Feeling The Heat
The burning facts about sunning yourself on
We’ve all heard the famous story about Coco Chanel
returning from a holiday in the 1920’s from the French
Rivera, and how the formerly looked-down-upon darker skin
aesthetic became in-fashion overnight. Previously associated
with those who worked in outdoor manual labour, a tan became
a sign of affluence, signifying that you had enough money
and free time to go on luxurious holidays – no doubt ones
where you’d spend your days lounging by a private swimming
pool, being waited on hand and foot by a
banana-hammock-wearing cabana boy. Or at least that’s what
you’d tell your friends.
Unfortunately, it’s famously easy to get sunburnt rather
than suntanned, and return looking more red-raw than golden
goddess (or god). That patch you missed when applying
sunscreen, the leg you accidentally wiped the sunscreen
from, or even your whole body, which you assumed would be
fine because, “it’s cloudy, how strong can the sun be?” Yes,
we’ve all been there. And many people underestimate the
strength of the Southeast Asian sun, resorting to sunscreen
only after they realise that their skin is in fact not
impenetrable to its harsh rays. But blistering sore skin is
The symptoms of sunburn are fairly well-documented;
redness, swelling, pain, blisters and peeling skin. And if
it’s really bad; fever, chills and weakness. None of which
are pleasant. Most people apply a rich moisturiser or aloe
vera after-sun lotion to soothe the burning sensation, but
other ways to dull the pain include taking a cold bath, and
of course avoiding the sun until your skin has healed. When
it’s really bad, a topical pain reliever and a couple of
ibuprofen could help you feel human again too.”
Whilst it may be a funny to tease your friend for their
ridiculous tan lines, skin cancer’s no laughing matter. The
Skin Cancer Foundation recently revealed that 42% of people
get sunburnt at least once a year, which doesn’t really
sound like that much, but when you consider that if a child
or adolescent gets one or more blistering sunburns in their
life they more than double their chances of developing
melanoma later, it becomes a statistic worth a second
thought. Furthermore, five or six sunburns at any age also
double the risk of melanoma.
And let’s not forget another of the well-documented
effects of sunburn; aging of the skin. It’s an undisputed
fact that excessive exposure to the sun accelerates the
speed at which your skin cells degenerate, causing wrinkling
and sagging. And yet, it’s often the most looks-conscious of
people that you’ll find religiously baking in those damaging
rays. It seems that there‘s something of a mental disconnect
for some people when it comes to the long-term harmful
effects of the sun. Perhaps they’re too blinded by the
short-term goal of achieving golden skin to think about the
much further away, less tangible onset of accelerated aging.
The average holidaymaker applies their sunscreen as and
when they arrive at the deckchair. But they’re already in
the sun at that point and will be unprotected for a further
20 minutes post-application, because that’s how long
sunscreen takes to activate. Another thing to bear in mind
is that sunscreen filters the sun, it doesn’t block it, so
even when you’re wearing it, you’ll still be getting
damaging rays from the sun. A broad-spectrum SPF 30+ cream
will filter about 96.7% of the UV radiation, meaning more
than 3% is still getting through to your skin. It is this
fact that inspired governments to implement a universal
name-change, from ‘sunblock’ to ‘sunscreen’ – the word
‘block’ was misleading.
When buying your protective cream, be ingredient-savvy;
not all sunscreens are created the same. It’s worth knowing
a few facts before you make your choice, and it’s about more
than just SPF numbers. Firstly, you must make sure to choose
one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, otherwise
known as broad-spectrum sunscreen. Additionally, be wary of
the ingredients oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate (a type of
vitamin A), because although FDA approved, they may increase
the risk of skin cancer. It’s also worth mentioning that
sunscreen does go ‘off’. So make sure to check the use-by
date on the bottle when you buy it, and then again if it’s
been a while since you used it last.
One classic faux pas committed by holidaymakers is the
time of day they choose to expose themselves to the sun.
