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All That Jazz This year’s international Latin & Jazz Week will be the best ever!

Invest in a Lifestyle

Beach Republic offers unrivalled investment and lifestyle fractional ownership options in an ideal location


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 l W

Be Sweet Be Wild Be 9Gems


Lounge Restaurant K o h

S a m u i

Koh Samui's Premier Restaurant and Lounge Indulge in the succulent cocktails and provocative global fusion cuisine of the lavish and luxurious 9Gems Restaurant & Lounge as you experience a 360 degree view of Koh Samui.

“Miami Vice meets Buddha Bar.” “Gastronomic delights were served with great panache, and it's no surprise that the cuisine was absolutely divine.” Betty Page, “Without a doubt, it is Koh Samui's most precious gem.” Nicole Christine Valdes, Samui Lifestyle Featured in ELLE Decoration, the innovative design and incredibly chic ambience makes for an experience unlike any other. Dress code: trendy or smart casual. Minimum age: 12+ (Screaming children will not be tolerated.) Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 16:00 – 24:00, Friday – Sunday: 16:00 – 02:00 (Kitchen Closes 23:00) (Monday Closed) Tel: 0 7725 6125 Mobile: 0 806 920 520

A Warm Welcome


Graeme Malley

Graphic Designer Wunvilai Punnern - Meow

Photographer Ugrit Komlue - Grit

Feature Writer Rob De Wet

Feature Writer Rosanne Turner

Feature Writer Colleen Setchell


Seksak Kerdkanno - Klauy

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

Financial Director Kasper Bjørk

Managing Director Henrik Bjørk

With the European school year starting, holidaying families return to the northern hemisphere, and likewise, expats with children return to Samui as the island’s international schools begin their new school year. This means that a new group of tourists visits the island – generally the child-free brigade who want to make the most of the quieter shoulder season prices and enjoy the peace and quiet with fewer children at the resorts. And September weather is generally good, with only a few brief rain showers, usually late afternoon when many visitors are ready for a siesta anyway. October is less predictable, with a greater likelihood of rain, but still a good time for flexible travellers taking advantage of special rates and less crowded beaches.

Siam Map Company Ltd.

And of course, come the last week of September, and the island’s locals, expats and visitors have the annual Samui Latin & Jazz Week to look forward to. Starting 29th September and lasting until 6th October, the organisers promise a week of fun-filled shows and festivities that will get toes tapping and hips swaying with over 40 local and international artists visiting for the event.

52/6 Samui Ring Road, Moo 3 Bo Phut, Koh Samui, 84320, Thailand Tel: 0 7742 2201 Fax: 0 7741 3523 E-mail:

So whether you’re wiggling your toes in the sand while enjoying the crowd-free beaches, or tapping them to the sounds of a saxophone, September and October are a great time to visit Samui!

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. 2013

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

Please recycle or pass on to a friend.

CHILL DIFFERENT at Samui's original premier beach destination. Go free-flow with our signature Porn Star cocktail. Sundown Salute happy hour - 5-7pm daily.




20 All That Jazz

64 Family Fun!

26 The Magic of a Hot Stone Massage

68 The Cosmetic Aesthetic

This year’s international Latin & Jazz Week will be the best ever!

Experience total relaxation at Sareeraya’s Raya Spa

32 Hey Mon, Life’s a Beach!

Choeng Mon Beach, at the far northeastern tip of the island, has a lot to offer beach lovers.

38 Where Camera Meets Kitchen A photographer and a chef show us how, together, they create artistic masterpieces.


Invest in a Lifestyle

Beach Republic offers unrivalled investment and lifestyle fractional ownership options in an ideal location.

50 Hideaways and Shades

We’re not the French Riviera or even Phuket, but Samui attracts a great many celebrities!

56 The Room at the Top

Samui’s own Morya pharmacy chain has risen to new heights with its modern new Chaweng HQ.

60 Fun at the Fenix

Fenix Beach Resort Samui has a lot to offer those that want to be near, but not right in the action.

Mini Golf International offers a fun day out for all ages.

Having your teeth whitened with the Brite Smile treatment could just about pay for your holiday!

74 Just Imagine...

A look at how Samui evolved into the tourism hub it is today.

80 Not the Luck of the Irish! There’s nothing lucky about Tropical Murphy’s continued success.

86 So Much More than Just a Hotel International DJ’s, awesome cocktails and beach barbecues at W Retreat Koh Samui

104 110 Good Cheer

When it comes to building work, few can beat Samui’s own Cheer Force for cost and quality!

114 Hats off to Hansar!

Hansar Samui, in Fisherman’s Village, has put together the ultimate romantic escape for two.

120 Make it Snappy

No need to count your fingers after a day out at Samui Crocodile Farm!

124 Where Art meets Gastronomy Have an original experience at The Library.

132 Mind Your Language

Getting your tongue round Thai isn’t so tricky – but is it worth the bother?

92 Off to Market

136 Fit as a Fiddle

98 Samui Like it Used to Be

144 Not for the Faint-hearted!

A great way to experience local culture is to explore the fresh food markets.

Experience peace and tranquillity at Nora Buri Resort.

104 Zico’s Swings!

Zico’s Brazilian Grill & Bar is one of Chaweng’s liveliest landmarks.

How to maintain your fitness routine while holidaying on Samui.

The annual Vegetarian Festival celebrated in parts of Thailand, shows a completely different side to vegetarianism as we know it.

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.

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

Island Insight An overall guide to Samui’s towns, villages, beaches and hotspots.

Samui is an idyllic tropical paradise. A blend of traditional Thai hospitality and remote island life has joined hands with modern traveller expectations. But the towns, villages and interior are home to much more than just luxury resorts, restaurants, bars and retail shops. And whilst the main beaches are recognised as some of the best in the world, there are also secluded coves and magical hideaways around many corners – if you know where to look. And this quick guide will point you in the right direction.


Chaweng’s main beach is five kilometres in length and is lined with 5-star luxury resorts, boutique hotels, budget accommodation and great oceanfront restaurants. Behind the resorts, the Chaweng Beach Road is filled with restaurants, bars, spas, shops, street stalls and mobile food vendors. The lake sits to the rear of them and is a wonderful place for an early morning walk or jog. Near the southern end of the lake is the Soi Reggae entertainment area which also has two Muay Thai boxing stadiums, a temple guarded by carved monkeys and the huge Laem Din market complex. All manner of fresh produce is delivered here every day and the adjoining Dow Seafood market is a hive of activity from the early hours.


Samui’s second most popular beach is around four kilometres long and the waters are perfect for swimming. There’s plenty of choice in accommodation, restaurants, bars, spas and health resorts. It also has a free Muay Thai event every Saturday and just off the Beach Road there’s a children’s water park. Wat Lamai is home to a cultural centre and museum that houses artifacts of Samui life before the advent of tourism. On Sundays there’s a ‘Walking Street’ along part of the Beach Road. And just outside of Lamai town on the ring-road is the famous Hin Ta-Hin Yai rock formations that has dozens of small local Thai restaurants around it. 14 l

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.


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. l 15

Big Buddha

Lipa Noi

Taling Ngam

Pang Ka

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

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.

ALL THAT This year’s international Latin & Jazz Week will be the best ever!

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Samui is a bit like the Roman Empire. Well, not quite! But imagine growing up in the early days of Rome. Every few years see more growth. Over the next decade there’s a big expansion. And each new step is bigger, wider and stronger than the last. Once the Empire started to gather strength, it grew in leaps and bounds. And it became more integrated and organised, too. All the little disagreeing factions came together. The politicians and the merchants joined hands. Every new venture became bigger and bolder, and carried more weight. And, more to the point, word spread quickly around the world that these guys had got it together and needed to be taken seriously. That’s what happened in Rome. But it’s also what’s been happening here on our little island, too. Alright, I know – it’s something of a grand comparison! The workings are identical, however, although you might want to compress the timescale a bit. But somewhere

in the midst of the 2000s Samui appeared on the international map. It was no accident that within a few years of each other, a number of the 5-star internationalname hotels set-up on our island – and these people spend millions each year on research and feasibility studies. The time was right. Samui suddenly had what was needed for the big players to move in. And, in many ways, it took a while to adjust to this – it was something of a culture shock to everyone involved. There had already been attempts to attract big name performers here, notably the memorable landmark of the Coco Blues Festival in 2005. (Google it!) But this was an isolated commercial venture, distracted by its own self-importance, and pre-destined to go the way of the Titanic. The time just wasn’t right, the approach was debt-inspiringly lavish (to say the least) and the supporting infrastructure just wasn’t there. Today it is. l 21

The first purposeful and organised so-called Samui Jazz Festival popped up some years ago. And then again the following year. This was serious stuff. Some of the best musicians in the world were persuaded to perform here. But even the Roman Empire took a while to get itself going. And that’s what’s been happening with the Samui Jazz Festival. Each new surge hasn’t just been larger – it’s gained more purpose, too. And now Samui’s 90-plus members of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) have banded together with the Koh Samui Municipality, in association with the organisers of some of the world’s biggest music events. The result? It’s titled ‘Samui Latin & Jazz Week’. And it’ll be kicking off on September 29th 2013. The problem with the word ‘jazz’ is that it means different things to different people, and not all these things have positive vibes. But say the words ‘Montreux Jazz Festival’ and straight away most people will know that we’re talking about soul, blues, funk and R&B – even rock – as well as jazz. The same with the North Sea Jazz Festival. These are platforms where you’ll be able to enjoy a wide spectrum of live music, all of which has one thing in common: the musicians are good enough to improvise together at times without needing a score or pre-rehearsed formula. However, as the festival energiser, world-level saxophonist, and director of Holland’s Amersfoort Jazz Festival, Dr. Alexander Beets, points out, “Samui has got something extra, which these world-renowned festivals don’t have. It’s got really good warm, sunny weather!” Well said Dr. Alex! The top jazz festivals all have to deploy big indoor arenas for their shows. But, happily, we don’t. Counting off on your fingers, what Samui has is . . . sunshine, beaches, resorts with beaches, cocktails, more resorts, more sun, more cocktails and more resorts with beaches and cocktails. And that still leaves two fingers over. (Back to these two fingers in just a moment.) So this means that one of the world’s best beachside holiday destinations (us, Samui) has the potential to top the existing lists of the world’s best jazz festivals. And this year the whole thing has really come together. Just cop a peek at the eight day program (see the website at the end of this article).

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Much of this is because of the now-purposeful dynamics of the Samui Municipality. Earlier this year they flew their ambassador, Khun Naddapen Toommanon over to Leusden, home of Holland’s Amersfoort Jazz Festival (and home base of Dr. Alexander Beets) to liaise with local government representatives there. The diplomatic result? Not only is the festival now officially patronised and sanctioned by the Dutch Embassy, but the Mayor of Leusden, Annemieke Vermeulen, has already booked her place at Samui’s Latin & Jazz Week and is looking forwards to coming here in September. And that brings us back to the last two fingers . . . We got as far as ‘more resorts with beaches and cocktails’! The first of the last two fingers is the way in which Samui’s local government has now committed itself to working with . . .erm . . .all us foreigners! We’re all going in the same direction, honest! We’re all rooting for Samui getting its act together – we want to create a fun and international locale that generates money for the local community. And that brings us to the last finger . . . Samui’s local branch of the Thai Hotels Association (THA) currently has 90+ members. And already more than 60 of them are ‘pledged’. This means that

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60-plus resorts have offered to donate either free rooms, or dinners (sunshine, cocktails etc.!), or transport for the performers and VIPs. And the last point is about money. Everything is happening on the beach. All of the performances are in beach resorts, and there’s a 500 baht admission charge – which ploughs back into Samui’s Green Island Foundation fund. However the closing events are free, two nights of them, at the Amari Palm Reef in Chaweng. Plus the ‘whoknows-what’ after-party at the Secret Garden in Bangrak! Rome didn’t get sorted in just one day. And it’s taken a while to get all the factions on Samui pulling in the same direction. But it’s happened. And so the only thing left to say is this – whatever your ideas are about jazz, check the program and then hunt for the artist’s videos on YouTube. This is going to be a memorable eight days. And (looking back at the rise of the Samui Empire) you’ll kick yourself backwards if you never got to be a part of it!

Rob De Wet

_______________________________________________________________ For bookings and further information, visit

The Best Beach Club in Samui Only For Nice People.

KC Beach Club & Pool Villas Koh Samui on Chaweng Beach Everyday In House DJ Club Music Weekend Lunch Buffet from 1-5 pm

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. Tel: +66 (0) 77 915 155 Follow us on : KC Beach Club & Pool Villas Koh Samui

THE MAGIC OF A HOT STONE MASSAGE Experience total relaxation at Sareeraya’s Raya Spa. You’ve worked hard all year. Long hours. Meetings after meetings. It’s time to get away. Far away from the hustle and bustle, from the ringing phones, social media and responsibilities. It’s time to relax; it’s time to head to Raya Spa. Raya Spa is attached to Sareeraya Villas & Suites in north Chaweng. Sareeraya describe themselves as an ‘oriental chic tropical luxury resort’. And yes, they fulfil this description on many levels. The architecture, the decor, the atmosphere, the colours, this resort is definitely chic with a very distinct oriental touch. Situated across the road from the beachside resort, Raya Spa draws on Asian cultures and traditions, and uses a number of traditional ingredients such as honey, turmeric, sesame, coconut, lemongrass, tamarind and white clay. Aromatic oils, herbs and spices combined with their experienced staff, ensure that you will soon forget about those long working hours, phones and meetings. Massages are not hard to come by on Samui. Every hotel, resort and beach seems to offer their version of a ‘perfect, relaxing’ massage. So what makes the treatments at Raya Spa any different? What makes them stand out? It is the attentive service of their trained staff? Is it their use of Asian spa philosophy? Their personalised treatments? The answer isn’t one

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specific thing, it’s a combination of all of the above, and something you have to experience to truly understand. The spa offers the standard treatments: Thai massage, head massage, body massage and wraps, facials and hot stone massage. But some rather unusual treatments are offered too, such as the ‘Jetlag Massage’, ‘Tension Relief Massage’ and the ‘Pregnancy Massage’. There are the herbal steam baths with aromatic essential oils from Thai herbs, milky baths with ylang ylang or lemongrass (which helps to cleanse and detoxify the liver and kidneys and even reduces blood pressure). But where Raya Spa really comes into its own is with its spa packages. The difficulty with spas is that there are so many wonderful things to experience that it’s hard to choose, but spa packages allow you to experience three or four treatments and clear your mind for a few hours. They currently have four packages on offer. ‘Stress Relief Therapy’, ‘Heaven on Earth - Honeymoon’, ‘Touch of Siam’ and ‘Youth Renew’ and now two new packages are being offered, the ‘Hot Stone Package’ and ‘Recovery Package’. Both concentrate on releasing tension, relaxation and recharging energy levels. l 27

Your skin doesn’t get much stimulation in day-to-day life and this feels like the top layer, exposed to daily dirt and grime, is being gently coaxed away and your healthy skin underneath is finally being given a chance to breathe. The therapist’s hands work quickly but rhythmically and even though the pace isn’t slow like a massage, you slowly feel yourself beginning to relax under her expert touch. Half way through, you’re asked to turn over so she can complete the treatment, but always respecting your privacy and comfort. When it’s over, you’re gently asked to sit up (which your now limp body might find challenging) and you’re guided to the steam room where a warm shower has been prepared for you. As you wash off the coconut scrub, you’ll discover your skin feels delightfully tingly and very silky.

