of their traditional music as well as dance, and it’s been taught and regularly performed in many famous institutions of higher education, including those abroad. Though Thailand was never colonised by any Western nations, pop music and other forms of European and American music have become extremely influential in modern Thai music. By the 1930s, Western classical music, show tunes, jazz and tango were popular. Soon, jazz grew to dominate Thai popular music, possibly due to the King’s love of this genre of music, and Khru Eua Sunthornsanan soon set up the first Thai jazz band. The music he developed, along with influential band, Suntharaporn, was called ‘pleng Thai sakorn’, which incorporated Thai melodies with Western classical music. This music continued to evolve into ‘luk grung’, a romantic music that was popular with the upper-class.

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By the 1960s, Western rock was popular and Thai artists began imitating bands like Cliff Richard & the Shadows; this music was called ‘wong shadow’. Today, Thai pop music is still influenced by Western artists, and is popular alongside, not in place of, traditional Thai music. Reggae is also very popular in Thailand, and all over the country you’ll see reggae bars pumping out the lyrics and beat of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Here on Samui, many hotels and resorts regularly put on shows of Thai music and dance, both formal and folk. Also, at a muay Thai fight, the band plays traditional music, building up with each punch and kick and all part of the intense atmosphere. So if you’ve not yet experienced Thai music, take the opportunity to do so, either while watching a muay Thai match, or a little more leisurely over a delicious Thai dinner at your resort.

Rosanne Turner

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SAMUI

SAKYAN

Laung Por Yid Wat Nong Jok

Laung Pu Si Tha Ni yo

Ajarn Panthep

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. Maenam Bophut

Samui Sakyan

146/43 Moo 4 Thongtakien bay, Maret Koh Samui Suratthani 84310 Thailand www.samuisakyan.com, www.spiritbuddha.com Email: samlek1012@windowlive.com, sam-1012@hotmail.co.th Tel: 0 86 9437464, 0 811 739 232

Nathon

Koh Samui

Chaweng Samui Yacht Club

Samui Sakyan

To Lamai

Lamai


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SUBLIMELY PERSONAL Furnishing your house requires more than a visit to the local megastore! Remember your first house? You probably had enough wedding presents to kit out the kitchen – and then some! And then it was all about keeping an eye out around the charity shops and the used goods places, looking out for sales and discounts. Plus maybe a trip to Ikea with a credit card (or two). It was a heady time. A time of excitement. A point in your life when there was a whole wide world to look forward to. And now you’ve run the course, your kids have grown up, and once again, you’re buying a house. You’ve been on holidays to Samui before, you just love the place, and you’ve finally decided to give it a go. This time around, you might not be actually rolling in money, but you’re certainly no longer in the market for second-hand goods. It’s a cautious investment. The property laws here are different, but Euro for Euro, it’s great value for money. And now the house has been sorted and settled, the walls are white (aren’t they all?) and you’ve been pondering and planning and scheming and sketching with all the same excitement as that very first time around.

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White walls are just too impersonal. Add some colour. The floors are fine, some timber, some stone, but there needs to be a complement with the fabrics and the furnishings. Earth tones or a splash of daring? You’ve seen a great ethnic calico and bamboo living room suite, but there’s nothing like this in the bedroom furnishings. You want a built-in wall of storage in the master bedroom but can’t quite visualise the end result – bamboo or fabric fronts? And then, on our island, there are no real places to buy nice furniture. Well – actually, there are several. You’ve seen bits here and bits there (and a couple of gorgeous Thai wooden antiques, too) but they don’t really go together . . . and it’s tempting to start hoarding and just see what happens . . . It’s an engaging and fulfilling process – all of this. But what actually seems to happen in the end, to very many people, is that they come across Oriental Living. This company has been around for a long time. Starting in Chaweng, there was originally a furniture and décor showroom with a restaurant above. The showroom itself, and indeed the whole of the premises, was lengthily remodelled to display the design thinking behind the outfit and, everywhere you looked, at every twist and turn, something else caught your eye, whether it was the custom-engineered wooden spiral staircase, or the gorgeous wood carvings from Northern Thailand. A few years later, however, it all moved out – minus restaurant – to Maenam, where it’s been ever since. The showroom is easy enough to find – turn left into the sharp bend in the ring-road at Zazen Boutique Resort & Spa, and it’s a few hundred yards on the right, after the bend. Outside you’ll see a display of really nice-looking garden loungers and furniture. As you enter, you might be a little overwhelmed to start with – there’s 88 l www.samuiholiday.com


a lot to take in. However, what’s on display simply gives you no idea of the potential. There are some delightful antique Thai pieces, which splendidly complement the clean lines of the modern furniture. But the premises are not that large and, until you start discussing things, you’ll have no idea what’s actually on offer here. Khun Alex (Wilai Raksai) has been running the show here for as long as he can remember. But he’s not simply some kind of showroom manager; he’s one of a team that will quickly become engaged when you need advice or help. “We can offer you everything from a table lamp to a complete and coordinated interior decoration scheme for your house or villa,” Alex explained, “working with you step by step, preparing plans and artists’ drawings from your ideas, and even sourcing and supplying the sort of furniture and artwork that you like.” What you won’t be able to see on display are the pattern and sample books and ‘mood boards’ that have been sensitively and creatively prepared for existing clients. The team here is compact and competent, creatively consisting of Khun Alex together with Khun Tang and Khun Yanee. This is where things begin, with the experience and artistic flair of the designers. Then there is also an in-house team of engineers to handle aspects of logistics and installation of such items as built-in bedroom furniture or show kitchens. Plus of course the very capable Khun Nadia – she’s the one who sits down to estimate just how much your ideas are going to cost!

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Over the last few years, Samui has seen the appearance of increasingly more 5-star hotels, plus quite a number of 4-star resorts, which have seen fit to upgrade to remain competitive. And it’s something of a feather (several, actually) in the collective caps of all at Oriental Living to have names such as Napasai Orient Express, The Minor Group’s Anantara Lawana, Tongsai Bay and Kanda Residences on their client list on Samui. But the best is still in the pipeline – the sumptuous development in Choeng Mon known as ‘Samujana’. Working closely with the award-winning international architect, Gary Fells, Oriental Living are now furnishing the last eight luxurious villas on this development, and that’s quite an achievement. Google it or drop in if you’re passing; it’s really quite special. But there’s another facet to this dynamic company: they’ve now opened a big modern showroom in Phuket, too. And this really is something to behold; the broad glass frontage and acres of space is most imposing. And to go with that they’ve also picked up an exclusive contract for yet another prestige development, ‘Malaiwana Luxury Villas’. This isn’t just another furniture shop. It’s different. And, because of this, I’ll leave Khun Alex to have the last word. “After being together all this time, everyone still gets excited at a new project. We’re passionate. And, whether it’s just the basics to get a new house started or a whole luxury resort to equip, most people seem to end up with us, here at Oriental Living!”