Namely, the hottest part. The average time people wake up at
on vacation is a little later than normal, a leisurely
buffet breakfast usually ensues, and then they hit the pool
– just in time for the day’s harshest rays. It’s recommended
that you stay out of too much direct sunlight between the
hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Perhaps during that time you
can indulge in a spot of shopping, a long lunch or even an
At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science. If you
don’t want to get burnt then do as the Aussies do; “Slip,
Slop, Slap! Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a
Songkran - the world’s largest water fight. OK. So
you want the number one reason to visit Thailand?
Well, in a word - Songkran. That’s if you’re fond of
water! And who wouldn’t be during the hottest and
driest part of the year. The word Songkran comes
from the Sanskrit words meaning ‘New Year’, and it’s
the celebration of the Lunar New Year in Thailand.
It’s the largest water festival in the world, where
thousands of people take to the streets to cleanse
their souls and enjoy the community spirit. Held on
the 13th, 14th and 15th of April, it’s three days of
complete pandemonium throughout the country,
although in some areas the celebration continues go
on for as long as seven or ten days. People line the
streets armed with hosepipes, big barrels, buckets
and water guns full of ice-cold water, waiting for
all who pass by.
Read more about the world’s largest water fight
Why The Tongsai Bay is one of the island’s most
outgoing resorts. It’s something that mostly we just
don’t do. Why should we? There’s not a lot of
reason, really. We check on the internet for holiday
bookings and good value. Then we research a bit
more. And all the time our eyes are looking for a
bargain of some sort – a special offer or a great
deal. But we just don’t bother to go into the
history of these resorts. And, for the majority of
cases, that’s because we just don’t expect the
resort to have any history; most of them don’t! But
if we pause to consider for a moment, then it’s a
completely different story with The Tongsai Bay.
Read more about The Tongsai Bay
In Good Spirits
Understanding the Thai culture of spirit houses.
You’ll see them everywhere. Ornate and colourful
doll-size houses on stilts, strategically positioned
outside every home, business, school and in public
areas. Other than making great photo opportunities
for tourists, what is behind these impressive little
structures that resemble miniature temples?
Read more about spirit houses
The Via To Vai
Via Vai Italian restaurant is full of surprises.
Fact #1 – Samui has more restaurants per
city-square-metre than any other city. Fact #2 –
Chaweng has more restaurants than anywhere else on
the island. Take both of these into account and it’d
take you forever to sample the fare of every eatery
in Chaweng alone! And fact #3 – a customer survey
last year revealed that there appears to be 5% awful
restaurants which nobody would ever want to return
to; 90% which range all the way from disappointing
to pretty good; and 5% which are excellent, have
top-notch cuisine and service, and customers come
back to several times during their holiday. But
that’s a lot of facts and figures. So read it again,
and ponder on what this reveals. And then carry on
reading about Via Vai – as it’s one of that top 5%.
Read more about Via Vai
The International School of Samui believes in
developing children that are ‘all-rounders’. Few
would disagree that a good education is important.
And in today’s competitive world, young
school-leavers need every advantage in the fight for
a good job, or a place at a reputable tertiary
Read more International School of Samui
Color Me Bob
When it comes to local colour, it’s hard to beat Bob
Wiedijk, the ‘human jukebox’! It all depends on what
you want. A part of this is about where you go, too.
As a visitor, touring about the bars and hotspots of
Chaweng in search of beer and foot tapping, the
chances are that you’re going to miss-out to a
certain extent. However, if you’re a) here for more
than ten days or b) feel the need for more than just
the Soi Green Mango experience, then we’ve got some
common ground. Because, once you go outside of
Chaweng, a whole new vista opens up. Although you
need to know where to go and where to look.
Read more about the human jukebox
Oh!-ceanside Dining At Its Best
Bandara Resort and Spa’s Chom Dao restaurant has
perfected the beach BBQ buffet. Monday nights are
worth keeping open. That’s when Bandara Resort and
Spa in Bophut (just outside Fisherman’s Village)
hosts its weekly beach BBQ at Chom Dao restaurant.
