1st Annual Samui Fine Dining Festival

This year kick starts what will hopefully be a regular event in Thailand. The 1st Annual Samui Fine Dining Festival will be held throughout March, with the very best restaurants on the island offering a range of delectable treats every single day. Primarily, the following dining locations will be serving up a mouth-watering seven-course dinner each evening of the month:

  • Banyan Tree
  • Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa Beach Republic
  • Rock Pool
  • Full Moon (at Anantara Bophut)
  • The Barge Fine Dining
  • Le Jaroen (at The Scent Hotel)
  • The Five Islands Restaurant
  • Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa
  • Tree Tops (at Anantara Lawana)
  • Orgasmic by Chef Wally
  • Twisted Thai (at Imperial Samui)
  • Prego
  • Santiburi
  • Red Snapper
  • Zazen

There will also be several gala dinners and a gourmet Sunday brunch on the cards, ensuring that the good food never stops coming. The festival boasts chefs from Germany, France, Italy, England, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand so that you can expect some of the best quality tastes through a number of global styles. More information about reservations and the particular dishes on offer can be found on the festival’s official website.

Of course, to properly experience this international gastronomic festival, you will need to book your accommodation as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are a range of Koh Samui villas on offer which will provide you with a luxurious, elegant place in which to relax while you enjoy some of the tastiest food that the island has to offer. To arrange the perfect holiday, please get in touch with our representatives today. We will be happy to find the ideal beachfront villa for you that is also close to the above listed fine dining locations.

The Beauty of Samui

iPhone 4s // Thailand from artisland on Vimeo.

This video really highlights the natural and cultural splendor found in places like Koh Samui. The amazing thing is that it was all created using only the humble iPhone 4S and the editing skills of Andrew Melikov, a filmmaker at Art Island. While travelling around Phuket and Koh Samui, he decided to capture some of the sights that he saw. The end result of his journey is this absolutely amazing video.

Of course, it is quite easy to experience all of this yourself, especially through our wide range of Koh Samui villas. To find out what this tropical paradise holds in store, please get in touch with one of our directors today. After all, while Samui looks fantastic over video, nothing can really compare to visiting it in person instead.

Big Buddha Temple

koh samui big buddha
Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple) is one of Koh Samui’s most famous landmarks. Located near the airport, the site boasts an immense 12 meter tall golden Buddha image that can actually be seen from the plane as visitors fly into the island. Construction of the temple was commenced in 1972 and since then, it has gained in popularity, now experiencing a healthy number of locals and tourists who come to pay their respects and take some amazing photographs.

The Buddha itself is found on the nearby island of Koh Fam which can be reached by a causeway from the mainland. The base of the statue is surrounded by several restaurants and shops selling snacks, jewelry, clothing and other souvenirs. When there, don’t forget to climb up to the viewing platform where you can experience breathtaking views that stretch around the north coast of Samui all the way to Koh Phangan.

Other attractions at the temple include a fat and very happy Phra Maitreya (Buddha of the Future) and a set of dragon-like naga that flank the stairs leading up to the Big Buddha itself. With the amount of tourists coming in, the temple is constantly getting upgraded too, thanks to the large number of donations. If you wish to give money, there are plenty of ways to do it from buying floral garlands to getting your fortune read.

The temple is found on the northeastern tip of Koh Samui on Route 4171. For convenient access, you can find nearby accommodation and Koh Samui villas on Big Buddha and Cheong Mon Beach as well as the Plai Laem area. This spot is especially accessible as it is so close to the island’s international airport. Just make sure that you book early around major festivals such as Loy Krathong and Songkran as the area becomes quite crowded during these occasions. This can be a great time to visit the temple though as celebrations are quite merry, and include beauty pageants, live music and standup comedy.

Valentine’s Day and Koh Samui Villas

With just under a month left to go until Valentine’s Day, it is time to start planning for this very special occasion. Thailand is one of the world’s most romantic destinations, with its sandy beaches and warm, tropical weather, and couples flock there year after year for some private time spent alone enjoying the sunshine, friendly smiles and mouth-watering food.

The island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand fits in with this loving atmosphere for reasons far beyond its vast stretches of palm-fringed beaches, azure-blue waters and friendly locals. It is also very easy to get to with international plane flights running directly there from a number of global destinations. Once on the island, there are a number of luxury accommodation options available for the loving couple who desire the very best out of life.

