Chinese New Year in Koh Samui

On Koh Samui there are many citizens who consider themselves Thai but are actually natively Chinese, and as such they continue to celebrate the Chinese New Year in style.

Chinese New Year Decorations

Chinese New Year Decorations

Even those not of Chinese origin love joining in the lively festivities. Here are a few things you should know about celebrating Chinese New Year in Koh Samui.

Origins

Chinese New Year originates from a myth about a horned creature – possibly a dragon – called Nian (which means “year”). On New Year’s Eve it would rise from the depths of the sea and devour all the harvest and all the villagers. Fortunately, the villagers soon discovered that the creature avoided people wearing red clothes and that it was afraid of loud noises. Hence why you will see a lot of red everywhere and risk going deaf from all the fireworks and clapping. There will be plenty of red lanterns hung everywhere, some markets will sell red items of clothing to celebrate the occasion and maybe even some houses might be painted red.

Celebrations

The main place to be on this night is in Maenam, near the Chinese temple – near to where the Thursday walking street is, for those familiar with Maenam. Here, you can see a spectacular parade with a dragon, a lion dance, acrobats on stilts and, of course, the fireworks. The lion dance is particularly fun to watch and it is thought to bring good luck. The lion dances along the street to cymbols and drums. The head of the lion is a mirror, and it is believed to scare away evil spirits by showing them their own reflection. As the lion moves from place to place it hunts for green vegetables, such as lettuce, which are hung above the doors of houses and some businesses. The lion then scatters the leaves to symbolise a fresh start and good luck for the new year.

Oranges and tangerines are also a symbol of wealth, happiness and longevity and they are sold in the nearby market stalls.

In previous years there have been celebrations at the Chinese temple in Nathon (Hainan Temple) or in the Chinese temple of Guan Yu (“red-faced warrior”) in Hua Thanon, so if you are too far from Maenam, these are also good places to share the fun. The parade also includes a procession of Chinese mythological creatures to bless residents and tourists for the upcoming year.

Survival advice

Be prepared for a very long party – longer than a full moon party – as some Chinese New Year festivities have been known to last 15 days. The bigger the Chinese community in the area, the longer the party will go on for. Although it is not an official public holiday in Koh Samui, it is so popular among the native Chinese residents that some Chinese-owned businesses will close for a day or two to mark the occasion.

If loud noises do not appeal to you then it might be a good idea to stock up on ear plugs!

The most important thing to bring is your patience and a positive attitude – the best thing to do is just go with the flow and have fun with the locals. This is a celebration like no other you have taken part in before.

Posted in guides, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day in Koh Samui

No matter where you go in the world, the expectation of romance on Valentine’s Day will follow. Koh Samui is the perfect setting for a wedding proposal, an anniversary, a belated honeymoon or just because you want some time away with your loved one.

honeymoons-in-koh-samui

Most of the best of Koh Samui can be enjoyed as a couple, but here are a few things that might be specifically tailored to couples and romance.

 Couples’ Massage

Start the day in blissful luxury in one of the island’s many spa resorts, or add a panoramic view by getting a couples massage on the beach. One popular place is Zazen Boutique Resort (taken from the Japanese word for “to find inner peace”) where couples enjoy a three hour treatment which includes a healing hot stones massage for her and a four hands massage for him, followed by anti-aging facials for both. The Cyan Spa in the Fisherman’s Village, Bophut, is also a popular destination with a wide variety of treatments and a Jacuzzi overlooking Bophut Bay and Koh Phangan. Good Thai massages are available anywhere on the island and most resorts will offer a package massage for two people. That said, a side-by-side massage on the beach is just as good, and possibly cheaper than a resort. Some cheeky masseuses will even insist you hold hands during the treatment.