Read more about Chom Dao restaurant
All Booked Up
Where to find a good read on the island – and what
to do with your books afterwards! You’ve finally
made it to the airport. It’s quite exciting really,
now that the time is finally here. Your bags have
been on the bedroom floor for a week, with extra
bits being tucked in and taken out: the list of
needful things has been triple checked (twice), the
same with your travel documents. Baggage weights
have been agonised over, the gas and water are
turned off; doors and windows all locked; you’ve
booked into the long-stay car park, checked-in your
bags and, finally, flumped down with a huge sigh.
There’s another 90 minutes to kill now before
boarding so, after a while, you do what we all do.
You get out your plastic and cheerfully indulge
yourself by stocking up with all the latest
bestsellers that you’ve been looking forward to.
It’s part and parcel of the whole holiday thing,
Read more about buying books
Since 1995, Blue Stars Kayaking has been wowing
visitors with their tours to the Angthong National
Marine Park. Every holiday has that one special day
that you remember. One that stands out from the
rest, set deep in the memory bank forever. You add
it to the list of special moments you draw on when
you need to think ‘happy thoughts’ or take yourself
back to that ‘special place’ when you’re having a
Read more about Blue Stars Kayaking
A Room With A View
Impiana Resort let us in on their big plans for
change. Sometimes change is a good thing. As lovely
as Impiana Resort’s Tamarind Bar & Lounge is, the
changes planned by management will put this relaxed
restaurant on the map as the ‘place to go’ in
Chaweng Noi. A chat with Resort Manager, David
Xavier, and Assistant Marketing and Events Manager,
Diah Intan Maulidya, revealed what we can expect
from the new-and-improved venue, after renovations
take place during the off-season of April and May.
Read more about Impiana Resort
Poppies Samui was the island’s first boutique resort
and is still going strong today! This month is the
40th anniversary of Poppies. Well, I admit, I’m
being dramatic. To be exact, it was 40 years ago
today that Sergeant Poppy taught the band to play –
but that was Poppies Bali! This was the original
resort, created by Englishman John Taylor. But the
concept, unique at the time, took root and grew.
Initially a small but thriving restaurant, catering
to the adventurous travellers of those times, this
was lovingly expanded by John into a beautifully
serene garden built around the restaurant and then,
over the next few years, a series of thatched and
modest accommodations were gradually added. And in
the 1980’s John came to visit Samui.
Read more about Poppies Samui
Soar With The Eagles!
Gems Lounge Restaurant offers a sophisticated
private dining experience, with views to match the
setting. Why gobble with turkeys when you could soar
with the eagles? This is a saying that comes to mind
when visiting 9Gems Lounge Restaurant. It’s most
certainly not an establishment that caters to the
masses, and that’s not their goal. Rather, co-owner
Khun Sathit Muangprom has created a
lounge-cum-restaurant that could happily entertain
movie stars, and here’s why.
Read more about 9Gems
The Top Of The Tree
Five-star quality keeps getting better – as
evidenced by Banyan Tree Samui! It was easier ten
years ago, back then, there were only a few. But
today, when it comes to 5-star hotels, we’re spoiled
for choice. According to TripAdvisor, there are now
no fewer than 25 top-of-the-tree 5-star luxury
resorts on Samui, with quite a few of them bearing
the name of international luxury brands. That’s
impressive by anyone’s standards, particularly on an
island which is only a 20 kilometre hop from one
side to the other!
Read more about Banyan Tree
Ticking All The Boxes
Let’s Relax Day Spa opened on Samui in January this
year and is already being recommended in the Samui
Spa Guide. It’s generally considered that if a spa
isn’t in the Samui Spa Guide, that it means one of
two things. The first is simply that the spa isn’t
of the required standard to be recommended. And the
second is that the spa is within a resort and is
merely another ‘amenity’ for its in-house guests and
that outsiders, although accepted, aren’t really
Read more about Let’s Relax Day Spa
A Reel Splash
When it comes to excursions there are few more
relaxing things than to bait-up and go fishing!
You’ll find it everywhere that there’s a coastline.
