Things to Do in Koh Samui – Part 1

With miles of stunning scenery, year-round sun and endless cultural sites you’d be forgiven for wondering where to start when you explore Koh Samui. Here’s part one of our selection of the best things to do…

Cooking lessons in Koh Samui

Cooking lessons in Koh Samui

Boat Trips in Koh Samui

There’s no better way to see Koh Samui than on water. The island boasts an array of boat tour operators, ranging from basic boat trips, to luxury yachts. The magical island of Angthong Marine Park can be explored via speed boat, with the option of visiting other islands including Wao, Tai Phow and Mae Kho. Once on Angthong guests can enjoy pristine beaches, secluded lagoons and stunning viewpoints just a short distance from Koh Samui. For those on a tight budget Koh Samui’s calm waters can be explored by kayak, available for rental for around 200 baht per hour. Other options include paddle-boarding, glass bottom boat tours, sunset cruises and catamaran trips, available from most recommended boat tour operators in Koh Samui.

Cooking Lessons in Koh Samui

When you visit Koh Samui you’re sure to fall in love with the food. Why not bring the taste of Thailand home by checking out the many well-priced cooking classes on the island? Many cooking schools run regular programs which teach an array of Thai cooking skills. Students can learn to make authentic Asian dishes such as tom yam, phad thai, stir fries, curries, spring rolls and spicy salads. Classes are run by professional chefs and are open to everyone regardless of experience. Aside from the cookery, students will learn about the nutrition benefits of Thai food and how how to source the very best ingredients from the local markets. The best cooking school on the island is the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts.

Best Beaches in Koh Samui

The picture-perfect island is fringed with some of the best beaches in the world, each offering its own charm and appeal. Chaweng and Lamai are the liveliest and popular with tourists, offering endless activities and entertainment at all times of the day and night. Big Buddha, Bo Phut, Choeng Mon and Mae Nam in the north are far more peaceful, making them ideal for families or those in search of rest and relaxation. On the island’s south and west coast there are plenty of deserted bays to explore – these can be accessed by bike and are a great idea for day trips in Koh Samui.

Temple Tours

Koh Samui may be a small island, but it’s home to more temples than any other island of its kind. Temples in Koh Samui boast a rich religious history, stunning architecture, great viewpoints and an array of interesting exhibits and artefacts. Temple tours in Koh Samui are a peaceful way to spend the day, making a change from the holiday hubbub on some parts of the island. The Wat Phra Yai, Big Buddha temple is probably the most well-known, soaring 40 feet into the air behind Big Buddha Beach. Many visiting Thais make this their first port of call, lighting incense and laying gifts of food and beverages while praying for a safe and happy visit to the island. Other popular temples in Koh Samui include the Hin Lad Waterfall Temple set in evergreen tropical jungle close to the Hin Lad Waterfall. Wat Khunaram, home to the body of Samui’s most famous mummified monk Loung Pordaeng and Wat Plai Laem located near the Big Buddha in the north of the island.

Villas in Koh Samui

Koh Samui villas offer sensational vacation accommodation in stunning locations across the island. Each home offers a range of excellent amenities including private pools, state-of-the-art entertainment, multiple bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms and so much more. Villas in Koh Samui are conveniently located close to all of Koh Samui’s towns, beaches and attractions. For more information about booking a Koh Samui vacation contact Samui Island Villas.

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Weddings in Koh Samui

For couples in search of the picture perfect wedding destination – look no further than the tropical island of Koh Samui.

Getting Married in Koh Samui

Getting Married in Koh Samui

This boutique vacation destination in the Gulf of Thailand offers idyllic beach backdrops, luxury wedding accommodation, a whole host of professional wedding planners and superb value for money.

The island is a convenient half-way point between Europe and Australia, making an ideal wedding location for couples with family living apart – it also offers more sun, sea, sand and spiritual charm than wedding venues at home.

Koh Samui villa weddings are one of the most popular options on the island, offering guests complete peace and privacy – unlike weddings elsewhere. Villas in Koh Samui can accommodate friends, families and large groups in sensational spots across the island, including remote beaches, stunning hillsides and lush tropical surroundings.

Villas in Koh Samui also offer friends and families more quality time together than a hotel where everyone typically stays separately. Villas are also a cheaper alternative to other venues, often charging only a small fee for extra guests or wedding events. Other villa pros include the luxury of private pools, full time staff, babysitters and close proximity to everything the island has to offer.