Rob De Wet

_________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7724 7675. www.oriental-living.net

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SURF, TURF ’N SPORT, SPORT! Heading for a great time at Bondi Chaweng. There’s definitely two ways to go when it comes to food in Thailand. Firstly, there are those marvellous Thai dishes. And they certainly taste far better than they ever did back home – not only are they the real thing but they’re cheaper too. And then there’s good old pub grub. No matter if you’re from Manchester, Munich or Melbourne, there are times that you just have to eat plain, solid, home cooking. But when it comes to Bondi, the fare is not so simple, and it’s even better than home cooking! If you hadn’t already guessed, ‘Bondi Aussie Bar & Grill’ is an Australianthemed ‘sports pub’, as these kind of hostelries tend to be known over here. And according to partner and manager, Jono Wilson, that means three things (and oodles of each). “We offer a whole range of really super food,” Jono explained, “plus every single televised Aussie sporting event and all the international ones, too. And then there’s entertainment. We have special events and party nights, plus two bands playing live. Now and then there’s a visiting big-name DJ. And then there are the special events, such as the forthcoming Australia Day on 26th January. This will be really special, with DJs, games, face and body painting competitions, and the Oz classic radio station. ‘Triple J Top 100’ playing live between times. Whether you’re Australian or not, this is going to be great fun and an event that’s not to be missed.”

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Bondi couldn’t be better situated, right smack in the middle of Chaweng Beach Road, just a short boomerang chuck from the landmark of Soi Green Mango. And first impressions are that it’s very mellow indeed. The outer area is an open balcony that’s raised up a little above road level, but screened-over with sunblinds, making it a shady and comfortable place to ease back awhile and people-watch on the street outside. Coming inside, and stepping up again, there’s a big open bar and dining area, with the bar itself against the far wall and a small plinthstage where the band plays, to the right. But there’s more. Two floors more, in fact, with the first floor being not only where the kitchen is located but also an air-conditioned dining room, if that’s your inclination. And the top floor is something of a games room, with a pool table and a shuffleboard set-up. “This is just great for private parties and functions,” Jono continued, “especially if you’re up for a wedding or a stag night. And we can lay on catering and entertainment that’s tailored to match whatever you want.” Just flipping through the menu doesn’t give any idea about what’s in store – it’s actually quite modest. But a framed award on the wall gives you a bit of a hint. It reads: ‘Samui Times Food Awards 2013 – Samui Best Burger – Winner: Bondi Aussie Bar & Grill’. This was no mean feat; burgers from more than 50 of Chaweng’s restaurants were anonymously sampled before the prize list was compiled. And Bondi’s burgers are welldeserving of the title: the menu reads . . . ‘Burger: beetroot, pineapple 94 l www.samuiholiday.com


KAYAKING Explore the caves and beaches of the Angthong National Marine Park Offices located behind Bondi Pub in central Chaweng and on Chaweng Lake Road opposite Lake View

ring, bacon, cheddar, grilled red onions, and salsa rosa dressing’. I suppose it must have something to do with Aussies growing up with a BBQ griddle in one hand and a rugby ball in the other . . .

For reservations please call 0 7730 0615 or 0 878 866 097

The rest of the menu follows in much the same vein of quality; it goes without saying that all the meat is imported directly from Australia or New Zealand. Such as the ‘New Zealand full rack of ribs: slow-roasted fall-off-the-bone pork, with house BBQ sauce and chips’. Then there’s the Australian tenderloin – big portions. Or the ‘Famous Melbourne Chicken Parmigiana’. There’s a good kids’ menu, too. All in all the menu is laid out into sections which cover breakfasts, snacks & salads, burgers (seven kinds), grilled meats, chicken combos, pub mains, gourmet pizzas and desserts. And that doesn’t include the daily specials. Check on the board outside for what’s running each day. And so to the serious stuff; the beer. Needless to say, there’s Fosters on draft. And Magners. Also on tap are Heineken, Singha, Chang and Tiger. There’s the usual range of spirits and liqueurs available. But, when 4:00 pm comes around, you can tipple happy-hour 2-for-1 mojitos right the way through to 9:00 pm. And, as with the food menu, watch out also for the ‘occasionals’ on the chalkboard or table flyer – you’ll spot free glasses of wine with selected dishes, complementary cocktails or combo specials.

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The very good bands play each alternating night – choose between ‘Rock Island’ or ‘Crazy Stone’ – both groups are very accomplished and can belt ’em out with the best. But watch out for a real treat in the New Year, the appearance of Oliver Jones, the gifted and laid-back acoustic guitarist, songwriter and musician. This will be his second appearance here and long anticipated. You’ve been reading all about Chaweng, but there’s a Bondi in Lamai, too, which opened a year later. And now the mercurial Lionel Helena, mastermind behind the Bondi project, has just opened another in Phuket. You’ll find that there’s several Aussie bars scattered around the island, but you can’t beat the surf, turf and sport at Bondi, sport!

Rob De Wet

___________________________________________________ For more information, telephone 0 7741 4357 (Chaweng) or 0 7760 1738 (Lamai) www.bondisamui.com

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2 Sp dis 0% a cou tr ea nt tm en ts on

Our Siam Ten Senses Treatment focuses on the ten main senses in human body. Restoring body systems and improving the balance.

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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

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: emma@sclinternationalschool.com www.sclinternationalschool.com

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MIND AND SOUL

We take a close look at SCL International School to see what it has to offer. I have to thank my dear departed daddy for quite a number of things. One of them was the little pearls of wisdom that he dropped on me from time to time. Of course, with me being just a little acorn back then, his words didn’t have so much meaning. But now I’m a sturdy oak, I can appreciate his wisdom. One of these truisms went “. . . son, always avoid discussions about religion or politics.” And, certainly, these are two subjects on which everyone has strong views. But he missed out the third. There’s another set of beliefs which are just as clear-cut. And that’s how you feel about education – the sort of education you want for your child.

Oddly enough, surveys have shown that many parents tend to lean towards the same kind of teaching style and education that they experienced themselves, when young. And these are based on the sort of reasoning which goes “. . . well it never did me any harm, so it must be all right”. On the other hand, more-aware parents have involved themselves with up-to-date research on the subject. In many countries there are just two main initial considerations – fee-paying in the private sector, or free public/state education. But in Thailand, and on Samui in particular, things are a little different.

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Speaking broadly, very few non-Thai parents would seriously consider sending their child to a local government-funded school. There are numerous reasons for this, which I don’t have the scope to go into here. All the other so-called ‘independent’ schools are without exception, fee-paying. So, on Samui, this aspect isn’t a deciding factor. Thus researching by word of mouth, by travelling around to see what’s what, and by reading around the subject on the internet, discloses two distinct educational approaches – but with admittedly a broad area of middle ground between them. The two buzz-words are, ‘curriculum-driven’ and ‘child-centred’. With the first, academic success and good examination results are the prime objective. The second places the emphasis on each individual child. Their specific needs are identified and met. Personal development and advancement, plus social integration, are high on the list of priorities. Children who have a well-balanced demeanour and confident social skills are guided swiftly towards acquiring the learning and knowledge

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Samui Discover authentic Indian Cuisine

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: nooriindia_samui@yahoo.com www.nooriindiasamui.com

NiCoL B by Nikky Noodles

LONDON

which will equip them to pass exams. But those who are in need of any kind of educational intervention are equally as rapidly identified. And then specific and individual programs are created and put into place. As you approach the SCL International School in Lamai, there always seems to be some kind of activity going on directly in front of you. It’s practically unavoidable, as there’s a long downhill slope from the car park, which runs alongside a broad swathe of lawn in front of the main gate. This is one of the activities areas, and there’s always a group there doing something. Two things will strike you. The first is just how much everyone is enjoying themselves. The second is just how enthusiastic – and skilfully clever – their teacher is. Whether it’s a group of five year-olds playing ‘catch the cow’ or older students up to something more complex, all sorts of fascinating examples or comparisons are continually being directed into play by the overseeing member of staff.

