Food

Koh Samui: An Alternative Asian Paradise For Food And Retreats

Last Updated: January 17, 2016

Written by June Chen

Eat and indulge in Koh Samui.

Samui-hinta-hinya-coconut-sweets

While I was studying overseas, I’ve had my Caucasian classmates rave on and on about Koh Samui, Thailand and how it promises both tranquility and an exciting nightlife. Contrasting in nature, I absolutely can’t wrap my head around that concept and you can probably guess just how excited I was when I knew I was going to Koh Samui courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

I’ll be covering a couple of Koh Samui resorts and hotels, as well as some notable restaurants we visited.

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Previously there weren’t any straight flights to Koh Samui but at long last, Bangkok Airways have decided to make our lives easier by increasing from 10 weekly flights to 14 direct from Singapore. Hello Koh Phangan, hello Full Moon Party.

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The flight was comfortable, air attendants were exceedingly warm and they serve in-flight Thai inspired meals and drinks. Arriving in Koh Samui, the Suvarnabhumi Airport, built by Bangkok Airways, looks charmingly cosy and almost countryside like. However, do not be fooled by its outer appearance, the airport itself has executive lounges and duty free shops.

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While waiting for your flight to depart from the airport, you could relax in the boutique lounge or in the Blue Ribbon lounge if you’re on the business flight, complete with local delights and drinks.

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Do not miss their specialty, a dessert made of glutinous rice, red beans and banana, the famed Khom Tom Mat where Bangkok Airways is the sole producer of. It has been said that their passengers would actually try to takeaway some of it because it is that good.

Sabeinglae Restaurant

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Our first meal in Koh Samui was at Sabeinglae Restaurant, a Southern Thai Restaurant. An atap hut-like décor, Sabeinglae Restaurant showcases the essence of Koh Samui.

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Amongst them are the juicy tiger prawns basted in a sweet chilli sauce, crisply fried pomfret and another prawn dish that brings spicy to a whole new level.

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But of course, end it with mango sticky rice because you have to, it’s a rule to live by.

Sabieng Lay: 438/82 T. Mared, Koh Samui | Tel:+66 (0) 7796 2333 , (0)7723 3082 

Centara Villas Samui

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Our first home for the trip, Centara Villas. It is situated a little further away from central Koh Samui, a stellar spot for anyone looking to recharge and break away from the city life for a bit.

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With a complete villa to myself, I was beaming with joy and kinda wished I didn’t have to check out from paradise. It is exceedingly tranquil and has the ability to calm one down, allowing for some quality me-time.

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The villa is spacious and there’s definitely room for more than one. When it comes to hotels, one thing I’m really particular about is cleanliness, I mean I know that is a rather basic component but you’ll be surprised at the lack of it in numerous places.

Centara Villas didn’t disappoint, it is not only clean but equipped with all the quintessential amenities.

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Stop by their café to refuel, where breakfast is served.

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Enjoy a sea view as you are doing so and possibly have a sunbathe at their poolside area. If you’re feeling for a massage, stop by their spa, located in Centara Villas and Hotels itself, for an indulgent time.

Centara Villas Samui: 111 Moo 2, Maret, Natien Beach, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand | Tel: +66 (0) 7742 4020-21 | Website

Kamalaya Koh Samui Health Resort

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Kamalaya resort takes serenity to a whole new level and is very focused on one’s well-being. Expect to immerse wholly in nature and work towards a zen state of mind through meditation, yoga, massages and other specially tailored classes all available in-house.

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Kamalaya’s founder lived in the Himalayas for a period of time while practicing yoga. He was a genuine advocator of finding peace through being one with the nature and his wife believes in the healing powers of Chinese medicine, on balancing the yin and yang through slowly conditioning the body with herbs rather than suppressing illnesses with medicine.

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The founder discovered the Arjun Cave, a holy ground amidst Koh Samui and immediately found it to be the perfect place for Kamalaya. The Arjun Cave is a sacred spot of worshipping and is located inside Kamalaya, where you can pay a visit as long as you observe the rules of the holy ground.