Here’s what you can expect from the ‘Hot Stone Package’, which is guaranteed to rid your body of any tension and stress. Arrive early so you can fill in a short health questionnaire, breathe in the beautiful fragrant aromas coming from the oil burners, relax and drink some delicious honey herbal tea. The treatment room is softly lit with its own huge bath in the corner complete with candles and fresh flowers, and a steam room. Yes, not a shared pool and steam room - your very own. The therapist will explain everything to you and then leave you alone to enjoy them for half an hour. Choose between a 30 minute herbal steam and a 30 minute herbal bath. Both are designed to start the relaxation process, and as the warmth seeps into your muscles and you inhale the steam, you can feel your body responding, starting to calm. When you’re done, dry yourself off with a huge, luxurious towel, don your spa clothes and ring the bell to announce you’re ready. Lying face down on the treatment table, you’ll see that Raya Spa have thought of everything. A small wooden bowl filled with water and fresh flowers lies underneath the bed so you don’t have to look at the floor (not that your eyes will be open for long). Your treatment starts with a 30 minute coconut body scrub. At first it feels strange, a little scratchy because your skin is dry but as oil is added, the scrub softens (or perhaps your skin does) and it feels incredible. 28 l

After the shower, you’re given clean, dry spa clothes and you return to the bed, face down - time for your hot stone massage. Now don’t make the mistake of thinking a hot stone massage is ‘just another massage’. It’s a truly unique experience. Large pebble-like stones are heated in a tub of very hot water. The therapist then uses warmed oil and a combination of different sized stones to massage you. She cups the stones in her hands as she massages and the heat from the stones encourages your muscles to relax quicker than the standard ‘hands only’ method. The heat expands your blood vessels and therefore encourages blood flow, calming your mind and causing your body to relax in ways you never imagined. The stones used have two temperatures, one set is warm, the other very hot. The two sensations work perfectly together, the warm stones relax the muscles and the hot stones stimulate the blood flow. The stones seem much more able to get deep into the muscles; they’re even used on their sides to deeply massage stubborn muscles like your calves and shoulders. You’ll find it really hard to stay awake. Your body will be so relaxed that when the treatment is finally finished, you might not even be able to move. But it’s okay, there’s no rush, you still have a 30 minute facial to enjoy. Your body has been pummelled, exfoliated, massaged, stimulated, rubbed, smoothed and showered. It does the only thing it has the energy left to do, it falls asleep. For a truly memorable experience guaranteed to leave you so relaxed you’ll be floppier than a rag doll, and you’ll sleep like you’ve never slept before, treat yourself to one of Raya Spa’s packages. You won’t regret and it and your body will be forever grateful.

Colleen Setchell

______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 4333. are at new star

Experience your once-in-a-life-time event right on the beach of Chaweng Noi from the white-orchid entrance down to the sandy aisle. Cherish the extravagant beauty of the blue water complimenting the crimson sky. Saying “I do� with the witness of the Gulf of Siam where only the horizon is the boundary of love.

83 Moo 3 T. Bophut, Chaweng Noi Beach Koh Samui 84320 Thailand Tel: (66) 77 422407, (66) 77 414500-6 Fax (66) 77 422 325

HEY MON, LIFE’S A BEACH! Choeng Mon Beach, at the far north-eastern tip of the island, has a lot to offer beach lovers. Oh the choice! When it comes to beaches, Samui has enough options to please everyone. From party lovers looking for live DJs and a festive vibe, to those looking for solitude and two palm trees to hang their hammock between. So which is Choeng Mon then? Well, neither actually. It’s somewhere in the middle, which is probably why it’s so loved by locals, expat families and tourists who’ve discovered the secret. It’s not as busy as nearby Chaweng Beach, yet it’s not isolated, so there’s plenty to see and do, and it’s easy to grab a bite or a drink when the need arises.

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A rocky stretch of coast backed by steep cliffs divides Samui’s northern and eastern beaches. Choeng Mon Beach is located in a deep bay that cuts into the rocky coastline. Its soft sands are considered some of the island’s finest, and the shallow waters are ideal for year-round swimming and beach activities. The beach here is lined with several resorts, both high end as well as mid-range bungalow types. And sun beds are in abundance, serviced by restaurants and resorts, so all you need to bring is a good book, towel and sunscreen. l 33

But it would be easy to drive right past Choeng Mon’s main beach without knowing this wonderful place even exists, as it is hidden behind resort facades, shops and restaurants. It can be accessed via most of the resorts, or a parking area and thoroughfare halfway along the beach. Alternatively, turn left just before the first Family Mart, coming from Bangrak, and a road leads you to the parking lot of the Choeng Mon Beach Hotel. This is one of those friendly resorts that’s quite happy to let outside guests use their sun-loungers – as long as you order a drink or two of course. Their menu is reasonable too, with a good selection of both Thai and Western dishes.

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If you like shopping from the comfort of your sun-lounger, there are a few friendly vendors parading their wares. They’re not a pushy bunch and if you tell them you’re not shopping today, you’ll be left in peace to read your book and sip on your coconut. Bikinis, sarongs, beachwear, silk bedcovers and ornaments carved from coconut wood are a few of the items on sale. And if you fancy something to cool you in the heat, you won’t have to wait long for an ice-cream seller to pass by. The village of Choeng Mon is quite small, but with a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars lining the area backing the main beach. Girlie bars are not allowed in Choeng Mon, adding to its popularity with families. Long Table restaurant is renowned for its steaks, but it’s busy, so book in advance. And if you fancy a change from Thai curries, try Akbar Indian restaurant for authentic North Indian cuisine.

Choeng Mon is popular with expat families, as the bay is sheltered and good for swimming. Koh Farn, a small island that’s little more than a rocky outcrop, sits just off shore, and can be reached on foot at low tide, making for interesting exploration with the children. At low tide, the water retreats quite far to expose rocks and pools at this eastern end of the beach, so if you’d prefer a deep-water swim, move a couple of hundred metres west. And if the kids are bored, you’ll find vendors selling beach bats, balls and bucket and spade sets, or hire a kayak and paddle the bay. And if all that kayaking and playing beach bats has caused your muscles to ache, not to worry, as there are several massage salas scattered along the beachfront, where a massage will only make your wallet slightly lighter, starting at around 250 baht for an hour. If you prefer a massage in air-conditioned surroundings, pop up back to the main road, where a number of massage parlours are dotted along the road. A long-time favourite vendor on the beach is Mr Coppi. He can be seen from about 11:00 am each day, setting up his beach kitchen, and drawing the crowds with his grilled buttered corn on the cob, grilled chicken with sticky rice and fresh fruit. His quaint blackboard sign reads, “Mr Coppi’s secret corn on the cob, good style recipe. Nice to meet you. Khob khoon krab”. He’s always smiling and recognises his regular customers. You’re guaranteed to burn your mouth on the corn, as it smells so good you won’t be able to wait for it to cool! 36 l

But if you’d prefer to dine on the beach in the evening, the resorts and restaurants that line the shore all set out tables on the beach. As the sun sets, sun-loungers are replaced with tables, and lanterns and fairy lights add to the effect. There’s something special about being able to kick off your shoes and dig your toes into the sand while dining by candlelight on the beach. If it’s good family fun away from the beach you’re after, Choeng Mon has its fair share of attractions. Coming from Bangrak, just before entering the main village area, you’ll see Mini Golf International. There’s another mini golf course at nearby Arayaburi too. And for something a little different, why not try Samui Football Golf, located along the road joining Choeng Mon to Chaweng. Here, regular golf rules apply, but instead of using a club, a football is kicked from hole to hole. It’s good for a laugh and the course is set in a pleasant coconut grove environment. Right then. Off to the beach, inspired by this quote, “Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone.” – Anonymous.

Rosanne Turner


A photographer and a chef show us how, together, they create artistic masterpieces.

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It seems an odd combination. An internationally successful Italian photographer and a world class French chef, both living on Samui and producing art together. But when you really think about it, being a photographer and being a chef aren’t actually that different. Deep down, both are artists. Both start with a blank canvas and use their skills and personal sense of beauty to create something inspiring, something that others can appreciate and enjoy. Claudio Cerquetti, originally from Rome, is a professional photographer and writer and works together with many high-end resorts, travel magazines and restaurants. He has produced 26 technical books on photography through publishers in Europe, Japan and America. His book ‘Nikon School: Photography Course’ was actually commissioned by Nikon. He has also been presented with the ‘Wasabi Studio Association Award’ (Tokyo, Milan, Rome) as the Italian author who has authored the most number of photographic books on various

topics in the last ten years. He taught in Italy at the Academy of Art in Rome, and is also a consultant with Canon, testing their new digital lenses. He was honoured to have an exhibition ‘God’s Beauty’ in the Pope’s summer residence, in 1990. Here is a man who is very passionate about all things photography, and is clearly very good at it. His love of the art started at just 13, with nature macrophotography, a challenging form of photography. After writing his first technical manual at age 25, he was contacted by the architect of Le Grand Hotel in Rome and asked to take some photos of the hotel - this was his first architectural hotel shooting, and over time this has resulted in Claudio being one of the main contacts for many hotels and resorts on Samui looking for powerful, striking photographs to boost their bookings. Hotel groups such as Hilton, Anantara and InterContinental are just a few of the names that pop out when you read Claudio’s bio. l 39

He shoots with a Canon camera, believing it to be a natural choice because of the excellent quality of their lenses (and because the camera performed so well in the Amazon rainforest). And because he lives on Samui, he has confidence in Canon’s ‘technical assistance worldwide’ service. Claudio’s come a long way since his first Fujica STX-1 and Olympus OM-2n film cameras and now boasts a 2kg basic kit, which he is quick to point out, he doesn’t carry everywhere with him. A lot of his photography is what he calls ‘preshooting’ with his eyes, experiencing that moment’s emotion and pleasure without the complexities of camera set up. Chef Sebastian Meunier is originally from France and started his career in various Michelin-starred kitchens, including the 2-star Hotel Martinez in Cannes. Four years later, and after reaching the ‘second in command’ spot, he left to explore Southeast Asia and discovered its culinary secrets during his travels. He travelled extensively through Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand and slowly learnt about the ingredients specific to this region of the world. He came to Samui over nine years ago and is now head chef at Red Snapper Restaurant and Bar on Chaweng Beach Road. His signature style is now a wonderful fusion of his Mediterranean roots combined with Asian ingredients.

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So, together, these two professionals have travelled extensively. They are considered experts in their fields, and are confident about knowing what works and what can produce a good result. After meeting, they discovered they had something in common. A desire to create something beautiful. For Chef Sebastian in the form of his culinary delights, and Claudio in the form of his photography. Using seasonal ingredients, Chef Sebastian started with the main ingredients and slowly built on that. Working like a painter, he started with his blank canvas and slowly added elements, painting with colour, working with texture, shapes and sizes and finally, the presentation. A quick snapshot was sent to Claudio who then, continued the magic. Food photography isn’t as easy as it sounds. These aren’t just simple snaps. These photographs have to make people want to eat the food. They need to show texture, depth, rich colours and at the end, make the dish look appetising. Because Claudio knows his equipment and lighting so well, he has already previsualised the end shot in his mind. He knows the angle he’s going to use. He knows which lens and how the lighting needs to be set up. Again the similarity with Chef Sebastian is uncanny. When I asked if he tastes the dishes before Claudio photographs them, he answered that he doesn’t have to. He understands the ingredients, the elements within the dish and how they work together. These two men are similar on so many levels - it’s fascinating to watch them together.



PHONE: +(66)0 7742 2594, +(66)08 1370 1791


Their attitude to their work together is refreshing. They enjoy it. They take pleasure from it. Ultimately, it has nothing to do with Claudio’s equipment and lighting, it has nothing to do with Chef Sebastian’s stove or utensils. It’s everything to do with their skills, their passion and their confidence in how to use their equipment to create a fantastic result. ”Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it.” - Steven Pressfield And these two definitely have a gift to share.

Colleen Setchell

__________________________________________________ For further information contact Claudio on 0 872 704 972 or email

OYSTER SUNDAY BRUNCH NOON - 4 PM With it’s breathtaking views and unrivalled ambiance, RockPool is by far one of the most beautiful dining locations on Koh Samui. Resting on the rocks just two meters above the ocean, RockPool brings you the ultimate seaside dining experience. Sit back and enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon brunch or award winning tapas from British Chef David Lloyd’s decadent a la carte menu, while listening to the waves gently lapping the rocks below. This is one of the absolute “must do” dining experiences on the island, and is open for beautiful breakfasts, gourmet lunches and romantic dinners.



Beach Republic offers unrivalled investment and lifestyle fractional ownership options in an ideal location.

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So you’ve been thinking of investing in a holiday home, but you’ve been warned that maintaining and managing a property from afar can be tricky and not worth the effort. You’re not keen on timeshare as you feel the need to actually ‘own’ a property rather than just prepay for years of holidays. So what are your options? Well, Beach Republic, a sophisticated and cosmopolitan fractional ownership resort development on a great section of beach in northern Lamai, is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a holiday property investment, either to use themselves, or as an income-earning asset. But what exactly is fractional ownership, and how does it differ from timeshare? Well, it’s a relatively new idea conceptualised in the early ‘90s in the USA. It can best be explained as joint management of a luxury property asset, usually one with a high monetary value, where the cost of purchase, as well as maintenance and overheads, is shared according to a structured agreement. The asset is then managed on behalf of the investor owners. It often allows a person (or company) to invest in a property that they may not otherwise have been able to afford. And unlike timeshare, fractional ownership allows the investor to actually own a share in an asset, which increases in value as the property market grows. As the share is a tangible asset, it can be sold, rented and written into a will. The best part about purchasing a fraction is that unlike a holiday home that can sit for months on end unused and in need of maintenance, fractional ownership allows you to purchase only what you intend to use, and the maintenance is taken care of by the management company.

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And unlike buying a holiday villa on your own or with a group of friends which can often become more of a burden than a pleasure, fractional ownership allows you to relax and enjoy your holiday time, rather than dealing with maintenance issues and the ‘chores’ that come with owning a property. Instead, your investment will always be secure, clean, professionally managed and ready for your arrival. Buying only a fraction of a property – only the time that you would actually use – also allows you to buy into a property of a higher standard than what you might be able to afford on your own. Sounds interesting… but why Beach Republic? Well, aside from your villa, penthouse or apartment, you also have access to all the resort’s facilities, including the Beach Club pool, fitness centre and spa. Depending on your requirements and amount you want to invest, Beach Republic offers fractions in various unit types, from one-bedroom apartments to two-bedroom villas. The property is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment and high-end furnishings to rival any 5-star hotel. Fractions are sold as two-week blocks, and investors often buy several blocks to enjoy a long break in their holiday investment. The weeks that you buy are fixed – so should you choose for instance, February, for your annual holiday, that time is booked for you and you ‘own’ the property for that period. In fact, you own it for 300 years (10 times 30-year lease periods) so you know your children and their children will enjoy it in years to come. And unlike a holiday house, on arrival you’ll not need to air out the cupboards, turn on the fridge and shake the dust out of the bedding – it will be ready for your arrival, right down to the choice of pillow you request. Yes, Beach Republic has a ‘pillow menu’, so before arrival you can choose to have a down, foam, soft, firm or non-allergenic pillow waiting for your

good night’s rest. Other services include a nightly turn-down with a gift on the pillow, a high-end minibar, super-strong Wi-Fi, and the resort has a powerful generator so your stay won’t be disturbed by power outages. A chat with Director of Sales, Robert Pestello, revealed that there are two kinds of buyers – the lifestyle buyers and the investors. As the name suggests, lifestyle buyers are those that have fallen in love with the island and are looking to return year after year to a place that feels like home. Rather than booking into a hotel each year, they are guaranteed ‘their’ apartment with all the perks and at a much reduced rate than a hotel reservation – when you divide the purchase price by the number of years they’re likely to use it. Of course, should they not want or be able to use their fraction at any time, they can rent it out themselves to friends, or request Beach Republic to do so on their behalf, and they’ll get 60% of the rental return. Then there are the investment owners who’ve seen what a good deal a fraction at Beach Republic is. Not only will their asset appreciate in value, but they are guaranteed a 5.75% return on investment for three years. After this, they can choose to rent it out themselves and keep the full rental return, or add it to the holiday pool and get 60% of the rental income, without the hassle of marketing it themselves. l 47

Beach Republic was designed by David McCormick, who’s portfolio includes prestigious properties such as Chelsea Harbour, London; the Beijing Olympic Village, the Sydney Airport Centre and the Regent Hotel in Bangkok, to name but a few. And with the development headed by British real estate developer, Tim Dean-Smith, who’s family has been involved in real estate construction, development and investment since 1962, you know you’ve made a sound investment. The development’s design has a strong Mediterranean influence, and its splashes of red and the striking thatched roof of the Beach Club make a bold impression. Add to that top facilities and entertainment, exceptional dining and a prime beachfront location, and you have a winning formula. With fractions starting at around 600,000 baht and exceptionally low annual owner’s dues, it’s worth popping down to the sales office to find out the finer details and talk numbers with the sales team. Robert let it slip that there are a few

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Club Suites available with sole ownership with a 6.25% return on investment for serious investors. Why not make a day of it, pop in for the ‘Ultimate Sunday Brunch’, enjoy the setting, the food and the atmosphere and if you can see yourself spending a few weeks in holiday heaven each year, have a chat to Robert. You’ll soon see why Beach Republic has won a wall-full of property awards, proudly showcased in their sales office.