And, where there’s not, then it’s all going on in
the rivers and the lakes. Samui hasn’t got any of
these. But what we do have is a coastline, and it
goes all the way around. And so it’s hardly
surprising that you’ll find all sorts of fishing
going on around the island. There’s hardly a jetty
or a clump of rocks that won’t also feature a guy
with a rod, at one time or another. And then there’s
all sorts of other fishing, too, from day-trip
snorkelling to the more purposeful aspects of game
fishing. It all depends if you’re in it for fun or
you’re serious about the sport.
Read more about fishing around Samui
Set In Stone
Samui Lapidary has been supplying the island’s
visitors with finely crafted jewellery for 26 years.
Khun Lek is a very dynamic woman. Long before Samui
became known as one of Thailand’s top tourist
destinations she saw the potential and opened her
first jewellery store on the island 26 years ago. In
fact it was not only her first store, but Samui’s
first jewellery store too. She grew the business to
five stores in Nathon, before amalgamating into the
one superstore that can be found on the ring-road at
the western end of Maenam opposite The Farmer
Restaurant – which, by the way, she owns too.
Read more about Samui Lapidary
Feeling The Heat
The burning facts about sunning yourself on Samui.
We’ve all heard the famous story about Coco Chanel
returning from a holiday in the 1920’s from the
French Rivera, and how the formerly looked-down-upon
darker skin aesthetic became in-fashion overnight.
Previously associated with those who worked in
outdoor manual labour, a tan became a sign of
affluence, signifying that you had enough money and
free time to go on luxurious holidays – no doubt
ones where you’d spend your days lounging by a
private swimming pool, being waited on hand and foot
by a banana-hammock-wearing cabana boy. Or at least
that’s what you’d tell your friends.
Read more about sun tanning
It’s A Rum Do
Exploring Thailand’s only rum distillery: ‘Magic
Alambic’ in the deep south of Samui. Legendary
alcohol – now there’s a thought! Single malt scotch
springs to mind. Or the fabled Kentucky bourbons. Of
course there are a thousand-and-one wines, but here
we’re talking romance and legend, images of remote
Scottish glens ringing with the clash of
broadswords. Was there ever a treaty signed or a
monarch invested, over a glass of Thunderbird? No,
it was a premium whisky or a brandy of antiquity.
Read more about Samui rum
Seeing a buffalo fight is a must. It’s gently,
wonderfully, funny! I remember a French friend
telling me about the fracas he once had in Algeria.
He and his wife were driving to Algiers. They pulled
into a petrol station to fill their tank – at
exactly the same time as another car came in. My
friend climbed out of his car and went to the pump.
So did the driver of the other car. They both put
their hands on the pump at the same time. Words were
exchanged. Nobody wanted to back down. The other
driver became angry – and then threatening. He
started to shout. My friend remained cool – he was
French after all, and anyway he was there first. The
Algerian was waving his arms about and yelling. He
went to his car and came back with a big spanner and
waved it in the air. So my friend punched him on the
nose. The Algerian fell down.
Read more about buffalo fighting
The View Over Hansar
An overview of what’s made Hansar Samui one of the
most popular venues on the island. Times have really
changed. And for the better, too. When I was a young
man, it was simply a question of going to a travel
agent in the high street and deciding between
hundreds of tiny brochure pictures. And we never
knew what we were going to end up with – holiday
upsets were accepted as normal. But now there’s the
internet. You Google it and check the websites
first. And then the most important bit (and
something I really wish we had all those years ago),
you talk to people who’ve been there and stayed
there. Well – you let them talk to you! You check on
the loved-and-hated TripAdvisor. It’s hated by all
those places who think they’re better than they
really are. And it’s loved the world over by people
like you and me! And when it comes to TripAdvisor
and Hansar Samui, you’ll see nothing but beaming
faces all round.