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The essential oil massage thoroughly brought me to total relaxation. There were five different kinds of essential oils to choose from accordingly to their fragrance, of which I chose the fire, a subtle yet relaxing scent.

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The therapist was very friendly, making conversations as she brought me up to the designated massage room. A room with a view of the Kamalaya and what nature has to offer, completely setting one’s mood in the right place for surrendering yourself to Mother Nature.

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Lunch was inside Kamalaya as well, where they have specially catered a detox menu for those looking at purging toxins, or a normal menu should you not be interested in cleansing yourself.

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There’s a common misconception on how healthier food is bland and unappetising, which is not necessarily always the case. Here at Kamalaya, the wife of the founder has incorporated her knowledge of healing foods and came up with a menu that is wholesome, delicious and beneficial.

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I finally got my share of relaxation and healthy living and would definitely recommend Kamalaya to anyone looking to reset their body, mind and soul. They do offer accommodation and it is recommended to stay for at least three days, to really reap the benefits of the programs.

Kamalaya Koh Samui: 102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Road, Na-Muang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand | Tel:+66 77 429 800 | Website

From here on, we were in the urban area of Koh Samui that was bustling with activities and of course, tourists. We had a little tour on what is there to do around Ko Samui, more of which can be found here.

The Library Boutique Hotel

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In stark contrast to Centara Villas & Hotels, The Library is a modern boutique beach hotel that overlooks the Chaweng Beach. There are three dining concepts located within the hotel premises, Beach Bar, The Page and Drinks Gallery.

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The Library is famous for its red pool, a fashionable swimming pool with red tiles, definitely more chic than your regular pool. Enjoy a cocktail while taking a dip, you’ll feel real swanky.

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Throughout the hotel, there are cute little figurines that are sitting around, reading. There is of course a library for residents to peruse, a multimedia room filled with DVDs of movies and a gym, all shaped in boxes.

Even the rooms are shaped in minimalist, white rectangular boxes, with each room being a page off a book rather than having a room number. Definitely a novelty and I am a sucker for that, no doubt.

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The Library isn’t just a pretty face, the interior of each page is minimally stunning. The Library is generous with its space, all decked out in monochrome with a mood light for when you’re feeling a little naughty.

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Have I also mentioned that each room is equipped with their own Apple desktop, balcony and bathtub. Oh yes. Very couple-friendly, the bathtub has two resting pillows and there is ample of space in the bathroom for your laptop to reside and play out romantic tunes to canoodle in.

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They’ve really got their design sorted out, even their amenities. Simple and sleek. I’d definitely recommend staying here for a staycay with your lover or a pit stop for your honeymoon, I mean, there’s mood lights really, what else do you need.

Within the Library, we visited some of their F&B attractions.

Beach Bar

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Head down to their beach bar for a relaxing drink, complete with a beach view and lounge tunes.

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I had a fizzy cocktail, feeling very classy and digging into my tuna tartare with ebi tempura with a thai touch.

The Page

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Just round the corner from the Beach Bar is the restaurant counterpart, The Page. Al fresco dining and definitely romantic with the beach view, The Page is a contemporary restaurant that serves Thai and international fusion food that are bound to excite your taste buds. With a crab cake risotto and mojito sorbet, my taste buds surely felt that.

Drinks Gallery

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Here for the mains, Drinks Gallery is situated on the outside of The Library.

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It is known for serving pretty fancy cocktails- think smoke oozing out and torched meringue topped cocktails. Yes.

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The interior is stylish and has an industrial chic atmosphere, with crystal chandeliers adding that bit of sophistication to it.

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I had a salmon curry, complete with rice and served fancy. I love all things fancy and The Library sure did that well.

The Library: 14/1 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach, Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand | Tel: +66 77 422 767 | Website

Kanomjeen Pa Mai Tree

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Kanomjeen Pa Mai Tree restaurant serves up luscious and creamy bowls of laksa-ish noodles. Instead of the usual yellow noodles, bee hoon is used and its drenched in a generous scoop of your desired curry sauce.

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You can choose from crab, fish and… fish kidneys. Yes. Be warned though, the fish kidney curry sauce can get a little spicy, but other than that, it’s worth it.

