Samui Wining & Dining
Samui Holiday Magazine
A Warm Welcome

A Warm Welcome

Some of Thailand’s sunniest and most picturesque beaches are to be found right here on Samui, along with sweeps of sand and backdrops of palms. They take some time to explore, and most islanders – even the ones who have lived here all their lives – can’t say they’ve seen everything. But there’s more to Samui than just the sea.

          

Three decades and more of tourists choosing Samui as a holiday destination mean that there’s a vibrant mix of things to do and places to see. You can easily get to most places and these include remote waterfalls, temples and jungle as well as the entire southern swathe of the island, the least developed part.

          

Opt for safety with a hired car, songthaew (shared taxis that ply the larger roads) or even a taxi – the roads and driving conditions make hiring a motorbike extremely chancy – and Samui is yours to explore. You can be intrepid and head for the jungle heart of the island or simply keep to the beaten track. Whatever you decide to do, you can expect to have a lot of fun.

          

And then there are all the dining opportunities. You might not expect it of a small island, but virtually all the world’s major cuisines are to be found here. With prices ranging across the spectrum, you can save or splurge.

          

Samui has something to offer everyone, from toddler to elder. The appeal of the island is irresistible, which is why so many visitors choose to come back again. It’s time for your adventure to begin. Enjoy!

 
SAMUI 'S SUPER HEROES!
Quietly, persistently, unstoppably, Trash Hero Samui is working behind the scenes.

16-1Once upon a time there was a lovely little tropical island. Just about everything was built out of wood and roofed with palm leaves. People used coconut shells as plant pots. Tins and bottles were rare and thus used again and again. Then an airport appeared bringing foreign tourists and their money – and everything changed.

          

People still built little houses out of wood and, like they always did, chucked the building waste over the fence. But people building newmoney houses out of concrete, brick, plastic and glass did the same thing too. And, over the years, when the supermarkets appeared and the 7-11s were selling tins and bottles, and the traditional plates made out of palm leaves were replaced by plastic trays, the left-overs were still thrown over the fence or into the sea. It was traditional. What else could you do with it?

          

Unlike wood and palm leaves, plastic doesn’t decay. It won’t rot down into the soil. And so one day that lovely little island woke up to the fact that plastic garbage bags, plastic trays, spoons, forks, rope, bags, tarpaulins, pipes, plumbing, and a thousand other discarded things were still sitting there by the side of the road, going nowhere.

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HUNTING FOR TREASURE?
Nature Art Gallery’s stores amaze with their range of jewellery, semi-precious stones and accessories.

Nature Art Gallery’s stores amaze with their range of jewellery, semi-precious stones and accessories.The trio of stores that make up Nature Art Gallery are a treat for those who come across them. Stocking semi-precious stones, jewellery and accessories, the stores radiate professionalism, and are a sheer delight to browse. There’s no hard sell, no over-enthusiastic sales people – you’re encouraged to spend as much time here as you like. Prices are all very affordable, even if the stores look chic and cosmopolitan. People are surprised at what they can pick up here.

          

If you’ve been used to poorly-lit stores and uninspired collections of jewellery, then it’ll be a refreshing experience to visit Nature Art Gallery. For a start, the spacious stores are immaculately maintained, and everything is carefully displayed and labelled. There’s no clutter at all. Friendly assistants can give you help or ideas, should you need either. Nature Art prides itself on being a very different kind of jewellers. Rather than simply opt for quantity, the driving idea here is to blend quality with creativity. Each of the pieces is therefore a treasure in itself. It’s an approach that works; many island residents come here when they’re looking for a gift as they know they can rely on the handiwork and the fact that everything on display is great value. The stones, gems and jewellery can be part of any mood, with a plethora of colours, styles and designs that are delightfully eye-catching.

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ITALIAN REPLICA
The soul of Italian traditions with just the right atmosphere at Prego Italian Restaurant Samui.

The soul of Italian traditions with just the right atmosphere at Prego Italian Restaurant Samui.Along the northern part of the beach road in Chaweng, you’ll see a rather pleasing-to-the-eye establishment that is one of Samui’s most successful restaurants. This is Prego Italian Restaurant Samui, a lively institution that’s been going strong since 2003, and which has been helmed throughout all those years by a single chef, Marco Boscaini. He’s a maestro who is adventurous in all the best ways, and who deftly combines the contemporary with the traditional. That specific blend has resulted in Prego being immensely popular, and pleasing its many guests. They number not just the holidaymakers who come across it – the restaurant is hard to miss, thanks to its clean, sleek lines – but also local people and long-stay residents.

          

Definitely chic and imbued with an understated elegance, Prego is exactly the kind of venue that you’d find in Italy; it’s a friendly place, one that brings people together, a sort of home from home. A lot of the dishes are designed so that they can be shared. The restaurant is popular not just with couples but also groups of varying sizes. Drop in and you’ll soon be soaking up the Italian feel of the place. 

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COME DANCE WIITTH US
Life is an inspiration at Loft by Oriental Living.

Life is an inspiration at Loft by Oriental Living.Are you tired of finding ‘same-same’ and ‘not different at all’ home furnishings? Well, welcome to Loft, the retail arm of Oriental Living, the best known and most prestigious providers of interior design and highend furnishings on Koh Samui and Phuket. Developing their brand and reputation over the last 25 years, they continue to listen tirelessly to their customers’ needs and desires, and keep bang up to date with current trends. Their passion is to seek, search, and source new inspiration, original artists, designs and materials. They travel far and wide, visiting not only furnishing fairs, but also to natural and man-made wonders of the world such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia, as well as modern cities and everywhere in between. They continually network, finding out what is new, the latest artist or designer to visit, bringing all the information and awe-inspiring designs to you right here on Samui!

          

If you are looking for a thought-provoking, jaw-dropping, yet stylish and affordable shopping experience. If you want to find the full spectrum of bold, modern or antique furnishings with happy, innovative, functional and comfortable forms and colours. Then visit Loft by Oriental Living, and check out the eclectic collection of furniture, art and décor. The extremely knowledgeable, English speaking team are always on hand to answer any questions, discuss your ideas or needs, or to just let you wander and browse. Here, you are treated as a guest, offered good quality coffee, tea or water, as well as an expert ear to listen and advise. Honesty is important to the Loft team. They will not sell you anything that is not fit for purpose! After all, the Oriental Living rock-solid 25-year reputation is at stake! 

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STATE OF PLAY
Beach Republic keeps up the fun with its mix of food, drink and chilled vibes.

Beach Republic keeps up the fun with its mix of food, drink and chilled vibes.Take the signposted turning and along a small lane, you’ll come to the famed Beach Republic, which sits at the edge of the sea, basking in the sun. No border guards ask for your passport, but you might just as well have stepped over an invisible line and into new country. You’ll have left behind the usual architecture of Samui, an at times raucous jumble of styles, and will now find yourself in a chic world that’s both simultaneously covered and sheltered. It’s made of steel arches, teak and thatch. New meets old meets chic, in other words. Sounds paradoxical? The combo works. It’s a delight to spend time here. You’ll quickly see that everything at Beach Republic fits together as seamlessly as a matrushka doll, and you can have a lot of fun just exploring the different parts.

          

The beach here is also a great place to be; if you’ve witnessed the crowds in Chaweng, you’ll enjoy the seclusion of the sands at Beach Republic. Plenty of coves to check out, and a view that’s all haze and dreaminess. A duo of swimming pools distracts from the surroundings, however, and are a focal point here.

          

Another is – of course – the restaurant. Beach Republic has made a name for itself with its delicious food. Think Mediterranean. And then a wealth of it. And finally quality. A whole range of snacks and different lunches are available, along with a dinner menu that’s sumptuous. 

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THE CUTTING EDGE
Paul’s Fashion has got vacation-tailoring down to a fine art.

Paul’s Fashion has got vacation-tailoring down to a fine art.Some people are nervous about it. Others think there just isn’t time. And for quite a lot of folks, it just doesn’t occur to them. But the fact is that bespoke tailoring in Thailand is a great way to go. And on Samui there’s one place which has got this down to a fine art. And the name is Paul’s Fashion.

          

One of the problems with buying things on holiday is the guarantee – what can you do when you’re back home, thousands of miles away, and something goes wrong? Well, this place has got it all sorted out, as you’ll find out in just a moment. They offer a cast-iron assurance on the quality of their workmanship. But here’s the thing – not once, ever, have they needed to put this guarantee to the test.

          

Just take a look on TripAdvisor. As you know, unlike Facebook, comments on here can’t be edited, changed or deleted. This is the acid test of a business or service. Restaurants and hotels fear it because it tells the truth. Real people, with real experiences. Paul’s Fashion was established in 2005. And not once, since they started on TripAdvisor in 2013, has Paul’s Fashion ever had a bad review; not even one – you’re invited to check this for yourself! 

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ALL-AMERICAN EATS
Stacked Burger ushers in authentic delights in a laid-back setting.

Stacked Burger ushers in authentic delights in a laid-back setting.It’s been a popular destination ever since it opened its doors, and has a great name for comfort food in fun surroundings. Plenty of people come here to experience the melt-in-your-mouth burgers that come with a selection of delectable starters, sides and excellent desserts. Welcome to Stacked Burger, located right on the beachfront road in the heart of Chaweng, close to Central Festival. Stacked is part of the stylish OZO Chaweng Samui resort, a top-notch holiday destination next door – so you’re in good hands when it comes to top quality food, attentive service and sheer professionalism across the board.

          

Enjoying great food and drink is just one part of what Stacked is all about. The vibe here is equally good. Stacked has the feel of an upscale bistro, but at the same time it’s convivial and relaxed. It’s a great place for people watching, and boasts agreeably long decking facing the street, as well as an air-conditioned interior. It can get quite busy, so reservations are advisable in the evenings. Stacked is open from midday until late, with bar food still being available after the main kitchen closes at 11:00 pm. If coming by car, parking is available at the resort, or simply stroll down the beach road until you come to Stacked. 

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STRAIGHT SHOOTING
Samui’s Paragon Gun Range offers some of the best-value fun anywhere on the island!

Samui’s Paragon Gun Range offers some of the best-value fun anywhere on the island!Samui’s a sunshine island. People come here to relax, stretch out by the pool or take a dip in the sea. But even the most dedicated sun-lover needs a break sometime. That’s OK, though; there are 101 things to do – you’re spoiled for choice! There are lots of day-trips and excursions to consider. But one of the most enjoyable, and unusual, is getting tooled-up at the Paragon Gun Range.

          

Europe, and most of Asia too, doesn’t have the same kind of ‘gun culture’ that you’ll experience in, say, for example, The United States. And so a shooting range where you can try-out a variety of handguns and rifles, and even a shotgun, is a novel and enjoyable experience for a great many people. They won’t be turning up again next month to keep their eye in, but judging by the popularity of this range, there’s a non-stop stream of new visitors only too keen to give it a go.

          

And this raises a point: this place gets busy. It’s firmly on the tourist excursion map. Around 11:00 am the first of the many tour buses start to roll up with the excited day-trippers and their kids. There are a total of eight bays for the shooters, and a lot of people waiting their turn. So the best time to go is early in the morning or in the late afternoon – the range is open between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. 

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WATER WATER WATER
The truth about water in, on, and around Samui – and it’s not all bad news!

The truth about water in, on, and around Samui – and it’s not all bad news!Go online. Do a search for ‘Samui’. And then look at what you come across. I don’t mean actually read it all. I mean scan the websites that come up on the first page of Google. They’re all commercial sites that have invested in search engine optimisation – with the exception of Wikipedia and TripAdvisor which inject a much more reliable note into things – perhaps. The most up-to-date info on Samui is what people are doing and saying right at this minute. Unfortunately, that’s sometimes based on impressions and hear-say, and not on real facts. However, in amongst all of this, you’ll not see anything about water – except advice not to drink it out of the tap!

          

Samui is an island. And so it’s surrounded by the sea water of the Gulf of Thailand. This you will swim in. The island of Samui also gets rained upon. And, unlike the rainwater in so many parts of the world, it’s completely safe to drink; there is no polluted-emissions layer it’s going to fall through first. And then the rain water soaks down into the ground and into the water table. It’s not surprising that this water subsequently flows downhill through the sub-strata – we’re an island which has nearly all of its landmass on a slope down towards the coast, after all. And then some of this water ends up in your water-pipes – and then you wash in it.

          

Few visitors know anything about how these various systems work together on Samui. Does it really matter? Yes. Why? Because anything from jellyfish stings to rip-tides to conjunctivitis to skin rashes to stomach upsets or a mild fever that is similar to heatstroke could be due to the rainfall, the time of year, the water table, and the simple and unthinking assumption that what comes out of your resort’s tap or shower head is just . . . water. 

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SEASIDE TEMPTATION

RockPool at Kanda Pool Villas is the perfect setting for Mediterranean cuisine and much more.

RockPool at Kanda Pool Villas is the perfect setting for Mediterranean cuisine and much more.Design-wise, the bold indoor/outdoor concept of RockPool, the restaurant at Kanda Pool Villas, isn’t quite what you would expect of most seaside restaurants. There’s a canopy instead of a ceiling, and outside a series of decks stepping away towards the sea. The setting is a delightfully open one, though with ample shade. RockPool is set on hills – it’s a few kilometres continuing up Chaweng’s beach road towards Choeng Mon – and is perched above the ocean, making for great views. Beyond its cinematographic charms, RockPool has a welldeserved reputation for excellent food. It’s just the place to come and linger for hours, completely undisturbed by the crowds and noise of Chaweng – those few kilometres of separation make all the difference.

          

Expect a warm greeting when you walk in; the staff are friendly and extremely professional. The atmosphere is a relaxed one where cares about the world slip away without effort. RockPool is run by talented Executive Chef, Lisa Lang, who grew up in South Africa and who has a cosmopolitan approach when it comes to food and drink. She’s put together a nicely balanced selection of dishes that dovetail with the laidback atmosphere at RockPool. It’s decidedly Mediterranean though features many Thai dishes – this is a casual all day dining menu at its very best, with light, fresh cuisine ideal for the long, summery days that Samui provides so generously. 

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REACHING YOUR TARGET
Archery is alive and well on Samui at Flying Arrow.

Archery is alive and well on Samui at Flying Arrow.A hidden gem of a place – and an activity that you definitely wouldn’t think you’d find on a tropical island. Archery in its modern forms is taking off on Samui, and you can have fun with this ancient sport, and then afterwards celebrate your triumphs over a drink, snack or meal. The place to go is Flying Arrow Restaurant & Archery – it’s the one and only destination for archery on Samui.

          

Why do archery at all? In Europe, during the Middle Ages, it was a popular sport and people gathered all the time to practice. Since those days, however, it’s been in decline. Archery then might seem to be a historical cul-de-sac, a sport forgotten. It turns out not to be the case at all. Modern archery is flourishing, and is characterized by contemporary takes on ancient armaments. Grace and speed are still there, but the skill itself has been aided by modern technology and materials. 

          

Flying Arrow is the brainchild of Michael Hauenstein, who hails from Switzerland, and who’s built both an indoor and outdoor range in Maenam. He’s been an archer for 30 years now and still loves the sport. He provides full equipment and several types of bow, including crossbows. You’ll probably remember as a child having a bow and arrows, but the real thing is quite different. Bigger, more technical, and requiring skill. 

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SEEING IS BELIEVING

Venture off-island for some eyes-wide-open adventures with Sa-ard’s Watersports Center.

Venture off-island for some eyes-wide-open adventures with Sa-ard’s Watersports Center.Did you know that there are over 70 islands and islets surrounding Koh Samui, with dozens upon dozens of gorgeous, secluded white sandy beaches, some of which are only accessible by boat? Done sunbathing around your pool or on the beach, hiking through the mountainous interior, visiting temples and shopping? Sa-ard’s Watersports Centre is here to magically transport you away towards the horizon and new adventures, far from the busy tourist trail and crowds.

          

Owner, Khun Sa-ard Panyawan, represented Thailand in windsurfing at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. He has also won five gold medals for windsurfing at the South-East Asia Games. Living and sailing the local archipelago for over 20 years, Sa-ard and his team know the best ways to navigate the beautiful waters and islands that surround Samui. They are the first choice to help you make the most out of the variety of trip options or to organize a bespoke trip.

          

Around Koh Samui. Starting from the north of the island in Bangrak, this trip passes by the busy beaches of Chaweng and Lamai as well as the smaller and quieter ones like Choeng Mon, Na Kai and Bang Kao Bay. 

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TREASURES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

Dine on the Mediterranean delights of The Cliff Bar & Gr ill: fine food and drink presented by a stellar team.

Dine on the Mediterranean delights of The Cliff Bar & Gr ill: fine food and drink presented by a stellar team.Drive up through the winding hills between Chaweng and Lamai and you’ll come to The Cliff Bar & Grill, one of the most well-known spots on the island for foreign residents. Step through into the restaurant and you’ll want to admire the picturesque view from The Cliff’s outdoor deck. With the entire restaurant open to the beautiful bay outside, you can see why so many people are drawn to this amazing location.

          

But the real drawcard – the one that has made The Cliff one of Samui’s enduringly great restaurants – isn’t the view at all. It’s the food. From farm and sea to the kitchen and finally the dining table, The Cliff has a highly professional approach to food, with freshness and quality always at the forefront. Vegetables are organically grown and include produce from The Cliff’s own gardens. When it comes to meat, only premium-grade is used. Beef, for example, is directly flown in from Australia. It’s aged for an impressive three weeks and is always chilled, not frozen – to give you all the more freshness and, of course, way more flavour. 

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BUILDING A LIFESTYLE

Property investment opportunities with New Nordic Group.

98-1The New Nordic Group is a Hong Kong based real estate firm, led by a highly-qualified team of dedicated professionals, with expertise in the fields of real estate, property development, finance and hospitality, with on-site management teams at all locations. They are developing and constructing high-quality condominiums, apartments, villas, villages and hotels across South East Asia, and currently have over 100 projects in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines, with 50 buildings completed. The aim is to create a holiday village environment, where residents and guests can enjoy a carefree lifestyle with accommodation, shops, restaurants, bars and spas, all run by their own resort staff.

          

New Nordic was established 15 years ago, and is the leader of hotel and condominium development in Pattaya, where they have 36 completed hotels and condominiums, with 14 under construction. 

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SIP, SAVOUR, LOUNGE & LINGER

Upmarket and laid back, you’ll be going back again to Coast at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui!

Upmarket and laid back, you’ll be going back again to Coast at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui!Centara Grand Resort Samui is no stranger to Samui, being one of the longest-established chunks of 5-star real estate on the island. It’s not exactly a household word. But in recent years it’s certainly shown itself to be one of the most progressive of all the Thai mega-names. You’ll get to their signature restaurant, Coast, by heading over to the right-hand side of the car park. Follow your way through the greenery and you’ll come across the wooden decking leading into the beach-frontage.

          

 It’s all very neatly designed and laid out. A large central area which edges onto the beach has been broken into different areas and levels, with a series of very attractive modern canopied spaces in the middle. There are actually four buildings around the edge, all of them clean, white and very Mediterranean in feel. The open-sided bar features some very chic hanging seats, and this is next to a lower beach level with rows of modern scooped daybeds, each in their own little niche, and with a group of tented salas nearby. It’s a beautifully designed place, open, bright, inviting and with lots of cosy nooks and corners.

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