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The basics of ‘real-life’ living on Koh Samui – Part Two.

The basics of ‘real-life’ living on Koh Samui – Part Two.Following part one in the last edition of Samui Holiday Magazine, you may have already made the leap of faith and be living on Koh Samui, or you may still be considering the change of location and lifestyle. Here is some further information to ease you into the transition or to help your decision.

          

Culture shock. Moving to a new country can be exciting, but also unsettling, and can take some adjustment. Not everything works the same way, and the way you may normally react to a situation at home, may not be appreciated here. One example is confrontation. Thai people do not confront each other with accusations, no matter how mild or inconsequential, neither will they tell you if you are doing something wrong. This is because the majority of Thai people are Buddhists, and a major philosophy of Buddhism is tolerance. It’s advisable to get a good book on Thai culture in order to familiarize yourself with the local customs and culture. You really don’t want to unintentionally offend your new neighbours soon after arriving. If you are relocating with children, don’t forget that they also need to be made aware of local customs. Children are creatures of habit and may feel overwhelmed by their new environment.

          

Speaking Thai. With Samui being a tourist hotspot, you can get away without really learning Thai, as many of the locals have at least a basic level of English. But it is appreciated if you make the effort, and can be helpful in some situations. Learning a new language is never easy for most of us, and Thai is so different from English and the other European languages in terms of tones and the written language,The basics of ‘real-life’ living on Koh Samui – Part Two. that it can seem a bit daunting. The best way to learn Thai is to take beginners’ course from a reputable language school. This will help you understand how the grammar differs and to master the pronunciation. Then go out and practice, use it in restaurants and shops and make new friends. One school that has been on the island for many years now, and has a good reputation, is Mind Your Language, located in Bophut. Find further information here; www.mindyourlanguagethailand.com

          

Social Groups. Samui does not have the same ‘hard-core’ expat community as some other places, but with social media readily available it is not too hard to search out groups of friendly, like-minded people. ‘Sisters on Samui’ (SOS) holds monthly meetings for ‘ladies who lunch’ at different venues in order to chat and raise money for different local charities. Find out more here; www.facebook.com/kohsamuicharity.

          

There are numerous gyms, yoga studios and a few sports arenas as well as a tennis club, badminton club and dance studio. Some local bars and restaurants organise weekly or monthly quiz nights or live music events. There are lots of ways to meet other people. If you have children enrolled at one of the international schools, you will be sure to meet other parents either there or through your children making new friends.

          

If you want to bring a pet with you, this is possible. All the information can be found at the Department of Livestock Development’s website www.en.dld.go.th, and Samui does have a number of good veterinarians to take care of them.

          

Shopping. There are two big Tesco Lotus shopping centres, both on the ring road, one in Chaweng, the other in Lamai and a Big C Supercentre in Bophut. They sell most things that you really need; food, clothing, personal, household and electrical goods, toys and stationery. These shopping centres also have other shops inside them,The basics of ‘real-life’ living on Koh Samui – Part Two. selling a variety of consumer needs such as clothing, sportswear, pharmaceuticals, mobile phones, books, watches and glasses as well and bank outlets and food centres. Central Festival in Chaweng is the latest shopping attraction with Tops supermarket, a department store, bank outlets with longer than standard opening hours as well as specialist shops and restaurants. They all have ample and free car parking. Makro stores can be found in Bophut and Lamai. They supply restaurants and resorts with fresh and dry food plus anything else required to run a hotel, resort or business. Anyone can shop there, and it can be cheaper than the other stores, especially for meat, fish and vegetables. The supermarkets carry a selection of imported goods, although it can be a bit hit and miss with certain items not always in stock! There are some speciality shops stocking imported wines, cheeses, meats and other goods. Thai people tend to shop for food at the fresh markets which can be found in most areas. Here, fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish arrive daily. Chaweng Beach Road has become a haven for clothes and jewellery shops, with some upmarket brands, but also market stalls selling genuine copies! Nathon has some great shops and is worth an afternoon of browsing for all sorts of knick-knacks.

          

Dining. There are currently hundreds of restaurants in Samui. From fine dining, if you really want to splash out, middle-of-the-road Thai, Italian, French, Austrian, Australian, American, Indian, Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and everything else. Don’t forget the basic Thai kitchens and make-shift restaurants dotted around, where you can eat for around 40 to 120 baht. And street food, found literally on the side of the road or at a walking street venue can be found somewhere in Samui nearly every night of the week.

          

Pork, chicken and seafood feature heavily in Thai cooking. If you want to avoid a lot of monosodium glutamate (MSG), sugar or chilli, be sure to ask if they can cook without it. If you want good imported meat or produce such as beef, lamb or lobster, expect to go to a more up-market venue and pay a lot more. There are a growing number of healthy, organic and even vegetarian or vegan restaurants in Samui. These are not cheap,The basics of ‘real-life’ living on Koh Samui – Part Two. but you can rely on them for great juices, smoothies, snacks and meals.

          

Activities. Those in search of action or relaxation won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of beachside places to go diving, parasailing, rent a jet-ski, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or take a boat trip around Angthong National Marine Park. Venture into Samui’s mountainous interior to visit the many breath-taking waterfalls, take a wire zip-line trip above the treetops, stay on ground level on a quad bike or bicycle or visit the magical garden or temples atop the mountains. You can also get competitive on a go-cart track go rock climbing, ride quad bikes, play golf or mini golf, and for the kids, there are also water parks.

          

Activities. Those in search of action or relaxation won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of beachside places to go diving, parasailing, rent a jet-ski, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or take a boat trip around Angthong National Marine Park. Venture into Samui’s mountainous interior to visit the many breath-taking waterfalls, take a wire zip-line trip above the treetops, stay on ground level on a quad bike or bicycle or visit the magical garden or temples atop the mountains. You can also get competitive on a go-cart track go rock climbing, ride quad bikes, play golf or mini golf, and for the kids, there are also water parks.

          

For those who want to relax, head to the beach and lose yourself in a good book or enjoy a Thai massage right on the beach or at one of the many massage shops or spa’s around the island. Enjoy a sundowner cocktail and watch the sunset transform the daytime time sky into a myriad of gorgeous colours.

          

Fitness. There are a number of gyms around the island, from basic outdoors setups to all singing and dancing with indoor spaces with air conditioning. Many have basic gym equipment, but the newer ones also offer classes such as CrossFit, Muay Thai, as well as yoga and Pilates.

          

There are also specialist Muay Thai gyms, Taekwondo, yoga, Pilate’s and dance studios offering everything from ballet and hiphop to pole dancing. Gyms don’t tend to have swimming pools, but a number of resorts and schools will allow you to use their pool for a small fee.

          

As you either consider the move or ease into your new life here on Samui, know that most things are possible, but not always easy! If you have any burning ‘where to’ or ‘how to’ questions for the community, you can always ask at Facebook’s ‘Community Online Pin Board Koh Samui’ page. Ultimately, just relax, breath and enjoy…

          

Karan Ladd


 


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