Sunset Cruise

Cruises are a good way of exploring Koh Samui and nearby islands by sea, but under the gentle glow of the setting sun they take on a more romantic allure. The Red Baron, a traditional sailing junk yacht, departs from The Fisherman’s Village every Monday and Friday at 4:30pm for the Romantic Sunset Dinner Cruise. It sails along all the beaches of Koh Samui and offers a dinner buffet on board while the sun gently dips below the horizon. The Samui Ocean Sports and Yacht Centre also has skippered sailing yachts that can be chartered for a sunset cruise. The Viva 2 and the Sanora in particular are perfect for a couple of people (maybe on their honeymoon). Both include drinks, snacks and pit stops for swimming and snorkelling.

Places to Eat

No romantic evening is complete without an delicious dinner to either start or compliment the whole experience. There are many good restaurants to suit budget, taste in food or desired atmosphere. These options, however, may make the evening extra special. Located near to Big Buddha, Le Jaroen French/Thai fusion restaurant is like stepping into the colonial era. The restaurant is set amongst a turn-of-the-century Oriental aromatic products trading company, several European, Chinese and Local colonial style buildings and is surrounded by frangipani trees, hanging Chinese lanterns and overlooks the palm-tree lined beach. Clearly, the location is perfect, but the food is the main attraction on a romantic evening. The mouth-watering Butter Poached Atlantic Lobster comes very highly recommended. It is servedwith Granny Smith green apple and fennel presse plus strawberry gazpacho. Diners have also raved about the Wagyu Beef Cheeks braised for 6 hours with a Port wine sherry vinegar glaze, celery root pistachio mousseline and young vegetables. Those are just two of the delicious dishes on the menu for the perfect Valentine’s dinner.

Once in a Blue Moon

As the name suggests, a dining experience like this does not come around very often. Brought to you by the team at Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui, this is that rare, perfect moment to show someone how much you love them. It is a table for two set on a secluded beach accessible only by boat or secret staircase, under the shade of the palm trees whilst the gentle crashing of the waves serenades you. The only light you’ll see is from the moon, the stars, the candles and the tiki torches. The menu is designed by executive chef, Alex Garés, and there are options of Thai or Western cuisine, served by a personal butler. The evening ends with the couple releasing floating lanterns into the sky for good fortune.

Posted in holidays, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why Book a Koh Samui Vacation in 2016?

Discover stunning scenery, palm fringed beaches, world-class spas and so much more on a Koh Samui vacation in 2016. Here’s a round-up of the best things to see and do during your trip…

chaweng-beach

Chaweng Beach photo courtesy of kohsamui.com

Beaches Galore

Koh Samui is home to some of the best beaches in the world, each offering something slightly different from the next. Chaweng and Lamai on the east side are the liveliest with an array of activities and entertainment to enjoy both day and night. The northern beaches of Big Buddha, Bo Phut, Choeng Mon and Mae Nam are more peaceful, boasting an abundance of tropical island charm. To the island’s south and west coast are numerous deserted bays to explore, so wherever you stay on a Koh Samui vacation in 2016, you’ll find a beach for every mood.

Erotic Rocks

Known locally as Hin Ta and Hin Yai the world-famous Grandmas and Grandpa rocks in Koh Samui draw crowds from far and wide. These fascinating erotic rock formations have been carved by the current to resemble male and female genitalia! Local lore has it that the rocks were formed when a couple were shipwrecked and washed ashore here. This area is one of the most photographed places in Koh Samui and is well worth a visit during your Samui villa holiday.

Bophut Fisherman’s Village

Located along the middle section of Bophut Beach this is one of the islands most popular tourist hotspots. Lined with elegant boutiques, bars, restaurants, dive stores and more, the area boasts a sophisticated and distinctly Mediterranean vibe. Bophut is situated between Big Buddha and Maenam beaches, within easy reach of villa rentals in Koh Samui.

Ang Thong National Marine Park

This exquisite archipelago of islands can be seen from many Samui villas and should top the list of things to do during your Koh Samui vacation. Here you will find towering limestone mountains, dense jungle, powder white beaches, waterfalls, mangroves, caves and more to explore. This protected area of land and sea is home to a rich variety of exotic plants, animals and fish and is ideal for swimming, snorkelling, diving, hiking and sunbathing. Ang Thong can be easily reached by boat from Koh Samui.

