Travelogue: Sightseeing On and Off the Beaten Track

Koh Samui Press Trip Part 4

Following a leisurely breakfast and tour of the hotel, Michael Taylor and several other Hong Kong based journalists spend 2 days exploring some of Koh Samui’s lesser known – and a few well known – attractions.

 

Following a leisurely buffet breaktfast, our first full day begins with a tour of the hotel. Then we are taken on a leisurely tour of the island. We take another tour of the island the following day.

DAY ONE

Cera’

Our first stop is Cera’, a ceramic studio where stunningly beautiful contemporary ceramics with strong Thai cultural influences are sold in a retail space out front – and made, in a ceramics studio out back. None of us leave the shop empty-handed.

Cera’, 68/25 Moo 5, Tambon Mae Nam, Koh Samui, Suratthani, Thailand. Telephone: 0 7724 7805. 

Relax@Samui

We arrive at the appropriately named Relax@Samui, an open air restaurant overlooking the sea, where we spend the next 2 and 1/2 hours relaxing, snacking, chatting, and taking pictures.

Then we have a mouth-watering lunch. In addition to free Wi-Fi, the eatery offers free kayaking!

Relax@Samui, 90/9 Moo 6, Bang Por Beach, Maenam, Koh Samui, Suratthani, Thailand. Telephone: 0 77 602 228. 

Nathon Old Town

We are driven to Nathon Old Town, a collection of non-descript buildings housing shops selling mostly T-shirts, souvenirs, and other slocky stuff targeted at tourists.

My search for a black and white Jack Daniels tank top that will fit me begins – but doesn’t end – here. We try iced tea sold be a street-side vender on our way back to the tour bus.

Kalasea Coffee and Chill

After shopping till we drop in Nathon Old Town (I never did find the tank top I was looking for), we are driven to Kalasea, a coffee house built on stilts over Bang Makham Beach.

With the white and blue colour scheme, it would seem right at home on a Greek Island. Rumour has it that it’s popular with hotel employees, who enjoy the laid back atmosphere.

Kalasea Coffee and Chill, 27/10 Moo 5 Tambon Angthong Amphur, Koh Samui, Surathani, Thailand.

Stacked

We return to the hotel, freshen up in our rooms, and stuff ourselves to the gills at a communal dinner at Stacked. A review of the restaurant is coming.

Located atop a hill overlooking the town and the bay, Q Bar Samui is a full service restaurant and nightclub with a great DJ. It’s rather quiet the night we chill out there, but rumour has it that it is the place to see and be seen in Koh Samui on weekends and holidays.

Q Bar Samui, 47/57 Moo 2 Bophut, Koh Samui, Surithani, Thailand. Telephone: +66 077 962420.

DAY TWO

Aquapark Chaweng

Following another leisurely breakfast, we change into our swimming suits and head for the beach to tackle Aqua Park, a collection of large inflatables, which challenge swimmers to climb atop and then dive back into the sea.

It is definitely harder than it looks. Everyone in our group that gave it a try succeed – save one. Oh, well … Maybe I’ll succeed next time.

Mojito Island

What a quirky place this is! Opened by eccentric Englishman Peter Snelson, who traded the Emerald Isle for a life in the Tropics – this ‘island’ is actually a raft anchored a few yards from the beach. It serves yummy mojitos and other cocktails.

Definitely NOT your run of the mill beach bar – much more fun! Rumour has it a second bar called Titanic has opened since our visit.

Mojito Island. Telephone: +66 99 913 2145.

Koh Samui Viewpoint

The real attraction at Koh Samui Viewpoint is not the view. It’s the yummy ice cream made with fresh coconuts that a vendor sells from the back of a van with open sides!

OMG! The vendor scoops ice cream into half of a coconut, adds some coconut meat, and tops it with your choice of toppings. I opted for pineapple, and I was NOT disappointed.

Krua Chao Baan

We have lunch at this beachside eatery, which is dripping with local colour. I don’t hear any complaints from the others, who seem to be enjoying it. But I’m not overly impressed.

There are simply too many flies for comfort, and the seafood is nothing to write home about. I decide to run around and take pictures while the others are eating.

Krua Chao Baan, 438/18 Moo 1, Maret, Koh Samui, Suratthani, Thailand. Telephone: 077 418589.

Kalamare

After sampling coconut ice cream, we are taken to a store-front factory where coconut candy is made. Following a demonstration, we try free samples. Most of us leave the shop with a few purchases.

Fisherman’s Village

I visited Fisherman’s Village on my last trip to Koh Samui, when I spent 3 nights at the Hansar Samui, which is located right next door, and I really loved it.

We start with a foot massage, followed by dinner at a restaurant on the beach. Then we explore the Friday Street Market, which I missed on my last trip.

Central Festival

We end the day at Central Festival, a recently opened high-end shopping mall with lots of shops as well as food and beverage outlets.

And check this out: I find more bargains at the fixed price retail outlets at the mall than I did at Nathon Old Town the day before! And I didn’t have to haggle …

Maybe it’s because the mall caters to locals while Old Town caters to tourists. But I don’t find the Jack Daniels tank top I’m looking for.

Central Festival, between Chaweng Beach Road and Chaweng Lake. Telephone: +077 962 777 .

DAYS THREE AND FOUR

Jack Daniels Tank Tops

The press trip officially ends on our third full day. While everyone else heads to the airport, I am staying one more night so I decide to continue my search for a white on black Jack Daniels tank top.

I have found several shops selling Jack Daniels tank tops since my arrival, but either the size is wrong or the colours are wrong. Should I just give on and return home without one?

Not yet. There are several shops near the hotel, and I decide to give it one last try.

I find a black on red one that fits  in a shop down the road. Not what I am looking for, but I decide to buy it anyway.

I find a black on white one in another shop. Again, not what I am looking for, but at least I am getting warmer (and I buy it).

I am reaching the end of the outskirts of the main shopping district. The shops are starting to get fewer and further between. Should I just head back to my hotel and have a massage at that open air massage parlour on the beach?

And then – just when I am about to give up – I walk into that one final shop. Voila!  Just what I have been looking for – a white on black Jack Daniels tank top. In the end, I come home with 3 of Jack Daniels tank tops in 3 different colours.

Mission accomplished, I can return to Hong Kong with more than a not very impressive suntan!

Where

Ozo Chaweng Samui, Chaweng Beach, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surathani, Thailand. Telephone: +66 (0) 7733 4300. Website: Ozo Chaeng Samui

The hotel is located on Chaweng Beach. It is a 15 minute drive from Samui International Airport.

There are numerous other hotels, food and beverage outlets, day spas, souvenir shops, and boutiques within walking distance of the hotel. A couple of convenience stores are located right across the street.

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