Rosanne Turner

_______________________________________________________ For further information telephone Robert Pestello, 0 890 119 538

HIDEAWAYS AND SHADES We’re not the French Riviera or even Phuket, but Samui attracts a great many celebrities!

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There are people with lots and lots of money. And then there are people who are famous. This isn’t the same thing at all, as some people who are quite famous are not necessarily rich. For example, there are probably hundreds of rock and pop musicians from the ’60s and ’70s living in Thailand right now. They’re no longer young, but the album royalties keep coming in, year after year. Even though you might not recognise them and will probably never know their history, the chances are that if you see a rock band with a guy with grey hair playing in it, he can tell you stories about flower power, Haight Ashbury, Dylan when he was jamming for food, Joplin when she lived next door in Venice Beach, Woodstock or the Isle of Wight Festivals. But, when it comes down to it, people who are in the public eye (or are well-known) are seeking one of two things. They’re happy-go-lucky, take life as it comes and have the common touch – and this means that they don’t mind at all being recognised or talked to in the street or in a restaurant. They’re relaxed enough to stop for a word or two or for an autograph. It might also mean that they are not ‘A-grade’ personalities

and need a bit of reassurance and recognition! Although, when you’re told some of the ‘names’ who’ve been spotted about and about in the island’s restaurants and spas, you might get a surprise. Or there are those who come here for a complete break. They want peace and quiet. They want quality accommodation and excellent cuisine, plus seclusion and effective security to make sure they’re not disturbed. Even just six or seven years ago, their choice would probably rather have been somewhere like Phuket, where for a very long time the royal families of several nationalities have maintained holiday getaways. But just tick-off some of the well-known hotel chains that are now on our island. Conrad, InterContinental, Four Seasons, Banyan Tree, W Hotels, Le Meridian, Renaissance, Six Senses – and that’s not counting the 5-star boutique resorts which are equally luxurious, even though they might not be exactly household names. The current count seems to number 26 of these top-end getaways, and that number’s getting bigger every year. And this formula is attracting some famous people. l 51

Take Formula-1 star Lewis Hamilton, for example. Several years ago he stayed at the excellent SALA Samui in Choeng Mon, in one of their exclusive walled pool villas. And in October last year he opted for a huge Ocean View Pool Villa at Conrad Koh Samui, during an eight-day break between races. He’s not alone in his penchant for Samui, as both he and his colleague Jenson Button have been sighted on several occasions, scooting around the island’s ring-road on rented motorbikes. Jenson has stayed several times in the Santiburi Beach Resort Golf & Spa. And, in the same kind of sporting arena, Michael Schumacher has a fondness for the getting away from it all at the secluded Six Senses Samui. And it has also been mentioned to me that Tropical Murphy’s in Chaweng has seen a great many of the stars on the international snooker circuit including champions Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White, as well as English football personalities such as Peter Reid and Ian Rush. Amongst other stars who are happy to stay here in seclusion, and yet also don’t mind getting their pens out for the public are Sam Fox, Neneh Cherry, Shane McGowan, Kevin Spacey (plus one gigantic superstar who’s likewise been here several times but who I’m not going to mention for a moment!). Samantha Fox might not be too well-known outside Europe but a quick Google will no doubt reveal her best-known assets. She’s been seen frequently, around the clubs and in the local spas. Neneh Cherry is now a chart topper but back in 1998 she was humble enough to sit in on jam sessions at Bangrak’s Secret Garden, and has often been seen here over the intervening years.

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And then, in 2003, the SARS epidemic caused those superstars of rock, The Rolling Stones, to cancel their tour of China, and then their subsequent appearance in Bangkok. Megastar Mick Jagger promptly booked a place at the InterContinental Samui (then the ‘Baan Taling Ngam Resort’) and was spotted soon after in one of the pubs in Fisherman’s Village. (And, the legend goes that, after his visit to the loo, there were people dashing in there afterwards with bottles and tins for a ‘souvenir’ . . . really!) But on the other side of the coin is the perfectly understandable need for seclusion. A few years ago Harrison Ford was reported to be on the island, and was later sighted dining at the Five Islands Restaurant in Baan Taling Ngam. Well, sighted from afar, as he had booked the restaurant for the evening and it was closed to the

public. But, the way trends have developed, it’s no longer necessary to do things in this way. A whole new genre has appeared and it’s drawing-in the rich and famous like flies to a sticky thing. Many hotels are now additionally building dedicated, self-contained private luxury pool villas within their grounds. Before, you would buy land and build a big house with high walls. But you’ve still got to eat and to go around and buy supplies – and anyway there’s nothing to stop the paparazzi from hauling their long lenses up a nearby tree. Conrad, Four Seasons and Banyan Tree (amongst others) all have first-class constant security patrols outside and inside the grounds. The villas themselves are walled and completely private. And every amenity and service is available, from live-in staff and an international chef to an en-suite business centre and gymnasium, if you want these.

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. l 53

It’s difficult to say exactly which of the rich and/or famous have availed themselves of these villas; confidentiality goes hand-inhand with the security. But we’ve been told there are quite a number. It’s not as if you see these celebs strolling about the walking street markets; they come, they stay, they go and return, and nobody is any the wiser. They even flyin on their private planes, landing quietly and without fuss. They stay in peace and quiet in their luxurious hideaways. And they don’t even need to wear shades – there’s no-one around to see them!

Rob De Wet

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By Chef Pasquale

Portofino & Enoteca Wine Bar italian fine-dining restaurant enoteca wine bar & tapas By Chef Pasquale Procida possibly the only ‘true’ Italian fine-dining restaurant on Samui. Fastidious to a fault, Chef Pasquale Procida is understandably proud of his gourmet presentations. Open daily: 17:00 – 23:30hrs

Pizza Koh Samui

Ciccio Pizza pizza & classic italian cuisine traditional wood-fired pizza oven By Chef Marco Puglisi Cooked in our wood-fired oven and using only the finest fresh olive oil, basil, garlic and San Marzano tomatoes on our smoky crust, it makes for the quintessential taste that Neapolitan pizza is known for! Open daily : 17:00 – 23:30hrs

Royal Thai Taste Royal Thai traditional cuisine by ajarn amintra dinakara na ayuthaya Royal Thai Taste offers you exquisite Thai dining with its delicious flavours and exotic atmosphere. the perfect ingredients for a memorable, relaxed evening. Open daily: 17:00– 23:30hrs

Montara Beach Spa Just a few steps off the beach you’ll find our unique concept spa. Each room is like a small cave with natural skylight hollows, where water gently trickles down in to an outdoor Jacuzzi. Modern Western methods are fused with ancient Eastern traditions to ensure you experience total relaxation and rejuvenation. Open: 10:00-21:00 hrs.

Choeng mon Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand Tel: +667742 8700 l 55

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Samui’s own Morya pharmacy chain has risen to new heights with its modern new Chaweng HQ. Going away from home requires a lot of trust. You need to trust the booking agents that your tickets are in order. You have to hope that the flight isn’t delayed or changed. And of course, you really hope that your resort is just as it looked on the photos. But if you’re coming to Samui, probably this last one you’re already happy about – the majority of our visitors have been here before. Anyway, none of these things are devastating, and there are ways round them all. But there are two things that everyone makes certain of. It’s something you just can’t take chances on. The first is full insurance – just in case. And the second one is your medications or prescriptions. You’re going to bring everything with you that you’re going to need! And that includes day-to-day things like spare contact lenses or inhalers. Even your favourite health care or beauty products are on the list. Although

now, with tight flight restrictions on liquids, gels and the like, the whole business isn’t as carefree as it used to be. But fortunately, Samui isn’t like it used to be, either. There are superstores and cinemas, Wi-Fi, satellite TV and, of course, modern pharmacies. And no doubt the most progressive and up-to-date of these is the Morya pharmacy chain. Thailand is now renowned for the quality of its international hospitals and medical care, with many people coming here each year just for surgery or treatment. And the local pharmacies have evolved along similar lines – most Thai people usually first consult their pharmacist for advice or even diagnosis. However, if you look more closely, you’ll notice that the locals will favour just one or two pharmacies. And that’s because they know the score. Unlike in the West, not every pharmacy in Thailand contains a qualified dispensing pharmacist. But every single branch of Morya pharmacy has one permanently in residence. l 57

And these pharmacists are the real deal. All sorts of lesser qualifications exist, but Morya’s professionals have each undergone an intensive 7-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree program, and their studies of anatomy and physiology are the same as the initial years of a full degree in medicine. They’re qualified in both biochemistry and organic chemistry. Plus they’ve had to study the law as it relates to medicine as well as pharmacy. And if you need any more proof of the company’s integrity, how about this. Eighteen months ago, the chain had expanded to 21 outlets all over Samui. Today they now have 15. Hard times? Cutbacks? Not at all! Just take a look at the new HQ in Chaweng that I’ll be detailing in just a moment. No, the reason for fewer outlets is simple. Khun Kwanchai Patpaen is the man behind all this, and he simply will not run one of his pharmacies without a fully qualified practitioner at the helm. He’d rather shut down the shop than do this! All of this started back in 2001. Khun Kwanchai comes from the nearby mainland city of Surat Thani, and he’d foreseen the need on Samui for a chain of reputable and reliable pharmacies. Morya began with just one branch in Chaweng. It was immediately successful, so two more followed almost right away. One of the essential requirements was that all of the staff spoke articulate English. But today the demographics on the island have changed. Now the staff can communicate in German, Italian and Russian, too, and are currently getting to grips with Korean and Chinese. And this ties in closely with the quality of Morya’s service – a phone call to their HQ will have them deliver a duplicate of your home prescription, a pair of crutches or even an adjustable hospital bed. And this will only take minutes if you’re anywhere in the area of Chaweng. One of the problems with having so many branches and stocking so many products is ensuring consistency. But here another group policy comes into play – each item is priced the same no matter which branch you buy it from. But there’s another aspect, too. When you stock over 4,000 different items, then not every outlet is going to have every one of them. Except now, one outlet has the lot. It’s the new Morya HQ building in Chaweng, just opposite the PTT petroleum station on the ring-road, not far from the Bangkok Hospital Samui (which, incidentally, takes many of its supplies wholesale from Morya). This is an imposing modern building on three floors. The huge ground floor has everything. Along the whole of the right hand wall runs a dispensing counter for prescriptions. And at the very front, in a separate area, there’s the 58 l

Put the bounce back in your step and a smile on your face at Breeze spa Here at Breeze spa, we believe that happiness is one of the key foundations for wellness- and that is what our treatments are all about. Whether you’re a lifelong spa devotee, a newcomer to wellness or just someone looking to recharge or unwind, we look forward to showing you how fun it is to feel good!

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Amari Palm Reef Koh Samui Chaweng Beach, Samui 84320 T +66 (0) 7742 2015-19 F +66 (0) 7742 2394 E W

array of crutches, wheelchairs and even entire hospital beds; that are all available for rent or purchase. There’s an atrium on the left, where the staircase winds up to the second floor. Here is the warehousing section, with floor-to-ceiling racks housing every one of the items stocked at Morya, in wholesale quantities. Then the staircase ascends to the room at the top. And, yes, right above the rest, this is where you’ll find Khun Kwanchai in his futuristic glass cube of an office. But it’s not as exclusive at it sounds, as you’ll also come across the conference and training suite that’s fully equipped with all the technology for audio-visual presentations. Morya has never been a company to sit back and bask in the glow of success, and it has ongoing and comprehensive in-house training programs for all its staff. Even when you’re as successful as they are, there’s still room for more – at the top!

Rob De Wet ___________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7741 3298-9.

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 l 59

FUN AT THE FENIX Fenix Beach Resort Samui has a lot to offer those that want to be near, but not right in the action.

Oh the choice! Unlike 20 years ago, visitors to Samui are now spoilt for options when looking for a place to stay on the island. And ‘ideal’ accommodation means something different to everyone, with each having their own checklist of what they are looking for. But Fenix Beach Resort Samui ticks all of the boxes when it comes to a good choice of where to stay. Firstly, the resort is located along a quiet bay, just south of Lamai Beach. This means that you won’t be bothered by crowds passing by as you enjoy the sunshine on your lounger. But, if you’re after a bit of action and crave a more active beach scene, the resort offers a free shuttle into Lamai three times a day for its guests – so really, you get the best of both worlds. The resort offers 52 superior rooms and eight villas. If you’re not planning on spending too much time in your room, then the superior rooms are more than spacious enough at 32sqm, and offer the choice of king or twin beds. All the superior rooms feature a spacious balcony with comfortable chairs to enjoy the sea breeze. These modern, airy rooms are equipped with everything you may need for a comfortable stay, such as TV with satellite channels, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, safe, beach bag, and an en-suite bathroom with refreshing rain shower. The prized sea view superior rooms are located on the 60 l

upper floors facing the ocean, and have the added advantage of stunning views across the bay. If guests prefer a little more space and the privacy of their own courtyard, then the one-bedroom villas are a good choice at 42sqm and featuring a 10sqm terrace with its own sunbeds. In addition to the standard facilities, the villas also boast an iPod dock, DVD player, a more spacious bathroom with a rain shower, and easy access to the pool. The seafront villa has the luxury of a Jacuzzi in its private courtyard, and direct access to the beach… so book in advance to secure this one. The resort is ideal for both leisure and business travellers. For business travellers, there’s a meeting room equipped for up to 25 delegates, and the resort’s free Wi-Fi makes it easy to keep up to date on business matters. For those that haven’t brought their laptops, there’s an internet corner in the lobby. Business travellers will also appreciate the resort’s concierge service, 24-hour reception desk, airport transfer and room service. And during down time, business guests can of course make use of the resort’s many leisure activities and enjoy a bit of island life too.

The expansive free-form swimming pool and surrounding terrace forms the main focus of the resort, almost as an extension of the sea nearby. This makes a great place to while-away the day, especially with the Nest Restaurant & Pool Bar right there when you’re feeling peckish or fancy a cocktail. And when you’re feeling a little more energetic, make use of the fitness centre (open 7:00 am to 7:00 pm), explore the coastline in a kayak, play a little beach volleyball, or swim a few laps in the pool. And after all that ‘hard work’, you can enjoy a massage in the beachfront sala. If you’re looking for something interesting to do, but don’t want to venture far, the resort offers both Thai cooking classes and fruit and vegetable carving lessons. And bring out the popcorn, as Monday evenings mean movie night at the pool. Reminiscent of the old drive-in movie houses, here you can enjoy watching a movie on a balmy evening under the stars, lazing on couches and pool loungers as a big screen is erected next to the pool. The very reasonable room rates include a full buffet breakfast – a great way to start the day. Enjoy fresh fruit and juices, baked goods, cereals and a hot cooked breakfast as well as a choice of teas and coffee on the breakfast deck overlooking the pool and beach. The Nest is open for lunch and dinner and serves both Thai and Western cuisine, so there’s really no need to leave the resort if you don’t want to. l 61

If you choose to venture out of the hotel, there’s plenty to do in the area, with the ‘rude rocks’ otherwise known as Hin Ta Hin Yai being nearby, and worth a visit. Here’s your chance for great photo opportunities as well as to browse the little stalls in the walkway leading up to the rocks. Buy some coconut oil produced on Samui or try ‘garameer’, a sweet, gelatinous coconut candy, strangely delicious. Right next door to the resort is Sabeinglae Restaurant, known as one of the best local seafood restaurants on the island. A short distance away is Wat Khunaram, home to one of Samui’s two mummified monks – yes, Samui has two. And if you want a change of the beach scene, explore Namuang 1 and Namuang 2 waterfalls where elephant trekking is also offered.

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So as a general all-rounder, you can’t go wrong with Fenix Beach Resort Samui. From prime location to comfortable rooms at reasonable rates as well as all the services and facilities you’d like for a comfortable island holiday – this resort meets the mark.