The Mummified Monk

The island’s mummified monk at the Wat Khunaram temple attracts visitors from across the globe in search of traditional Thai culture. Located away from the crowds the temple is famous for the mummified corpse of monk Loung Pordaeng kept on display there. Laid in a glass coffin surrounded by flowers and fruit offerings, locals believe the monk is a symbol of peace and sanctity.

Spas, Shopping, Snake Farms and More!

Need any more reasons to book a Koh Samui vacation in 2016? This diverse holiday hotspot attracts visitors from across the globe who come to experience its world-class cuisine, great shopping offerings, luxuriant spas and great golf at the Santiburi Samui Country Club. Other don’t-miss attractions include the famous Samui Snake Farm, the magical Purple Waterfalls, Samui’s renowned cabaret shows, Buddhist temples, elephant trekking,  water sports and so much more.

 

Posted in culture, guides, holidays, places of interest, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to Buy the Best Souvenirs in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is famed for its tropical beaches, crystal clear seas and stunning natural attractions – it’s also known for its lively towns and great shopping. Lots of souvenirs in Koh Samui are made from coconuts, the island’s main industry, there are also plenty of other great items to buy. Here’s list of places to keep a look out for when shopping in Koh Samui

samui coconut soap souvenir

samui coconut soap souvenir

 Classic Gems, Chaweng

This quaint store will be able to show you its certificate from the Tourism Association of Thailand so you are certain that you are buying what you think you are buying. In addition, Classic Gems offers certificates of authenticity for its 14 and 18-carat jewellery. It can be custom made in their on-site factory to your specifications and delivered within three days. Choose between ruby, sapphire, diamond or pearl to sit on a ring or white or yellow gold.

Walking Streets

These popular public events are a wonderful blend of a farmer’s market and a street party. They occur in Chaweng (Saturday), Bophut Fisherman’s Village (Friday), Lamai (Sunday) and Mae Nam (Thursday) from 5pm until late in the evening. Hundreds of stalls sell items such as handcrafted souvenirs, clothing and artwork but a majority of visitors go for the food and beverages. Cocktails can be bought from between 60 -80 baht, food from several bars, restaurants and vendors can be tasted at very little cost and this can all be done while taking a leisurely walk along the beach. After spending an evening like this, it will be clear why walking streets have become increasingly popular in the last five years.

Central Festival Mall, Chaweng

Central Festival has earned its title as the most complete and largest shopping complex in Samui. It stands at three storeys high and 90,000 sqm of retail space. It has over 200 shops including Camel, Geox, Adidas and Esprit to name a few. There are many shops that sell branded clothes and accessories that will make excellent presents for loved ones or souvenirs of the time spent on Koh Samui. When you have enough of hunting for souvenir treasures in this modern complex, take time to explore the 21 restaurant and bar venues.

Location: Between Chaweng Beach Road and Chaweng Lake in the central part of the resort town.

Fisherman’s Village, Bophut

The village has acquired a reputation for being an elegant and well-preserved part of the island. It is a beautiful fusion of old wooden Chinese shop-houses interspaced with new. The modern buildings have been carefully and considerately constructed to match the tone and architecture of the long-standing buildings, but also with a distinctive Mediterranean feel to honour the village’s history as the main French outpost on the island Here you can find boutiques that sell high quality clothes and jewellery, dive shops that offer scuba lessons, elephant rides in the tropical forest, fishing trips on the local boats and much more.

The Wharf, Bophut

 This beachfront shopping plaza in Bophut is well worth a visit. It has retro-architecture combining eastern and western styles, which has hundreds of shops and excellent service available for all who visit. Souvenirs range from t-shirts, sandals, leather bags, accessories, home decorations and even toys for the little ones. As well as being a charming outdoor mall, The Wharf also has several live music events on the beach, has hosted the Samui Coconut Festival and activities for children.