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SCL is no newcomer to the island’s educational scene; it first opened its doors in a very modest way back in 2004. The vision of its founders was to provide a situation where children would feel safe, valued and happy – which is the best environment for learning. Due to success and steady expansion, the centre has now blossomed into a school that can cater for up to 200 children, in a new and modern purpose-built premises, up the hill past Tamarind Springs Spa. There are 150 children, aged between three years and 11 in the junior section, and 45 in the secondary school. And to engage with these students there are a total of 55 experienced staff, 30 of them ‘foreign’ (i.e., ‘farangs’, in the local lingo!) and another 25 of Thai descent. As an ex-teacher myself, I recall just how challenging it used to be, getting to grips effectively with a multi-cultural group, some of whom most definitely did not have English as their native tongue. And it was with interest that I listened to Emma Dyas, School Director and partner, explain how they deal with this. “We have staff who are taking lessons in Russian, Chinese and French,” she told me, “plus of course English and Thai. Our system is that any student who has difficulties expressing themselves in English is taken out of the main group for two hours a day to begin with, for one-to-one lessons with a specialist English teacher. Later this time reduces as the student becomes more

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capable and confident. This is the key to a balanced individual and a solid foundation for learning: building close relationships where the child feels safe and confident. The specialist teacher then continues an individual support in the general class groups, cementing the relationship that’s already established.” “The same thing happens with students who have any sort of special educational need,” Emma continued. “Our Special Educational Needs Coordinator liaises closely with the parents, the educational Key Stage leaders and the class teachers. An ‘Individual Education Profile’ is worked out, with the aim of satisfying three objectives – personal, social and educational. We had a Russian boy not so long ago who was somewhere in the autistic spectrum. To begin with he was terrified, spoke no English, and was unable to speak or even look at anyone. Today you would never be able to notice any difference between him and the rest of his peers.” All of which leads to lots of stable, sociable and cheery children, but with no qualifications? Not in the least! The class teaching is geared to the UK National Curriculum and the school is an accredited member of The University of Cambridge International Examinations body, in addition to the Edexel Examination Board, and is, naturally, registered with the Thai Ministry of


The restaurant where every evening becomes a memorable occasion.

For reservations please contact: Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa, Koh Samui Tel: +66 (0) 77 428 300 Email: bophutsamui@anantara.com Skype: bophutsamui

Education. There is just as much emphasis on passing exams as there is on social integration; it’s just that exams aren’t the ‘be all and end all’ of schooling. And if you really need proof of either, visit the school, talk to Emma, and then don’t fail to turn up in July, when the upper school is staging the musical, ‘Grease’. All of which will prove to you that here at SCL, they really are . . . “Educating the Mind and Nurturing the Soul”!

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.

Rob De Wet

Tel: 0 7742 5085

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. Email: info@samuizazen.com

Website: www.samuizazen.com

__________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7741 8789. www.sclinternationalschool.com

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What inspired two young Thai professionals give up their corporate careers for an island lifestyle?

“I love running with my dog, and cycling,” says Best (Benjaphon Iamvatcharin), a young Thai entrepreneur who moved to Samui just over a year ago. His wife Benji (Monticha) prefers yoga. “But we don’t exercise as much as we used to in Bangkok,” they both admit. “We’re too busy.” Best and Benji left their corporate careers to open Lamphu Thai Botanicals, a health food store and cafe in Lamai. From buying to bottle-washing, banking to doing the books - founding a new business is enormously time-consuming, no matter where one does it. “Yes, it seems that we have less time, but what we do makes us happy,” says Benji. “But now I feel in control of my destiny,” says Best.

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Benji and Best met in the marketing department of a big corporation in Bangkok. He was working on marketing management and strategy, she on the creative side. Benji studied at Poh Chang, one of the oldest design schools in Bangkok and has a degree in industrial design from the King Mongkut Institute of Technology. She also founded and branded her own successful spa business in central Bangkok. Best graduated with first class honours in economics, from the prestigious Thammasat University.

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mother worked so hard to make a good life for me that she sometimes even slept at the office. One day I asked her ‘Don’t you love your child? Why don’t you spend more time with me?’ From that day she changed her life. She quit her job, we began eating more healthily at home, and the family spent quality time together. Benji and I want start off in that direction.” When they fell in love they decided that they would make their dream real. Benji grew up Catholic in Sakon Nakhon. “My great-grandparents were already Catholic over 100 years ago,” she says. Best’s upbringing is Buddhist. “It’s no problem - we had two weddings and attend each other’s temples,” they say cheerfully.

“We were working long days, and at the end of it all I felt we had only money to show - no time for our health,” says Best. “I ate badly and I felt under huge pressure to prove myself worthy. So while I was only in that situation for less than three years, I could see the stress building. Even on weekends I still felt compelled to work.”

They got married (twice) on 5.5.55 which is the 5th of May in the Buddhist year 2355 (equivalent to 2012 in the Gregorian calendar). “In Thai we pronounce that ‘ha ha ha ha’. So that sealed our pact to bring more joy into our lives, especially if we want to start a family in the future,” says Benji.

Long talks after work led them to discover that they shared the dream of an alternate lifestyle. “We didn’t want to wait until we were too old to live our lives,” says Benji. Best explains: “When I was a child my

“Our dream was to create a one-stop shop for healthy living that is reasonably priced, and therefore accessible to local people who may not yet know what a healthy alternative is, and what real organic means.”


There are lots of shades of green, Best readily admits and Lamphu does not only offer organic goods. “I can help people who have various standards or who are price sensitive to make the best decision. Some organic products are still overpriced because they are rare. There are many fashion trends which are often a kind of ‘green-washing’ and businesses take advantage of ignorance. We hope we can help to be a source of knowledge and share our passion for a healthy lifestyle.” The cafe, right opposite Tesco Lotus Lamai, is open from 10 am to 9 pm daily except Sundays, serving juices, cakes, teas, salads and snacks. The shop also stocks a range of shampoos, toothpastes, face and body products from a variety of sources, including the house brand. There are Thai herbal teas, essential oils, and handmade artefacts. There’s even a rack with hilltribe clothes from Mae Jam, with the proceeds going directly to the village. “My brother is a priest and worked up there,” explains Benji. In addition there are ingredients for healthy eating such as MSG-free soya sauces, wild honey and everything from wheatgrass- growing kits to superfoods such as flax seeds, quinoa or organic cacao. It’s an impressive array of well-chosen products. “My friends think I’m moving too fast,” says Best. “They think I’ve been too quick to get married, too quick to quit the city, too quick to open our own business.” But the couple’s families have been supportive. As luck would have it, Best’s family is one of the Samui clans descended from his Hainanese grandfather, and he’d visited his island cousins every New Year.