Every bride’s whim will be catered for on Koh Samui, with its endless luxury spas, breath-taking locations and friendly locals skilled in everything from manicures and massages to dress-making and more. In fact a multitude of wedding parties opt to have their outfits made on the island using luxury lightweight fabrics available at a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

A wide range of wedding ceremonies in Koh Samui are available with something to suit every couple. Choose from a western-style wedding, a traditional Thai service with monks or a combination of the two. Wedding planners in Koh Samui are happy to offer expert advice and cater for every request. An elephant dressed in wedding robes is a regular feature of nuptials on the island, as is getting married underwater, surrounded by tropical fish and scuba-clad guests.

Other wedding highlights include fireworks, traditional Thai dancers, local music, and traditional Thai cuisine. A spectacular effect can be achieved in the evening with the lighting of hundreds of well-wish lanterns, a popular island traditional and popular wedding feature.

Friends and family often travel a long way for a wedding in Thailand, planning the special occasion over several days to make the most of their time together. There’s an array of things to do in Koh Samui to keep guests entertained during their stay including boat trips, jungle tours, luxury spas, shows, restaurants, clubs and more.

Thinking of popping the question? Why not do it in Koh Samui?

 

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Best Golf Courses in Thailand

With its year-round sun, exquisite natural beauty and cultural allure it’s no wonder Thailand is one of the best golf destinations in the world. Golf in Thailand became popular with nobles during the reign of King Rama V one hundred years ago – today the game is enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike. Thailand boasts more than 200 courses, designed by some of the best players in the world, so whether you’re in search of a pro game or a beginners round, Thailand is the perfect golf vacation destination. Take a look at the best golf courses in Thailand to help you plan your trip…

Santiburi Golf and Country Club, Koh Samui

Santiburi Golf and Country Club, Koh Samui

Koh Samui’s Santiburi Golf and Country Club is the only golf course on the island – but what a course it is! This exquisite 18 hole championship golf course takes players up, down and around, with beautiful views that challenge you to keep your mind on the game. Rated as one of the most beautiful courses in Asia and an essential stop on the PGA Asian Tour for many years, this 6,930 yards, par 72 course is sat on the palm-fringed mountains near Maenam Beach where the sun always shines and a light wind always blows.

Santiburi golf club has won numerous accolades as the best golf course in Koh Samui and was the first on the island to meet international golf standards. Designed by Pirapon Namatra, the facility offers spectacular elevation changes set to keep you guessing and test every level of skill. Expect to play uphill, downhill and sidehill on tough signature greens providing tricky moments of play with plenty of obstacles to contend with.

The course came to fame when it hosted the 2006 Bangkok Airways Open, as well as numerous Asian tours and the renowned Queen’s Cup. The resort is home to an outstanding clubhouse with a pro shop, restaurant, bar and outdoor terraces – making it the perfect place for a special event or corporate golf trip in Koh Samui.

The greens are constructed with the highest quality grass ensuring excellent playing conditions all year round. The course offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, ocean, streams and waterfalls and is sure to impress even the most discerning golfer. Set amidst 23 acres of lush coconut gardens this club is truly a journey for the senses, and a must-visit experience during a Koh Samui vacation.

On the Andaman Sea side of Thailand, Phuket is another contender for the Asian golf crown with some excellent championship courses. The Blue Canyon Lakes, Mission Hills, Loch Palm and Laguna courses are all worth a mention however the club that’s drawing all the crowds is Red Mountain. The carefully crafted 6,900 yard course was designed by Ron Morrow and Al Tikkenen; since opening in 2008 it has become a local legend thanks to its quality craftsmanship, spectacular scenery and diverse layout.

Another top golf course in Thailand is Muang Kaew Golf Club , just a short drive from Bangkok. The award-winning  Lee Schmidt course offers long tricky par threes, an abundance of water shots, challenging greens and high-front bunkers set to seriously challenge players. The course is professionally managed, great for all skill levels, with good caddies and excellent food. It is bisected by a highway however the road is quiet and doesn’t interfere with the game. Other favourites near Bangkok are the Legacy, Lam Lukka and Vintage courses.

Koh Samui villas are located at various stunning locations across the island, offering easy access to the golf club in Koh Samui as well as the island’s beaches, restaurants, bars and cultural attractions. Travelling to Koh Samui via Bangkok is an ideal opportunity to sample the best golf courses in central Thailand and beyond.

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Best Beach in Koh Samui

Boasting sun, sea and miles of powder-white sands, Koh Samui is every beach lover’s dream. This picture-perfect island is fringed with some of the best beaches in the world, with each offering something slightly different from the next.

Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui

 

There are six main beaches in Koh Samui, spanning across the island’s north and eastern coasts. Chaweng and Lamai on the east side are by far the liveliest with an array of activities and entertainment at any time of the day or night. The northern beaches of Big Buddha, Bo Phut, Choeng Mon and Mae Nam are more peaceful, boasting an abundance of tropical island charm.  Whether you’re in search of a tranquil treat or bustling beach buzz, Koh Samui’s diverse bays offer something to suit all tastes. Here’s a handy guide to help you find the best beach in Koh Samui…

  • Chaweng Beach

The renowned Chaweng is Koh Samui’s most popular tourist resort. Here you will find an endless array of shops, hotels, restaurants and bars as well as the longest beach on the island. Chaweng Beach is divided into three diverse sections, all with their own charm and delights. The northern end is the quietest part with a stunning sandy headland and a shallow channel separating the main beach from the smaller island of Koh Matlang. Many luxury villas in Koh Samui are located here; just a stone’s throw the warm shallow waters and palm-fringed shore.

The central area of the beach is most popular with tourists. Expect sun bathers and beach vendors galore, with water sports equipment to rent from an array of outlets along the main strip. Entertainment is on offer both night and day, with live music, Thai dancing and many bars to enjoy. There are plenty of beachside restaurants to choose from, most providing cushions on the sand for a guests to lay back and enjoy the atmosphere.

The south end of the beach is the widest part and hosts many of the island’s events including the annual Samui Regatta. A few steps away from the sand is Chaweng’s main strip where you’ll find 5 kilometres of shops and stalls, restaurants and bars, pharmacies, opticians, supermarkets and more.

  • Lamai Beach

For those in search of something a little more family-friendly, Lamai Beach is one of the best beaches in Koh Samui. Known as the second most popular beach on the island after Chaweng, this sweeping bay stretches as far as the world famous Hin Ta and Hin Ya formations. To the north of the beach is Tong Takian Bay, set amidst lush green mountains; a stunning spot to explore for locals and visitors alike.

The town itself sits back around 100 metres from the main beach, offering an excellent selection of shops and services. Lamai nightlife is not for the faint-hearted, with plenty of bars and nightlife located in the middle of the main street. Restaurants can be found in abundance, with something to suit all tastes and budgets. There are plenty of gorgeous Koh Samui villas located in Lamai, conveniently situated in private developments yet close to the bustle and facilities nearby. Lamai boats an array of attractions including temples, a small zoo and charming local villages and stunning viewpoints to explore.

  • Bangrak Beach

Also known as Big Buddha Beach, this bay is named after Ko Samui’s famed 12-metre Buddha statue towering overhead. The beach here is located on the northeast coast just a short drive from Chaweng, although the atmosphere here is far calmer. Bangrak boasts wide undulating sands lined with resorts, restaurants and shops. As with all of Koh Samui, it’s easy to find water sports vendors and tour operators offering energetic activities in abundance. From here visitors can take a boat  across to Koh Pha Ngan for the full moon party or visit the enormous Big Buddha statue which can be seen by air on arrival to the island.

  • Bophut Beach

Bophut Beach is the perfect peaceful spot during a Koh Samui holiday. Located far from the madding crowd  Bophut is also known as Fisherman’s Village – a traditional and well preserved part of Koh Samui. The centre of the beach is home to an array of charming wooden houses, perfectly in keeping with the natural surroundings. The beach itself stretches for more than two miles, boasting immaculate powder white sands and rows of tropical coconut palms. A small number of boats are still used for fishing here and Bophut is known for its laid-back family-friendly allure. The village itself is great to explore with an excellent selection of bars and eateries, plus a ‘walking street’ event every Friday featuring live music and performances plus food, clothes and jewellery stalls.

  • Mae Nam Beach

Perhaps the prettiest beach in Koh Samui, Mae Nam is a must-see spot during your Koh Samui vacation. This tranquil bay is one of the most picturesque places on the island with fine gold sand, an azure ocean and a perfect view of Koh Pha Ngan in the distance. Mae Nam is a remote beach, perfect for lazing the days away in the warm Samui sun. At the west end is the Wat Na Phra Lan temple, great for sightseeing. There’s also the Lomprayah Pier, with regular boats trips over to Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan. The stunning John’s Garden is a great spot to eat, particularly popular with couples and honeymooners. Mae Nam also hosts a weekly ‘walking street’ selling snacks, clothing, jewellery and much more. This beach is also the closest to Nathon, the administrative centre of Koh Samui.

  • Choeng Mon Beach

Nestled in the far northeast corner of Koh Samui, Choeng Mon Beach is best known for its quiet, secluded bays. Home to some of the best accommodation in Koh Samui, this area is popular with couples, families and the more discerning luxury traveller. The main beach is one of the best beaches in Koh Samui, with plenty of water sports options and kayak trips over to Koh Fan Yai island. Away from the beach are a few fantastic restaurants and great resorts for drinking and dining in Choeng Mon. Chaweng in the south and Bophut and Big Buddha Beach to the west are easily accessible for those in search of a more active itinerary. Songthaews operate here, as do taxis, for guests looking to visit other parts of the island – alternatively motorbike and car hire in Koh Samui can easily be arranged.

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Thailand Money – The Baht

Koh Samui may be best known for its sun, sea, sand and sights, but this stunning tropical island is also known for its currency – the Thai Baht. Issued by the Bank of Thailand, the Thai Baht is Koh Samui’s official tender, rated as one of the strongest currencies in Southeast Asia.

Thai Baht

Thai Baht

Like the British Pound the Thai Baht originated from a traditional unit of silver and is thought to have been in use from as early as the Sukhothai period (1238 – 1438) in the form of Phot Duang bullet coins. These unique solid silver pieces were produced to various weights corresponding to their value.

The first Thai King to consider a flat coin was Rama III after he learned of flat copper coins being used in Singapore in 1835. King Rama III is thought to have contacted a Scottish trader known in England for his experimental coins – however the King rejected the Scot’s designs. In 1860 modern style coins were introduced issued in gold, silver and copper, denominated by their weight in Baht and its fractions and multiples.

In 1892 the Thai treasury issued banknotes in various values; shortly afterwards the government introduced notes printed by British company Thomas De La Rue & Company Ltd. Notes were issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 baht featuring both Arabic, British and Thai numerals. These were referred to as ticals by English speakers.

The Bank of Thailand was founded in 1942, taking over the issuance of paper money in Southeast Asia. The Thai Baht had previously had a history of consistent change with various coin and note styles being amended over the years. However the founding of the Bank of Thailand helped to stabilise the future of the Baht.

In 2008 the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Thai Mint announced the 2009 coin series, which features an updated image to a more recent portrait of the King. The two Baht coin was the first of the new series to be released in February 2009, followed by the Satang coin, the five Baht coin, the ten Baht coin and the one Baht coin in July 2009.

In 2012, the Bank of Thailand issued a new denomination banknote – the 80 Baht note – to commemorate Queen Sirikit’s 80th birthday. This note was the first Thai banknote to feature Crane’s Motion security thread.

Today, the  Thai Baht is Thailand’s official currency, with one Baht subdivided into 100 Satang.  The currency features notes ranging from 20 – 1000 Baht in green, blue, red, purple and brown. Baht coins are mostly made of cupro-nickel in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10.

Unlike Laos and Cambodia, you won’t be able to pay with foreign currencies in Koh Samui – only Baht is accepted. However bureaux de change and ATM’ s are widely available across the island, at all banks and convenience stores,  only a short distance from any of our Koh Samui villas.

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Diving in Koh Samui

Nestled in a sheltered spot in the clear blue Thai Gulf, Koh Samui is one of the most popular diving destinations in the world.

Hawksbill Turtle Koh Samui

Hawksbill Turtle Koh Samui

Perfectly located close to the exquisite Ang Thong Marine Park, Koh Samui boasts a wealth of stunning scuba diving spots offering warm water and clear views of the island’s amazing marine life. An array of underwater life abounds around the island’s towering sea pinnacles, rock formations and rich coral reefs. Divers can expect to spot an array of exotic fish and coral species including hawksbill turtles, trigger fish, whale sharks, multi-coloured coral and an abundance of reef fish.

Diving in Koh Samui is one of the many reasons to visit this tropical paradise, popular with divers of all ages and experience levels. Koh Samui and its sister island Koh Tao boast some of the best diving sites in Thailand, with short, accredited courses easily available and especially affordable. A wide range of dive operators offer instruction for all levels as well as courses conducted in multiple languages.

Most diving operators in Koh Samui are located close to the beach with snorkel and dive trips taking place in the calm, shallow waters around Chaweng, Coral Cove and Bophut Beaches to name just a few. Visibility can vary between 10 – 30 metres with mainly calm currents on most sides of the island except during the monsoon months.

Just a short boat ride away are world-class dive sites at Ang Thong Marine Park, Sail Rock and Sairee Beach in Koh Tao. Crystal clear waters, an abundance of marine life and miles of protected coral reef makes these areas some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the world. Wall diving is definitely on the menu here with numerous exceptional walls, gulleys and channels to explore.

One of the best dive sites in Koh Samui is Koh Yippon, located in the far north of the Ang Thong Marine Park. This exquisite island is ranked as one of the best diving destinations in the world with its plethora of stunning soft and hard corals, underwater wildlife and caves and crevices to explore. The abundant eco system around the island is home to large snappers, stingrays, yellow tailed barracuda and blue ringed angel fish. Due to its relatively shallow waters Koh Yippon is ideal for beginners, and offers calm waters even during the monsoon season due to its sheltered location.

Dragon Island in Koh Samui’s north-west point is famous for its gold and purple coral sponges, whale sharks, huge hawksbill turtles and hoards of tropical fish. As the name suggest the island resembles the shape of a dragon and is truly magical both above and below the water line. In the shallow water and protected bay there is a wealth of water world to discover. Dives here range from shallow to deep with more than enough exotic life to spot in all depths.

Known for its legendary diving and clear calm waters, Koh Samui is the perfect destination for a diving vacation. There are a multitude of dive sites in and around Koh Samui where the open ocean is teeming with some of the most exciting species of flora and fauna. Dives can be arranged via various accredited operators including the Discovery Dive Centre, Aquamaster, Lamai Scuba Divers and Bophut Diving School and many more.

The best time to dive in Koh Samui is from late December to October. The monsoon season starts in November however due its sheltered location Koh Samui monsoons are normally mild and relatively short compared to other Asian islands. Diving equipment is available for rental or purchase in dive schools or scuba diving shops all over Koh Samui, and many luxury villas in Koh Samui offer easy access to the area’s beaches and dive sites.

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Thailand’s Stunning Spirit Houses

Among the endless stunning sights in Thailand are the fabulous spirit houses found across the country. These ornate dwellings are believed to attract guardian spirits to protect local people and land, often found outside homes, schools, and Buddhist temples. Spirit houses are even seen outside caves, mountains, forests, valleys and rice fields – and even in the grounds of Koh Samui villa rentals.

Spirit Houses in Koh Samui

Spirit Houses in Koh Samui

It’s no secret that in Thailand spirit worship is as old as mankind itself, and these impressive little structures serve to house celestial beings who, according to local lore, would otherwise abide in heaven. Spirits are believed to be guardians; however they are thought to be good and evil, capable of causing havoc when crossed. One shouldn’t conceive of moving house, starting a new venture or making a change to the norm without keeping the spirit world adequately informed and appeased with gifts and prayer.

Known locally as San Phra Phum spirit houses are quite simply mini masterpieces. The construction of each dwelling can be simple or complex, ranging from baby size bungalows to elaborate erections complete with mini figurines, furniture, incense and flowers. Spirit houses can be constructed out of wood, brick or concrete depending on the type of spirit it is hoped to attract and are always built and sold by experienced spirit house builders. Such ‘experts’ are familiar with the many proper rituals involved in order to attract spirits and for it to ‘accept’ the earthly abode.

When placing a spirit house it’s all about location, location, location. A perfectly positioned spirit house will protect the sanctity of the nearby surroundings ensuring the perfect balance of nature and nurture. A spirit house should be free of falling shadows and complete with adequate views for the ‘inhabitants’.

Visitors may often notice Thais presiding over spirit homes, praying and presenting offerings such as candles, flowers, fruit, meats and delicacies. This is thought to appease the nine spirit guardians including the guardians of the gardens, rice fields, barns, animals, forests, waters, mountains and more.

Sometimes spirit houses are positioned on roads where accidents have happened, an example of this can be seen on Koh Samui’s ring road just past Chaweng where an impressive spirit house overlooks the bend. Other well-known spirit houses in Thailand include a dwelling in Wat Chedi Luang which houses the Chiang Mai City Pillar, so large that visitors can walk inside. Often guests go to make offerings and request help from the spirits inside.

Spirit houses are one of the most fundamental features of Thai life but as intriguing as they are tourists are advised to conform to spirit house etiquette. These are places of worship so a display of respect is advised when taking photographs and approaching the houses. Never put your feet on any religious item, and don’t touch or try to rearrange items in the spirit house to suit your photo. An especially important rule to remember is not to photograph spirit houses when people are praying.

For a private spirit house experience during your Koh Samui vacation why not book one of our spirit villas – spirits stay rent-free!

 

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10 of the Best Restaurants in Koh Samui

The island of Koh Samui is a hugely popular tourist destination, home to plenty of luxury resorts and a wide range of traditional and international restaurants. Here we’ve chosen the top 10 restaurants in Koh Samui to help to decide where to dine during your luxury villa break.

1. Antica Locanda – Bang Rak

www.anticasamui.com Antica Locanda Koh Samui

Antica Locanda is known across Thailand for its top quality pizzas. It is held in high esteem with both the local and tourists of the area and the restaurant owner has authentic Italian roots, allowing him to deliver a genuine taste of the Mediterranean. The portions at the restaurant are regularly remarked upon for their large size and their pizzas are amongst the most popular option on the menu. There is an impressive range of fresh seafood and meat dishes for guests who don’t feel like a pizza but we’d really recommend trying at least one.

What the Guests Say

“The pizzas are excellent – some of the best we’ve had in Thailand. The house wines are good and are also reasonably-priced by Thai standards.”

2. Barracuda Restaurant – Mae Nam

www.barracuda-restaurant.com Barracuda Restaurant Koh Samui

Barracuda is in the north of Koh Samui nestled in the heart of Mae Nam. Though it has a German owner the restaurant has a talented Thai kitchen team who bring together a zesty fusion of Mediterranean and Thai foods. Local produce is used to complement an ever changing menu and the quality of the food cannot be questioned. Barracuda pays homage to the fishing culture of the outer Thai villages and its décor in particular highlights this important part of the area’s history. Outdoor dining is available in the external lounge and the cocktail and drinks menus offer a range of Thai-inspired beverages.

What the Guests Say

“Food is simple but well-cooked and presented. Dishes are delivered hot to the table by very efficient and polite staff.”

3. Krua Bophut – Bophut

www.kruabophut.com Krua Restaurant Koh Samui

Krua Bophut is recognised across Koh Samui for its authentic Thai cuisine. The restaurant sits on the beach front with decking to allow for al fresco dining, ideal as the view is simply spectacular. The dishes available include a range of the spiciest Thai options around but there are milder choices for those with a less fiery palate. The venue has a casual feel without being too relaxed and the authentic Thai dishes are presented with flair and attention to detail. Their food focuses specifically on the cuisine of Southern Thailand with fresh seafood a central calling card of many of their finest dishes.

What the Guests Say

“Beautiful beach side location. Service was excellent and the food was some of the best I’ve had in in Thailand.”

4. Ocean Eleven Bar & Lounge – Bang Rak

www.o11s.com Oceans 11 Restaurant Koh Samui

Ocean Eleven Bar and Lounge has revitalised a sixty-year old beach front property at the heart of Bang Rak Beach. Open since 2007, the head honcho behind the scenes is experienced German chef Bernd Schillig. With experience across Europe, Singapore and Thailand, Bernd pools his experience as an executive chef in 5* venues at Ocean Eleven. The kitchen has a brigade of ten professionals working in harmony to provide a range of stunning dishes which combine the finest ingredients of Thailand with the discerning palate of Schillig himself. Ocean Eleven offers a fine dining experience with an atmosphere unachievable elsewhere.

What the Guests Say

“Fine dining by the beach! Food is amazing, waiters are friendly, knowledgeable and offer great advice on menu choices.”