Rather than staying in a hotel or resort though, those who wish to be truly pampered during their time on the island should consider Koh Samui villas and the advantages that they can bring. Not only do these exclusive houses offer complete privacy away from the tourist masses but the best also come with their own staff so that cooking, cleaning and other matters will be taken care of for you. This creates a relaxing, stress-free atmosphere in which two lovers can then enjoy each other’s company without a care in the world.

A typical day in one of these villas on Koh Samui may go a little like this. The couple will wake up after a deep night’s sleep in their down-filled king-sized bed. They will then be served a delicious continental breakfast which has been served up by the professional onsite chef. After the meal, there will be a wide range of choices on offer. From taking a stroll across the white sands of the adjacent beach to getting a Thai massage from the in-villa masseuse, the couple will certainly be spoilt for choice. Later in the day, lunch and dinner can be had at any of the nearby local restaurants where both Thai and international cuisine is on offer at some very affordable prices.

Romance, privacy and the height of luxury all await you on the island of Koh Samui. If you are interested in renting out some of the simply gorgeous Thai property that is currently available there, give one of our directors a call today. We will be happy to help organize the perfect holiday away for you and your loved one, and will do our best to give you both an unforgettable time on what we like to think of as the closest thing to paradise on Earth.

Experience Beautiful Thailand at Koh Samui

As a result of the recent Thai floods, the country’s tourist industry took a major hit when the number of visitors dropped. Consequently, the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) has now gathered its forces to promote a new Beautiful Thailand campaign aimed at informing the international media that the country’s best attractions are once again open as normal.

Of course, destinations such as Koh Samui were never really affected by these floods in the first place and have maintained the same level of beauty and accessibility throughout the year. With tourist numbers currently at a low though, why not book one of the many Koh Samui rental villas available, so that you can enjoy Beautiful Thailand in one of its most stunning locations? With stretches of sandy beaches, lush tropical rainforests and some of the country’s best nightlife, the island is definitely representative of Thailand as a whole.

We currently have a wide selection of apartments, penthouses and villas for rent in Koh Samui right here on our website. Regardless of your budget, you should be able to find the perfect place to stay so that you can properly experience the best of what Beautiful Thailand has to offer. To find out more, have a look over our website or contact one of our managers today.

Samui Traditions

It’s hard to believe but just half a century ago there was a tradition in Koh Samui where parents would leave a plot of land, usually suitable for growing coconuts, to their favorite child.

The children they didn’t fancy much received the land on the beach instead. As irony would have it, these unloved kids got really lucky, especially when you consider that a tiny patch of beachside land is now worth around $1 million.

It’s no surprise then that only top notch hotels and deluxe Samui villas starting at $1000 per night are located at these ‘unpopular’ beaches.

Samui Flooding in March

Plenty of our friends and clients were seriously alarmed by mass media reports regarding the Samui disaster that occurred in March, 2011. For this reason, we’ve decided to tell the story of how we managed to survive for those few days.

At the very beginning, the weather had been unusually gloomy, with regular heavy showers. This was unusual, considering that March is usually the driest season in Samui. At that time though, a rather violent cyclone from China arrived at the island, causing it to rain daily, sometimes virtually non-stop. On the first day, this torrential downpour stayed with us all day long, even though we still had to go out to dine with some friends who we’d met online a long time before. Undeterred by some of the worst weather in Samui’s history, we took off to a local raw food restaurant. On a typical dry day, there would have been three accessible roads to get there. Because of the rain though, only one road was actually usable, although a sailboat would have been a better vehicle choice…

Our friends had to walk for almost an hour to get to the restaurant, since no taxi driver wanted to risk drowning – even for a generous tip.

Despite all the hurdles, everyone got there safely. We dried off and had a great time catching up. After the meal, it became clear that we couldn’t get home because of the flooded roads. We figured we’d be lucky to make our way to a nearby friends’ resort.

Fortunately we did make it and even got an apartment for 1,000 Baht (about US$30) per night. As old and shabby as it was, it was almost right on the beach!

