Category Archives: Koh Samui Island

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Koh-SamuiOf course for many, the lure of Koh Samui is the sun, sea, sand and laid back lifestyle but there is far more to the island than just tropical sandy beaches, azure waters and palm trees. Thanks to the Santiburi golf club, Koh Samui is an exciting destination for golfers, but, if you don’t have golfing skills to show off on the islands world class golf course, why not enjoy one of these two fun variations of the game?

Frisbee Golf

If you can tear yourself away from a relaxing afternoon on a beautiful beach, Frisbee Golf is a fun way to cool off under the canopy of the jungle trees. It might sound like a gimmick but Frisbee golf is a real sport that started in the 70’s in the USA and is also known as disc golf. It is played much like traditional golf but instead of a ball and clubs you use a disc, better known to us as its brand name Frisbee. The Frisbee is thrown from a tee area to an elevated metal basket. The player then progresses down the fairway; he or she must make each consecutive shot from the spot where the previous throw has landed. Like traditional golf, there are trees, shrubs and terrain changes providing obstacles to navigate which certainly adds to the fun. Unlike traditional golf you don’t need to rent a cart and it’s designed for people of all ages, males and females and does not require a bank loan to play!

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The course in Maenam is open most days, if you want to play you can just call Nigel on 0816767754, the cost of playing is just 100 baht and you can play all day if you want to. Nigel has refreshments in his ‘club house’ and if there are a few of you playing he is happy to put on a BBQ for you, call him to discuss offers and prices. He can accommodate up to twenty if you fancy a long afternoon of fabulous food and fun.

Football Golf

Football Golf is basically golf with footballs, bigger holes and no clubs; it is a fun holiday activity that can be enjoyed by any number of players and is here thanks to Tom Roberts. Tom’s idea sprang from playing football as a child on the beach back in the UK. To make the game more interesting he and his friends used to dig holes on the beach and test their skills by trying to get a hole in one. The game was quite a challenge; not only because of the required digging, but as most of you will know running on the beach is seriously hard work.To make life a bit easier they relocated to Tom’s garden and the holes were replaced by a chair that was moved around placed behind obstacles to make the game more challenging.

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Tom had such fond memories of his childhood game he decided there was no reason he could not take it into adulthood and set out to rent some land and make an 18 hole football golf course, which is exactly what he has done. Unbeknown to Tom Football Golf was already being played in Sweden, a fact he only discovered while surfing the net once his course had been completed. Within weeks Tom had Swedish players enjoying the paradise version of the game and football golf officially took off in Koh Samui.

The course is beautiful and thankfully, in this heat, is protected by a canopy of trees and coconut palms. Of the 18 holes one is a par 2, seven are par 3, seven are par 4, and three are par 5. You will encounter bunkers, bamboo hedges, hills and piles of coconuts on your way round and all need to be negotiated! There are hardly any rules to learn, basically you just have to get the ball in the hole and to keep it fair the most you record that you went over par is 7! The course is open seven days a week from 9am until 6-30pm.

 

 

 

Luxury beachfront and hillside villas on Samui have become ever more popular in recent years and provide an alternative to staying in a hotel there are a number of specialized villa agents you can book through such as Mambo Retreats

 

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Central Festival Samui

 The Central Pattana Public Company Limited (CPN) unveiled its latest retail development on March 29th, the Central Festival Samui.

Central Festival is ideally situated in central Chaweng on the beach road. The Executive Vice President of Marketing for CPN said “CPN sees Koh Samui’s great growth potential owing to the island being recognized as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, drawing visitors with high purchasing power from all over the globe including Europe, Australia, Russia and Asia.

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Shopping, Dining & Party..

Koh Samui attracts 1.9 million visitors a year, 80% of whom are foreigners. In addition Koh Samui has seen dramatic growth in residential property development. CPN intends for Central Festival to be a new landmark for the island, standing out both in terms of design and the extensiveness of offerings. The shopping centre’s design features elements and details that are unique to Samui and will be the first themed mall developed by CPN. Its world-class design allows customers to have a resort-style shopping experience under the “Reminiscence of Southern Lifestyle” concept. Shoppers can relax while enjoying their shopping sprees.”