Read more about Hansar Samui
Going Down South
Exploring Hua Thanon; one of Samui’s unspoiled
secrets. One of the best things about Samui is that
it’s a blend of the old and the new. Not so far from
the hypermarkets and fast food chains you’ll find
small local shops. And for every beach that’s filled
with wandering vendors and jet skis, there are
another ten that are remote and unspoiled. Perhaps
one day it might eventually turn into another Ibiza,
although I doubt it. But, until that day comes, none
of us are ever very far away from the old flavours
Read more about Hua Thanon
Samui Holiday e-magazines
On the book shelf above please click to browse through the current or previous issues of the interactive Samui Holiday e-magazine.
Samui, Samui Archipelago and Thailand Maps
Orientate yourself on the island. These maps are produced and constantly updated by Siam Map Company Ltd. and are trusted for their accuracy. As well as the complete Samui map, in this section you will also find detailed section maps of the busiest areas of Samui, the surrounding islands and a map of the whole Kingdom.
Click here to see the high
resolution guide maps...
Pampering on Samui
Let our spa guide be inspiration on just how and
where you plan to unwind and be pampered. From
aromatic steam baths to herbal body masques, Samui's
spas and retreats offer the utmost in rejuvenating
body treatments. Read stories and reviews about
individual spas in this section to prompt your
choice of pampering.
about rejuvenating body treatments...
Dining on Samui
Eating and traveling go hand in hand, and
discovering a new location is all about trying new
foods. This section contains a compilation of
restaurant reviews to guide you through the island's
culinary minefield to ensure that each dining
experience is one worth remembering – for the right
Read more about food and
restaurants on Samui...
Samui's premier business guide contains
comprehensive listings of local businesses A to Z -
accommodation to zip-lining. Find postal addresses
and telephone numbers, email and website info too.
information? Click here...
Why Samui? What makes this tropical island in the
Gulf of Thailand so popular, welcoming around one
million tourists annually via air and ferry. An
overview of this amazing island of coconuts, its
beaches, and what it has to offer the holidaymaker.
Read more about the
beaches on Samui...
When is the best time to visit Samui
weather-wise? Check here to find out. Should you
book that boat trip for tomorrow, or would an indoor
day of massage and pampering be a better option?
Make the most of your holiday by planning around the
Click here to see the weather
It’s pretty good being on a paradise island. But what’s better than
one paradise? Well four, of course! And that’s what
you’ve got on Samui. The
cluster of islands that make up the archipelago
include Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and the
Angthong Marine Park – and across all are pristine
beaches and sparkling blue waters.
Read more about
the Samui Archipelago...
Samui Sports and Activities
Tired of lazing under a coconut palm? Not to
worry, Samui will not disappoint adrenaline junkies
and fitness freaks alike. Golf, stand-up paddling,
Muay Thai training or football to mention but a few
- Samui has it all.
Read more about activities...
Samui Attractions & Excursions
See Samui from a boat as you circumnavigate the
island, or zip-line through the forest canopy seeing
the island from a Gibbon's perspective; there is so
much more to Samui than its beautiful beaches. Fancy
learning how to cook a Thai meal? Feeling cultural?
The days are just waiting to be filled with
Read about where to go
and what to see...
Prices On Samui
In order for you to plan your budget, we’ve
compiled a list of what you can expect to pay for
certain items, services and entrance fees so there
are no unpleasant surprises.
Yes, let me see
Learning New Skills on Samui
Some say, there’s no better way to stay young
than to keep learning. And when you’re on holiday
and relaxed, that’s a good time to learn a new
skill, be it a one-day cooking course, or something
a little more involved. Here’s a round-up of some of
the courses available on Samui.
Read about what
Samui has to offer...
Whether a simple beach wedding in sandals and
sarong is your dream, or perhaps a lavish affair
complete with ten monks, an elephant and a jazz
band, Samui makes the perfect location to say 'I
do'. As a relatively cheap travel destination, it is
also easy for friends and family to join in the
Read about getting
married on Samui...
Samui Nightlife & Entertainment
From boa and glitter-clad ladyboy cabaret shows
to off-key singing and laughs at the karaoke bars,
Samui has much to offer in the way of nightlife.
Whether a few beers at the local
pub with friends is your thing, or you prefer to
rock it up with a DJ's vibes, Samui's nightlife has
what you are looking for.