Rosanne Turner

_______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 4008.

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:, l 63


FUN! Mini Golf International offers a fun day out for all ages.

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How seriously do you tak e your game of mini gol f? Well, if you’re just after a bit of entertainment for the fam ily, Mini Golf International in Choeng Mon makes a great alternative for a day out . But here, serious mini-go lfers won’t be disappointed either. And apparently, some peo ple take mini golf as seriously as regular golf! There’s a pro circuit and championships too , and there’s even talk tha t the sport may be included in the Olympic Games. Who would have thought! And impressively, Mini Golf International is a me mber of the Mini Golf Federation, wh ich spans 36 countries. In 2003, when Juergen Schnurr fini shed building the course , he managed his objective of having the first profes sional mini golf course in Thailand, at the same time that the country joined the Mini Golf Fed eration. Being a member of the federation means tha t the course has to meet stringent requirements, so you’re guaranteed a top quality course. l 65

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Juergen bought the prime piece of land near Choeng Mon Beach 12 years ago, and together with his wife, Khun Nookrai, turned it into a home as well as a business venture. This 3,020 square metre plot of land houses not only the 18-hole mini golf track, but also their three-bedroom home, a small bar and restaurant as well as two guest apartments. This is where they’ve raised their daughter, Sophia – who, having grown up with the course literally in her back yard, knows it so well, she’s no match for her friends when they come over to play! Mini golf has always been a part of Juergen’s life, and in fact, this course is modelled on one he used to play on as a boy back in his hometown in Germany. When he decided to build a course on Samui, he went back home, and took photos from every angle of his favourite mini golf venue. He then painstakingly cut the 12 metre tracks from paper down to scale and laid them out on a plan, taking note of where all the trees were. He decided to keep as many trees as possible to maintain the tropical effect, as well as offer shade for players, so the tracks were laid around the existing trees. Once he had it all mind-mapped, he used a professional architect to put it to plan – as the Mini Golf Federation requires accurate plans for their records.

Fine Beach & Hillside Dining at Samui's Newest Venue Quality Thai, Seafood & International Dishes The Ultimate Samui Dining Experience!

According to Juergen, the ‘fanatic’ mini-golfers arrive with tackle boxes with a selection of their own balls – each one to be used under different conditions, some with more bounce, some with no bounce at all. Mini Golf International has concrete tracks, meaning it’s a faster course than the carpeted or astro-turf variations. And, there’s an interesting range of tracks too. Number eight is the trickiest, as the hole is on top of a ‘volcano’, meaning that you need to hit with just the right amount of pressure or the ball either rolls down again or goes over the other side. When there’s a drawn game, this is the hole that Juergen suggests to determine the winner. The course is a par 47 – but the record is held by a Norwegian who scored 30. On six holes he got a hole-in-one, and he scored two on the rest. Now that’s a serious mini-golfer! The course is open from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm every day, even in the rainy season, and is floodlit for those that start a game just before closing. It’s also a great place to hold corporate events and children’s birthday parties. The on-site restaurant doesn’t serve food other than drinks and crisps, so Juergen is more than happy for guests to bring their own meat and salads and use his big barbecue for free, as long as they play a round of golf of course. After more than a decade in the mini golf industry, Juergen and his family are ready to move on to new adventures, so the business is currently up for sale. It’s hard letting go of something that you’ve created from conceptualisation to fruition, and then watched it grow into a thriving business – so Juergen is looking for the right buyer to take over the reins. He’s selling the business lock, stock and barrel, including the house and all information is available on the website.

The Barge Nora Buri's Signature Restaurant Chaweng North For Reservation Tel: 0 7791 3555 E-mail:

You’ll find Mini Golf International a few hundred metres before entering Choeng Mon when coming from Plai Laem. The entrance is next to the fuel station, and there’s plenty of parking for cars and scooters. Right, now to practice that putt – maybe the next Olympic champ is right here on Samui…

Rosanne Turner

_______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 817 879 148. l 67

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Having your teeth whitened with the Brite Smile treatment could just about pay for your holiday! Nobody comes for a Thailand holiday and then leaves empty-handed. The temples and the tours and the sun and the sea – not to mention the fabulous food – are why you’re here. Plus the fact that your money goes a lot further over here, too, and we’ll come back to this happy fact in just a moment. But you’d be insane not to also pick-up all those other souvenirs and hard-to-find arts and crafts and cushions and fabrics at the same time that you’re here. It’s a part of the trip. But what a lot of people just don’t realise is that it doesn’t only apply to stuff you can pack in your suitcase. It applies to services, too. Quite a few years back I was in the middle of a long course of ongoing treatment on my aging teeth when my daughter and her husband came to see me and take a holiday. Unavoidably, the conversation kept veering towards this subject from time to time (often prompted by sudden winces on my part, prior to chewing on the opposite side . . .). Then husband Mark came out with, “I wouldn’t mind getting my teeth cleaned. It’s ages since I‘ve been. Can you check to see how expensive it is over here?” This I did and duly reported back. The result was that, when my next session was due, Mark also came along, delighted with the prospect of saving a substantial chunk of money and getting it all out of the way at leisure, without having the nuisance of having to schedule time off from work. l 69

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This kind of thing is just another aspect to take advantage of while you’re here – it’s probably best called ‘medical opportunism’. But let’s step the idea up a notch. Back when Mark came here the idea of cosmetic dentistry was something only celebrities went in for, along with the facelifts and tummy tucks. And there was only a limited range of treatments available. But today it’s all changed. There are now half-a-dozen different ways to pretty-up your mouth and smile. I’m not talking about surgery or implants. This is purely cosmetic (‘aesthetic dentistry’ as today’s hip-speak has it) and something you can get out of the way in just a few hours. Plus the top of the range treatment, the ‘Brite Smile Program’, is something that you can complete in an afternoon, and still have time for a round of golf. Well . . . nine holes, maybe. The Brite Smile process is a new dimension in the approach to getting yourself a gleaming smile. It’s essentially a bleaching process, but scientific and controlled. In America, I noticed that there were small kiosks in numerous malls and rail stations offering the same process, but at cut-rate prices and usually staffed by bored teenagers. However, there are only two places that you can get this done in all of Thailand, both are supervised by qualified and highly experienced career orthodontists, one is in Bangkok and the other just happens to be here on Samui, at the Bangkok Samui Dental Clinic, located within the grounds of the prestigious Bangkok Hospital Samui. And that’s where I went to talk to the Senior Doctor in Charge, Dr. Supaporn Metheethakerng. Dr Supaporn has been on Samui for quite a while, having had several clinics of her own before taking up her current position. She just loves working with teeth! And she’s the only person I’ve known to sing happily to herself whilst up to her elbows in somebody’s mouth – it’s worth a visit just for this experience alone! “What we do is to give you a complete clean and polish first,” she explained. “This not only prepares the enamel surface but it also reveals the natural colour of your teeth so that I can match them to one of the steps on the whiteness scale. Your gums and soft tissue are then screened off by coating them with paste, and your teeth are coated with a bleaching gel. This is activated by directing short bursts of intense ultra-violet light at small areas at a time. Each quarter of your mouth is thus covered in 20-minute phases, making it overall a 2½-hour treatment.” This might sound a lot but bear in mind that, unlike invasive procedures, there’s no stress involved and it’s quite soothing – particularly when Dr. Supaporn starts humming her repertoire of love songs and lullabies! You could even fall asleep; except for the fact you’d probably keep smiling quietly to yourself . . . “When this process first came out, it had its ‘teething troubles’,” the good doctor continued (with a bigger smile than usual). “There were stories of painful and sensitive teeth afterwards and the brilliance of the whiteness didn’t seem to last so long. But these tales have long-since become urban legends. Now we use a lower concentration of bleaching agent, take it more slowly, and know exactly what aftercare advice to offer. The initial brilliance will fade just a touch over a few hours as the enamel gets over its sudden re-hydration and returns to normal. During this stage, you mustn’t eat or drink anything that might stain it. But the next day things are back to normal and you can expect the effects to last consistently for quite a few years. And then the only thing you’ll need to revitalise it is a thorough cleaning – there’s no need to repeat the treatment all over again.” And so to the point of the title above. Let’s put it this way. Check the private cost of this in the UK (or Europe) and then come here on holiday and have the Brite Smile treatment. What you’ll have saved on the cost of having it done here is more or less the same amount as a return economy flight between Heathrow and Bangkok. Whichever way you look at it, that sounds like a free holiday to me!

Rob De Wet

_____________________________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7742 9500 (ext. dental department).

Fine gold and silver jewelry manufacturer with diamonds, precious stones (ruby, sapphire, emerald, etc.) semi-precious stones (blue topaz, amethyst, tsavolite, aquamarine, etc.) and pearls (cultured and South Sea pearls - Tahitian pearls) Tailor-made with modern designs. We also offer professional wood carvings, paintings and local souvenirs. Most competitive prices and best quality on Samui. Open for more than 25 years, we are the largest retailer and producer on the island. All our pieces come with certificate of authenticity.

Доступные цены и лучшее качество на Самуи. Более 25 лет мы являемся крупнейшими производителям, занимаемся розничной торговлей на острове. Все наши изделия имеют сертификат подлинности

Samui Lapidary, Maenam, Koh Samui Free transport service. Open daily 09.00 - 18.00. Tel: 0 7724 7845-6 Email: Осуществляем бесплатный трансфер ежедневно с 9.30 до 18.00. l 71

JUST IMAGINE... A look at how Samui evolved into the tourism hub it is today.

Have you ever wondered what Samui was like 100, 50 or even 20 years ago? You may be reading this while reclining on a sunlounger at your 5-star resort, sipping a cocktail, after arriving via the quaint airport that resembles a hotel lobby. Imagine how different your tropical holiday would have been before the airport was built, before the ring-road let you travel right around the island in an hour, and before the electricity cable from the mainland was laid allowing us to relax in air-conditioned rooms, and keep in touch with the world via Wi-Fi.

tree, Mui, or may have evolved from the Chinese word ‘saboey’ or ‘safe haven’ which it was to the Chinese traders who moored at its shores.

Historians believe that Samui was first inhabited around 1,500 years ago by fishermen from the Malay Peninsula and traders from the southern coast of China. Ancient Chinese maps, dating back to 1687, show the co-ordinates we now know as Koh Samui, as ‘Pulo Cornam’. There are two schools of thought as to where the name ‘Samui’ originates from. It may be derived from the name of a native

So when did the Samui as we know it, evolve? A few decades ago, the island was an isolated community, with few links to the mainland. But in 1967, Khun Dilok Suthiklom, leader of the island at that time, decided to ask the government for help in developing Samui’s infrastructure.

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Little was known about the island until the first boat transportation service to Samui was launched in the mid-1800s. Back then, it took a full day of sailing to cover the 35 kilometres from Surat Thani on the mainland - vastly different to the easy one-hour flight from the capital now.

Two main obstacles were the high hill between Nathon and Maenam, and the rocky and mountainous area between Chaweng and Lamai which had to be blasted to in order to construct the road. Vegetation and rocks had to be cleared. Dynamite and heavy construction vehicles were needed, and these had to come from the mainland. The result was a narrow track around the island. Before concrete was laid along this track, it was not unusual to see passengers exiting the cars to help push the vehicles up steep inclines. Construction of the ring-road was constantly interrupted by heavy downpours during the rainy season. Finally the concrete was poured in 1973 to complete the 52 kilometre stretch that made its way around the island. Initially, the road was only two metres wide, but over the years it was widened to accommodate more traffic, to form the (mostly) tarred ring-road that we know today.

Nowadays, we can hardly imagine a time when the only way to get from one place to another on Samui was on foot or by boat. Prior to the ring-road being built, a journey from the east to west coast meant a 15 kilometre trek across the island’s mountainous jungle. Watching the sunrise in Lamai, and nipping across to watch the sunset along Lipa Noi beach in a day, was just not a reality. In the early 1970s, word started spreading among the hippie backpacking community of a beautiful unspoilt hideaway in the Gulf of Thailand. This was the start of tourism to Samui. Back then, the only accommodation was in the form of a few wooden beach shacks with no electricity, and little more than a hammock to swing in for entertainment. l 75

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Largest pharmacy chain on Samui

John Stall, owner of Tradewinds Cottages on Chaweng Beach, was one of those first backpackers to reach Samui’s shores, and decided to make it home. A keen sailor, he was also a pioneer in discovering the island’s waters and the neighbouring islands that make up the Angthong National Marine Park. John speaks of days when Chaweng Beach Road was only a dirt track, and the area from the beach road to where Tesco is now, was a swampland with no buildings whatsoever. With no Tesco or Big C around, getting provisions was touch and go, and meant buying whatever could be locally produced. John remembers when a Swedish chap by the name of Bill owned the only real supermarket, aptly named ‘Bill’s Supermarket’, located in Chaweng. (He’s still here!) Bill would make regular trips to Bangkok, bringing butter and bacon back in ice-chests -- highly sought after commodities to sell to the island’s few resorts and restaurants.

ars 12 ye

0 7741 3298-9 Email:

Samui Holiday’s Managing Director, Henrik Bjork, who has been living on Samui for around 17 years, reminisces about a few entrepreneurs trading here 12-15 years ago. These guys would drive trucks up to Chiang Mai to bring fruit and vegetables back to the island, as the best produce is grown up north. They made a good living selling to expats, locals and the fledgling hospitality industry. l 77

Unfortunately they got greedy, and ended up in trouble for bringing back more than just veggies. “I’ll leave it up to your imagination, what else they were supplying”, says Henrik. During the 1980s, on realising the island’s true tourism potential, the Thai government started pouring resources into Samui. Word of our tropical paradise continued to spread and more and more tourists flocked to the shores of Samui -- at first only via ferry, but then in droves when the airport was built by Bangkok Airways in 1989. Unfortunately, as with most tourism booms, the infrastructure did not increase at the same pace as the visitors arriving to the island. John Stall says there was never a flooding problem before the island’s busiest areas became so built up, even though Chaweng sits mostly on swampland. The water’s natural runoff paths became blocked by large hotels, without adequate allowance for drainage being made.

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The Farmer Restaurant & Bar is the only restaurant on Samui offering a unique natural ambience, set amid paddy fields and green meadows. It is perfect for a relaxed lunch, or dinner under the twinkling stars. Visit The Farmer and experience the real meaning of “Back to Nature” whilst enjoying the best of local Thai, Western seafood dishes. There will always be those for and those against development. But, there is no arguing that progress cannot be halted -- it can however be controlled. We are seeing better building regulations aimed at keeping Samui aesthetically pleasing. Now the law states that roofs must be pitched Thai-style and height restrictions have been set in place (12 metres, not higher than the closest coconut palm, in fact). Huge budgets are being spent on improving the roads and drainage; all good news. We may not see Samui as the hidden paradise it was four decades ago, known only to a few travellers in on the secret. We can however learn from the mistakes made by the early developers and let Samui evolve gracefully, protecting her natural beauty, preserving the heritage of her Thai, Chinese and Malay founders, and making sure that it keeps its identity and doesn’t become just another beach holiday location.