Timmy’s Masshneider Tailor

There is no need to go looking for a tailor in Koh Samui. They will always introduce themselves as you walk by their shops. Some caution should be exercised; the outcomes of shopping with a tailor can range between customers leaving satisfied with well-made clothes that fit or with something that you can’t use. Timmy’s Masshneider Tailor in Chaweng has very good reviews. They do men’s tuxedos, shirts, trousers and so much more. As well as tailoring suits with skirts or trousers for women, they also tailor dresses to suit each shape.

There are many different things that will help you remember your holiday in Koh Samui. What will you buy?

Posted in guides, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Natural Attractions in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a breathtaking island of natural beauty which can sometimes be overlooked in favour of its buzzing shopping malls, restaurants and bars. For those in search of the natural attractions in Koh Samui, head away from the main tourist towns and you’ll find sights that will leave you breathless with awerock-climbing

 Namuang Waterfall

Deep in the lush jungle just off the main ring road Route 4169 about halfway between Nathon and Lamai Beach lies the exquisite Namuang Waterfall. Namuang is a set of two cascading waterfalls, each falling and collecting into two different pools. Namuang 1 falls into a natural pool, providing a cool escape from the Thai heat. Namuang 2 falls 30 feet up the hill by foot and is a smaller, but equally refreshing pool. The water cascades down a cliff, turning them a striking shade of purple that earns the name ‘Purple Waterfalls’. This is a popular place for families to swim and relax and there is an elephant safari camp nearby where visitors can organise a trek through the jungle.

Ang Thong Marine Park

The Ang Thong Marine Park consists of 40 little islands of protected nature. All but one of these islands are uninhabited and undeveloped. The one inhabited island is like a time window into the past where the “sea-gypsies” still make a living by fishing. There are several ways to explore these islands – a speedboat is comfortable and will take you to the Park in less than an hour. Whilst on site visitors can enjoy snorkelling, diving, sunbathing and exploring the stunning park.

Hin Lad Waterfall

Do not make the mistake of thinking all waterfalls in Koh Samui are the same. Hin Lad boasts lush terrain known for its exotic flowers and excellent hiking paths through the jungle ideal for elephant trekking. This is the perfect spot for a picnic and there is a trail which leads to the Hin Lad Waterfall Temple, which boasts beautiful Buddha sculptures and a lovely garden that can serve as a relaxing meditation space. The waterfall itself is gorgeous, and the most popular time for tourists to come is during the rainy season, as it grows with the recurring rainfall.

Elephant Rock

There is more to Elephant Rock than the sheer size of it, which inspired its name because it’s as big as a Thai elephant. The terrain is rocky, which makes it an ideal destination for rock climbers and hikers who fancy a challenge. The view at the top is stunning, and well worth the effort to make the climb. Photographers can take some excellent panoramas from multiple angles. This is a beautiful sight, easy to access from nearby Chaweng and Lamai Beach.

Hin Ta Hin Yai

Local legend tells of an old couple, Hin (Grandfather) Kreng and Yai (Grandmother) Kreng, who felt it was time for their son to get married. They sailed to a neighbouring province to find a suitable bride, but their boatt was caught in a terrible storm and the old couple died at sea. It is said that their bodies turned into the suggestive rock formation as proof of their real intentions. Even the most mature of visitors may find themselves giggling like little children at the rocks that look suspiciously like male and female genitalia. To reach these rocks, tourists must pass through a narrow passage lined with small shops and souvenir stalls. The beach is ideal for water sports, and the water is clear enough to see an array of exotic marine life floating past.

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New Year’s Eve in Koh Samui

Fireworks in Koh Samui courtesy of samuiontour

New Year’s Eve is synonymous with celebrations across the globe, whether you’re partying with a large group of just having a meal with friends and family. Here are a few ideas to help you celebrate New Year’s Eve in Koh Samui…

Continue reading

Posted in events, guides, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas in Koh Samui

Christmas in Koh Samui

There’s no better way to celebrate in style than with Christmas in Koh Samui. Mid-way through December the rainy season subsides to give way to all day sunshine. Some of the celebrations here may not be so different to usual family traditions. Here are some of the best things to do to celebrate Christmas in Koh Samui.