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“It’s true at first we thought we could live anywhere as long as it wasn’t Bangkok. But Samui seemed the least stressful option: my father was born here, and this shop was built by my grandfather,” he says pointing to the carefully oiled beams overhead. “They say he was the finest carpenter on Samui in his day.” Best and Benji have augmented the old wooden shop by adding a modern glass frontage, and converting the back garden into a delightful outside courtyard. The cafe and shop are cool, comfortable and stylish, but also welcoming. “My mother taught me that we have to balance our profits with the local economy and always give more than what we get,” says Best. It’s more common to meet newly arrived Westerners who are disenchanted with the consumerist West than young Thai people leaving the apparent abundance and bright lights of the city. Many who do move here complain of 108 l www.samuiholiday.com

the (comparative) lack of variety when it comes to eating Thai food on Samui. As luck would have it, Best and Benji are health-conscious and often concerned with the quality of the ingredients when eating out. “My favourite place to eat is right here”, says Best. Isn’t that a lot of work, I ask? “It doesn’t feel like work when you love what you do,” says Benji, bringing out steaming banana cacao muffins from the oven. That’s having your cake and eating it too, I mumble with my mouth full of goodness.

Annie Lee

_________________________________________ For more information, telephone 0 7723 1079. www.lamphuthai-botanicals.com


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AQUA DESIRE

Aqua Samuiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s luxury development is nothing short of stunning!

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It’s exciting. And it happens in stages. The first stage is your initial holiday on Samui. Then your next one. And then, somewhere down the line, and after a couple more stays on the island, the thought of buying a place here pops into your head. That’s the first stage: it happens to every one of us, even if it’s only browsing around to check on what’s available, and the costs involved. The second stage is more complex, because it involves many decisions. The main thing here is are you still going to keep a house on in your own country? Most people do: it’s a brutal decision to sell up completely. Or – a bit of both? The majority of people who buy property on Samui don’t plan to live here all year round. They are socially and financially in a position to enjoy life here for several months each year. Many people end up deciding they’re looking for an investment. But an investment that’s comfortable for them to live in, and one that can be well-managed and let during the time they’re not here. And the third stage? That’s the bit where you sign on the dotted line. But by now you’ve really checked out the property scene here. You’re after a house or villa, not a 1-bed condo. And you want it to be private; you’ve had enough of housing estates. For around £80,000 (€92K), you won’t get much more than a condo or a slot on a small estate. Eight million baht (around £160K) will buy you something with grounds and a wall round it. But then you’re completely at the mercy of other people’s sense of design – not everyone likes black marble gothic columns with gold curly bits in the middle of their living room.

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And that’s firmly where the new development that’s known as ‘Aqua Samui’ comes into the picture. By now you’ll have scanned the photos on this page with interest: the outlook, the interior design, the styling and the features are simply stunning. These are not standalone self-contained villas in acres of grounds. But when you’re inside one, you’d never be aware of this. The whole scheme was composed by the award-winning architect, Gary Fell. And he spent a great deal of conceptual energy to arrive at a design that has space and privacy at its core. “There were three prime objectives in this development,” Antonio Duani told me. He’s the general manager of the developers of the project, Luxury Living. “They were location, design and price. Some projects with great views are way out in the middle of nowhere.

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This one is on the mountain slope above Chaweng and ten minutes’ drive away from the centre. We weren’t content to save money by putting the design out for tender; we went directly for the best architect in South East Asia. And right from the start we had so much confidence in the result that we priced it at well under the market value.” This was a bold venture on all three counts. And it worked. There are 11 ‘units’ of two and three-bedroomed villas in the first phase, and with another 33 already in the second phase of building. The 11 units in phase one sold-out within 50 days. And, out of the further 33 that are being built, there are now only 10 left. But when you learn that the prices of the two-bedroom pool penthouses begin at just £195,000 (€232K), you’ll realise that Luxury Living has hit all the bull’s-eyes right across the board.


At one time, I lived for a couple of years in a lovely old wooden Thai house. The best part of it was that the living area had no windows. It had full-height concertina wooden doors on two of its walls, which were folded back during the day. The living areas at Aqua Samui have the same idea – but here it’s an entire wall of frameless glass. Extending on the same level beyond the living area is the pool with the broad tiled surround, big daybed space and ‘sala’. Open the glass and immediately your living room doubles in size to include the balcony, terrace and pool. If it’s too hot, close the glass and switch on the air-conditioning (there is aircon plus fans in every room) – the panoramic vista is just the same. And what a view it is, looking down over across the entire sweep of Chaweng Bay. Night time is equally as entrancing: both the villas and the entire estate are dotted with thoughtfully concealed lighting, endowing

the entire edifice with a tropical glow that’s bound to attract even more awards. And here is a good point to mention that this project has already picked up the ‘Asia Best Resort Residences’ award and the ‘Asia Pacific Property’ award for 2013. The entire scheme just oozes with professionalism, skill and class. Even the photos that go with it are not actually photos – they’re expensively created computer visualisations of what is yet to come, but certainly the most professional that I’ve ever come across. The first phase is almost finished and scheduled for completion in March-April of this year. At which point the buyers can either furnish their investments themselves, or take advantage of the additional furnishing package that Luxury Living offer. There’s also a comprehensive management department that handles leasing, maintenance and cleaning services.

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The choices are for two, three and four bedroom options, all of which share the same essential concept. And Antonio will be delighted to talk to you about your requirements. You’ll find him in the offices just outside Chaweng, mid-way between Makro and Big C supermarkets. Luxury Living is not an international conglomerate, it’s just a group of visionaries making ideas become reality, based on Koh Samui. And if you still have any doubt about that, look again at Aqua Samui and the sales record. Then maybe also ask them about the ‘Aqua Condos’ that are on the drawing board, complete with fitness centre and gym, and clubhouse-cum-bar. By my reckoning, this is in line to become ‘Aqua Desire’ #2!

Rob De Wet

_________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7795 2288. www.luxsamui.com, www.aquasamui.com

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...living by the sea... Ease yourself to the sound of gently lapping waves and enjoy the breath-taking sea views. Savor Mediterranean bistro culinary delights & modern Thai specialties, for a unique beachfront dining experience.

Peace Resort 178, Moo 1, Bophut Beach Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Thailand Tel: +66 77 425357 | Fax: +66 77 425343 www.peaceresort.com | seawrap@peaceresort.com

Le Jaroen “A Secret World”

Probably the most enchanting restaurant on the island for an unforgettable romantic evening. Induldge your senses with an exquisite 5 course Chef’s Signature Menu or 4 course Thai Degustation Menu.

S ECRET R E T R E AT S

Tel +66 (0)77 962 198 info@thescenthotel.com www.thescenthotel.com The Scent Hotel 58/1 Moo 4 Bangrak Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand

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LA BELLE

HIDEAWAY Sumptuous, smooth and serene sums up one of Samui’s newest resorts – Vana Belle.

Samui is a lovely island. The weather’s perfect, the people friendly. And all that gorgeous white sand fringing the deep blue sea – and a sky that goes on forever. It’s a picture postcard at every turn. Not everywhere, of course – some parts are busier than others. Generally, you have to go off the beaten track for a completely unspoiled bit of beach. But not always. One spot that is both easy to get to and also lovely, is Chaweng Noi, just around the corner from its busier sister in Chaweng. And that’s where you’ll find one of the island’s most sumptuous 5-star resorts, Vana Belle, A Luxury Collection Resort. The bay at Chaweng Noi is a deep crescent of sand that’s fringed by resorts. But Vana Belle is not just any top-ranking resort. It’s a part the Starwood Hotels portfolio of 1,100 resorts and hotels. And they’ve cleverly picked the perfect spot, high up in a little cove that very effectively has what seems to be almost a private beach of its own. The resort is further distinguished by being one of 80 in Starwood’s ‘Luxury Collection’, and one of only three in Thailand. And this means standards of quality and décor that are really something rather special.