Rosanne Turner

Farmer’s Duck Voted Samui’s No.1 Tasty Duck

Exclusive Lunch Promotion at The Farmer 12:00-15:00 daily

Pizza Margherita, 1 scoop ice cream, 1 bottle of water. 250 Baht Farmer’s Duck. Crispy fried duck served with herb sauce & rice gourd soup, fresh tropical fruit, 1 bottle of water. 299 Baht

The Farmer Restaurant & Bar Maenam, Koh Samui Tel: 077 447 222, 077 247 979, 0 830 922 632 email:

TOP TEN 2011

Free transfer for dinner guests - Nathon - Maenam - Bophut. Other areas 300 Baht return. Для гостей из районов Nathon - Maenam Bophut - трансфер бесплатный. Гостям из других районов острова мы возвращаем 300 батт от стоимости такси. l 79

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There’s nothing lucky about Tropical Murphy’s continued success. “Consistency, consistency, consistency!” That’s what Paul Watson replied without hesitation. He’s the man behind one of the all-time most successful pubs on the island, Chaweng’s Tropical Murphy’s. Well I’m sure that’s a big part of it – consistency. But I also know that success is about more than just eating the same plate of food every time. ‘Murphy’s’ has been going since 2001, and has become something of a Samui institution. And here I was, sitting with Paul, trying to wheedle out of him the reasons for its non-stop popularity – more or less from day one. I’d always suspected it, but this time I was convinced. The Irish are a very modest race once you can get them to talk about something seriously (politics and religion aside, plus one or two other things maybe). And although Paul is charming, up-front and wry, it wasn’t easy to get him to honk his own horn. He’d shrug and mention one or two of Murphy’s attractions and then go on to something else. But then, a couple of minutes later, he’d somehow U-turn back and describe in glowing detail one

particular aspect which puts his pub way out in front of most of the rest of the crowd. And then he’d do it again ten minutes later. And then again! He’s sneaky like that. But let’s come back in to where I should have been to start with. Tropical Murphy’s is an Irish pub, right across from McDonald’s in the middle of Chaweng Beach Road. It’s on two floors, with a wide and open frontage. It’s broadly split into four parts: dining to the left, bar to the right and big terrace on the edge of the road outside. Plus the upstairs part. Food is at the core of it – with all-day dining, from snacks to l 81

kid’s plates to mains that Mounties go into training for. But twinned with that is the aspect of beverages. A small thing to say, perhaps. But when you realise that a simple cup of (immediately ground, roast and pressure-percolated) coffee comes direct from a $5,000 Italian Illy espresso machine and that the draft beer is chilled by a custom-built $30,000 glycol refrigeration room, then you’ll begin to understand why people keep coming back.

that are hard to equal and Sunday roasts that render you immobile for the next two hours. There are 12 beers on draft, maintained at exactly 4-degrees above freezing, including rarities such as Old Speckled Hen and Hoegaarden. The Guinness is imported in kegs direct from the brewery in Dublin (and not reconstituted from imported syrup in Nigeria (true!) like so many other places). So what’s left?

“Of course a lot of visitors who are here on holiday, hear about us, and come in,” Paul continued. “But there are a shed-load of regulars, too. One of them, Ian, has become an icon. He came in on the first day we opened, sat at one of the front tables with his back against a pillar, and has returned to the same seat every single day in the 12 years since. If he’s not here any night then I’ve just got to phone him. The wood panel behind that seat has now taken-on the shape of his back.”

Well . . . let’s continue with the 11 big flat screen TVs (nine of them down and two upstairs) plus the huge projection screen. Every major sporting event is broadcast, and many of the lesser ones too, and with all the southern hemisphere rugby competitions covered, plus Aussie Rules, American sports and even Irish joys such as hurling and shinty. Then there’s the music. The upstairs floor is dominated by three nine-foot pool tables, but from Wednesday through to Sunday night the resident band, Baby Funk, with their full-kit setup and electric-lady vocalist trend to dominate this space. But Monday gets a bit intense up here as it’s Murphy’s stage for the Samui Pool League competitions.

Right then. So far, we’ve got an excellent eatery with the same group of six chefs who have been making the fare under Paul’s direction for the last 12 years, with a big menu for kids, breakfasts

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Then Paul went and did it again. He took me to look at the refrigeration room for the beers. And then just kind of incidentally pointed out the shed-sized generator next to it. Samui is well-known for its ‘variable infrastructure’. The most common manifestation of this is unpredictable power cuts. But you’ll not even get a hint of it here – the genny kicks-in the moment that the power goes off. I’ve seen resorts with smaller systems than this. And then on the way back out again he did it one more time! “Oh,” he sort of mentioned in passing, with a boyish grin, “have a look at the jukebox.” So I did. I like computers. And I found myself gawping at a top-flight HP Touchsmart PC with a 21inch touch-screen. This is a state-of-the-art PC with a quad-core Intel processor and a ‘poke-it-andget-it’ interface. But this one is only running jukebox software and it’s entirely dedicated to the pub’s background sound system. Search for your favourite band. Look for the name of a song. Prod the screen icons, find what you want and add it to the queue. It’s a joy to behold and fiddle with and I’ve seen entire companies run with less computing power than this. (Just don’t let your kids anywhere near it or you’ll never get them away again.)

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Spa on the beach

Thai Massage (90 minutes) One of the world’s greatest massage traditions, this treatment employs yoga and acupressure which aims to improve spinal alignment while increasing overall energy. It is done with the person fully clothed and without oil. Special Promotion for readers: Present this ad at the spa for 15% discount on regular rates, for any treatment at the spa. (Not valid with the above promotion) Advance reservation is required. Call now for an appointment at +6677 246 362.


16/8, 16/13-26 Moo 4, Bophut, Koh Samui, Suratthani, 84320 Thailand l 83

Where was I? Right. Let’s carve another notch on the already smoking barrel. Probably 90% of the people on this island don’t want to eat late in the evening. Thus it’s hard to get a meal (not counting fast food) after about 10:00 pm. Murphy’s kitchen is open from 9:00 am right through to last orders at 1:00 am. And then you’ve got another hour to eat it until they close at 2:00 am. What else have I missed? All day happy-hour? Tiger, Singha and Chang at 99 baht for a pint until 7:00 pm? Selected cocktails at 99 baht? Ah! I forgot! The staff. The waitresses all speak excellent English, they’re bouncy and bubbly but without being familiar or OTT, they’re all handpicked, as bright

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as buttons and have queues of male tourists wanting to marry them. But they can’t. (Well, not often.) Because they’re a part of the Murphy family. All in all, when you get to peek under the surface, it comes as no surprise that this place is one of Samui’s prime hives of activity – and ‘luck’ hasn’t got much to do with it!

Rob De Wet

____________________________________________ For more information, telephone 0 7741 3614

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The DJ boot camp is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Budding DJs can submit their exclusive mixes to W’s online portal. Each track submitted will be judged by an expert panel of DJ Lab Mentors, and six participants will be shortlisted. They are then flown to Thailand courtesy of W Hotels, to attend this DJ boot camp where they are then mentored personally by Michaelangelo L’Acqua, the current Global Music Director for W Hotels Worldwide. He is an internationally acclaimed DJ and music producer and has held this post with the hotel group since July 2009. Other well-known names in the music industry involved in the mentoring process are DJ White Shadow whose instrumental works include Lady Gaga’s latest album, James Lavelle from A&R Records and two-time Grammy nominated Andy Caldwell. The launch of this event recently took place at the W Hotel Westwood in Los Angeles. If you’re a Twitter fan, follow the event at #DJLAB2013

International DJ’s, awesome cocktails and beach barbecues at W Retreat Koh Samui.

Samui is well known for its party music scene and plays host to many exciting, talented DJs who are either resident on the island or play at various clubs and beach parties as part of their international travels. This year, something very big and very exciting is happening in the international DJ world. W Hotels Worldwide, in conjunction with burn studios (an innovative music platform developed by ‘burn’, a global leading energy drink from The Coca-Cola Company), announced that W Retreat Koh Samui would be the host of the ‘2013 W Hotels and burn studios DJ Lab’. This is the third edition of one of the world’s best DJ searches that supports and promotes up and coming DJs from around the globe. A week-long DJ boot camp, complete with workshops and a full mentoring program will be given to the six DJs who are shortlisted for this prestigious event.

W Retreat Koh Samui’s stunningly beautiful location and unique cutting-edge, contemporary design are ideal for the event. Brian Segrave, General Manager of the resort stated “We are delighted to host the Burn DJ Lab 2013 event. It is particularly exciting to have our DJs and mentors travel to this fantastic island location, giving Koh Samui advance exposure to tomorrow’s innovative beats.” All of this training and mentoring will result in a huge party - the ‘W Music Happening’. It will be held on Friday 27th September, starting at 9:00 pm. W Retreat are certain that it will be the biggest party Samui has seen in a long while.

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The Woobar area will be completely transformed - seating areas, party-themed lighting, and special stages for all the newly-trained DJs who will have been chomping at the bit all week to show off their sounds and utilise their new skills. So until the early hours, the combination of rhythmic, pumping party music, vibrant lighting, W’s cocktail mixologist and Samui’s most enthusiastic party-goers will rock out at a party which will blow the island’s mind. The event is open to the public and tickets include a welcome cocktail. And all ladies attending the party have an extra special treat in store for them.

Fine Beachfront Dining serving Thai, Seafood & International Cuisine. Chaweng Beach Road Chaweng North Tel: 0 7742 9400 Fax: 0 7742 9498 E-mail: l 89

Once the DJ Lab is over, the DJ’s will have a chance to perform at W parties in W Hotels all around the world. So get to the party and you can say you saw them here first. Woobar itself is very special. Not just any ordinary hotel bar, it is perched on top of a hill which enables you to look out across the north coast of Samui - an incredible 270 degree view. Watch how it transforms from a chilled out sunny spot during the day, to a dynamic spot at night where you can sit in the unusual lounge pods below water level in the pond, sip your island-flavoured cocktails, watch the beautiful floating lanterns and listen to a different party DJ every night from 6:00 pm until 11:00 pm W Retreat has something exciting happening nearly every night to tempt people to enjoy their unique ambiance. If you go along on a Tuesday, starting at 5:25 pm, if there are five or more in your group, you get a whopping 25% off your beverage bill (excluding champagne and wine) but seriously, think of how many cocktails you can enjoy. You won’t go hungry either because there are plenty of nibbles available. And speaking of cocktails, on a Thursday between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm, they run a very successful ‘Mo-Hee-Toe Madness’ evening where, and get this, for just 999 baht per person, you can drink as many mojitos as your body can manage, while listening to, yes you guessed it, more incredible mixes from W’s selection of visiting DJs. If long island iced teas are more your thing, fear not, because on Fridays, it’s ‘Iced Long Friday’ and W’s experienced mixologists create very special versions of this classic. Mint and watermelon iced cubes make an appearance and there is even one made with green tea. Making the most of the location and the weather means that every Saturday from 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm there is a

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barbecue on the beach. Branded ‘Beach Bar-B-Q Reloaded’, you can chill out on the beach with some ‘modern, eclectic BBQ cuisine’ - an a la carte menu offering some delicious treats such as ocean trout fillets, 12-hour slow cooked lamb, burgers or barbecue chicken (using a traditional southern American recipe). There’s no buffet here with food that’s been left standing - everything is fresh and cooked to order. Of course you’ll still have some house rhythms to enjoy from the local DJs. After all, W Retreat is all about music.



Every Monday

Thai Buffet & Seafood Beach BBQ Spice up your evening with our superb Thai Buffet using only the freshest ingredients available to create a real Thai taste. Includes a large selection of Thai appetizers, Main Courses, Salads, Desserts, Beach BBQ, Beef, Steaks, Seafood. From 07.00 - 10.00 pm 1,200 THB adults 600 THB kids (6-12 years) Children below 6 years old free of charge

Every Thursday

Asian Buffet & Seafood Beach BBQ Come enjoy all of your tasty Asian favorites! We offer a varied menu to suit all tastes including Asian & Western food, Sushi, Sashimi, BBQ with Australian Beef, Steaks, Seafood caught fresh from the Sea, Dessert Buffet and other delicacies, over 40 dishes of delight. From 07.00 - 10.00 pm 1,400 THB adults 700 THB kids (6-12 years) Children below 6 years old free of charge All in all, W Retreat Koh Samui has a great combination. A stunning location, an incredible view, great music, friendly staff and fabulous drinks. What’s your excuse for not visiting?

Colleen Setchell

______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 5999.

Day and location of Buffet subject to change, please double check with us for a guaranteed booking

at Sareeraya Villas & Suites, Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui. Tel: 0 7791 4333, Email: l 91


A great way to experience local culture is to explore the fresh food markets. To truly discover a new place, you need to involve all the senses, not just sight – It’s all very well seeing a place through a camera lens, but occasionally put the camera down and experience the destination, or you might as well stay at home and watch the travel channel. Travel and food are intertwined, fused together, inseparable. Smells and tastes can define a location as much as the scenery and it’s often these senses that trigger memories of a good holiday. Why would someone travel to a new country, only to eat the same fish and chips that they do back home, when they can offer their taste buds a gastronomic adventure? If you really want to see how the locals eat, you need to head down to one of the local fresh food markets – there’s one in every neighbourhood. Early in the day you’ll see cooks from the small restaurants buying their provisions for the day. And at dusk you’ll battle to find a parking spot with rows and rows of scooters cramming the entrance as locals stop to buy dinner, either the ingredients to cook at home, or ready-prepared from one of the vendors.

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Visiting a fresh market for the first time is not a quick event, as you ponder and pause at each stand, trying to identify completely unfamiliar fruits, vegetables and other fresh produce. From vivid purple eggplants and red fuzzy rambutans, to the aptly named dragon fruit and rows of green and yellow hanging bananas, walking down the fruit and vegetable isle is visually overwhelming. Sure you’ll find your run-of-the-mill fruits - oranges, bananas and apples, but it’s the exotic fruit that you’ll find too tempting not to try. Most vendors will offer you a taste if they see you are interested, but really, with the low prices, it’s worth buying a selection to try later when you need some refreshment. If you happen across an odd smelling fruit, that’s durian, a local delicacy throughout Asia. The smell is so odd that it’s banned in many hotels and on aeroplanes too. It’s one of those things that you’ll either love or hate, so be brave and give it a go – unless you suffer from high blood pressure, as then it’s not advised.

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


2 exciting new villa developments

You have to wonder if anyone not born in Asia knows the difference between the vast arrays of Asian greens. Most Western cooking repertoires would include your garden varieties of lettuce, cabbage, spinach and even, for an adventurous dinner party, pak choi. But here the selection of greens is endless, and most Westerners will have absolutely no idea what they are called or how they should be prepared. If you’re lucky enough to be staying in a villa with a private chef, buy a selection and let them help you to prepare it, or take a cooking class. The meat isle at the market is not as appealing to the eye as the fruit and vegetable section, with whole pig heads and chickens with feet in the air as if they keeled over in fright. If you buy a chicken, you can ask the vendor to cut off the head and feet, or you may find yourself looking into the dead chickens eyes that seem to plead, “I don’t want to leave this earth as green curry!” No, buying meat at a fresh market is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Award-winning architect Prime location, 5 mins to the beach Panoramic sea views Excellent investment opportunity Prices from THB 15.2M Full rental & villa management programme 

If you’ve decided to rent a villa, why not try cooking your own seafood? The fresh market at the end of Bangrak just before Big Buddha stocks seafood directly from the fishing boats moored right outside, so you know it’s fresh. The Bophut market, near the traffic lights by Fisherman’s Village also stocks prawns, crabs, whole fish and squid. Hua Thanon, just south of Lamai, is home to the local Muslim fishing village, another good place to buy fresh fish. In Nathon along the seafront road that overlooks the ferry ports, you’ll see stand after stand selling bright blue crabs, fish and fresh, as well as dried squid.

Tel: 0831 079 684 / 0856 920 550 l 95

If you see ‘horse shit crap’ on the menu (seriously) don’t worry. It’s in fact mistranslated, and should read ‘horse shoe crab’, and we’ve spotted several menus with this humorous misprint. If you want to know how this crab got its name, turn a fresh one over at the seafood market, and it looks exactly like the underside of a horse’s hoof. Although not very meaty, it’s a local delicacy. The meat and seafood section of the market can have an unpleasant odour, and this is not from produce that isn’t fresh, but rather from the fermented and dried seafood products. It can take a bit of getting used to and if you can’t handle it, stick to the fruit and veggie stands! 96 l

Fresh markets also sell cooked meals, and popular choices included whole rotisserie chicken, crumbed deep-fried chicken and sticky rice, various curries, stews and noodle soups and of course, every type of food-on-a-stick imaginable. There’ll always be a stand selling fresh fruit shakes, delicious and cheap, or if you’re after a caffeine fix, an iced coffee or Thai iced tea. Keen photographers looking for a place to practice their skills will enjoy the sights of the market. From the colourful fruit stands, to the weird and wonderful seafood as well as action shots of people coming and going, there’s always something

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.