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The shopping centre does indeed represent characteristics of Koh Samui such as the vintage Chaweng Port theme with the use of decorations such as birdcages that remind people of the day to day life of Samui residents. The mall’s décor also features Chino-Portuguese influences and colonial style architecture with a charming East meets West blend. Central Festival is certainly a haven for shoppers and indeed for diners. The Central Department store is certainly home to a myriad of big brand names and other anchor stores such s Tops Market, Power Buy, SuperSports and B2S have brought a whole host of items to shoppers that were not previously available on the island.   004 Central Festival has more than two hundred other stores of local and international brands such as Rip Curl, Oakley, Playboy, Uniqlo, CCOO, Esprit, Giordano, Jaspal, Psylo, Adidas, Nature Art Gallery, Helen Mark and Jim Thompson. The Night Bazaar is a great place to while away an evening and the extensive ranges of dining options makes it the ideal place for a spot of lunch or a relaxing evening meal at one of the many gastro bars. Indoor and outdoor dining spaces can be found at B Bistro, Zazen, Zen Sushi and Sake, Coffee Club, Starbucks and Copa Cabana.

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Pirates of Marioland

For kids and big kids alike there is plenty of fun to be had at the Mario Land amusement park, decorated under the theme of “The Pirates of the Caribbean”. Central Festival has a variety of events and campaigns plans for the whole year to entertain the residents and visitors of Koh Samui.

Ms. Yuwadee Chirathivat, the president of Central Department Store, said a budget of 425 million baht was spent on building the two-floor Central Department Store at Central Festival Samui. The store has total gross floor area of 8,000 square metres. It is the first and only Central Department Store with only two floors. It features a contemporary resort design concept and touts the natural beachfront atmosphere. Glass panels and windows are used in order to give an airy feel to the building. There is a garden in-between the escalators. As there are only two floors, customers can choose to walk up the stairs, use the escalators or ride the lifts.

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Songkran Festival (Thai New Year)

Koh samui islandThere are a million and one great reasons to visit Koh Samui , it is easily accessible thanks to the international airport, the climate offers warmth all year round, the beaches go on for miles, the locals are friendly, the island offers a culinary adventures that will take you from one end of the globe to the other and offers everything from penny bargains on the street markets to world class five star cuisine in top restaurants run under the watchful eye of Michelin star chefs.

In addition to that you have superb attractions such as the butterfly farm, the aquarium, a world class golf course, bars, cabarets, nightclubs, Thai boxing, sailing, yachting, diving, fishing, world class spas and endless shopping that will take you from the local markets to the recently opened Central Festival Shopping Mall in the heart of Chaweng.

SongkranKoh Samui is a fun and exciting place to live or visit at any time of the year, but there is no better time to experience Thai culture and the Thai sense of fun than during the Songkran Festival when the Thais celebrate their traditional New Year. Thai people are known for ‘sanuk’ (fun) and if you want to catch them having the most fun of all then Songkran offers a unique opportunity to do just that.

The date of the Thai New Year was originally set by astrological calculations. Songkran marked the beginning of the New Year until 1888. After 1888 up until 1940 the 1st of April officially marked the start of the New Year. From then on, as in the west, Jan 1 was used.

songkran festDespite the change in official dates Songkran is still the Thai New Year National Holiday and the celebrations, which are said to have been adapted from an Indian festival, enthusiastically take place all over Thailand.

The traditional greeting at this auspicious time of year is สวัสดีปีใหม่” (sa-wat-dee pee mai) and the festival was traditionally celebrated by visiting respected elders, family members, friends and relatives as well as giving prayer and food to monks and cleansing Buddha images and household shrines with water and Thai fragrance to bring about good luck and prosperity.

songkranAlthough traditional celebrations are still observed in many parts of the country, more typically, these days, the New Year is welcomed by wildly enthusiastic water fights where locals and visitors alike roam the streets armed with water guns and buckets of iced water, that are often mixed with mentholated talcum powder, to drench passersby.

Pick-up trucks, packed with excited adults and children, armed with water pistols drive around the island complete with huge barrels of water. During this time household hose pipes are on full blast during the lively celebrations to ensure everybody gets refreshingly soaked during this colorful festival that falls at the hottest time of the year. Even the police taking care of safety on the roads are no exempt from being drenched with water and white powder as they direct the traffic.1331595977-the-songkran-festival-on-khao-san-road_1103100

If you want to experience Samui at its best then what better time than Songkran when locals and residents alike welcome you to pick up a water pistol and join in with the fun.

Top 10 Attractions On Samui

Thailand’s third biggest island, Koh Samui is a beautiful and interesting island. Koh Samui’s repertoire of things to do and see is varied and interesting.

A certain pair of amusing rocks called Grandmother and Grandfather is one of the main attraction for visitors, the large Buddha statue in Bangrak and some attractive waterfalls notably Na Muang waterfalls.