Read about where to have
a good time...
Shopaholics will not be disappointed with what
Samui has to offer. The island may not have big
malls (yet), but this does not mean that those in
need of a little retail therapy can't cure this
craving. Remember to bargain at market stands, and
always do so with a smile.
Read more about shopping...
Health, Safety & No-No's on Samui
Some advice on how not to upset the locals, and
how to avoid getting upset yourself. Here we give
you the inside scoop on fitting in like a local.
Samui is probably one of the safest places you could
travel to. But that's not to say there aren't a few
things to keep in mind. Please take our advice to
heart, and enjoy your holiday with no mishaps.
Read more about Health,
Safety & No-No's on Samui...
There are several festivals both cultural and
religious held annually in Thailand, but the most
interactive from a foreigner's perspective are Loy
Krathong, and Songkran. Here we give you a taste of
what happens during the festivals, so you can plan
your holiday to coincide with them, and enjoy the
Read about Songkran and
and Loy Krathong...
Whether you are looking for little more than a
hammock stretched between two palms to call your
own, or the ultimate luxurious holiday pad complete
with private chef - Samui has it on offer. Family
friendly? Honeymoon? Yoga retreat? The choice is
Read here what Samui
has to offer...
Getting to Samui
As Samui is an island, it goes without saying
that flight or ferry are your only options. Here you
will find advice on not only the quickest and
easiest way to reach Samui by air, but also budget
options that involve trains, busses and finally
ferries. It doesn't matter HOW you get here, just
Flying, sailing, driving
- click here to read about it...
Getting Around on Samui
From using your own flip-flop clad feet, to
hiring scooters and jeeps, from going local-style in
a songthaew to sitting pretty in the back of a taxi.
Here you'll find advice on how to get around when
exploring Samui's wonderful interior, beaches,
resorts, restaurants and attractions.
Need to go from A to
B? Click here...
How long can you stay in the land of smiles
without a visa? What type of visa do you need? How
do you go about getting one? All these questions and
more are answered here.
Read more about visa
History & Culture
You are not the first to visit Samui, and you
will not be the last. So who discovered the island,
and when did it become a popular place for 'Farangs'
or westerners to visit? History buffs can find out
more on the local history here.
Read more about the good
Living on Samui
Many people visit Samui on holiday, only to fall
in love with the island, and on the plane ride home,
they start dreaming of ways to make moving to the
island a reality. Of course, holidaying in a place
and living there are completely different, and there
are practicalities to consider.
Read more about
living on Samui...
Please feel free to share your experiences on Koh
Samui, good or bad, with other travellers to help
them make informed decisions during their visit.
Read other travelers
comments or write your own...
Read the online version of our stunning large format glossy
magazine prior to your visit and once here, pick up a
printed copy available free all over the island. Here our
writers bring you interesting stories of our island
paradise, offering inspiration on what to do and where to go
in a light-hearted story style.
more about the best beach destination in Asia...
Browse through the online
version of our high-quality newspaper to get your digestive
juices flowing. Comprised of food and beverage related articles
and Samui's wining and dining scene. Reading a few articles will
make you want to book that ticket to Samui's culinary wonderland
Read more about the
food served on Samui..
Eating and traveling go hand in hand, and discovering a new
location is all about trying new foods. This section
contains a compilation of restaurant reviews to guide you
through the island's culinary minefield to ensure that each
dining experience is one worth remembering – for the right
Read about the
recommended restaurants on Samui...
Search the on-line version of Samui Directory - Samui's
premier business guide. Here you will find comprehensive
listings of local businesses from accommodation
to water-sports, with postal addresses and telephone
numbers, as well as email and website addresses.
Find the contact
information you need here...
Let our spa guide be inspiration on just how and where you
plan to unwind and be pampered. From aromatic steam baths to
herbal body masques, Samui's spas and retreats offer the
utmost in rejuvenating body treatments. Read stories and
reviews about individual spas in this section to prompt your
choice of pampering.
See the recommended
spas on Samui....