Green Resort Green Spa Detoxifying and Slimming Program Healthy Thai Restaurant Natural Wing Health Spa & Resort 11/5 Moo 6, Maenam, Koh Samui, Thailand Tel: 0 7760 2111, 0 7760 2112 Fax: 0 7744 7243 Mobile: 0 819 682 796 Email:,

If you are looking for something wonderful and different, Zazen restaurant is the place for you to discover. Their master chef emphasises the use of healthy organic ingredients while infusing dining participation. Zazen is truly one of the most romantic and serene beachside dining restaurants on the island. Every night this charming establishment lights up over 100 candles to set the ambiance for you to experience. Tel: 0 7742 5085



that will catch your eye and the lens. But to fully appreciate a local fresh market, listen to the sounds of customers and vendors, smell the unfamiliar aromas (some good, some not so good), but most of all‌ taste!

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Experience peace and tranquillity at Nora Buri Resort.

People come to Samui for lots of reasons. They come for the beaches, for the food, for the shopping, maybe for the boxing and even for the partying. But they also come for relaxation, and because Samui is getting busier, finding a quiet spot reminiscent of Samui 15 years ago is quite difficult … or is it? Spread out on both sides of the road leading into north Chaweng, Nora Buri Resort feels like a secluded tropical paradise. Each side is connected by an underground tunnel so that guests can safely move between the hillside resort and the beachside resort. Luckily they provide a buggy service too, so you don’t have to even break a sweat before you’ve hit your sun lounger. Just three minutes from the airport (but luckily their hillside location means no

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noise) and five minutes from the centre of Chaweng (a complimentary shuttle bus is available for guests five times a day), this resort is a calm oasis, perfect for escaping a hectic lifestyle back home.

our needs, without being overly solicitous. They provided excellent service throughout, from greeting us by name as we got to know individual members of the staff, to treating us like family as we came and went.”

The open, spacious lobby with its high ceiling and dark wood beams, comfy arm chairs and friendly staff are what first greet you when you arrive at this 5-star resort. It is both Thai owned and managed because they firmly believe in offering guests an authentic Thai customer service experience. The staff greet all guests with a genuine smile, a traditional Thai wai (a slight bow with the hands in a prayer position) and will use your name once learned. They believe in treating guests like visiting family members, not strangers exchanging money for a room. A comment on TripAdvisor illustrated this nicely, “From the moment we checked in, we were made to feel welcome. The staff are second to none, definitely world class. They are helpful and discrete, frequently anticipating

On the subject of checking in, when we asked about check in/out times, we were told, check in time is, “if a room is available, then anytime.” Check out time is, “unless we’re fully booked, guests can stay in their rooms until an hour before they fly home, whatever time that is. We don’t like to rush them.” What a wonderful approach to making guests feel at home. Nora Buri has more than 140 rooms catering for a range of budgets. If you’re watching your pennies, you can choose the ‘Garden and Seaview Rooms’ on the hillside, which are a spacious 64m2, or splash out on the 115m2 ‘Pool Villa Beachfront Seaview Rooms’. l 99

The beautiful, dark teak wood that you encounter in the lobby is a definite theme throughout the resort. In the rooms, the furniture is beautifully crafted, solid wood - you won’t find any cheap plywood here. The decor in the rooms is a simple and modern Thai style coupled with soft flowing curtains, flower petals in the bath, rain showers, crisp linen, great views, high-speed internet and all the normal gadgets and treats you’d expect from a 5-star resort. The fitness centre, a beautiful sea-facing spa, yoga, zumba, aquaaerobics and kayaking to the nearby island will keep you busy if need be. The main restaurant at the hillside resort, Manora, is a huge open space and is the largest covered restaurant on Samui. The tables can be easily rearranged to cater for over 300 guests, something they do regularly for big events such as the Jazz Festival or ballroom dancing events. This is also the restaurant where the famous breakfast is served. It has an area solely dedicated to ‘cold produce’ where you’ll find your fruit, cheeses, 100 l

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:

NiCoL B by Nikky Noodles



cold meats, fruit juices and yoghurts. Move out to where the hot food is served and you can dish up your eggs or bacon and other delights, then pick up some bread and pastries that were freshly baked onsite earlier that morning. You also have the option of choosing vegetarian or traditional Chinese food. Lastly, stop at the coffee bar and order your iced latte or double espresso and they’ll brew it fresh and deliver it to your table. They firmly believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when you see the selection, you can’t help but agree. The other main restaurant, The Barge, can be found directly on the sea front. Split over three levels and again crafted from beautiful dark wood, The Barge offers all day a la carte dining. While dining during the day is more casual because it caters for the beachside pool guests, at night the area is transformed into a magically lit, fine dining experience offering both Thai and Western food to cater for all tastes. Tucked away on the upper level behind The Barge is a small beauty called The Rice Barge. A completely authentic Thai experience with traditional Thai seating, food and music.


The lush, tropical plants of the resort are all well established and you feel more like you’re walking around a garden than through a resort. That is, if you want to walk, complimentary buggies are available for all guests to ferry them from their rooms to the pools or to the beach. Even in low season the resort attracts the high-end Asian market and even the Korean honeymooners seem to be content with their pool villas during Samui’s rainy season. So it seems Nora Buri is busy all year around. They are also the hotel of choice for many Thai government officials and have hosted the cabinet and various ministers in the past. Clearly they’re doing something right, as they 102 l

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

are also recipients of TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence for 2011, 2012 and 2013. So if you’re looking to really get away and escape to a quiet, tropical paradise, then head to Nora Buri and experience true island tranquillity.

Colleen Setchell

_____________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 3555.

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: l 103

ZICO’S SWINGS! Zico’s Brazilian Grill & Bar is one of Chaweng’s liveliest landmarks.

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Zico’s Brazilian Grill & Bar has managed to get the formula exactly right. The location is perfect – right on Chaweng Beach Road, just slightly to the south and out of the one-way system so that cars and taxis can approach from both directions. It’s become a landmark in its own right, but if you need more exact directions, it’s just across the road from its parent hotel, the prestigious Centara Grand Beach Resort. Then there’s the building. The exterior is bold, modern and lofty; the columns and pillars lead you up and into an ‘almost courtyard’ area that’s open to the sky (smokers take note), to the right of which there’s a pleasant elevated bar and on the left of which is the large air-conditioned glass-sided main room. And now I’m in a fix! Because I want to talk about the fantastic food, the super service, the dashing dancers and the simply super price of all this, all in one go and at the same time! I can’t sort out what’s the next great aspect to enthuse about first. So I’m going to take a chance and put the last things first. Normally I just touch on the cost, somewhere towards the end of a story. But Zico’s seem to have re-written the all-youcan-eat handbook.

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The standard cost is only 885 baht. And this includes as much as you want of 17 different barbecued meat, poultry and seafood offerings. Should you decide to decline the BBQ and only opt for the salads and side-dish section (more of this in a moment) then the price-per-head drops to a mere 400 baht. Children under the age of six are free, whatever option you let them go for. And children between the age of six years and 12 are half price. I have to say that, after more than eight years of writing these articles, I can’t recall a more extensive selection and better variety of food on offer. Still keeping everything back to front (!), I’m going to talk about the BBQ mains last. Because the rest of what’s available is, by itself, fit for a king’s banquet. The phrase ‘salad bar’ gives you quite the wrong idea. But it’s much easier than trying to come up with something that reads more like ‘an amazing assortment of 70 dishes and plates that contains soup, eight different full-mix salads in dressings, bacon ,sliced meat, dressings, toppings, dips and green salad’. The hot ‘side dish’ selection reads the same. Mashed and baked potato, potato gratin, fries, soft corn polenta, feijoada, grilled marinated vegetables, sizzled veggies in tomato stew . . . and more. Add this to the BBQ selections and I can understand why some people come in here at 7:00 pm, take an hour’s break in the bar, dine again, hit the bar again and wobble out after midnight. The BBQ here is the South American ‘churrascaria’ style. So if you’re expecting your Australian sirloin to look like a big flat patty, then don’t! All meat and poultry is marinated and cooked on huge skewers over charcoal. The resident team of ‘passadors’ are constantly wandering amongst the tables with these skewers, offering slices to the diners. I’m not going to list all the available BBQ items as I’m rapidly running out of story space (much like I did with tummy space when I visited Zico’s). And I have yet to talk about the . . . l 107

. . .dancers, party nights, specials, the bar, and happy hours. The two gorgeous and exotically-clad dancers come on at 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 pm for a 20 minute set. The hand-picked female passadors often giggle in unison then join in with them on the last set. Monday is the only night they take a break. And this is also ‘ladies night’ (2 free cocktails) plus there’s a live band playing. After-dinner drinks in the bar include the first cocktail free. And every night it’s happy hour between 7 and 8:00 pm and 10 and 11:00 pm – two for the price of one – and that includes all imported spirits, wines (by the glass) and beers. I wanted to also tell you about the remarkable ‘Brazilian Food Festival’ that ran last month, with the Brazilian Ambassador present and the two guests chefs flown-in specially from Brazil for the week. But that’s in the past – unlike Brazilian 108 l

Independence Day on the 7th of September, when Zico’s will be having another big party: mark it in your diary. And that’s it, other than to say that Zico’s Brazilian Grill & Bar is open each night between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm, with the upstairs bar going on until 1:00 am. Oh. And the desserts are just amazing, too!

Rob De Wet

______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 0500.

Big Buddha Café The signs say ‘Free Sunset at BBC’ and ‘Best Sunset on Samui’. Although no single restaurant has actually had the audacity to charge for viewing one before, there can’t be many places on the island better than BBC Restaurant where you can enjoy a sunset in such comfortable surroundings whilst eating such good food. And if there was such a place that you would ever consider paying to watch a sunset from, it would be there.

The menu’s extensive, to say the least. The fare’s both Thai and International, including favourites from both cuisines. For mains, there’s a large selection of tasty snacks, salads, tried and tested favourites of both Thai and International cuisine and a special Italian food section, including some great pizza and lasagna dishes. And if you’re a fish lover, then you’ll certainly enjoy the salmon steak with basil sauce and side salad.

It’s located right next to the Big Buddha temple complex in Bangrak. The causeway to the temple starts virtually from the restaurant and from parts of the deck you can see the ornate archway itself. And the restaurant’s a prime spot for seeing the landmark statue of Big Buddha itself, floodlit at night, which is just a couple of hundred metres away.

Whatever you order, don’t forget desserts. BBC Restaurant has a select range of them and they’re hard to resist (even if you have just got through a massive main course!). Order the chocolate mousse and it arrives as a mini-mountain topped with whipped cream. Also highly popular is the apple pie (just like mum used to make) with custard or ice-cream.

BBC Restaurant has become an institution in itself and after extensive refurbishment it’s back again. It’s bigger, better and has more choice of seating than before. And it’s one of those very versatile places that offers somewhere perfect to sit for everyone. If you’re on your own with a loved one, you’ll find sitting at one of the beachside tables for two highly romantic. And if you’ve come with your family or a group of friends, you’ll have many options, too, including sitting on the expansive decking at one of the large tables.

The wine list has been expanded to offer a more broad range of southern hemisphere wines. The owners are a Thai - New Zealand family who enjoy the quality of southern wines and meats, as well as using the best that Thailand has to offer.

Meanwhile, on another outside deck, close to the spreading branches of a tamarind tree, there’s a generous-sized patio; again ideal for groups, and for those magnificent views across the sea. And, incidentally, if you’re getting married, BBC’s also an ideal place to hold your reception, not just for the setting, but also for the excellent catering.

BBC is open every day from 9am to late (generally the kitchen is open until 10pm, with a bar snack-menu available after 10pm until closing). For information and reservations, contact: Telephone: 0 7742 5089 or visit their website:


When it comes to building work, few can beat Samui’s own Cheer Force for cost and quality! How do you go about buying a house on Samui? Well, it’s usually like this. First of all you start coming here on holiday. Then you discover that, in preference to a hotel, it’s more cost effective to rent a house. This means that you begin to socialise with more of the long-term locals and ex-pats. They swap gossip, compare prices and pass-on locations. You start to unravel the complexities and pitfalls of both renting and buying, but realise that these are all offset by the cost and the climate. After a good few years of some serious searching, while here and long-range too, you finally buy a place. But that’s not the end of a long process – it’s just the beginning.

who speaks good English, knows what they’re doing, is reliable, and charges sensible money. And this is exactly the way that Cheer Force gets most of their business.

Your choice, in the first instance, was to either buy land and have a house built for you, or to look for one as a second owner. A great many people feel more comfortable with the latter – all the planning and construction problems have been solved, and you can actually see real bricks and concrete. But, either way, everyone soon gets to the point where things need fixing. Maybe there’s a water leak. Or the decking needs replacing. Or you want to extend the balcony or add a carport. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred you’ll pick your builder because of word-of-mouth. It’s the best way. You want someone local

If you spend a while chatting to Khun Jak you’ll discover that there are quite a few reasons for this. One of the unsettling aspects of living in Thailand is that it doesn’t take long to find out that just about anyone can set themselves up as just about anything they fancy. Hairdressers or masseuses who’ve had no real training. Electricians who’ve never seen a voltage meter. Or ‘builders’ who, as boys, started out by helping their fathers and then just kind-of . . . evolved. But not Khun Jak.

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“We still have several customers, from when we started in 2005, who insist on only ever using us,” Khun Jakgree Huinam, (nicknamed Khun Jak) owner and director of Cheer Force, told me. “In fact the only ones who have not used us again are those new customers we’ve just done some work for. But,” he added with a smile, “there’s a good chance they’ll be back again for something else in the future.” l 111

For a start, there aren’t too many ‘local lads’ on the building circuit here who have degrees in commercial and industrial engineering. When he left school Khun Jak gained a degree in civil engineering at King Mongkut University of Technology in Bangkok, then worked as a civil engineer for the next four years. His projects ranged from marine jetties, to hotels and factories, to residential developments. Not only does he know how to get his hands dirty with a shovel and a concrete mixer but he also understands structural and stress properties, data and cost analysis, and architectural planning and design. Khun Jak was born and bred on Samui and his family has lived for generations in the south-west part of the island in Lipa Noi. And that’s another positive factor. “There are a lot of outside speculators investing in Samui,” he explained, “and that means they’ll buy land and bring in a cheap workforce for three or four months for the construction-work. And then they’ll move on. The buyer is then left with no back-up, if there turns out to be problems. In the worst cases, some developers have even run out of money and had to leave with construction unfinished. But I can’t do that – I live here. Samui is my home. Although that also means I know all the best local craftsmen, where to get the best materials and, if needed, can put together a work crew overnight.” Another element you’ll discover on the ‘Thailand learning curve’ is that over here there’s a much more relaxed attitude towards social precision than you’re probably used to! Take the idea of appointments, for example. Just try to get your hair done, or book your car in for a service! It seems that, in general, only hospitals and dentists use appointment books. And Cheer Force. “This is a really important thing,” Khun Jak continued. “If I say I’ll see a client at 2:00 pm tomorrow then that’s the time I’ll be there, even if it means arriving early and waiting. And, when it comes to a work schedule, then I’ll sit and plan it carefully before committing myself. Plus I’ll always add an extra day for a team to clean up too, 112 l

if that’s necessary. I don’t have any Thai customers at all; I deal exclusively with ‘foreigners’. I understand what they’re used to and what they expect. If Cheer Force turned out to be unreliable then we just wouldn’t get the repeat business that makes us successful.” But what took me a bit by surprise was the sort of work that Cheer Force is called on to do. I’d imagined grand estates with multi-bedroom pool villas. And that’s one extreme for sure – there’s been more than a few occasions where Khun Jak and his team have completed a half-finished project. But, in reality, 80% of the work is routine repair and maintenance. And I was further surprised to find out that on quite a few occasions this was more or less breaking-andentering . . . where people have simply locked themselves out of their house! And a new hasp, door lock or hinges were quickly supplied and put in place with the minimum of fuss. But, I think that overall it’s the sheer breadth of expertise which puts this company to the front of the queue. Khuk Jak spends a lot of time keeping up with new materials and trends, and if your decking needs replacing, he’s in a position to suggest a range of different possibilities and costs. And I’ll sign-off on that point, as, when it comes to the cost, you’ll discover yet another reason why Cheer Force is indeed a force to be reckoned with!

Rob De Wet

______________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 818 699 697.

HATS OFF TO HANSAR! Hansar Samui, in Fisherman’s Village, has put together the ultimate romantic escape for two.

There’s romantic and there’s kitsch and sometimes it’s a fine line separating the two. With the romantic lure of an island paradise, Samui offers many ‘unique’ couples packages some of which border on just plain corny and tasteless. Hansar Samui on the other hand, has aced it. They’ve come up with a sensual spa package followed by a romantic beachside dinner that’s classy and sophisticated and special enough to create one of those remember-forever days. Here’s how ‘The Romantic Elements Balancing & Dinner Under the Stars’ goes. You’ll arrive as a couple at Hansar’s Luxsa Spa for a three-hour pampering session. What’s unique about Luxsa is that the treatments are customised for each client based on info given on a pre-treatment form. According to Thai medicine and healing, the four body elements of earth, water, air and fire need to be balanced throughout life. Spa Manager, Khun Jern, works out which is your element, based on birth date, as well as other factors and this will determine which herbs, spices and other products are used in order to benefit the most from the treatments. The ‘Elements Balancing Package’ starts with a floral footbath using essential oils, followed by half an hour in a herbal steam room. When you’re all hot and steamy, sink into the deep, aromatic bath with floating petals and sip on pots of herbal tea to rehydrate and cleanse from the inside. Now as tempting as it is to make patterns with the floating flowers and pretend the red rose petals are your painted toenails, rather close your eyes, lie back and let the herbs and balmy water do their job of opening up your pores and preparing your body and mind for the treatments to follow. Next you’ll be scrubbed and polished with the ‘Four Elements Scrub’, removing dull surface skin cells, rejuvenating the skin, increasing your blood circulation, leaving you soft and tingling all over, and heightening your senses. Now that you’re basted you’re wrapped up to brew and simmer as the ingredients do their trick of drawing out dirt and toxins, softening the skin and fighting water retention – there’s nothing romantic about swollen ankles…

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Now it’s time to rinse off in the shower, before you lie back and relax for a sensual oil massage. Mental and physical tension is relieved (nothing kills romance quite like stress), energy and flexibility is restored to the body (no comment), and metabolism is increased – you’ll need that for the delicious Chef’s Dinner to follow later. The treatment ends with a customised facial. It’s so relaxing, don’t be surprised if you fall asleep, just try not to snore! In keeping with the rest of the resort, Luxsa Spa is tastefully decorated with a minimalist look using natural elements and an ‘Africa meets Asia’ feel. Attention to detail is noticeable, such as fragrant oil burners, iPods with relaxing music next to the deep floral bath and flower arrangements under the face opening of the massage beds, so you’re not staring at the therapist’s pedicure! For the couple’s treatment, herbs for the elements are combined for the stages that are enjoyed together, such as the herbal steam and the floral bath. For scrubs, wraps and massages, the herbs are used according to the individual’s elements. So feeling invigorated yet relaxed, polished and gorgeous, you’ll head to the beach where your private dining table has been set up in a flower-adorned and fabric-draped sala at the water’s edge, attended by your personal butler for the evening. And with fireworks going off every-so-often from nearby resorts, the water lapping the shore, wish lanterns riding the evening thermals, and a sea breeze cooling you down, you couldn’t ask for a more romantic setting.

The meal, of course, is superb. And that’s what you’d expect from someone who’s been private chef to His Majesty, the King of Jordan. Executive Chef, Stephen Jean Dion is a Canadian who has, aside from this acclaimed position, also worked in Canada and throughout Asia before joining Hansar at its opening in June 2010, heading up H Bistro. So for your evening of culinary indulgence, expect to dine like royalty. And that goes for not only the food, but also the service and the setting. Although H Bistro offers an a la carte menu, the Chef’s Dinner is included in couple’s promotion. It’s an interesting selection of indulgent dishes, allowing you to sample Chef Stephen’s best creations. And with the romantic theme in mind, dishes include ingredients that are known aphrodisiacs, such as truffle, asparagus and chocolate. There’s the choice of enjoying wine pairings with each of the five courses too. The wine’s just enough to get your giddy, but not too much to kill the mood. So to get the taste buds going, you’ll start with a ‘chilled white asparagus soup, with natural yoghurt, black Perigold truffle caviar and topped with a Madagascar prawn’. The paired wine for this course is ‘Bouvet Brut Rose Excellence, BouvetLadubay, Loire, France’. l 117

Next, you’ll enjoy ‘pan-fried Enest Soulard Foie Gras, with sweet corn blinis, red gala apple, green almonds and a white balsamic Calvados reduction’. This rich dish is complemented by a crisp ‘Rocky Gully Riesling, Frankland Estate, 2012, Western Australia’. Still not at the main course, your next dish to savour is a ‘seared French spring baby chicken, served with forest mushrooms, Parmesan Reggiano risotto, and porcini mushroom essence’. Sticking with the Italian theme from the risotto, an Italian wine is served with this dish, ‘Osteria Pino Grigio, Olearia Vinicola, Abruzzo, 2011, Italy’. For the main dish, there’s a choice of ‘slow-cooked skate wing, squash spaghetti, baby fennel, patisson, brown butter and a herb sauce’, or ‘pan-roasted stockyard Wagyu beef tenderloin, potato puree, leek, caramelised banana shallots, micro carrots, garlic velouté, and a veal jus’. The wine served with this course will depend on the choice of dish. Ending on a sweet note – what lady doesn’t like molten chocolate? Dessert is a ‘warm satin dark chocolate and raspberry tart, served with a spearmint flavoured raspberry ice-cream’. And yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds. A dessert wine with a strong sultana notes is enjoyed with this course, ‘MR Mountain Wine, Telmo Rodriguez, Malaga, 2009, Spain’.

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And just when you thought it was over, your butler will offer you Elefin coffee or tea with chocolate pralines. While you’re enjoying your after-dinner coffee, set off a wish lantern and watch is rise and ride the thermals until out of sight, then take a leisurely stroll along the beach to work off dinner. The promotion runs throughout September and October and the package price without the wine-paring option is 9,999 baht ++ per couple, and with the wine-paring, 12,499 baht ++. If you enjoyed the products used during your treatment, or are interested in how element balancing works, they now have their own natural spa product range, ‘The Shop’, for sale at the spa, so pop in and have a look. So if you’re looking for a way to celebrate a special occasion, even if that occasion is just love and life itself, the couple’s promotion at Hansar’s Luxsa Spa and H Bistro is a sure-fire way to do so. As the wise Dr Seuss said, “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep, because the reality is finally better than your dreams.”

Rosanne Turner

_______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7724 5511.



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Plai Laem Soi 8, Choeng Mon Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand Contact: Mr. Yo Tel: 081 537 3088,,




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MAKE IT SNAPPY No need to count your fingers after a day out at Samui Crocodile Farm!

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Samui is only a small island. But that doesn’t mean its attractions are tiny too. Certainly, if we head back a few years, probably the most interesting thing to see was a monkey picking coconuts. But times change. And, although the island’s not got any bigger, there’s more to see and do. I’ve been here for quite a while now. Like many in my situation, as time passes we simply grow accustomed to what’s going on around us. And so it came as quite a shock the other day to suddenly see things with fresh eyes. New eyes again, so to speak. I was in an up-market resort waiting for someone and I idly let my gaze wander. On a big table next to reception was a huge splash of colour – a hundred different brochures and leaflets of all shapes and sizes. And every one of them offering or promoting another different island event, from big game fishing to mummified monks to football golf. It was suddenly all quite exciting. With time to kill, I asked the receptionist, “Do many of your guests go out on these trips?” “Oh yes,” she answered, “just about every person goes on two or three of them.”

And with my new eyes, seeing things like a newcomer to the island, I realised that’s the best way to do things. Booking an organised trip through your hotel, I mean. It’s all there, right at hand, and all you do is fill in the form and pay your money. There’s no fretting about car hire or trying to work out which-way-is-up on the map. You’re picked up from your resort, whisked off for the day or afternoon, and brought back again afterwards: most civilised. And there are just so many things to choose from. Including more than just a few which involve animals. There are real live tigers, snakes aplenty and a dozen different sorts of crocodiles – not to mention a few kilos of huge free-floating butterflies – but they’re all scattered about in different places and under different management. Samui doesn’t actually have a zoo, not as we know it. Like I said before, we’re only a small island. And that raises another point which you’ll need to be aware of. l 121

We’re in Asia, in Thailand, and we’re in the tropics, with an average temperature of 30 degrees and high humidity. And that means that everything has a bigger smell than we’re accustomed to. Even puddles of water can be stinky. And have you ever got up close and personal with a buffalo? Boy, do they whiff, and that’s just one of them. Multiply that by a couple of dozen and confine it to a comparatively small area and, when the sun shines, be prepared for whatever the opposite of nose candy is. And here the sun shines every day. Although, having prepped you for this, it has to be said that the general atmosphere over at the Samui Crocodile Farm is actually quite benign – possibly a lot to do with the big new show area which is open at the sides but has a covered roof. There’s a lot more going on than simply crocodiles – there are some spectacularly terrifying stunts with deadly cobras, but lots of fluffy and fun li’l critters too, like otters, monkeys, possums, parrots and mice deer – but trying to fit all that into a heading just isn’t realistic! And it can’t really be called a ‘zoo’. But the best bits come with the crocodile and snake shows, of which there are three of each every day, beginning at 12 noon and ending with the last show at 5:00 pm.

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Your One Stop Chill Spot 91/2-3 Moo 3, Chaweng Noi Beach, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Thailand Tel: 66 (0) 77 448994

Fax: 66 (0) 77 448999



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Contact: 080 522 7700, 077 426 993 Location: Samui Ring Road, Bophut next to Peace Resort l 123

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Opened in December 2000, this 8,000 square-metre project is set in an old stone quarry, close to the airport. There are several public croc basins filled with lilies and vegetation and set under the shade of big mature trees. But it’s not just a tourist show: Thailand is one of the world’s leading producers of prime crocodile skin, and there’s a purposeful ‘farm’ (just as the name says) behind the scenes, where the crocs are pampered and handled with kid gloves (so to speak). But back to the public interface and the show. Khun Hin and Khun Sean are the youthful trainers, but what they lack in years they make up for in scars and experience – this is no fake show with doped up and toothless crocs! (Ask Khun Hin to show you where his thumb used to be . . .) After an introductory talk where they manoeuvre a couple of the beasts onto a central concrete slab, these two fearless entertainers woo the crowd by taking turns in inserting various parts of their bodies (heads, arms etc.) into the mouths of the long-suffering ‘crocodyli’ before nudging them to the edge of the arena and inviting the onlookers to cop a feel – in this instance playing it safe and proffering only the tail end for this purpose. But the snake show plays it anything but safe and these reptiles are anything but predictable. Yes, I suppose that when you work with them everyday you can judge just what distance they can strike to, or can notice small give-aways or tells. It’s said that cobras are not aggressive and would rather flee than fight – even when cornered merely making defensive closed-mouth strikes. But when you see three large cobras, all reared with hoods out, and the fearless Khun Nick goading them into striking at him, and snatching back in the err . . . nick of time – it’s scary. Particularly when, in the finale, Khun Num crawls along the ground with a giant cobra rearing over him, and slowly kisses it on the nose!

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!

Believe me, that was no spoiler! Even though you now know what’s going to happen, your eyes will be wide and your heart in your mouth. I think both crocs and the snakes – maybe reptiles in general – trigger some primitive response in us. Of the ‘non-cuddle let’s-get-out-of-here’ variety. But fortunately, here, it’s not happening to us. So that’s all right then. It’s nothing but excitement and good clean family fun, at the Samui Crocodile Farm!

Rob De Wet

_________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7723 9002. l 125

WHERE ART MEETS GASTRONOMY Have an original experience at The Library.

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Libraries seemingly have nothing in common with hotels, and if someone had said they wanted to combine the two, you might be forgiven for thinking they had gone crazy. But The Library, located on in the heart of Chaweng, is just that; a seamless combination of two things that symbolise relaxation, peace and contentment. Kasemtham Sornsong, a Samui native and owner and managing director of The Library, is continuously inspired by books and believes them to be immortal, never going out of date. When he first conceived the idea of The Library, he wanted the hotel to be a place that guests were able to both read quietly and enjoy the luxury of the hotel and its surroundings. He wanted them to feel they’d experienced a magical place of stories when they left. l 127

Together with concept designer, Tirawan Songsawat, they created what, in 2012, TripAdvisor declared “the trendiest hotel in Thailand”. The Library has been described as a stunning conceptual hotel, built in a semi-minimalist architectural style. There is, in fact, a real library on site and it houses over 1,300 books available to borrow, and guests are invited to relax and enjoy their ‘holiday reads’. The library theme continues throughout the hotel, the main restaurant is even called ‘The Page’. A simple decor and minimalist palette, with odd splashes of colour, are used throughout the property and have a calming effect on both body and mind. There is a delicate balance of modern art and nature. Various works of art dot the property and life size white statues of people reading books can be seen under the trees. There are 26 ‘pages’, some located on the ground floor and some on upper levels. The rooms boast high-end facilities such as 42-inch plasma screen televisions, iPods and iMac computers with high-speed Wi-Fi connections. 128 l

The signature red pool is a great attraction and CNN even announced it as one of the world’s most spectacular swimming pools. The small red, orange and yellow mosaic tiles create the illusion of bright red water and this creates a striking contrast against the blue of the sea and the light blue sky. Lounge on bean bags and sunbeds and enjoy the fresh sea breeze in this unique environment. Speaking of unique, The Library, already offering something very different for its guests, has gone one step further and offers six ‘Original Experiences’. These quite simply are experiences that are … well … original. Let’s go through them. The first one is called ‘Breakfast Culture’ and this is described as the ‘ultimate breakfast in bed experience’. If you’re an early bird and you appreciate the tranquil calm that comes with the first light of dawn, this experience is the one for you. A white mattress is set up on the beach sand and a selection of food from the breakfast buffet that you have chosen when booking, such as breads, pastries, savouries, teas and coffees, are laid out on a low, wooden ‘shelf’ that fits over the end of the mattress. Breakfast in bed on the beach - wonderful! This experience is available to both hotel guests and outsiders, but is free for hotel guests! Make sure you book so you don’t miss out. l 129

The second experience is called ‘Tea by the Sea’. Available in the afternoon, this is all about relaxation. A selection of tea and a variety of savouries such as sandwiches, pastries, fruit and scones are available for you to enjoy a luxurious picnic on the beach. The third experience is called ‘101 Cocktails’. Astonishingly, The Library offers 101 different cocktails which have been expertly created and matched with artistic interpretations of tapas and snacks. They even have a consultant who comes in often to review them. Sip on your cocktails while listening to the saxophonist or a DJ that plays on certain dates. Happy hour runs from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The fourth experience is ‘Wagyu Beef 9+’. When we spoke to The Library about this one, the pride with which they described this

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experience was very evident. Wagyu Beef is genetically predisposed to intense marbling which in turn makes it exceptionally tender and tasty. Meat is given a score to reflect the marbling quality; a regular sirloin is usually around six. 9+ is the absolute highest and is usually very hard to find on the island but … now you know where to find it. We’ve been told you need only rest a sharp knife on the top of the steak and gravity will do the rest! Fifth on the list is the ‘Starlit Dinnerscape’. Not just an ordinary dinner on the beach but a tailor-made menu of culinary indulgences, created especially for you. You even have your own personal butler for the night to make sure you are completely taken care of. If you’re on honeymoon or just want to renew your vows, this experience is especially perfect.

Dream Holiday under Palms The last experience on the ‘Original’ list is called ‘Cooking with Class’. Don your personalised apron and The Page’s top chef will personally teach you how to prepare a Thai appetiser, main course and dessert. You get to eat the fruits of your labour and go home half a day later with a certificate to prove your hard work. Two new Original Experiences have been recently added and we’re positive you’ll hear more about these in the very near future. Sornsong classes The Library as his greatest accomplishment. His ultimate goal is to retire knowing his project has stood the test of time and people will talk about it in the future.

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 …

And there’s certainly enough at The Library to keep people talking for a very long time.