BIG BUDDHAbigbuddha bigb

Big Buddha temple majestically sits on a small rocky island off Koh Samui and locally known as Wat Phra Yai.

This golden Buddha statue was built on 1972 and has quickly become one of Thailand’s most recognizable iconic landmarks. Big Buddha temple can be accessed via a causeway that connects it to the main island.

Since this is a sacred place, visitors are advised to dress modestly and be polite.

HIN TA AND HIN YAI ROCKS (Grandfather and Grandmother rocks)hinta-hinyai Hinta-hinyai beach

These odd-looking rocks situated on Lamai Beach have been a source of mirth and wonder on the island since they were discovered many years ago. Grandpa and Grandma rocks, look, respectively bear a striking resemblance to male and female genitalia.

The legend goes that these rocks were created when a couple were travelling by boat with their son to his forthcoming wedding. The unfortunate family were caught by a violent storm of the coast of Samui and their vessel capsized. Unable to swim, they drowned and magically became the rocks as a sign of their good intention towards his proposed bride and her family.

The rocks stand there up to this day and have turned into one of the island’s biggest attractions.

NA MUANG WATERFALLSwaterfall1 waterfall2

There are few things that capture that island paradise feelings as a waterfall. A set of two magnificent cascades on Koh Samui states that the beauty of the island is not limited to its beaches.

Na Muang is a popular place for families to swim and relax, of course you will want to wade through the waters below to truly experience the raw natural beauty of these majestic waterfalls. There’s also a nearby elephant safari camp where one can book a ride on an elephant.

You can spend your entire day swimming, hiking, exploring and picnic food as a peaceful alternative to a beach.

MUMMIFIED MONKmumified monk mumified monk 2

It sounds a little macabre, but it’s not. These Mummiefied Monk at Wat Khunaram is an unusual sight yet it offers a unique insight into Thai culture. It’s absolutely fascinating, if a little weird for some.

One of the weirdest things about the experience is the fact that the monk – known in life as Luong Pordaeng – is casually wearing shades which have been placed upon him to hide the decay of his eyes.

Aside from Mummy Monk, Wat Khunaram is a fairly Buddhist temple, where local people can come daily to pray. Visitors are welcome to join or observe the daily rituals and have a look around.

SECRET BUDDHA GARDENsecret garden samui secret garden2 secret garden3

Secret Buddha garden is hidden high up in the hills/mountains on Koh Samui’s south side. Magic garden was built in 1976 by a local Samuian fruit farmer Mr. Nim Thongsuk at the age of 77.

Magic garden with its many statues, waterfalls, spirit houses and tropical flowers and plants has a special, mystical atmosphere. Statues represent many creatures in various poses, including one of Khun Nim himself, in a relaxed position sitting on a rock.

There are several viewpoints along the way to secret Buddha garden offering a stunning panorama view over the southern part of Samui island.

WAT PLAILEMWat Plai Laem watplailem

The temple is located in the north of Samui not far from Wat Phra Yai on the road from Big Buddha to Cheong Mon Beach.

Wat Plailem is famous for the hundreds of fish that live in lake below the temple waiting to be fed. These temple is a living and active temple, where devotees come daily to pay homage to Guanyin and the Buddha.

SAMUI AQUARIUM AND TIGER SHOWsamuiaqua samui-attractions-samui-aquarium-and-tiger-zoo tiger-zoo_340_14 TigerZoo2

Samui Aquarium is located in Hua Thanon, the Aquarium hosts many local species of coral fishes, huge cat fishes and several sharks. This family-oriented attraction has enough time to entertain the kids and the whole family on an afternoon outing.

At the zoo, the main attraction is the Bengal tigers and Leopards. There’s also an opportunity to take your photograph with some of the tigers and leopards for an extra charge.

After enjoying the impressive size of those “cats” you will be invited to a bird show, where parrots, sea hawks and eagles will perform some amusing tricks for your pleasure.

On the way out, don’t forget to say “Hi” to the few birds and monkeys in smaller cages across the parking, some of the parrots are quite friendly and have some funny behavior.

SAMUI SNAKE FARMsamui-snake-farm (1) samui-snake-farm snake farm zmeinaya_ferma1

Snake shows by the snake whisperers are the highlight of a visit to Koh Samui’s Snake Farm located near the coast on Koh Samui’s southwestern tip.

Two shows a day features cobra demonstration from a brave handler, audience interaction with safer reptiles, creepy displays of scorpions and centipedes. Visitors get a rare and up-close look at many of Thailand’s most fearsome reptiles, definitely not for the faint-hearted.

The insects display are hosted by a brave pair of people who hold the Guinness world records for handling scorpions and centipedes.