5. Orgasmic – Bophut

Orgasmic Restaurant Koh Samuiwww.orgasmic-samui.com

If you can get past the slightly tongue-in-cheek restaurant name Orgasmic is one of the best relaxed dining environments in Koh Samui. They market themselves as the coolest beach restaurant on the island and focus closely on providing a laid back and simple dining experience. The cuisine Orgasmic has to offer is as simple as the décor, combining Eastern and Western flavours in innovative ways that keep diners coming back for more. As with all successful beachfront restaurants Orgasmic make sure to deliver faultless local seafood, combing with their own flavours and spices.

What the Guests Say

“Overlooking the bay and the fishermen’s village, Orgasmic uses simply furniture and is very relaxed. The food was excellent and well presented, a must visit with great ambience, friendly service and excellent value.”

6. Prego – Chaweng

www.prego-samui.com Prego Restaurant Koh Samui

Although you may not be visiting Thailand for Italian cuisine we suggest you at least give on Italian restaurant a go. We’ve picked out the two top offerings on the island and Prego is the first. Stylish and trendy, Prego has a genuine Italian chef at its helm. Authentic Italian is the name of the game at Prego so if you’re looking for a change from the Thai flavours offered by other beach side restaurants then settle into Prego for the rich flavours of the Mediterranean. Wood-fired pizzas and homemade pastas are pepped up with a touch of zesty seafood made all the more memorable by a few choice Italian imported ingredients.

What the Guests Say

“The food was fantastic and the wine was also good. Food arrived quickly despite a very busy restaurant and the service was impeccable.”

7. Sala Samui – Choeng Mon

SALA Samui Restaurant www.salaresorts.com/samui/wineanddine-en.html

Sala Samui offers luxury dining within their resort restaurant. Their food is designed to take diners on a journey rather than satisfy their stomachs. The restaurant offers multi-course gourmet dining with attention to detail offered in every element of every meal. Sala Samui employs a large brigade of both European and Thai chefs to ensure each of their menu items is authentic and has a true feel for the cuisine it’s trying to create. Degustation and tasting menus are available for diners who are feeling truly extravagant and there are both inside and outdoor dining areas.

What the Guests Say

“Very good European cuisine, with Thai options too and an amazing wine list. The quality is really good and you can tell prime ingredients are chosen.”

8. The Larder – Chaweng

www.thelardersamui.com The Larder Koh Samui

One of the newer restaurants on the island, The Larder opened in December 2012 and focuses on both fantastic cuisine and a relaxed bar atmosphere. It has tinges of a gastro pub about it and is run by a pair of ex-pats who have over 10 years’ experience in Koh Samui. The food on offer blends together the flavours of modern British and European cuisine with an international flavour. Comfort food and real old-style classics are on the menu with an extra bit of pizazz offered by the modern cooking methods and stunning presentation. The menu is buoyed by a vast array of cocktails and extensive wine list.

What the Guests Say

“The food was delicious. We recommend you try some of the speciality cocktails and the service was excellent.”

9. The Shack Bar & Grill – Bophut

www.theshackgrillsamui.com The Shack Koh Samui

The Shack is based in the heart of Bophut and offers diners with a slightly less exotic palate the chance to enjoy fine cuts of meat and something a little different to the spice-filled Thai flavours offered elsewhere. Grilled meats are the speciality at The Shack, with burgers and other barbecue style food readily available. The Shack’s extensive meat menu is peppered with sides and other offerings to give guests a wider choice. Crab claws and chicken wings are amongst the extensive range of sides to complement the wide range of steaks and burgers and delicately cooked lobster is also available.

What the Guests Say

“Great steaks in lively surroundings with great music. An extensive steak menu includes American and Australian cuts as well as lobster, oysters, king crab and other seafood.”

10. Zazen – Bophut

www.samuizazen.com zazen restaurant koh samui

With an experienced French chef at the helm Zazen brings together a stunning range of simple flavours displayed in a creative and attractive way. The cooking offered by Zazen is passionate and personal, with a touch of class that won’t be found elsewhere. The flavours that stand out are innovative and almost entirely unique to Zazen. Much of the food is authentic Thai with a twist and the freshness of the food is what stands out above all. The sourcing of ingredients is exacting, with only the finest few making it onto the menu. It is one of the most recommended restaurants on the whole of Koh Samui.

