Over the years, Samui has become synonymous not just with great beaches and holidays, but with sheer convenience. It’s incredibly easy to get here, and once you’ve arrived there is virtually everything you would find back at home. But once upon a time, it wasn’t so easy to stay on Samui. There was only one way in and one way out: the night boat, a low, cramped wooden vessel that transported goods and people from the mainland to the island and back. It wasn’t comfortable, to say the least. Samui was an obscure place. It wasn’t in any guide books. You could see it on a map, but that was about all. But gradually word got out. And people started coming. But the reward was worth it: you arrived in Nathon, the port and capital and stayed in the houses of the islanders, who made their living from farming and fishing. They were incredibly hospitable and their visitors kept on spreading the story about this friendly, sun-drenched island in the gulf of Thailand.
This long ago period wasn’t in the 18th century but in the ‘60s and ‘70s. And then the island just took off, metaphorically speaking, and became a major tourist destination. Today people come for more or less the same reasons: the sheer beauty of the place and the friendliness of its people. Nowadays you don’t have to take the night boat to get here, and you’ll probably jet into the island’s airport, or arrive by a much faster boat.
You’ve just arrived, suitcase casually thrown onto the hotel bed, already rummaging through its contents to find your swimming gear. Because let’s face it, you’re in the tropics now, an island getaway and the first thing on your mind is sun, sun and lots of it. Chaweng definitely offers everything you dreamed of for that lazy day on the beach, but take a step inland and it will offer you a whole lot more - and I don’t just mean the shopping. And the night time is a whole other story.
Chaweng is a beautiful white sand beach and its shallow waters make it ideal for the whole family. At five kilometres, it is the longest stretch of beach on the east coast of the island and is roughly divided into four areas – north Chaweng, central Chaweng, south Chaweng and Chaweng Noi (meaning little Chaweng), which lies to the very south of the main beach around a small headland. Off the coast of north Chaweng you can see the island of Koh Matlang, and at low tide you can walk across to the island. If you are looking for a good area for swimming, Chaweng Noi has deeper water than the rest of the beach. Taking a stroll along the beach you will see a variety of things to do, there’s jet skiing for the thrill seeker, and in central Chaweng you will see the Aqua Park, large inflatables, bobbing up and down on the waves while people desperately try to climb on or over them.
Or for a mellower day on the sands you’ll see many massage and spa places under the coconut trees that line the beach. There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying a massage under the gently swaying palms. Or perhaps you’d prefer a cool drink or cocktail at one of the many beachside restaurants. For some, there really is no need to move from the beach. Take your towel, sunscreen, and sunglasses in the morning and hit the sands. Stay for lunch at a small restaurant, have a massage and work on your tan.
But once you are itching for something else to do, where to go and what to see? Walk down Chaweng Beach Road and you’ll be struck by the number of shops and stalls that line the street, well over a thousand, none of which are visible from the beach.
There’s a lot more to LUXSA Spa than just healing.
How routine are your tasks? Are you on autopilot? Even if you’re doing the same thing every single day, sometimes someone will ask you to do something that’ll totally surprise you. Something out of the blue. It may seem so difficult that you might just doubt that you can actually do it at all. At LUXSA Spa, most tasks might seem to have to do with massage and healing. But it’s not always the case.
When the spa manager, Khun Kantima Chompoolad was called in to see her boss, CEO Indra Budiman, she had no idea of the strange journey that lay before her, nor how it would impact people’s lives.
“I need you to find someone,” said Indra. “Someone quite specific. It has to be exactly the right person; no other will do. We’re going to train someone to be a spa therapist from scratch. That person has to be someone who works from their heart. That’s the only qualification they’ll need for now. And the person has to be blind.”
Blind? Well, it’s not so hard to find a blind masseur in Thailand; there’s a tradition of blind people training in massage. But a spa therapist is another matter. A therapist has all the connotations of being able to bring healing to the people who come to the spa. It’s not just a question of physical manipulation, no matter how good.
When it comes to trust, it’s hard to beat Samui’s leading pharmaceutical chain – Morya!
If you’ve only been to Thailand a time or two, you’ll still be wary. All that alarmist advice about injections for hepatitis and cholera, dengue fever being rampant, and never, ever drink the water, will still be on your mind. You’re thousands of miles from all the familiar things of home. You don’t know your way around, the language is strange and you can’t read the signs. It’s a relief to see something you know, like a Coke can or a burger bar! And when it comes to medicines, prescriptions or first aid, you’re lost. You’re not happy to trust what you get over here. One visitor we know even phoned his optician in Hamburg and had new contact lenses couriered out, at huge expense, after he’d lost his own ones. But really, and truly, there’s no need for any of this at all.
Perhaps a generation ago there was cause for concern. But not today. Thailand is now well known for the international standard of its hospitals, and there are many people who come here each year solely for surgical procedures. And as standards have risen, so the pharmacies have evolved along the same lines. Take a look at the way the Thai people themselves do things. The pharmacists here are highly trained, and many have either studied or worked in the West - usually in America or Europe. Most are similarly qualified in diagnosis, and a lengthy component of their education is physiology and anatomy, hence the inclination for a Thai person with an ache or a pain to consult their pharmacist rather than their doctor.
Gambling in Thailand – and why it’s not a good idea to be tempted!
The Thais are a fun-loving nation. They like nothing better than to have a good get-together. Bring in some chums, a bottle or two, and a nice bouncy set of karaoke tunes. No-one cares if you can’t sing – in fact that’s almost a requirement. They’re a peaceful, passive people, un-nerved by standing in line, or sitting in rows of cars at red lights. But they’re passionate, too; just look at the way they love football. Or their soap operas on TV. But there’s one thing that beats the lot. Something they all just itch to do. There’s one thing that’s almost a national addiction. But, alas, it’s not allowed. And that’s gambling. And it’s illegal.
Actually, it is allowed. But only in two respects, and they’re controlled with an iron fist. The first and most popular is the Government Lottery. This is held every two weeks and attracts record audiences when the draw is aired on TV. To give you some idea of the immense national involvement, think about this. Twenty million Thai people (one-third of the population) buy tickets every time, each spending an average of 2,400 baht every month. The Thai average wage is a bit less than 15,000 baht a month – meaning that 20 million people spend one sixth of their before-tax income on lottery tickets every month.
Secret Garden Beach Resort has just been refurbished, but it’s still very much in tune with its original vibe.
Every so often on your travels you’ll come across a resort or a restaurant that you just sense has some history to it, which put down its roots, stayed strong and established itself. And when you walk in through its doors, you know that you’ve arrived somewhere that’s trustworthy and will fulfil all your expectations. Secret Garden is a place like that; it’s one of Samui’s original small resorts that started off as just a dream in its owners’ minds. They were a Thai family who bought the open plot of land in 1987. It was just a coconut plantation back then, albeit fronting an amazingly beautiful beach. Two years later, they built a pub on the land and then, in 1993, they started to build the first backpacker bungalows.
Back in those days, Samui wasn’t as well-known as it is today. As a tourist spot it was certainly lagging behind Phuket in terms of fame. Not just that, the infrastructure was fairly basic. Travelling around Samui was difficult; there were far more dirt tracks than you’ll see today, and Bangrak, where Secret Garden is located, was just a strip of tiny beachside cottages, and some restaurant and bars.
Noori India doesn’t just make super food; it’s where to go for an entertaining conversation, too
Let’s just think about this . . . you go out to eat. You choose your restaurant and take your place. You order what you want. You relax. You eat and drink. You spend a pleasant hour chatting to your partner. Then you leave. You’ve enjoyed the food and the laid-back conversation. The ambiance has been pleasant. The service has been good and the cost a nice surprise. All of this is quite normal. It encapsulates the typical, quality-dining experience that’s to be found just about everywhere. But, excellent though it is, there’s something missing. The personal touch.
To be fair, this doesn’t really figure so much on the list of items in the dining equation. And, unless you’re a member of some kind of private dining club back home, you probably won’t be looking for it. But here at Wining & Dining we get to meet all sorts. Some we just interview, make notes, then write a story. However, there’s one restaurant that’s been here for a very long time. We’ve all got to know the part-owner and manager. And we’ve watched him in action, at work, mingling with his customers. He’s got the personal touch – and more. He’s gently friendly, openly pleasant and genuinely interested in people, in his unobtrusive way. Plus he’s thoughtful, witty and often extremely funny. His name is DD Pande. And his restaurant is Noori India.
DD is not your run-of-the-mill restaurant manager. He was brought up in an academic atmosphere in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and subsequently went on to gain a Master’s degree in Ancient History and Religion. But he’s also realistic and down-to-earth. Thus, over the course of time, also added further qualifications in hotel management and marketing. And before coming to Samui, not only lectured at the University of Jaipur and became a published author, but also worked in the hospitality industry, setting-up and managing hotels and conventions. The story of his exodus to Samui is a saga in its own right, and too wordy to be outlined here. But suffice it to say he came here temporarily to help his brother. And, as with so many others, ended up staying.
For a small island, Samui packs a punch when it comes to shopping.
For some a vacation is about lazing on the beach. For others it’s about exploring the surroundings. And for others trying all the culinary delights of the country. But the urge will come over almost everyone to tear themselves away for a little bit of retail therapy. And Samui has lots to offer in that department.
There are four main shopping areas on Samui: Nathon, Fisherman’s Village, Chaweng and Lamai. Nathon still retains a local feel about it, and you are more likely to find a bargain here. If you take a stroll down so-called Middle Street (sandwiched between the beach road and the main road) you’ll see some wonderful Chinese style houses that have been converted into shops selling handicrafts and clothes. At the southern end of Nathon there is an all-day fresh fruit and vegetable market. If you’ve timed your shopping trip for the late afternoon you are guaranteed a wonderful sunset over the harbour. And if you enjoy soaking up the local atmosphere there’s a nightly food market next to the pier. So after an afternoon of shopping it’s a great place to unwind with a cold drink and some food. You can buy everything from papaya salad to chicken on rice. Nathon pretty much closes down around 6:00 pm so don’t come here for shopping in the evening or you’ll be disappointed. You’ll find only the restaurants are open at night.
There’s a dual-pricing system in Thailand – is this simple economics, or simply discrimination?
I remember when I first went to Egypt. My wife’s cousin had married an Egyptian girl, and her folks had invited us over. They were lovely people, well-educated and with white collar jobs – but we were surprised at how small and shabby their apartment was. Of course, the thing at the top of our list was to see the King Tut exhibit at the Cairo Museum. But even though the family had lived in Cairo all their lives, they didn’t know where the museum was, or how to get to it. And when we finally made it, the admission prices clearly showed that foreigners were being charged five times more money to get in than the locals!
We were fresh off the boat and we were instinctively expecting everything to be the same as we’d always been used to. It took us a while to realise that nations are different – and some more so than others. In fact everything, everywhere, had two sets of prices attached, from street food to air travel, and this was a policy, set right across the board, by the government, with two scales of charges established, printed and published for everything.
You might not want to admit it, but almost all of us have a secret hankering to be an action hero and to be cresting an adrenalin wave while in hair-raising situations. After all, excitement is something that’s in our blood, and if we’re reining ourselves in, then we’re going to find life becomes pretty hum-drum after a while.
Of course, it’s possible to pursue a daring life and be subject to great danger and all the ups and downs that living on the edge provides. It’s guaranteed that you’ll never have a dull moment again. But – and this is the problem – you’ll be swapping it for frequent doses of terror. Improbable as it seems, this is where art can come to your aid. You can step into a more exciting life but one that’s safe and where there’s no fear at all. Art Samui allows you to play out many different roles in a wide variety of situations. It might not raise your heartbeat as much as the real thing, but it’ll certainly provide oodles of fun. And, well, it might just turn out to be more than the sum of its parts, but we’ll come to that later.
When you step into Art Samui, you’re entering a different world altogether, one that’s comprised of endless optical illusions, tricks and bizarre settings. This isn’t the result of computer technology, but relies on good old fashioned paintings, but done so well that everything appears real - at least in photographs. And this is what Art Samui is all about.
You might think Drink Gallery is just a bar, until you see the food.
Appearances can be deceptive. Usually the expression applies to people, and the way they turn out to be the opposite of what we thought them to be. But it can also apply to places, as well. We look at them, sum them up, label them, only to step inside and realise we were wrong from the start. I made that mistake with Drink Gallery, sure that it’d just be a chic place for über-expensive cocktails and little in the way of food.
Drink Gallery turns out, however, to be a restaurant rather than simply a bar. The fact is that though they do drinks here – we’ll come to them later, as they’re excellent – this is really somewhere to eat. It’s one of those places that looks expensive from the outside, but surprisingly isn’t. The décor’s both chic and daring, verging on the avant garde. It oozes creativity and sophistication, so you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s going to cost an arm and a leg once you’re inside. But once I looked at the prices I found that they’re entirely affordable. Think 350 Baht – but for food that’s tasty and filled with quality ingredients.
As you can see, so far, nothing about the place is quite as you’d expect it to be. It’s attached to The Library, a resort featuring minimalist rooms set in a green lawn amidst old trees with a swimming pool that has deep-red tiling throughout. It’s quirkily conceived and definitely original.
But back to Drink Gallery. You can choose to sit outside on wooden decking and be right there to witness street action at its most vibrant, or sit in the large air-con cube of a dining room with stylish seating, a mix of casual tables for couples and long wooden ones for groups. Drink Gallery’s easy to find by the way; if you head down Chaweng Beach Road, you’ll come to it about 200 metres after Central Festival (where you can park your car, if you’re bringing one). Opening hours are from 4:00 pm until 1:00 am.
Absolute Sanctuary’s latest ideas put fitness well within your reach.
Now in its seventh year, Absolute Sanctuary is an immensely popular spa, and people come here from all over the world. Some come for their detox programs, others for yoga or Pilates and still others for the anti-stress and burnout packages. Of course, you can always come for a simple spa session – they do excellent massages here. It’s called a sanctuary because it’s exactly that, a place to get away from the world where you can concentrate on the essentials and get a new understanding of how to feel fitter, healthier and more relaxed. For some people, it’s going to be a turning point in their lives coming here, while others are simply going to come for the benefit of having an increased sense of wellbeing. Absolute Sanctuary is located north of Chaweng; follow Chaweng Beach Road north, bend round to the right and carry on past the airport turn-off until you see the sign.
The spa could easily keep to its repertoire. After all, it’s got to that stage where many institutions might just want to rest on their laurels. But Absolute Sanctuary remains sharp to its purpose, and is always improving on what it offers, adding on important new additions to its already extensive programmes. It’s been able to do this due to its unique position as part of the successful Absolute Yoga Group that operates Absolute Yoga, Absolute Pilates and Absolute Fit Food in Bangkok.
I spoke to Claire Bostock-Huang about Absolute Sanctuary’s newest addons. Claire’s a prominent figure at Absolute Sanctuary, and used to be a banker before she got into yoga, and decided to become a teacher. This led her to Bangkok where she started working with Absolute Yoga. The group asked her to help set up Absolute Sanctuary on Samui, and she’s been deeply involved with it ever since.
“We’ve introduced two exercise systems that we already have in Bangkok and have run there successfully for more than five years.” says Claire: “These are Group Core Suspend and Group Pilates Reformer classes.” Unless you’re familiar with the physical fitness world,
The humorous guide to riding a motorbike in Thailand
Make sure you have some experience of riding a bike before you tackle jumping on one here, and weaving your way through rush hour traffic to your next portion of noodle soup and a Chang beer. Thailand is not the place to learn to ride a bike unless you’re willing to risk becoming part of the ever growing statistics of dead and injured.
Ensure you have a good sense of balance and co-ordination. Do you know how to ride a bicycle? Riding a motorbike is just the same...except it’s faster...and you have an accelerator...and mirrors... Okay, it’s nearly the same - it has a seat and two wheels.
Remain calm at all times. Did someone pull out in front of you? Did someone brake suddenly or drive towards you on a one way street? What do you do in this instance? You smile and you keep driving. You will never see road rage from a Thai driver and neither will they understand it, if you display it.
You have a family of six and you can’t afford a car, no problem. Simply put them all on the bike because motorbikes are built for transporting small families. One child in the basket on the front, one standing on the foot rest, you driving, another small child squeezed behind you and then your partner on the back with another child under each arm. Oh wait, that’s seven. Oh well, you see? It is possible!
Going to the gym’s a pleasure again, thanks to Elite Gym and Fitness.
We all have dreams and the big ones might seem impossible. At least at first. Many of us get waylaid – if we ever get started on them, that is. But often those who just keep going surprise themselves and exceed their dreams. A while ago, a long-term resident on Samui, Magnus Rydlund, had the dream of building a gym. Not just any gym – they already existed on the island. He wanted one that would be exactly the kind of place where he’d feel totally at home while exercising. This wouldn’t seem difficult to achieve: after all, anybody with a bit of money can rent some space, fill it with exercise machines, weights, some mirrors, and so on, and open shop – not really much different to what so many of us do with our garages. But Magnus wanted more than that – a lot more. He wanted a truly professional gym which would give its members a solid foundation for fitness. And he wanted it to be fun. Somewhere that would be a pleasure to go to.
Over time, he built his dream gym, along with two partners Nico and Sebastian, painstakingly turning it into what it is today. It’s now informally ranked by many a gym aficionado as the best gym of its kind in the South of Thailand.
A look at Bangkok Samui Hospital Clinic’s revolutionary new process at Central Festival.
There’s been a quiet revolution in the last few years. Word has spread. In Europe, America and Australia surgery is expensive. Even vital operations are put into a queue as national health services have become strained to breaking point, and yet private alternatives are priced beyond reach. But not so in Thailand. The top international hospitals are now as good as any in the West. Their equipment and standards are world-class. Their specialists and surgeons have trained and qualified abroad and have international standing. And every year tens of thousands of visitors come to Thailand to take advantage of this, on what have now become known as ‘medical vacations’.
Bangkok Samui International Hospital is probably the island’s most prestigious medical institution, partnered with sister hospitals throughout the country. And for quite a while now they have been at the forefront of medical tourism in Thailand, even running linked after-care schemes whereby patients can opt to transfer and recuperate in beachside surroundings. Their expansive modern facility on Samui is imposing; elevated and set back behind a sweeping lawn on a broad frontage on Chaweng’s main ring-road. But, of course, it’s also where they receive accident and emergency victims. Thus, bearing in mind the broad division of care and treatments – emergency and aesthetic – a decision was taken to decentralise some aspects.
A glimpse into what motivates Thailand’s ladyboys – the ‘third sex’.
Thailand is unique. Well, almost! In today’s modern world, it is one of the few countries that have never been conquered or colonised. It has developed largely in isolation, and it’s a nation that has never been forced to absorb ‘foreign’ systems of government, law, commerce, language or culture. As a result, it has its own language, a unique way of measuring time, an unusual legal system, commerce and banking works within its own specific network, and even its mathematics differs curiously from our Western culture. These things are not evident to visitors or tourists. Except for the language, of course. And one other curious aspect – Thailand’s ladyboys.
If you were born outside of Asia, then you just won’t be able to help yourself. And the meaning of this is not what you think! What I’m getting at is that everyone makes assumptions and judgements based entirely on the values they’ve grown up with – all of us are products of our own societies and cultures. And this means you’re going to instinctively try to relate things you see in Thailand to your own way of thinking. Thus when it comes to ladyboys, the automatic response is to reach for labels like ‘gay’, ‘bi-sexual’ or ‘transvestite’. But that’s like asking a Thai person what the time is. You won’t be able to relate to the answer – traditionally Thailand doesn’t use a 12-hour or even a 24-hour clock. And, likewise, the sexuality of ladyboys and their place in Thai society is nothing we can understand in the West.
Paradise Park Farm captivates its visitors with stunning scenery and fun things to do.
In regions that where agriculture is predominant, it’s common for people to unwind by taking a break from the trees and plants that surround them. Having spent all day in the countryside, they tend not to feel enthusiastic about going, say, to a park to relax. Samui has for generations been a farming area, and still is today, though to a lesser extent. Wherever you go you’ll see coconut trees, and really the entire island is one massive plantation. Therefore nobody ever thought to create a park here. Tourism however has overtaken farming and is crucial for the island’s revenue. That means that those who are now coming to the island seek all kinds of amenities, which includes parks. Paradise Park Farm came into being to fulfil this need, and over the years has become popular with both holidaymakers and residents.
It’s located right in the heart of the island, and is a special space dedicated to fun and relaxation. It’s big enough for most visitors to spend a good few hours here, if not the entire day. With opening hours being daily from 9:00 am until last admission at 5:00 pm, there’s plenty of time to come and enjoy what the park has to offer.
Seafood Palate restaurant wows with its tasty Italian and Thai dishes.
The vitality that’s gone into this chic Lamai restaurant is impressive: at once cool and laid-back, it honours the hot, hot tropical feel of the island with its choice of open-air decking or relaxed air-con dining room. The food tastes every bit as good as it looks, and is extremely well-priced. Oh, and portions are on the big side, making Seafood Palate, one of those places where people come back to time and time again.
The restaurant is part of Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort, just over the road, a resort that’s one of Lamai’s favourites. Most people aren’t aware of this as Seafood Palate acts as a stand-alone restaurant, with many of its guests walking in from the beach road while they’re out for a stroll.