 

Continue reading

Posted in holidays, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Relaxing in Koh Samui

Relaxing in Koh Samui

Relaxing in Koh Samui is easy with a multitude of spas and retreats for visitors to visit. Here are a few recommendations to help you unwind and replenish your energy during your trip.

Continue reading

Posted in guides, health, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cooking Classes in Koh Samui

Cooking Classes in Koh Samui

One of the problems with traditional souvenirs, such as jewellery, magnets or postcards, is that they are fairly common and they fail to capture the real essence of your trip.

Continue reading

Posted in food, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Enjoy the Koh Samui Rainy Season

Enjoy the Koh Samui rainy season

The Koh Samui rainy season typically runs from October to mid December. While there may be more rainfall during these months, the sun still shines, temperatures remain warm and holiday prices are cheaper.

Continue reading

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dinner Shows in Koh Samui

Enjoy a Thai Dinner Show in Koh Samui

The best way to capture the essence of Thai culture is with one of Koh Samui’s famed Thai dinner shows.

These exotic events are held at venues across Koh Samui. Here are some of the best options that combine an exceptional dining experience with entertainment that captures the heart of Thailand…

Continue reading

Posted in events, food, guides, things to do | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Celebrations in Koh Samui

full moon party koh samui

From worldwide holidays to local island events such as the Full Moon Parties or annual holidays, Koh Samui has plenty of celebrations where both locals and tourists can participate in the fun festivities.

Continue reading

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Day in Ang Thong Marine Park

A Day in Ang Thong Marine Park

There are various day trips to Ang Thong Marine Park that leave from Koh Samui, each with their own unique package deals, such as lunch, kayaking or snorkelling. Continue reading

Posted in guides, holidays, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Things to Do in Maenam, Koh Samui

Things to Do in Maenam, Koh Samui

Maenam beach an ideal destination for those in search of a quiet beach retreat away from Samui’s busy tourist hot-spots. Here’s a look at things to do when you visit…

Continue reading

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tours in Koh Samui

Elephant Tours in Koh Samui

With miles of stunning coastlines, impressive jungles, gorgeous villages and nearby islands, Koh Samui boasts some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Here’s a guide to the best tours in Koh Samui. Continue reading

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Top Things to Do in Lamai, Koh Samui

Top Things to Do in Lamai, Koh Samui

The area of Lamai is a simply stunning vacation destination with plenty to do during your stay. Here’s our guide to the top things to do in Lamai, Koh Samui. Continue reading

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reasons to Visit Choeng Mon

Reasons to Visit Choeng Mon

The gorgeous area of Choeng Mon is located on the northern coast of Koh Samui. A series of powder white bays with plenty of things to see and do – this area is the perfect destination for those in search of a relaxing tropical island vacation. Continue reading

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Animal Attractions in Koh Samui

Animal attractions in Koh Samui

In Thailand there are more than 163 species of snake, over 900 types of birds, approximately 250 wild tigers and around 650 species of freshwater fish, just to name a few! A visit to Koh Samui is a chance to get to know not only the charming locals, but also some of the native animals that make this island such a unique and memorable holiday destination… Continue reading

Posted in guides, holidays, things to do, travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is It Safe in Koh Samui?

Staying Safe in Koh Samui

Like with any holiday destination, it is important to be aware of the local dangers and to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

Koh Samui is just as safe as any European city – the island has some of the friendliest and most helpful locals that you will ever encounter – so no one should feel unsafe during their stay. That said, accidents can happen so visitors should exercise the same caution here as they would at home. Continue reading

Posted in guides, health, travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Historical Sights in Koh Samui

Historical Sights in Koh Samui

Koh Samui may be a mecca for swimming, sunbathing, shopping and spas, but it’s also known for its stunning historical sights.

Continue reading

Posted in guides, things to do, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment