Samui Wining & Dining
PARTY PARTY !
Parties on Samui come in many different shapes and sizes. You’ll be surprised at what goes on.

Parties on Samui come in many different shapes and sizes. You’ll be surprised at what goes on.Samui’s known as a haven of hedonism, and as soon as the dusk starts to set in people come out to play. There’s drinking, dancing, and having wild times. All the clichés hold good for Samui, but it’s more than a raucous, alcohol-fuelled party zone. There are many different kinds of parties going on here. And not always at night.

          

Many parties are held during the afternoon. The most usual kind are the beach parties, held in many beachfront resorts or bars. There’s always food available, very often in the form of a barbecue and/or buffet. Drinks will be a-plenty and you’ll always find a DJ. The music tends to match the vibe and time of day, so will start mellow round midday or in the afternoon, when the beach parties usually start. Beach Republic’s Ocean Club is home to the Sunday Sessions – featuring The Ultimate Sunday Brunch Club. Some beach parties go on until very late, sometimes till the early morning, finishing at 2:00 am.

          

But what about parties where people know each other, however vaguely? What are parties like on an island where many foreign residents have come to live, either full-time or part-time? The short answer is that they tend to be fairly low key and reflect the diversity of age groups that the organizers know. Not all involve music and alcohol, and they can be held in places you might never have dreamt of.

          

Let’s drop in to an unusual venue: a sheep farm. How many times have you been to a party held at a sheep farm? Rarely, I’ll bet. But sheep farms do throw parties. Well, at least they do on Samui. And if you’re the right age, then you’ll be mesmerized – though they’re more for children than adults. The island’s only sheep farm is located in Maenam, and it’s here that some two dozen people convene to celebrate a child’s fifth birthday.Parties on Samui come in many different shapes and sizes. You’ll be surprised at what goes on. It’s definitely a quirky experience. Sheep wander across the farm, which is more a large garden, with others following, curious as to what’s going on. Sheep can be quite insistent and they can be friendly too. They gather round the small group of five and six year olds, who start feeding them. The children aren’t at all nervous and pat them and stroke their new playmates. Their parents, meanwhile, are chatting on the veranda, overlooking the proceedings and keeping a weather eye out on the entente cordiale between sheep and children. The languages range through English, Dutch and Thai, accompanied by the bleating of the sheep, who win on decibel levels. Children and sheep are exuberant, obviously enjoying the occasion. It turns out to be yet another great idea for a party on Samui. Sheep can be trusted, it seems and are such mesmerizing beings that the children forget to eat the chocolate cake that’s available for them. Everyone agrees to come back here for the next child’s birthday party. None of the parents or the children have any prior connection to the sheep farm. Holding a party here just seemed like a good idea, and a spontaneous one at that. And Samui being very focused on food and drink, just about anyone here can throw a party given a bit of notice. Sheep don’t have to be involved.

          

Later on a more traditional party takes place, up in a villa in Choeng Mon. The property isn’t very big, but the outdoors area accommodates a hundred, easily. However, it’s hardly a brilliant spot for preparing food for so many people. But that’s definitely not a problem, not when there are plenty of caterers on call. The hosts have simply arranged with Nigel Mills, a tried-and-trusted outside caterer to turn up and cook for them. He arrives with a giant hand-made barbecue grill and oven. He proceeds to make a feast of amazingly tasty food, and does it all very coolly, totally unfazed by the tiny space in which he has to work in. And afterwards, yes, he clears up everything so that you’d never know there’d been a party here.

          

So far so good. What you’ll notice about both these parties is that nobody has hosted them entirely by themselves. There’s usually some sort of reliance on outside services. This is very typical of Samui. Unlike in many countries, hiring outside services or hosting your party on someone else’s turf isn’t going to break the bank. Thai people often hold extremely large wedding parties with hundreds of guests. They don’t usually do this in their homes, but organize them outside, and call in restaurant services as well as people who erect massive canopies and set up tables and chairs. Some of these events are so big that they’re more like military manoeuvres – green field sites become a temporary space for revellers, but come the next day, everything’s taken down, packed away and the site returns to its original look.

          

Staff parties are a big thing on Samui. If you’re a holidaymaker you probably won’t be aware of them. Typically they include plenty of karaoke, and for the larger ones often a stage is put up and there’s dancing with staff putting on various skits and routines. A bit like talent night, with everyone having a go at the microphone. And it may also have elements of game shows, too, with an MC and various presents being given to members of staff. Often there’s a theme to the party, and fancy-dress figures prominently. A recent staff party had a one-word theme recently: pink.Page126-3 People put a lot of effort into staff parties and this was no exception: bubble-gum pink predominated.

          

So at night, if you hear some terrible singing and cheering, it may turn out to be a corporate bash. And you’ll know who the culprit is, as such parties tend to be held right on the company’s premises. For more genteel affairs, people tend to hire out rooms. It may surprise you but Samui’s hotels, so geared towards holidays, take into account corporate needs too. So you can find large conference-style rooms, which are good for indoor parties. These can be rented out very easily, with hotel staff supplying flowers, food and drink if required – everything you can think of.

          

If you’re staging a party in a locale with guests coming from different places on the island, you can arrange for them to be picked up by mini-van. This works out cheaper than using a fleet of taxis. The drivers just need to know where the locations are, the drop-off and pick-up times and they’ll do the rest. It’s a good solution to a common problem. And it means too that everyone’s free to drink.

          

The largest parties, and also the most commonly held ones on Samui, are definitely wedding receptions. You might not be aware of it, but the island is a prime exotic wedding destination, with weddings just about every day of the year. And of course where there’s a wedding, there’s a party. The biggest can have over 100 guests, jetting in from all over the world, and you’ll find receptions held at resorts and the larger villas, perhaps on the lawn, if they have one. Organizing such a big event is a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together: there are many different suppliers who’ll work on a large wedding and all have to be in the right order and in the right place and at the right time. Not much good if the vol-au-vents are ready before the chairs and tables are in place. But this rarely happens; the teams have so much practice that they’re very experienced and usually everything runs incredibly smoothly.

          

The only factor that can’t be totally predicted is the weather. Usually in the west, the weather isn’t too much of a consideration with most parties being held indoors. But here in the Tropics, almost all are held out-doors. So the host or hostess is often worried not just if everyone’s going to turn up, but equally if the weather will hold. But typically on Samui, it does. Or it’ll rain just briefly. However, you can get caught out, so it pays to have an indoor back-up. And because weather forecasting for Samui is so chancy – internet info may be completely wrong – those who regularly give parties tend to know their clouds. The unwelcome gatecrasher here on friendly Samui turns out not to be a person but a big fat swollen thundercloud. Protection comes in the form of a marquee with drop-down plastic sides. There are times when being in the open air can be, well, a bit … intense.

          

No matter if there are a few rainy times, there’s always an opportunity to have a party on Samui. It’s just a question of making up your mind which sort you’d like to have. That’s the big decision and everything else just follows on from there. And whether the event is big or small, there are always plenty of people ready to help make it a resounding success.

          

 Dimitri Waring


 


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