Snake shows are held at 11am and 2pm daily.

ANG THONG NATIONAL MARINE PARKangthong angthong-kayaking-06 Ang-Thong-Marine-Park Snorkeling-anghtong-day-trip.jpg-860x350

Angthong National Marin Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand with soaring limestone mountains, jungles, white sand beaches, fertile mangroves, waterfalls, hidden coves and lakes to explore. Snorkeling, hiking, sea kayaking, diving, sailing and simply relaxing on one of its idyllic beaches are the main activities to enjoy on Angthong.

Get a few friends together and enjoy a private boat charter or you can book and go with a tour party.

Note: The park is sometimes closed in the months of November and the first 3 weeks of December to allow for the natural rehabilitation of the environment.

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Ladyboy Cabarets might not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s just amazing! Ladyboys offer some of the finest night-time entertainment in Koh Samui with shows that are jam-packed with glitz, glam and a touch of humour. Most have at least three shows every night, and after the shows, you’d be able to take photographs of your favourite performers.

Starz Cabaret is the leading Cabaret show on Koh Samui, located at the back of Chaweng Shopping Centre. Daily show time 8pm – 10pm nightly.

Moulin Rouge Cabaret – formerly the Christy’s Cabaret feature three shows nightly. Lip-synced divas offer nightly shows that, straight or gay, are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Entrance is free. Moulin Rouge is located in a side street next off Chaweng beach Road (close to Burger King).

New Year’s Day escapade

Conrad Hotel New Year’s Day Buffet

 

Mambo Retreats like to recommend high class quality venues to our guests even if we have no affiliation with them it is all part of our service so I thought I would go and personally check-out the New Year’s Day Brunch Buffet at The Conrad on Koh Samui. I went along with my wife and 4 year old daughter.

We were greeted at the bottom of the hill by a security guard who asked us to wait a couple of minutes for the road to clear we were then directed up the hill. The road does twist and bend a bit but within a couple of minutes you are on the summit of the hill where we were greeted by another security guard and directed to the lobby where they have valet parking.

Unfortunately it was cloudy but the views over the Five Islands were still stunning and I will make a point of returning on a clear day for sunset which I have been told is quite breathtaking even the staff told me they still watch it every day when it is clear.

We were then taken down to the Zest restaurant by buggy and it is a fair way down traveling along narrow paths but eventually we arrived at our venue and were not disappointed again the views were amazing.adam4

We were greeted by the staff and offered a table inside or out but my daughter decied she preferred air-con so inside it was.

The buffet is small in comparison to the large Bangkok hotels but the quality was good and there was enough variety for us.

The buffet included egg station, Pad Thai station, noodle soups and pasta freshly made, a variety of appetizers including Parma ham, salads, tuna nicoise, a carvery and Thai food including a duck curry, a mussel green curry and lamb massaman.adam1 adam3 adam5

My daughter particularly enjoyed the prawns and brie as she was under 6 years old she was also free.

There was also complimentary glass of Prosceco for my wife and I.

For deserts included chocolate cake, strawberry cake and a superb crème caramel.

The service was good and attentive without being intrusive.

When we paid the bill a buggy arrived within one minute and by the time we go back to the lobby our car was waiting for us.

Definitely worth a visit and we will be adding The Conrad as a recommended venue to all our Mambo Retreats guests. We look forward to returning for the glorious sunset.

Heart of Christmas

Christmas on Samui

Thailand may be predominantly Buddhist but when it comes to Christmas Samui and Phuket have certainly not been missed of Santa’s list.

In Koh Samui the festive period is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and Christmas decorations can be seen in bars, restaurants, clubs, supermarkets and even hospitals. Christmas and New Year’s celebrations take place all over the island and New Years Eve will see the Koh Samui skies set alight with colourful and impressive firework displays.

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The choice of where to enjoy Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve dining are endless but there are three that are sitting at the top of the tree for this yuletide season.

The Conrad Koh Samui is a stunning resort in a secluded location on the south western tip of the island. From here you can enjoy panoramic views of the fabled five islands and picture perfect sunsets over the gulf of Thailand. Azure Pool and Beach

The Conrad offers a multitude of culinary experiences. Traditional Christmas favorites can be enjoyed at the spectacular Zest restaurant and if you are in the mood to stray from tradition then you can indulge in an unforgettable culinary experience at The Cellar restaurant.

The Merry Christmas brunch will be held from noon until 3-30pm at the Zest. Here you will be able to relax with a light brunch from the Conrad’s holiday inspired buffet menu and a glass of sparkling wine. There is no better way to enjoy the delectable cuisine that at the Zest with its spectacular ocean views.

The Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations taking place in the Zest from 6-30pm onwards will include a tantalizing festive buffet of turkey with all of the traditional trimmings and classic side dishes as well as traditional Christmas desserts.

The culinary indulgence at The Cellar starts at 7pm and if you book the eight seat dining table you can enjoy a wonderful evening that is exclusively yours or share the experience with other like minded guests and couples in an incredible and exclusive setting. The Cellar will be serving a six course Christmas Eve and Christmas Day degustation menu. However with only eight seats available booking ahead is essential.

Of course the festivities don’t stop after Christmas, there is the new year to welcome in as well. The Conrad will be playing host to a choice of gala dinners before they give a rapturous applause to welcome in 2014 on the beach amid a dazzling firework display and the beautiful floating lanterns.

Your gala dinner options include a colorful masked party on the beach with a wide selection of dishes, a Countdown at The Cellar where you can enjoy a memorable dining experience from the degustation menu and an exclusive seven course candlelit dinner at Jahn where you can enjoy fine Thai cuisine served in opulent style.

Another superb option for New Years Eve is the Napasai by Orient Express. This fabulous resort enjoys a superb location on a virtually private secluded beach cove in Maenam. The Napasai certainly how to make their guests feel special at any time of the year, but it is particularly magical around the festive period. Napasai

The New Years Eve buffet is every bit as spectacular as the Napasai itself and with a abundance of fresh seafood, Sushi, smoked duck breast, duck liver, duck salad and an array of Thai specialties on the starter menu, a noodle soup station, western favorites such as Beef Sirloin, Lamb Loin and duck, BBQ’d tiger prawns, rock lobster tails, blue crab, squid, Charolais Rib Beef, chicken and whole pork, not to mention main course Thai dishes, a French cheese station and a dessert menu with dishes like Lemon Tart, Panna Cotta , cream brulee, chocolate moose and fresh tarts as well as ice cream and Thai desserts, you had better take along a very healthy appetite.

If you feel like ringing in the New Year in the romantic fisherman’s village on the north shore then the H Bistro is an excellent choice. hansar samui pool

The H Bistro is part of the luxurious Hansar Samui and has a strong focus on providing cuisine at the highest level. H-Bistro has both indoor and outdoor dining spaces that overlook the gulf of Thailand and Koh Phangan beyond.

The H Bistro is a superb choice when it comes to spending New Years Eve in a culinary paradise. The  evening here will kick off with a rather special aperitif of Osteria Prosecco DOC Vino Frizzante, Mareno di Piave, Veneto, Italy. This will be followed by Chilled Langoustine, Madagascar Prawn and Alaskan King Crab. Once your appetite has been wetted you wll find yourself indulging in Slow cooked Hereford Veal Sirloin with Parmesan Reggiano Raviloi with Alba White Truffle Shavings before its time to go back to the ocean once again for Butter poached Maine Lobster, Venus Clams and Sea Urchin followed by Brittany Turbot Jumbo Scallop and then a very special course of Pigeon Royale Supreme. The grand finale to this gourmet extravaganza will be Fresh yellow Peach – Bourbon Vanilla Cream Brule Tart, “Isigny” natural yoghurt mousse, white chocolate Chantilly, bouvet saphir rose champagne and peach sorbet followed by Elefin Coffee or tea and Chocolate pearls!

Chaweng is the centre of vibrant nightlife on Samui for those who want to dance the nights away. Popular venues are the Green Mango, Reggae Bar, Sound Club and Solo Bar all pumping out the latest dance tunes well into the early hours of the morning.

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For the more adventurous take a boat ride over to Haadrin Beach on Koh Phangan home of the famous Full Moon Party and they will be throwing huge parties on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Full-moon-party-1

Of course Koh Samui does not have the cold weather and snow that is associated with Christmas in the west, so you will have to make do with white sandy beaches, hot summer lazy days and some time for rest and relaxation in the blue azure waters. During the Christmas period in Koh Samui you will be able to enjoy fine dining, swimming, kayaking, fishing, diving, sailing, golf, ocean and jungle safaris, temples, world class spas, day trips to other islands, vibrant markets and of course wonderful Thai hospitality from the Land of Smiles. stock-footage-tropical-paradise-beautiful-kata-beach-in-phuket-island-amazing-thailand Koh-Samui-sunset-fun-silhouette Want to enjoy a Romantic, comfortable, beautiful, why not come to Phuket, Thailand Image 0

Mambo Retreats would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.