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Do have a try of their tradition Thai desserts, popcorn with coconut milk, chendol in coconut milk and a pulut hitam, Thai style.

Pa Mai Tree : 4169, Koh Samui | Tel:+66 (0) 77 247 075

Ta Kho Bang Phor Seafood

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A slight drive out from Koh Samui’s city, we headed over to Ta Kho Bang Por Seafood restaurant to have our lunch because all I do is eat, eat, eat. But I couldn’t refrain from such a joy, not when they serve up cheap and fresh oysters here.

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Also, do try their belachan roasted atop coconuts, it is extremely fragrant and has a good level of spice to it.

Ta Kho Bang Por Seafood: 4169, Na Ton, Koh Samui | Tel:+66 (0) 77 420 010

Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui

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The last resting place for the trip, we’ve made a full round and ended back in Centara Villas and Hotels, but in the second establishment, in the midst of central Koh Samui. Unlike the first one, this hotel is a traditional one, fully adorned colonial style. It has a sea view and runs along the beach, complete with a swimming pool as well.

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The rooms are spacious and may I highlight how huge the bed is? Think like two double beds conjoined together and yes, I did have a great time rolling in my sheets if you would like to know. I was greeted with snacks and the room is fully equipped with all the quintessential amenities.

Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui: 38/2 Moo 3, Borpud, Chaweng Beach, Samui, Surat Thani 84320, Thailand | Tel:+66 (0) 7723 0500 | website

Suk-ko Steam and Sauna

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Okay, second round of massage. Am I complaining? Absolutely not, in fact, keep it coming. I wanna explore the depths of how zen I can get. Over here at Suk-ko Steam and Sauna, it is the only spot in central Koh Samui where you can get, well, steam and sauna, including all the other spas and massages of course.

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Extremely spacious and well-equipped, Suk-ko Steam and Sauna’s staff are very polite and professional. The space is intricately adorned with a large pool and rows of private rooms for massages, making sure you feel like royalty. I’d definitely recommend coming here for a massage and have a go at their sauna room.

Suk-Ko Sauna & Spa: 168/50 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach Road, Koh Samui, 84320, Thailand | Tel: 077-963-141

Jan Hom Seafood

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Now I wanna give a special shout out to the dessert, literally called banana in steamed coconut milk, making it really tender and thoroughly infused with the sweetness of the coconut milk. The accompanying coconut milk has a rich and velvety texture, with a slight tang from the banana.

Jan Hom Seafood: 56/4 Moo 6 Taweeraj Pakdee Road, Koh Samui | Tel: +66 (0) 77 236 458

Nalinnadda Noodle Bar

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Over here, you have a choice of tom yum or chicken and it is freshly prepared in front of you. I had the tom yum option, which was exceedingly spicy but it doesn’t overpower. I could taste the distinct sweetness and slight zest. The noodle balances the flavor and the peanuts add an extra texture to it.

Kala Noodle: infront of Villa Nalinnadda, Lamai Beach | Tel: +66 (0) 77 233 131

Pancake

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While you’re walking on the streets, you’ll definitely meet with tons of pancake pushcarts and please do yourself a favour and have one.

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It’s like a crispy banana prata prepared with lavish amounts of butter and drizzled with plenty of condensed milk. It is extremely decadent and well worth the calories.

Lolamui Café

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It’s almost time to head to the airport but not before I’ve had my fill of desserts. Lolamui Café is a quaint and endearing cafe tucked away in the woods. It gave me an Alice In Wonderland vibes with the adorable rabbit statues decorating the grass patches surrounding it. The café resembles a hut, exuding a down-to-earth atmosphere.

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Charmed by the surroundings, their cakes certainly didn’t disappoint as well. The coconut cake had layers of fresh coconut sandwiched between soft chiffon sponge and complete with luscious cream.

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The banoffee pie had a sweet and tender layer of banana atop a crumbly yet substantial biscuit base that was very fragrant.

Lolamui Café: 127/184, Moo 3 T. Mared, Koh Samui | Tel: +66 (0) 77 601 607

Goodbye Koh Samui, you’ve been a sweetheart and I’d definitely return again.

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