Thunder and lightning continued into the wee hours, but eventually it got quiet. At 7am, I gave my loved ones a shove (a few shoves, actually) to wake them up. We packed up quickly and decided to get a move on, because taking too long now meant a very real possibility of getting stuck for several days in our 1,000 Baht “beachfront villa”. It was definitely the right choice. Minutes after we got home – having traveled along the only possible road, our floodlights deep in water – the rainfall intensified and didn’t stop for the next few days.

On the way home, we barely made it around a huge rock that had fallen, blocking the main road on the island. After the floods were over, it took a week to clear with workers hammering and drilling away small chunks of rock piece by piece.

The power was certainly out at home, but we were lucky to snatch the last four large bunches of bananas, some ripe and some green, so dying a hungry death was no longer a threat.

One of the difficulties of having no electricity was the need to entertain a two year-old child without using go-to tricks such as cartoons, trips to the sea, shopping, or anything else of the kind.

For these three days, we really felt like a family, truly connected and united as one. We spent some quality time together, undistracted by the Internet, work, reading or watching TV. Our phones were also off – a consequence of the mobile networks having gone down.

Our daughter, obviously grateful for the unprecedented attention she was getting, behaved perfectly, and there was no somber mood or a hint of depression. On the contrary, there was a feeling of complete safety. We enjoyed this closeness, this chance of simply communicating with each other.

On the fourth day of our happy confinement, just as the food supply went low, the rain stopped and the water level subsided. We stocked the car full of people – all friends and children aboard – and rushed to the Big C hypermarket. Apparently, we were their first customers in quite a few days. The children were as excited as if we had just brought them to Disneyland.

As for the flood’s impact on the island and tourism, as far as I heard, the walls of some hotels collapsed due to mudslides. Fortunately, there were only a few cases of this and mainly coastal buildings were affected. Two weeks later, sandbags along the roads and occasionally damaged pavement were the only things reminiscent of the disaster. A customer of ours was very close to canceling his airline tickets upon finding out how bad the weather had gotten in Samui. Fortunately, he was able to fight off his doubts, made the trip and thoroughly enjoyed the island and its incredible views unobstructed by crowds of tourists.

Flooding in Thailand

Almost all Thai bloggers have written about the country’s recent flooding. Let me say a couple of words, too.

Photos seem to be the most powerful means of expressing the true scale of this disaster. Completely flooded houses – both multi-storey mansions and slums – the Toyota, Honda and Mazda plants with crowded parking lots of unsold cars, shops full of goods, and poultry factories; all of these irretrievably lost. Further damage has been forecast since the water levels are still rising and the floods are expected to put Bangkok underwater by tonight.

Nationwide losses are estimated to amount to billions. For an ordinary Thai, this disaster means losing a home that has probably taken the effort of more than one generation to finance, a car you’d waited so long to purchase and haven’t even paid off yet, or your beloved bike that is worth a small fortune for most locals. In the end, it only took a small amount of time for thousands of families to lose all that they had.

When something like this happens so close to you, it makes you clearly see how senseless the rush for wealth is. You dream of a private house, a cool car, toys like iPad and iPhone, and similar types of rubbish. Throughout this, you don’t even think that you might lose it all at any minute. This is the same the world over and is definitely not restricted to the people of Thailand.

Really thinking about this, we trade our lives for toys. We sell the priceless time which our children crave to spend with us. We trade our health and, unfortunately, human dignity and integrity.

Even the seemingly noble goal of earning money to pay for our children’s education is vulgarized by a deeply hidden motive – to simply invest in toys when our children grow up. We aim for them to buy a house, a car, and the right education for their own children.

In times like this, I envy the monks. They really have nothing to lose.
more photos

One Day of Our Life

I am 33, my partner is 30, and our daughter, Marsha, is 2.4 years old. My partner and I have been living together for the last 10 years.

We run our own business here in Samui, which is why I spend most of my weekdays working. Today is Saturday, July 2, one of my days off. This will be spent working at half capacity and enjoying time with my family.

view 36 photos

Cost of Living in Thailand

We are often asked if it’s expensive to live here and how much money is needed for daily expenses. Truthfully, finding an estimate can be quite hard with no information about your income level or spending habits. Nevertheless, if you at least take the same amount that you’re planning to spend on accommodation, you should be just fine.

Please note that this formula only works if you have decent medical insurance and return tickets already paid for.