Colleen Setchell

_______________________________________________________ For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 2767-8.

1 or 2 bedroom luxury villas, separate living room, marble bath, two toilets, party second open air bath, familiy villas (130 m2!). 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: l 131



Getting your tongue round Thai isn’t so tricky – but is it worth the bother? Here’s a fun thing for you to try. First you’ll need the help of someone of a different nationality. But, to make it more entertaining, try to rope-in a Russian or a Korean – their languages use more unusual letters and characters. Then all you do is to write a dozen sentences – just tell a short story or describe a meal you’ve eaten. . . anything will do. Then go onto the internet, get onto Google Translate, and have it translate your words. Finally, show it to your foreign friend, ask them what they think, and watch their face! Predictably, the translation will vary between mildly silly and utter nonsense. Much like those amusing instruction books that come with Japanese hairdryers. But – and this is the point – without regular and practiced language teaching, this is probably how you come across when you’re trying to speak a foreign language. If you’re reading this then you’re probably already in Thailand. And, statistically, you’re one of the vast majority who are visitors to our island. Furthermore, the average length of stay here is just ten days. So, a fair question would seem to be – why bother to learn Thai? Well, and staying with statistics, more than 75% of visitors to our island come back again. And again. And many end up buying holiday homes or actually coming to live here. So there’s one good reason in itself. But another one is that, although the Thai people who work in our resorts can speak reasonably 132 l

good English (on the whole), you’ll earn a measure of their respect for being humble enough to want to try. Certainly everyone’s first attempts will equate to Japanese hairdryer-speak. But the Thais are light hearted and tolerant and although they’ll smile at your efforts, it will be with you, not at you. And they’ll appreciate your interest in their country and culture and not look down on you in the least. Thai is a unique language. It’s stunningly simple and utterly logical. It is missing those very aspects that make English (and most European languages, actually) such a nightmare to learn. But if you’ve grown up in an Englishspeaking nation then mastering English was effortless! All the irregular verbs, the exceptions to the rules, the inconsistencies, words that have random stresses on odd syllables and irregular plural nouns (mice, children, sheep, women etc) you’ll absorb automatically and without conscious thought. English is so inconsistent because English isn’t actually English. It’s a mix of a hundred mutated bits. As Stephen Fry put it, “ . . . each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Latin, Greek, French, Norse, Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American. Military, naval, legal, corporate, criminal, slang, jazz, rap and ghetto discourses are inter-mingled at every turn.” But the Thai language is nothing at all, even faintly, remotely anything like this! l 133

Plural nouns puzzle Thai people. Their language doesn’t have any. One dog, two dog, three dog: this makes perfect sense (although they’d express it in a slightly different way). Generally tenses, in all their future or past conditional or other complex tangles, just don’t exist. Something like “I should have been able to have gone fishing yesterday but I couldn’t” gets more or less reduced down to “yesterday, go fishing, cannot”. Of course, I’m over-simplifying things. But that’s the essence of it. Words, too, are simpler. Many Thai words are just one syllable, and when transliterated into English they rarely emerge as more than four letters long. There are only about 20,000 words in the Thai language (compared to now over a million in English) but these are very logically combined together to make additional compound words. Thus ‘hard’ and ‘water’ will combine to mean what we say as ‘ice’. It’s really ever so simple. But there’s just one teensy catch. Tones. It’s the price to pay for having only 20,000 words. Many words have several different meanings, depending on how they are spoken. A word can be said with a rising or falling tone, it can be high or low, or simply in the middle of all these. Thus the word ‘maa’ can mean ‘come here’, ‘dog’ or ‘horse’. Getting the tone wrong is a continual source of amusement. It’s responsible for people saying “I want horse excrement” when they mean, “I want to go riding”! It’s absolutely a language that has to be learned by speaking: it’s impossible to try to learn Thai from a book, or worse, a dictionary. One way is to engage the help of a Thai friend. But it’s not the best way – your friend won’t be aware of the underlying structure (never needing to have studied his/her own language!) and won’t present your conversations sequentially, so that each new session builds on ones that have gone before. For this, you really do need a school that specialises in teaching the Thai language. 134 l

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: 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: For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ชั้นสองของตึก ติดกับพิซซ่าฮัท

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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: For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ที่ถนนหาดบ่อผุด

There are several which appear when you hit the Google button. But take care: some are merely a vehicle to get an expensive oneyear student visa. You have to find one which is run by people who understand your needs, have clued-in and experienced Thai staff, an active core of students and can offer you anything from a couple of one-hour sessions a week right up to a full 180-hour course, spread over what ever time-period you want. Curiously enough, there just happens to be one that goes by the name of ‘Mind Your Language’, has been around for over 12 years, and is located in Bophut. It’s managed by the very capable Sharon Banes and the principal is the laid-back and cheery Khun Jom Nawa, who’s been running things here from the start. If you want, you can go oneon-one, although the usual group size is five or six students. Everything is based on conversational Thai, is very crisply structured so that each new lesson builds on the last, and is continually re-enforcing and expanding what you’ve learned already. Ages currently range from 15 to 71, there are all nationalities and holidaymakers are most welcome – as is everyone who goes there with the intention of ‘minding their language’!

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: For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ที่ถนนหน้าทอน

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Rob De Wet

_________________________________________ For further information, telephone 0 7796 2088.

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

Tel.: 0 7742 9500 Website: For Taxi: ร้านตั้งอยู่ในโรงพยาบาลกรุงเทพ

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How to maintain your fitness routine while holidaying on Samui. Getting fit is tough. Staying fit can be even tougher, and it’s especially hard to keep up a routine when you’re not in your usual environment. But being on holiday doesn’t mean you have to give up on exercise and start from scratch when you return home. Here are some suggestions. Samui has its fair share of gyms and fitness clubs, and in fact some hotels even have their own – so if you’re a gym bunny, check when booking. But the great thing about being on holiday in a place of permanent summer is that you aren’t restricted to indoor fitness training. They say that a change is as good as a holiday, so give your body a holiday too, and vary your fitness workouts. l 137

The most obvious way to do this would be an energising early morning run on the beach, which beats a treadmill any day. Make it more challenging by running in the soft sand to really work those calf muscles. And staying on the beach, why not try a long swim in the balmy waters of the Gulf of Thailand for a full body workout. Of course, there’s the pool in your resort too if you’re not a fan of salt water. And for good upper body conditioning, a paddle in a kayak does wonders and you’ll soon feel the burn in your arms. Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is a great way to strengthen your core muscles and improve balance too. You can even try SUP yoga classes – now that makes a change from your regular gym workout! As you’re in Thailand, incorporating a traditional local sport into your holiday is a great way to stay fit and make good holiday memories at the same time. There are several Muay Thai training camps on the island, all of which offer classes to visitors. The training doesn’t involve contact or fighting (unless you sign up for that) so don’t worry about getting a broken nose! What you will get 138 l

is an intense workout and you’ll learn some new moves at the same time. If you’re serious about your fitness, some training camps offer packages including accommodation, nutrition and training. But if something a bit more relaxed is up your alley, then yoga might be what you’re after and Samui has several studios – both indoor with airconditioning as well as out in the open with a breeze. If you know your yoga routine well, you may prefer to practice by yourself on the beach before the crowds arrive. If you’ve never tried yoga before, a holiday is a great time for new beginnings and you’ll be able to carry on at a studio back home. If you prefer exercising in a social environment, join the weekly salsa dance classes or just head out for a night of dancing at Samui’s active nightclub scene. Just don’t over-indulge, or you will counteract your good intensions of burning some calories on the dance floor. l 139

Golf enthusiasts are well catered for with driving ranges, 9-hole courses as well as the spectacular Santiburi Golf and Country Club. This course is an essential stop on the PGA Asian Tour, and one of the most beautiful courses in Asia. Mind the view doesn’t distract you from the game! And don’t forget some family fun to spur on young golfers. Samui has a few mini golf locations as well as ‘football golf’ whereby, as the name suggests, a football is kicked from hole to hole with otherwise much the same rules as regular golf. If you’re an avid cyclist, you’ll find a few places to rent bicycles on Samui. Please do watch the traffic, as there are no dedicated cycle lanes as in other countries. The same applies should you be running on the road, and you should face the oncoming traffic. Along with a good fitness routine should be a healthy eating plan. Now while no one expects to stay on a strict diet while on holiday, there’s no need to over-indulge. Luckily, most Thai food is low fat and in the heat your body craves salads, fruit and light meals.

Those with a competitive spirit can head to the nearest tennis court. If your hotel or villa doesn’t have one (several do) then there are a few courts to hire on the island, including at the tennis club down the Ghost Road in Bangrak. You’ll be able to brush up on your serve with the help of a coach too and catch a tan at the same time. But if you’ve had enough sun and still want to play a ball sport, again, you’ll find several badminton courts for hire. 140 l

Of course, sometimes a bit of fun-in-the-sun is all it takes and playing with the kids on the beach can quickly get the heart rate going. Who knows, you may even go home fitter, leaner, and most certainly happier than when you arrived, which is the best souvenir you could ask for.

Rosanne Turner

_____________________________________ For a comprehensive list sports and activities, visit


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



Located at the end of Soi Colibri, opposite Centara Grand Beach Resort. Thai owned and managed, offering the beauty of Thai style architecture combined with European comforts.

The first boutique hotel in Suratthani. Reasonably priced with friendly service and a family atmosphere. Relax by the pool or ease your tensions at the luxurious spa. Recommended by Lonely Planet

Tel.: 0 7723 0684

Tel.: 0 7720 1150-8 l 141

Beach hotel fisherman's village sale/rent


Boutique hotel with 6 large rooms available for rent starting March 2013. Year to year lease. Established market. Furnished, modern, all ocean front rooms, two Lanais ocean/street view. Big kitchen, large freezer. Best location in village direct in center of action. Rent with option to buy. Rent 1.2-million per year paid upfront. This is a great investment up to 300% return Rent with option to buy the apartments. Price 39 million. Outright freehold, 30% down. Owner financing available. For virtual tour of rooms www.Youtube.Com/84320 Website: www.Beachfrontapartment.Blog.Com Information: Tel: 0.850.438.122

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:

Tel: 0 818 917 912, 0 897 636 032 E-mail:

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:

Contact: 0 818 921 990 E-mail:

Private real estate 180-Degree views



Shophouse for Rent - Chaweng

The actual view from this house is the picture above. This 4-bedroom house has been built according to European standards on 972 sqm. It is centrally located near Nathon and only 500 metres from the main road in a small, warm and tidy community. Priced very competitively, this house is ideal for couples or young families ready to live in paradise. Price: 8 Million THB only

2 unit shophouse for rent in Soi Colibri, opposite Centara Grand. 2 floors (each floor appx. 8 x 14 meters). Ground floor comprises of an unfurnished restaurant. 2nd floor comprises of 2 unfurnished rooms/apartments (no kitchen).

Tel: 0 819 709 632 Email:

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


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

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: Website:

Web : Email: 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

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: Email:

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: Email:

Tel: 0 811 901 540 Email: Website:

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

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: Email:

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: Website:

Contact: Steve 081 452 5895, Pop 081 832 5895 Website: Email:

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

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: Email: l 143

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NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED! The annual Vegetarian Festival celebrated in parts of Thailand, shows a completely different side to vegetarianism as we know it. Could it be? A spear protrudes from the cheek of a man who seems to be possessed. He is just one of hundreds in a procession making its way through Phuket Town. Just behind him, a man is slicing his own tongue repeatedly with a long sword’s razor-sharp edge. Another has a string of red firecrackers entwined around his body and he dances, eyes rolled to the back of his head as they loudly erupt around him. It’s got to hurt, but he still smiles and seems ecstatic. So what’s this all about? Each year, Thailand celebrates a vegetarian festival during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. This can occur during the months of September or October (it will be early October this year), and festivities begin the day before the new moon. Many Thai people observe this festival, even if they’re not vegetarians. It’s popular throughout Thailand, and especially so in areas with large populations of Chinese immigrants, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. Now we usually think of vegetarians as a placid bunch, who are opposed to harming living creatures. All the blood

and gore therefore seems a little contradictory -- although this is self-mutilation, and doesn’t harm other creatures. The most intriguing aspect of the vegetarian festival, and also the most disturbing for spectators, are the actions of the ‘mah song’. A mah song is a man, or occasionally a woman, who’s possessed by a spirit during the vegetarian festival. Mah songs gather at a temple, where they mutilate themselves by way of piecing their mouths, ears, cheeks and arms with fish hooks, knives, blades and bamboo poles before parading through the streets. Apparently, the spirit residing within the mah song protects their bodies from injury and pain, and oddly enough, there’s little blood and scarring considering the size of the wounds. Other ‘stunts’ performed by the mah song include walking over hot coals, a tad hotter than Chaweng’s powdery sands in the peak of April heat. These possessed men also willingly climb ladders with steps of blades, cross bridges of nails, and bathe in hot oil. Thanks, but I’d rather have a spa treatment! l 145

During festival time, locals of Chinese descent strictly observe a 10-day vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit-making. This is known as ‘Jay’. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples. People bring shrines or statues from their homes to the temples to receive spiritual energy. Drums and innumerable red crackers noisily warn away evil spirits. Chinese entertainers perform, vendors sell toys and fireworks, and of course, delicious vegetarian food and snacks. Restaurants serving vegetarian food display yellow flags outside to entice those practicing jay. The word is taken from Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, and means the observing of eight rules. Some of these rules include avoiding eating animal products, keeping a high moral standard and practicing good deeds, keeping actions and thoughts pure, and refraining from alcohol and sex. They may not share utensils with those not practicing jay, and devotees wear mostly white throughout the festival.

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Mutilation aside, a more fun aspect to the festival is the great vegetarian food available in abundance, and creatively presented. Food markets and restaurants try to outdo each other with their selection of jay dishes. Soya and tofu play a big part as meat substitutes, and are artfully shaped to form ‘chicken drumsticks’ and other meat-looking meals. Curries, wontons, spring rolls and noodle dishes keep the vegetable markets out of stock and fresh produce prices soar during festival time. However, the highlight of the festival is the procession of hundreds of mah song down a designated route. White-clad onlookers watch the possessed sporting their wounds with pride. It’s believed that the mah song draw evil from individuals onto themselves, and bring the community good luck. Although originally only blades, hooks and bamboo were the weapons of choice, now it seems as though each participant competes for the most bizarre item to be pierced through their body. Devotees pierce their skin with hundreds of safety pins, slowly inserted into rows to form intricate patterns. Heavy and cumbersome objects protrude from cheeks, often requiring assistants to help carry the weight of the object to avoid tearing the flesh. 148 l

Items used for piercing include household objects and tools. Can you just imagine having a car exhaust pipe sticking through your cheeks? Or how about a monkey wrench? Jagged jigsaw blades, tree branches and swords carrying fruit add to the list of bizarre objects used for this disturbing practice. Medics are on hand to stitch up anyone that needs it, or to resuscitate anyone that faints –including spectators! Oddly enough, one sees these mah song happily munching on chilli-infused jay food the next day. That has to rub salt into the wound, so to speak. One has to ask the obvious, ‘Why would people do this to themselves?’ Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival, known as ‘jia chai’ in Hokkien Chinese, began quite some time ago. In 1825, Praya Jerm, governor of Thalang, moved the island’s main town from Ta Reua in the Thalang District, to Get-Hoe in the Kathu District -- the location of the tin mines, worked by Chinese miners. Kathu was still mainly jungle, and malaria and dengue were rife. During this time, a travelling opera company came from China to entertain the hard-working miners. When the whole company became sick from an unknown illness, they kept to a vegetarian diet to honour two of the emperor gods, Kiew Ong Tai Teh and Yok Ong Sone

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.


T : 077 230 500 I E : 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

Teh. The sickness afflicting the opera troupe miraculously disappeared. It became apparent to the people of Kathu, that the cure was from the ritual vegetarianism with its accompanying ceremonies, resulting in the people embracing the practice enthusiastically. So should you be in Thailand around the time of the ninth lunar month, and want to experience a bit of obscure culture, you may want to visit the closest vegetarian festival. If you have a strong stomach that is!

Rosanne Turner l 149


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


12/12 Moo1, Maenam, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84330 Tel: +66 (0) 7742 5031-5 Fax: +66 (0) 7742 5040

12/12 Moo 1, Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320 Tel: +66 (0) 7724 5777 Fax: +66 (0) 7724 5776

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

Sep /Oct 2013  
Sep /Oct 2013  

September – October 2013. Tempting features highlighting Samui living from dining, businesses & shopping, activities, resorts, spas & entert...