Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuite of happiness: it is generally the by-product of other activities. Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).
Have you tried football-golf yet?
Surprisingly, this is a combination of football and golf, and its great fun for all the family. Kick your way round a shady 18-hole course, with huge holes, down which you have to pot your football! The course is just 7 minutes from Chaweng Beach near the Imperial Boathouse Hotel in Choeng Mon. No equipment or experience required: just come along with your feet! (089 771 7498)
With +/- 1,430 islands making up Thailand, you are never going to run out of places to visit for beaches and water activities. Many of the islands are uninhabited and great places to see the local flora and faua. To get to any of them you’ll need a boat of course but that’s not difficult, and for a great day out why not a day trip to one of them? Two kilometers from the southern end of Koh Samui are the Taen and Matsum islands, where you can explore the caves (mind the bats and the guano!) take a nature trek, do some fishing, diving and snorkelling. Or just lie there on a secluded beach and sunbathe …
Don’t like to be so isolated? How about Koh Phangan, just north of Koh Samui? Just 2/3rds the size of KS, and not so developed, and despite being home to the increasingly popular Full Moon parties once a month and some building in the last couple of years, Phangan island still has beautiful coral beaches.
Thai cooking courses
Always popular, with both men and women, these classes help you understand and create some culinary masterpieces – which can then be eaten! Some you just sit and watch, others insist you take part. One school on the island is SITCAA (Samui Institute of Culinary Arts) and is located in south Chaweng (077 413 172). It runs two courses a day of 3 hours each, using fresh produce and their own Thai curry pastes. It has a shop and a restaurant (The Dining Room). Toy Suwan at the Blue Banana (Big Buddha Beach, 077 245 080) has lunchtine and evening classes and also a small shop.
Love fishing -
- but don’t like bobbing about on the sea? There is some good fresh-water fishing available at Top Cats’ two man-made lakes where they claim to have over 4,000 fish and 20 different species. All equipment and bait will be provided and there is also a sports bar, restaurant and a large swimming pool. They are situated on Route 4170, Ban Taling Ngam. (077 415 387)
is on offer at the Samui Orchid Resort in Laem Set. Offering the latest equipment and a wide range of courses for everyone to get involved. It’s a lovely shallow bay where the activity takes place, so safe for beginners. Reportedly the best time to go is when the north-easterlies blow at 8-20 knots – and that’s from November to March.
(077 424 017-501)
Visit a gym
And feel really pleased with yourself! You will need to become a member for a day at one of the two gyms attached to resorts in Chaweng, but it will definitely be worth it. Both are fully air conditioned and have a good range of equipment. One is the Centara Samui Beach Resort (077 230 500) and at the other end of the beach, the Chaweng Regent (077 422 389-90). You also get to use their pools, steam room and the sauna.
You can hire the court at the Imperial Hotel in Chaweng Noi, on the Lamai road.
(077 422 020.)
Red Bicycle offers guided tours around the island on their bikes, plus independent rentals and sales. All equipment such as kneepads and helmets are provided on their tours and experienced guides, all of whom are trained in first aid, lead the tours. You will also be insured while out with Red Bicycle. They are situated on Route 4169, Lamai Beach: follow the 5 Islands Restaurant signs. (843 052 170)
Fancy a mini trek with a difference … on the back of an elephant? You can ride for an hour or 30 minutes to a local waterfall for a swim or a rest, then back to the resort. Not ideal for very young visitors, but for those of 10 and above, a meeting with elephants is something you really must do while in Thailand. Take your trek from the Namuang Waterfall, where the elephant camp can be found at the Namuang Safari Park. (077 424 098 or 077 424 663)