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‘Vana’ means forest and ‘belle’ is beautiful. And in this is the core theme that runs throughout. In amongst the lush tropical vegetation and the luxuriant foliage, there are water features everywhere. Tranquil lotus ponds, tinkling streams and waterfalls. And then there are the ‘kunchorn warees’ – you’ll find a splendid one in the lotus pond that fringes the courtyard and sala-style lounge. This is a creature from Thai mythology; half elephant and half fish, and this mystical motif is dotted around the resort, together with other mythical icons. Wandering around the grounds, you’ll find that the architecture is as impressive as the setting. The style is unique and there is nothing else at all like it, anywhere. The initial temptation is to dub it as a kind of ‘contemporary Thai’ style - there are certainly many Thai motifs in and around the cleanly modern layout. But, after a while, other influences make their presence felt. The upper parts of the villas are sparklingly white and have a Mediterranean flavour. But the tapered slate-toned bases, which merge into the greenery, are contrastingly monolithic, and bring to mind hints of pyramids, hot sands, and times gone by. But any lingering suggestions of this evaporate immediately on entering one of the luxurious villas or suites. There are 80 accommodations here all told, and each is magnificently furnished in a bold and simple fashion. The theme here is as open and spacious as the outside flora is complex – all have acres of glass and private pools (with the freestanding Tropical Pool Villas being in excess of 200 square metres). Each one has not only the usual mini-bar, but a champagne bar also. There’s a 46-inch flat screen TV and video/MP3 player. The bathrooms are straight out of a show-home magazine; walk-in dressing rooms with snowy white bathrobes, a range of spa products, Balinese-style rain showers, deep, deep bathtubs and ‘floatingbowl’ basins. And every villa comes with its own 24-hour on-call private butler. 118 l www.samuiholiday.com


Your One Stop Chill Spot

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

Email: info.kohsamui@impiana.com

And then there’s the restaurant, although you’ll be forgiven for pausing before you enter. It’s at beach level close to the pool area, and you’ll be mesmerised by the pool; it’s a deep indigo in colour! The open-air Panali restaurant is another picture-postcard setting – the thatched roofs and natural timbers contrasting pleasingly with the pillow-topped chairs and sofas. Outside and almost on the sand itself, there’s a broad wooden deck with round tables and wickerwork couches. The Director of Culinary Services here is Italian, Dario Congera. Thus you’ll not be surprised that the cuisine is contemporary Italian in nature, with Mediterranean influences. But what will tickle your taste buds is the nature of the cuisine. His culinary flair manifests itself in the superb sauces and aromatic herbs that perfectly enhance and complement the meat and seafood dishes. However, Vana Belle is blessed with not one, but two top restaurants. Higher on the estate you’ll come across Kiree, and this is yet another essay in space and light – cool, elegant, and instantly relaxing. There’s a calm serenity here; an air-conditioned inner dining area features settles and sofas, with a black marble open kitchen at one side and a wall of opening glass at the other. Outside this is a terrace with one of the best views on the island, and the spangle of Chaweng Bay glimmering across the water. The cuisine here is something of a rarity; it specialises in Southern Thai dishes. Unlike a standard Thai menu, here you’ll find only dishes from areas in the south, mild and rich in coconut milk and seafood, such as the ‘Green Curry Seafood with Coconut Heart, Served in a Coconut Shell’, or the ‘Phuketstyle Pork Belly Stew with Chinese 5 Spices’.

Enjoy the beauty of the underwater world the easy way. Seawalking is the newest and most innovative attraction to hit Koh Samui. It is the safest underwater adventure and fun for all the family Just stroll along the seabed in 10 feet of crystal clear water and observe the sea life as it swims around you. You need no lessons or swimming ability. For more information contact Tel: 0901 650411 www.underseawalking.com

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Meandering further through the grounds you’ll discover the spa. This is a freestanding building and is at the heart of the serenity that is Vana Belle. Situated next to the main resort building, Vana Spa proclaims a celebrated menu of traditional Thai therapies. The beauty, body, and wellness treatments are inspired by the ethos of the East and, once again, the mythical enchanted forest of Himavanta. The four treatment rooms are named after the Thai heroines, Manorah, Mathana, Rodjana, and Bhudsaba. The floor-to-ceiling windows are lined with both sheer and blackout curtains, and each of the rooms feature a garden view, shower, wardrobe, and dressing area, along with two treatment beds. Two of the rooms also boast a steam room and Jacuzzi tub. Whether you are a guest or a visitor from outside, you are warmly welcome to select from an array of treatments and therapies, including traditional Thai massage, four-hand massages, facial treatments, and body therapies, such as ‘Lomi Lomi’ massage and hot stone massage. 120 l www.samuiholiday.com


Welcome to Sa-ard’s Watersports Center on Koh Samui. Where everyday can be an aquatic adventure – above and below the crystal clear blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Join us and discover what r eally makes these islands so very special. Our brand new catamaran Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 “Kindred Spirit” can comfortably take 15 people on a day trip and sleep 6 people on over-night excursions. The starboard hull has a double stateroom with ensuite bathroom and living area. There are also two double state rooms in the port hull with a shared bathroom. You’ll also find a large galley and a living area with CD/DVD player and a 28 inch colour TV. All the cabins and living areas are fully air-conditioned. Sa-ard’s Watersports Center also offers Private Speedboat tours to the beaches and snorkeling destinations of the surrounding islands. Manager and Skipper is Sa-ard, one of Thailand’s most celebrated windsurfers. He took part in the Olympics 1984 in Los Angeles and 1992 in Barcelona, was a long time member of the Thai National Windsurfing Team, has been Asian Champion and 5 times Gold Medal Winner in the South East Asian Games. You simply could not be in better hands!

Samui has always had its lovely beaches and balmy nights out under the stars. It still has these things. But now it has something more. And when you discover for yourself the quality of attention, and the standards of service here at Vana Belle, not to mention the sheer luxury at every turn, you’ll no doubt agree – everything here is utterly sumptuous, smooth and superbly serene!

Rob De Wet

_______________________________________________________ For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7791 5555. www.vanabellekohsamui.com

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DON’T CASH! A look at the best ways to bring your holiday money to Samui. It’s an interesting thought – it’s not a new thing to want to move money safely (and also cheaply) around the world. But you may be surprised at just how long ago this first started happening. The Biblical system of ‘hawala’ still exists and has been described as ‘the world’s second-oldest profession’. Today it’s impossible to estimate just how many billions of dollars each year are transferred by this method. (It’s estimated that immigrant workers in the Middle East alone, sent a total six billion dollars to their families in 2011, using only one short phone call to make the transfer.) The only other comparable system appears to have been Western Union. But the associated fees have now become exceptionally high, plus it’s also bedded firmly into the internet – as, of course, are you.