Seafood Palate is housed in a very contemporary style building, with a kitchen that’s right on the street, so you can see all that’s going on - a deliberate choice, of course, allowing the cooks to put on live demonstrations. You’ll see plenty of seafood on display outside, and you can be sure it’s totally fresh. Khun Wasan, who’s in charge of the daily running of the restaurant says,“We purchase our fish fresh from the markets, and we do this daily. For most fish, we go to Lamai market, but for some we also go to Plai Laem market, up beyond Chaweng. Our priority is that it’s all top quality.”
Samui offers places of worship for many different cultures and religions.
Despite being an island in Thailand, Samui is home to many different cultures and also many different religions. Simply driving around the island, and seeing the multitude of international restaurants, may give you some idea as to the wide array of people found here. But, at some point, some of them will require somewhere to satisfy their spiritual needs.
A survey done online, in 2011, asked 1398 people if they attended church while travelling or holidaying. The answers were quite surprising - 40% said they would attend any church they found and 37% said they wouldn’t. While the 37% was expected, the 40% was higher than expected and goes a long way to show that people still feel the need for some spiritual stability in their lives. Most spiritually enriched people feel the need to attend their church, mosque, synagogue or temple as they feel it’s important for fellowship. Spending time with like-minded people is always encouraging, and when we face today’s life challenges, it’s comforting to know there are people who you can reach out to in times of need.
Oriental Living showcases the finest in Asian-inspired home décor and furnishings.
Stores like this are definitely a rarity these days. But then again you suspect they always were. But once you step inside, you become aware that you’re somewhere out of the ordinary. It’s way more than the sum of its parts. It inspires you with its colours, textures and the sheer creativity that’s been lavished upon it. While you’re here, the staff are helpful, there when you need them, but this isn’t one of those places where they’re hovering a metre behind you. They’ll offer you a cup of coffee and it’ll be as good as the one you get in a smart cafe.
This is exactly what you’ll find at Oriental Living. Everything about this place is way above average, including the staff, who are experts in what they do. They’re ambassadors of tropical chic and the store they’ve created showcases the best of the Far East when it comes to furnishings and interior design.
Basically, you could say that they can fill houses and commercial properties with beautiful fabrics, colours, furniture, art work and everything in-between.
The store showcases some of what’s on offer and, by the way, you don’t need to be on a mission to interior-decorate a house to step inside; they also offer many, many individual pieces which range from a few thousand Baht to amazing works of art and antiques worth much more. With over a thousand articles and furnishings on offer, it’s impossible to show everything at the same time, so pieces are rotated. Every time you visit Oriental Living, you’ll see something different. And, of course, there are always brand new products arriving, as well as antiques. It’s a great moment to be there when staff have just unpacked a newly-arrived container. In addition, a lot of what Oriental Living sell can be customized. Take, for example, sofas. There are some 150 to choose from, and you can have your selection covered in any fabric that you’d like.
When it comes to property surveillance, B Smart Sys has you totally covered.
“On Samui you could go into anyone’s house and eat whatever food they had. There was plenty; mostly fruit and vegetables. We were kids and went into people’s homes all the time and nobody minded. The doors had no locks on them so it wasn’t difficult to get inside. Everyone was welcome anyway...” So recalls a Samui resident, Khun Ben, who was born on the island, and grew up here in the 1960s. People lived off the land, and there was more than enough to go round. She – and everyone else – was blissfully unaware that one day, not far in the future, the island would become a luxurious holiday destination, and not just that, people would move here from all over the world. That kind of upgrade always draws with it a few unsavoury characters, the kind who, given half a chance are going to drop in uninvited and then exit with as many possessions as they can. And it’s not going to be fruit and veg that goes into the swag bag.
“I thought I had things covered,” says Maurice Jespersen, an island resident, who’s here on and off throughout the year. “When we’re on Samui my wife and I have live-in staff anyway,
and when we’re away we have a neighbour who keeps an eye out for us. Everything here always seems so peaceful and you never suspect anybody might actually want to burgle you. Unfortunately we were away, and so too was our neighbour. We got caught out. It happens. That is ... if you let it, and we did.” He adds that, certainly, the items that were stolen had value, and not so easy to replace, but just as bad is the knowledge that someone’s been in your house, doing exactly as they wished. “It’s a disturbing feeling, and it takes a long time to go away. It’s better to be protected in the first place. Don’t leave it to chance.”