ALL IN A DAY – SUN, SWIM, SHOP … REPEAT
“…is there nothing more anybody can do?”
Phil Collins, Another day in Paradise
Ok those lyrics were taken out of context from the song, but you gotta admit, it fits a typical vacationer of Koh Samui. When I got there I was pleased at the fact that the Hansar Hotel is right by the beach, right next to it was the Fisherman’s village, filled with quaint little shops, restaurants and spas.
So one can only imagine what my day was going to be like.
Getting in from Jakarta, I took the Garuda flight to Bangkok as it had very convenient schedules for me, at the same time the planes and service are among the best in the skies these days.
I stayed in Koh Samui for 4 days and in those days I decided to experience most of the beaches around the island and along with them, some of the most recommended shopping areas.
First day was a no brainer, since Hansar was at Bo Phut beach, this would be my starting point. The core of this area is known as the Fisherman’s Village, it is a charming village on the east side of the beach while the new developments are to the west. Unlike most of the island’s commercial nightlife, the village aims to target couples and young families more.
The walking street of the village is rather narrow and it still has authentic wood that Samui folks have lived with for generations. Though most of it has been modernized, I still felt the local authenticity of the restaurants, shops and stalls despite the fact that some of them have either westerners for managers or owners. The beach also carves around into a bay that overlooks Koh Pha Ngan and small speedboats leave the village pier heading for the Full Moon Party that take place every month.
The next day I rode my bike in the morning all the way to Chaweng Beach.
Chaweng beach is Koh Samui’s busiest and biggest town and is considered one of the island’s best beaches. It also offers more accommodation options than elsewhere on the island, Chaweng is also nightlife central with bars and restaurants catering to every taste. From beachside institutions to sophisticated cocktail bars, Chaweng’s nightlife is streets ahead of anywhere else on Samui in terms of choice.
Chaweng Walking Street bombards the senses with colors, sounds and scents.
This is where your haggling talents gets honed to its peak, in keeping with the light-hearted atmosphere here, try to always smile when you bargain and have a devil-may-care attitude; you’d be surprised at how well it works in securing a bargain.
If you are looking for a place to shop however, you cannot ignore the Central Festival Samui, which has garnered the reputation as ‘the most complete and largest lifestyle shopping complex in Samui; with three floors and around 90,000 sqm of retail space, there couldn’t be a better description for this huge shopping and dining mall, which is located between Chaweng’s Beach Road and the nearby lake.
Last, but not least, there is Choeng Mon Beach. The beach is a favorite for many locals as it’s quiet, picturesque and safe for swimming all year round. It features wide sandy beaches with a rock formation on one side and a small island you can paddle out to on the other.
Most of the activities are kept in-house, meaning there’s not a lot going on outside the hotels. Still, when guests can have their own private beach as offered by Tong Sai and the Peninsula, there’s not a great deal of incentive to leave either.
Cheong Mon is known for its water sports activities. If you want to try one, you can kayak all the way to the islet of Ko Fan Noi that sits offshore Cheong Mon. During low tide, you may walk to Ko Fan Noi since it is in close proximity to the main beach. But if you feel like doing nothing, beaches at Cheong Mon are perfect for lazing the afternoons away.
There was a shop that caught my eye amidst the variety of stores, which is Siri. The designer/owner brings items from all around Asia, from designer clothes from Hong Kong and bottled orchids from Bangkok and hand-carved amulets engraved with Thai or Chinese script. Siri is perfect for souvenir hunters with taste seeking something a little different to take home from their holidays.
Opening Hours: 16:00 – 22:00
Location: Fisherman’s Village’s main street
I had fantastic luck choosing Searobin for my day of snorkeling. I was leaving the next day so all I could really do is snorkeling. We went around Sail Rock which was originally a dive spot has some of the largest schools of fish I’ve seen anywhere around the world.
Chaweng: Mr. Ung’s Magical Safari
For a change of scenery one day we decided to book a tour called Mr Ungs Genuine Safari – this is a MUST do if visiting Samui! The whole day was amazing it included elephant trekking, monkey show, opportunity to hold one, see baby tigers and lions and get a photograph, swim in waterfalls and we also went around on a jeep safari.
Mr. Ung’s Magical Safari,
Tel: +66(0) 772 30114