What the Guests Say

“There is a wide selection of Western and Thai food, all prepared and served with excellence!”

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Top Tips for Booking a Holiday to Koh Samui

If you are setting off on holiday to Thailand you may be quick to pick the regular destinations like Bangkok and Phuket, but nestled in the gulf of Thailand is the island gem of Koh Samui. A holiday in Koh Samui has the best Thai offerings wrapped in a small island feel and topped with untouched natural beauty and tranquillity that may be lacking in other Thai destinations.

Sunset in Koh Samui

Sunset in Koh Samui

By scheduling Koh Samui in your holiday itinerary you will not be disappointed by the culture, cuisine, holiday activities and laid back atmosphere that makes this island so popular amongst the more enthusiastic traveller. A holiday in Koh Samui has much to offer; from five star hotels, luxurious villas and world renowned restaurants to trips to quaint fishing villages, hikes in the mountainous centre of the island or long relaxing walks on the white sandy beaches.

While a holiday in Koh Samui is often marketed for its natural beauty, the island has undergone significant development in recent years to ensure that you have access to all the facilities and services necessary for an enjoyable hotel. Samui International Airport provides flights to and from major Southeast Asian destinations, like Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, allowing you to bypass Bangkok and avoiding costly charters or cramped sea ferries. If you want to avoid the monotony of another hotel, holiday villas in Koh Samui range from the more expensive beach villas with a private gourmet chef on call to the budget friendly self-catering apartments with picturesque ocean views.

A holiday would not be complete without shopping and local entertainment and Koh Samui has a great choice on offer, especially if you opt for the more popular towns like Chaweng or Lamai. From the 12 metre high golden Big Buddha to the Ang Thong National Marine Park, Koh Samui has sufficient sights and sounds to captivate every traveller’s interest. A holiday in Koh Samui will ensure that you taste some of Thailand’s abundant seafood, with fishing villages dotting the entire Koh Samui coastline.

Try to avoid booking a last minute getaway to this stunning island. A pre-booked holiday in Koh Samui will ensure that you experience the white sandy beaches, clear blue waters and coconut studded coastline that has made Koh Samui the idyllic island getaway.

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Koh Samui Airport – The Most Beautiful Airport in the World

When you arrive in Koh Samui you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve arrived in paradise. This tranquil tropical island is the stuff of dreams with miles of powder white sands, crystal clear waters, a rich rainforest interior and a selection of stunning luxury Samui villas. Like the island itself, Koh Samui Airport is a sight to behold, recognized as one of the most beautiful airports in the world, having won an array of awards for its unique design, excellent facilities and airy island charm.

Samui Airport entrance

Samui Airport entrance

Known as the charm in the Koh Samui crown, Samui Airport is sure to delight guests of all ages. This exquisite facility was built by Bangkok Airways in 1982 and opened officially in April 1989. It is located roughly 2km north of the main city and largest resort center on the island, Chaweng, offering easy access to the Big Buddha Pier and Maenam Beach Pier for trips to Koh Phagnan, Chumphon and Koh Tao.

Samui Airport

Samui Airport

Samui International Airport is one of the most unique in the world, due to its environmentally-friendly outdoor design and award-winning allure. It’s also one of Thailand’s busiest airports with more than one million travelers passing through every year. The airport’s layout boasts lush tropical landscaping, a luxury lounge area and an impressive shopping arcade complete with designer stores, bars, cafes and restaurants.

Samui Airport trams

Samui Airport trams

On arrival a colourful tram will be eagerly-awaiting to greet guests in style and take them from the tarmac to the arrivals lounge. From here visitors can take a short ride to their luxury Koh Samui villa, or stay to explore everything the airport has to offer. The Park Avenue arcade is home to plenty of plush boutiques, a cigar outlet, a Jim Thompson silk shop, a Bookazine branch, a skin care store, pub, pizzeria and much more. Occasionally there’ll be live jazz performances outside the arcade, plus there’s a children’s play area to keep little ones entertained while you shop.

 

Samui Airport lounge

Samui Airport lounge

Just outside the airport it’s well worth making a stop at the world-famous Samui Robot Group. This factory outlet shop sells unique Alien and Predator style creatures built from used car and motorcycle parts. Despite their super-scary appearance these real-life robots are a true testament to Thai handicraft skills.

Samui Airport area

Samui Airport Broadwalk

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