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Can you even begin to imagine being without internet-based online banking?! Instant shifts of money between accounts, transfers on demand and payment of bills? Plus, naturally, the ease of having credit cards linked to these accounts? Can’t imagine it? Well, welcome to Thailand! If you stay here for long enough you’ll discover that, in most respects, the Thai system of banking is nothing at all like you’re used to back home. And if you come here as a visitor for just a week or two, some of these banking experiences might not be as smooth as silk. So what’s the best way to access funds while you’re here and to make sure you’re never short of cash in an emergency? There’s a few ways to go about all of this, and you might be surprised at some of the options! A decade or so ago people swore by traveller’s cheques. Today they’ve become less convenient than most of the alternative methods, although they have the advantage of being quickly replaced if lost or stolen. But, right away, as soon as you land in Thailand, you’ll need local money for snacks, transport and so on. Do not bring Thai currency with you! The exchange rates outside Thailand are unpleasantly bad, and all airports here have plentiful ATM machines which will accept your credit cards. And that brings us directly to the aspect that is everyone’s main consideration – the fees involved and the overall costs of getting your hands on your holiday cash. It’s impossible to delve into the specific charges of different banks – huge comparative articles have been published about this, both in newspapers and journals, and on the internet. Suffice it so say that you’ll need to investigate your own bank and discover their fee structure in detail before you come. But the most popular, and practical, means of getting your hands on your loot has now become via a credit/debit card. 124 l www.samuiholiday.com


A parallel word of warning here – on Samui most things can not be charged directly to your card. The majority of businesses don’t offer this. Most resorts do. And also international companies, like car hire firms. But for general shopping, forget it. Another thing is that VISA is the most-widely acknowledged standard; even some of the big supermarkets accept this. The best overall plan is to use your card as a means of quick access to your home bank account – so top it up before you come. As a very general guide, you can reckon that you’ll pay around 3% in fees, including the 150 baht that all Thai banks now levy. Also be aware that, no matter what your withdrawal limit is back home, the ATMs here will only allow you 20 notes at a time. (This is a great way to get small change at the airport – take out 4,900 baht to get some 100s for taxis and the like.) A final tip: ask for a duplicate card and, before you come, also inform your bank in writing that you will be using this card in Thailand! However, one thing you probably won’t expect is just how simple it is to open a Thai bank account with an ATM debit card attached. With the majority of banks all you need is your passport – no references or credit checks necessary! (No overdrafts, loans or cheque books either – it’s a simple savings account.) All done and dusted in about 20 minutes. Total cost: around 400 baht, including an associated VISA compatible debit/ ATM card. This is overall the cheapest and quickest way to get spending your holiday money. Bring, in cash, whatever you’d expect to get through during your stay – to prevent infringing any regulations, keep this at a maximum of €5,000 ��� open a Thai account right away, and use your card to withdraw money at no cost when used at the same bank. Just take care that you don’t take most of this cash back out again or questions might get asked as you re-enter your own country. www.samuiholiday.com l 125


Incidentally, while you’re here, go online and link your Thai card to your PayPal account (it’s easy to open a PayPal account if you don’t have one). Not all Thai banks are accepted, but I know for certain that VISA debit cards from the Bangkok Bank and the Kasikorn Bank (K-Bank) are acceptable. (Plus they also have good online banking.) Then it’s painless to send money to your bank accounts (or have money sent to you), either from Thailand or vice versa. Be aware, however, that it takes five working days in Thailand for anything coming in from PayPal to transfer to your Thai bank account.

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International inter-bank wire transfers? Forget it. Not only are there currency conversions penalties and hidden charges, but there’s a flat rate fee of between €30 and €50, too. Plus, worst of all, it also then takes 7-10 days to appear in your Thai bank account. If you’re reading this then you’re already here, and a lot of the advice won’t be useful, not this time anyway. But if you know you’ll be coming again, open that local bank account (plus also a PayPal account), ready for next time. And


then you’ll need to do some research to find out about the best cards/ fees/options. One vital website is listed below: it shows today’s Thai banks ATM conversion rates, and they vary a lot. Use this, plus the other info, and access to your holiday money will be as smooth as silk – no splashes involved at all!

Rob De Wet

___________________________________________________ Daily Thai bank ATM credit card exchange rates for accounts abroad – bankexchangerates.daytodaydata.net

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.

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MORE THAN JUST A PHARMACY Morya increases our feeling of well-being. When you’re away on holiday, in a medical emergency, where is the first place you head to? Okay, I’m not talking ‘I seem to have fractured my leg’ emergency; I’m talking smaller things like nausea, insect bites, suspicious rashes or perhaps a graze from a small altercation on your newly rented motorbike? What if you need a knee brace for an old injury that’s come back to haunt you after a recent attempt to somersault into the hotel pool? Would you head to the emergency room of the nearest hospital or would you head to the pharmacy. I’m guessing your answer was pharmacy. This might be different when you’re in a foreign country where a possible fear of the language barrier might have you heading to the nearest hospital instead. Well, rest assured on Samui there is a pharmacy chain that not only can you trust, but also one that you can talk to easily because of their quality of English (and recently Italian, German or Russian too). What a relief, there’s nothing worse than trying to describe something that perhaps even you don’t understand, to someone who doesn’t understand your language. Morya pharmacies are a tourist’s dream. Just look at any one of their branches and you’ll see they ooze professionalism. Brightly lit, glassfronted buildings filled with line upon line of fully-stocked shelves, and outside the unmistakable green cross of the Morya logo. The white-coated staff inside are friendly and knowledgeable, and can speak your language. Perfect.

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What is extra-special about Morya is that every branch has a dedicated pharmacist. Not someone who ‘knows a bit about medicine’ but a professional who has completed an intensive 7-year ‘Doctor of Pharmacy’ degree, including studies of anatomy and physiology on a par with the initial year of a degree in medicine. They are also qualified in biochemistry and organic chemistry and even covered a component of law studies. So if you think these pharmacists don’t know what they’re doing, think again! And what about your medications? Maybe you decided to stay on Samui longer than you were expecting, and have now run out of your antihistamine/sea-sickness/blood pressure/hormone replacement/vitamin pills. Why suffer in silence? Simply take the empty box to the pharmacy and speak directly to the pharmacist. They will gladly either find it on one of their many shelves for you or perhaps even recommend a Thai equivalent, which most of the time will be cheaper anyway. If you can’t leave your hotel room for some reason, they have an emergency number which goes through to their main office. They can easily put you through to your local branch, who can then deliver your medication directly to your doorstop (on Samui, of course - before you get any funny ideas). Morya don’t only stock major medicines, they also stock the smaller but no less important things. Dehydration is common on Samui because tourists aren’t used to the humid weather and how much they sweat, so often start to feel ill. You can find re-hydration sachets on the shelves and if you can’t, just ask any one of the staff on hand. They’ll have pain killers too to help you with the headaches that come with dehydration (and other holiday activities) and even sell you sunscreen to help protect you in that glorious Thai sunshine (or after-sun if it’s too late). They’ll have joint supports, bandages and many other first aid products. In the bigger branches, you can hire wheelchairs or even hospital beds. 130 l www.samuiholiday.com


B Smart B Smart Sys. Co., LTD has been providing top level security solutions, lighting control systems, CCTV systems, access control, fire alarms and WiFi solutions since 1999. B Smart has quickly earned the reputation for being one of the most progressive and innovative system integrators in Thailand. Along with high quality products and a very knowledgeable work force, you can be confident that B Smart Sys. Co., LTD will meet and exceed your expectations.

Hotline: 0 815 631 685 Email: bsmartsys@gmail.com For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ตรงข้ามโรงแรมนภาใส แม่น้ำ�

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: captainkirksamui@hotmail.com For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ชั้นสองของตึก ติดกับพิซซ่าฮัท

ถนนเลียบหาดเฉวง เฉวงเซ็นเตอร์

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: curraglass@yahoo.com For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ที่ถนนหาดบ่อผุด

I don’t know about being just a pharmacy, Morya seem to be able to supply anything. Just yesterday I browsed through one of their many branches on Samui, and besides the medication behind the counter (like contraception, blood pressure, hormone replacement and other normally ‘prescription only’ drugs in the Western world), I found shampoos, conditioners, face creams, body lotions, baby food and contact lens solution. A whole section on sports was tucked around a corner and included various joint supports and even a wide range of protein powders. Another section celebrated all things ‘hair’, so alongside your shampoos and hair dyes, you could buy various hair slides and other decorative clips. A gift section offered fragrant candles and little coloured jars of creams. I’ve never spent so long in a ‘pharmacy’ before. So maybe that’s just it. Don’t view Morya as a pharmacy; view it as more of a ‘well-being’ shop where you can buy a multitude of things to increase your feeling of well-being. Sounds like a great reason to pay them a visit.

Asia Travel 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: asia_int@samart.co.th For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ที่ถนนหน้าทอน

Simply the best

Brite Smile

Colleen Setchell

________________________________________________ For more information, telephone 0 7741 3298-9.

The Original BriteSmile Centre from Hollywood’s Professional Teeth Whitening. . One Hour . One Visit . One Dazzling Smile Offering other new services: Painless dentistry, depigmentation with laser and dental implants, as well as a wide range of dental hygiene and care.

Bangkok Samui Dental Clinic Open daily from 9:oo - 20.00 Tel : 0 7742 9500 www.DentalSamui.com

Tel.: 0 7742 9500 Website: www.DentalSamui.com For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ในโรงพยาบาลกรุงเทพ

ถนนรอบเกาะ เฉวง

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SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED

Hin Lad waterfall is well worth the hike. Holidaying on a tropical island has much more to offer than just beaches, restaurants and parties. If you’re looking for something different to do, or maybe you just want to get your blood pumping and muscles working again before you head back home, then how about a three kilometre hike through the jungle to view Samui’s most remote waterfall. Hin Lad waterfall, is located on route 4172, just south of Nathon, on the west coast. You will see it signposted, but because of its remote location, you’ll rarely find this waterfall overcrowded.

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It’s situated near the Hin Lad Waterfall Temple (or ‘Wat Namtok Hin Lad’ in Thai). The temple sits peacefully in an evergreen tropical jungle, and is visited by many tourists as it’s a natural stop along the trail up to the waterfall. Many locals visit the temple at the weekend after visiting the falls. The temple is exquisitely Thai. If you’ve been to a Thai temple before, you’ll be familiar with the intricate architecture. The ornamented, multiple roof layers and the golden colours are so different from anything in Western culture. There are various Buddha images and sculptures around the grounds, and there is a short path to a nearby meditation area. It is a tranquil and peaceful area if you’d like to just take a moment to relax. You can buy a small bag of fish food at the little restaurant and feed the seemingly always-hungry fish in the ponds. Dotted around the grounds are small signs in Thai displaying various quotes of wisdom - if your Thai isn’t up to scratch, there are a few in English too. Local Thais use the temple for self-healing or to work through their daily life challenges with the help of the temple’s monks. Some just come to sit quietly in the peaceful surroundings and be close to nature. If a fascination for all things Buddhist is not your thing, the temple grounds are also the perfect spot for some very interesting photography. The path to the waterfall is on the right, past a few snack stands and a small house. If you feel a little peckish on the way to the waterfall, there are some little restaurants where you can store up some energy and buy some snacks. The path is made of concrete and dirt so watch your step. It is a challenging walk which winds its way through dense jungle, so make sure you wear suitable clothing and shoes. Also advisable are mosquito repellent, your swimming costume, maybe a change of clothes and plenty of water. Even though the path isn’t very long, because a lot of the vegetation forms a canopy overhead, it is very humid and you’ll sweat more than you’d care to admit. If the path splits and you’re not sure which way to go, follow the sound of the water! 134 l www.samuiholiday.com


NEW SCHEDULE STARTS OCTOBER 1ST 2013

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At certain times of the year, you can see beautiful spring flowers. Even though the temple itself is open all year round, the best time to visit the actual waterfall is during the rainy season so you can fully appreciate the water cascading over the rocks. It also ensures that the pools are deep enough for a nice, cooling swim after the walk through the jungle. This isn’t the highest waterfall on the island, but it is beautiful to look at as the water sprawls lazily over the rocks rather than falling neatly in a straight line. Enjoy a cool down in the pool after your hike or find a good spot on the shore of the pool to sit back and enjoy a picnic. There’s something special about waterfalls, something about the element of water. The soothing sound of water rushing over rocks, the delicate mist rising above, the cool water pooled below. People are naturally drawn to waterfalls, they are almost perceived as a place of spiritual peace. Perhaps it’s easy to visualise your cares and worries flowing away with the water … If you’re feeling really adventurous, it is possible to make your way back down the hill via the waterfall rather than the path. However, please be careful as the rocks can get very slippery and you’ll say more than just ‘ouch’ if you slip and fall in this 136 l www.samuiholiday.com


remote location. There are many other rock pools on the way down where you can cool off or sit under the trees and catch your breath. Very close to the waterfall, there is an elephant camp. For many visitors, it is a dream to ride an elephant. The elephants are truly gentle giants and will happily transport you through the jungle and even trek further inland to other locations. They are all well looked after and their mahouts make sure they are fed, bathed and cared for. For a small charge, you can help bathe and feed them after your trek. By allowing the elephants to do the hard work and climb the hills, you can be treated to spectacular views of the island and even see neighbouring islands without breaking sweat.

KHAO SOK

The Cliff and River Jungle Resort

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

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.

Make time to visit Hin Lad Waterfall and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll see so much more than just a waterfall.

Colleen Setchell

Recommended by Lonely Planet

Tel.: 0 7723 0684

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PROPERTY CLASSIFIEDS Guesthouse for Sale - Chaweng

Villa for Rent/Sale - Yupa Villa 1

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.

5 fully furnished bedrooms with air-con throughout. All bedrooms ensuite, one with jacuzzi. Living area fully furnished with TV and internet. Thai/Western kitchen. Swimming pool, remote control gate, security camera around house, safety box, parking area, garden.

Contact: 0 818 921 990 Email: info@mobydick-guesthouse.com

Tel: 0 818 917 912, 0 897 636 032 E-mail: cr@chawengbayviewsamuiresort.com www.chawengbayviewsamuiresort.com

House for Sale - Bang Por

Villa for Rent/Sale - Yupa Villa 2

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.

3 fully furnished bedrooms with air-con throughout. All bedrooms ensuite, one with jacuzzi. Living area fully furnished with TV and internet. Thai kitchen. Swimming pool, remote control gate, security camera around house, safety box, parking area, garden.

Price: 12,000,000 Baht Land title: Chanote Land: 1,000 m2 House: 200 m2

Tel: 0 818 917 912, 0 897 636 032 E-mail: cr@chawengbayviewsamuiresort.com www.chawengbayviewsamuiresort.com

Contact: 0 818 921 990 E-mail: tuulakohsamui@hotmail.com

Private real estate 180-Degree views

with

incredible

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: asiatravel_international@yahoo.com

Contact Khun Na: 0892914747 (English and Thai)

Price: 40.000 Baht / month, paid every 6 months in advance. (no deposit or key money).

Chaweng - Bar for Rent / Sale

Shophouse for Sale - Chaweng

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

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.

Contact Khun Na: 0892914747 (English and Thai)

Price: 15,900,000 Baht Contact Khun Na: 0892914747 (English and Thai)

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

Contact:

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


Samujana Villa 17

Aqua Samui

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.

A unique opportunity to own a private residence or a high end investment property on the idyllic island of Samui. Aqua was designed by award winning architect Gary Fell. The location of this exclusive boutique development could not be better nestled in the hillside looking over Chaweng Bay and along the east coast to Lamai. Prices start from: 8.9 million THB for a 2 Bedroom Villa 10.9 million THB for a 3 Bedroom Villa (Type A) 15.9 million THB for a 3 Bedroom Villa (Type B)

Price: US$1,800,000 Tel: 0 811 901 540 Email: narisa@punrai.com Website: www.punrai.com

Web : www.aquasamui.com Email: office@aquasamui.com Telephone: +66 (0) 77952288

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 narisa@punrai.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: info@dsdsamui.com

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: info@dsdsamui.com

Tel: 0 811 901 540 Email: narisa@punrai.com 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 narisa@punrai.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: info@dsdsamui.com

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: narisa@punrai.com Website: www.punrai.com

Contact: Steve 081 452 5895, Pop 081 832 5895 Website: www.dsdsamui.com Email: info@dsdsamui.com

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 narisa@punrai.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: info@dsdsamui.com

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WEST COAST WONDER

If you’re looking for a villa-type retreat, Siam Residence is a fantastic beachside option. Tucked away at the northern end of Lipa Noi bay is as small beach known as Santi Beach. This picturesque and tranquil cove is home to Siam Residence, a resort that has kept guests happy for 25 years, long before Samui became a tourist hub. Siam Residence is Austrian owned and under Austrian and Swiss management. So the combination of Austrian perfection, Swiss precision and Thai hospitality must be part of the secret of the resort’s success. The furnishings in the one and two bedroom villas are a combination of classic European and Asian style, and the villas are generously proportioned to say the least, with the one bedroomed being 80 square metres, and the two bedrooms being a spacious 130 square metres. They’re spread far enough apart in the lawned garden that residents don’t feel on top of each other.

For anyone preferring tranquillity to action and crowds, Siam Residence is the perfect choice. Giant pine trees line the beach offering shade, but guests who prefer to top up their tans can either move their sun-loungers closer to the water line, or laze on one of the many loungers flanking the pool – which forms a focal point of the resort. And if simply relaxing with a book under the trees or by the pool is not enough for you, visit the glassed-in massage sala located next to the restaurant on the lawn, with views across the bay. Here, guests can enjoy one of the luxuries that Thailand is best known for – massage and spa treatments. Therapists are well trained, and there’s a good selection of treatments and pampering packages available, including Thai and oil massages, manicures and pedicures, body scrubs and facials, as well as combination packages.

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Getting back to the villas – guests really do feel as though they have a home away from home, rather than just a hotel suite. With a full-sized living room and exceptionally large bedrooms and bathrooms, it’s easy to unpack your bags, and ‘move in’ for your holiday escape, and not have to live out of suitcases. Unwind with bubbles in the soak-in bathtubs, complete with cushioned headrests, or freshen up with in a rain shower – each villa boasts two, both indoor and outdoor. In-room luxuries make the stay more enjoyable, such as plush white bathrobes and exclusive bathroom amenities, fresh flowers and fruit in the rooms, kettles, safes and hair-dryers, minibar, telephones, music system, complete with iPod dock, as well as a good selection of TV channels. The family villas (with a choice of pool or sea views) offer two spacious bedrooms, but the one bedroom villas can also accommodate up to two children sharing with parents, in extra beds. Siam Residence’s Pavilion Restaurant welcomes outside guests to dine either inside, or on the beach. Chef Lamyai has been heading up the kitchen for an impressive 22 years. If you find yourself walking along Lipa Noi Beach and fancy a drink or nibble, pop in and give it try. It’s open from 7:00 am through to 10:00 pm. Breakfasts range from a full American, to lighter options such as fruit platters, cereals, pancakes and French toast. Chef Lamyai’s speciality is seafood, and she personally shops at the local fresh market for her ingredients. Rather than keep seafood on hand in the kitchen, if a guest orders a seafood dish, she hops on her scooter and scurries off to the local market and back in ten minutes. The fish or shellfish is cooked to your liking with a variety of options including barbecued, deep-fried, curried, or stir-fried with Thai-style sauces.

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Those that aren’t in the mood for seafood will find plenty of meat, chicken and vegetarian options too, as well as a lighter lunch menu, perfect for snacking around the pool. Non-residents who are enjoying lunch at the restaurant are welcome to enjoy the pool after lunch, and as Lipa Noi beach is the perfect spot to catch the sunset, why not make a day of it, and stay for sun-downers. At night the restaurant puts on her evening dress, as tables are set out on the lawn and beach, candles are lit and polished silverware glistens in the moonlight. The background music and beach setting make for an ideal romantic mood. Friendly staff make a holiday even more special, helping guests feel as though they’re welcome and anticipating their every need. At Siam Residence, the staff are a close-knit group. They all speak English well, and some even speak German. With only nine villas, the setting is intimate, and guests have the option to enjoy their privacy, or interact and socialise over drinks by the pool or bar. So if you’re looking to escape the crowds of Samui’s more 144 l www.samuiholiday.com


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 : zicos@chr.co.th 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

developed areas, and are looking to enjoy tranquillity, a pristine beach, memorable sunsets, and wholesome food, then perhaps Siam Residence is just what you’ve been looking for.

Rosanne Turner

______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 0008. www.siamresidence.com.

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Santib

Santiburi Beach Resort Golf & Spa

Rim Talay Restaurant at Santiburi Beach Resort, Golf & Spa

Premier Pool Villa at Bo Phut Resort & Spa

Sala Thai Restaurant at Bo Phut Resort and Spa


buri Resort

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.

12/12 Moo1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84330 Tel: +66 (0) 7742 5031-5 Fax: +66 (0) 7742 5040 E-mail: info@santiburi.com www.santiburi.com

12/12 Moo 1, Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320 Tel: +66 (0) 7724 5777, +66 (0) 7743 0201 Fax: +66 (0) 7724 5776 Email: info@bophutresort.com www.bophutresort.com

Sales Office: 245/7 Sukhumvit 31, Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand Tel: +66 (0) 2260 2530-5 Fax: +66 (0) 2260 7570



Jan/Feb 2014