This sunset dining hot spot in the north of the island is run by the same people as Bangkok’s longstanding Pola Pola Restaurant & Bar. The chic, modern–tropical interior comes from leading Thai product designers Thinkk Studio, who contributed all the chairs, tables and lamps. Thai fusion and Italian dishes dominate the menu with picks like truffle pizza (B480), spicy Australian beef salad (B450) and the whopping mixed seafood box (B1,200). Get there early to claim a daybed on the wooden terrace to enjoy the sunset with a mojito in hand.
14/22 Moo 5, Ban Plai Leam, Bophut, 077-423-635. Open daily 10am-10pm. goo.gl/oSuGuR
The successful cafe at Bophut fisherman’s village just launched a new branch on Chaweng Road. The smaller venue opens early in the morning for visitors to enjoy a healthy breakfast, including poached pear in red wine, granola and fresh berries (B250). The coffee station serves a heady brew made from medium-dark beans sourced from Nan in Northern Thailand.
Chaweng Rd., Bo Phut, 094-804-1221. Open daily 8am-11:30pm. goo.gl/5Au3xi
Conrad Koh Samui’s modern Thai restaurant has rolled out a tantalizing new set menu, dubbed "Journey of Jahn." The restaurant presents each dish in a way that depicts the journey of the ingredients. “Plaa Pla Bai Bua,” for example, sees seared tuna placed on a lotus leaf drizzled with mineral water to represent fishermen heading out to sea in the early morning. The eight-course set is available for B2,999 and B5,199 with wine pairing.
49/8-9 Hillcrest Rd., Taling Ngam, 077-915-888. Open daily 6pm-11pm. goo.gl/qUHxeu
The Library’s Drink Gallery, one of the island’s most stylish drinking spots, has introduced a new Thai tapas bar right next to it. Boasting surprisingly cheap prices from B99, the menu is packed with famous Thai dishes such as thod man (spicy fish cakes), moo klunk foon (spicy deep-fried pork salad), sue rong hai (grilled beef), satay ruam (mixed grilled meat satay) and moo manao (spicy pork with lime) to go with your killer cocktail from next door.
The Library, 14/1 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach, Bo Phut, 077-422-767. Open daily 4pm-11pm. www.thelibrary.co.th
The Library hotel, a long-time favorite among design-savvy travelers, has expanded its beachfront restaurant, The Page (also see Tapas Bar). You’ll now find not just more seats perfectly poised for beach views, but also a list of 40 new dishes drawn from old Thai recipes. Go for Samrab Thai, an eight-course set dinner (B3,900 for two persons), to get a well-rounded hit of rare flavors like gaeng run juan nua nong lai (beef stewed in shrimp paste soup), beef massaman and ray rai na gaeng krati fuktong (coconut noodle, grilled pork and pumpkin curry).
The Library, 14/1 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach, Bo Phut, 077-422-767. Open daily 7am-midnight. www.thelibrary.co.th
This beachside eatery comes with a stunning all-wood design that’s rustic yet sleek. Take a place on the balcony and tuck into international fare like pizza and pasta plus freshly caught seafood like spicy seabass with lime (B595) and seared scallops (B495).
79/3 Moo 1, Fisherman’s Village, Bophut, 084-748-507. Open daily 10am-11pm. www.linkcuisine.com
These experienced bakers supply pastries to hotels all over the island. Now you can also taste their treats at this cafe located at a new open-air shopping arcade. Pick up some sourdough or a baguette to go, or step things up with an Australian lamb burger (B300) or delicious panang pulled-pork burger served with Greek yogurt coleslaw (B260).
162/149 Moo 2 Chaweng Road, Bo Phut, 077-601-402. Open daily 8am-6pm. www.clydecafe.com
After a brief relationship with Bangkok's beloved Peppina, this new pizza and pasta spot on Chaweng Beach's Malibu resort has now gone it alone. The menu still features Peppina-like pizzas such as the pomodoroni and ricotta cheese (B400) and Piennulo parma ham (B400).
Cafe De Pier X Samui
The cafe that was once a branch of Bangkok’s beloved Casa Lapin is now Cafe de Pier, which puts a heavy focus on cocktails—try such creations as Fog Garden & Redsun (whiskey, white wine, lime, raspberry puree, cranberry juice, cinnamon syrup, B350) or Crocodile Mango Chili Pepper (aloe vera, passion fruit, spicy mango and gin, B340). The kitchen rolls out international staples—salad, pasta, sandwiches, you name it—and popular Thai dishes such as beef massaman and fried chicken with cashew nuts.
Four Seasons Resort has stepped up its bar game by introducing one of the most impressive rum bars in Thailand, serving more than a hundred quality rums from all over the world. Set right on the edge of the resort’s new Olympic-size infinity lap pool, the bar complements its booze selection with hearty Latin American food such as Peruvian ceviche (B580) and wagyu beef anticucho (B840), all prepared at a live-cooking station. Opt for a B1,500 fine rum tasting and explore four rare bottles from Trinidad, Guyana, Venezuela and Barbados. They also serve decent tiki-style cocktails.
The Beach Bar
This bar on Chaweng Noi Beach is as down to earth as beach bars get: a smattering of thatched umbrellas and cabanas, a soundsystem playing chill house and down-tempo tunes. On top of the regular Thai dishes, a barbecue seafood buffet (B300) takes place at 3pm daily.
This ultra-laid-back beach shack serves a mean line of cocktails such as Samui Colada (light rum, Malibu, banana liqueur and fresh coconut, B240) or Mango Spiced Beach (gin, pepper, fresh mango, lime juice and elderflower syrup, B240). Party people can kickstart their evening from the beanbags with the “giant” and “monster” size cocktails, too.
Hard Rock Cafe
Located amid the busy nightlife stretch of Chaweng Beach, the latest opening of this global brand incorporates a few beachy touches like outdoor daybeds and fish-shaped lamps. Indoors keeps things classic with long Chesterfield sofas and walls adorned with artwork and memorabilia from Taylor Swift, Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Slash, Santana and Pearl Jam. Food and drinks cover the usual American smokehouse fare, from hamburgers to slow-cooked ribs.
Located on Bo Phut fisherman’s village walking street, this tiny, open-air shopping arcade boasts a colorful, old-school Thai vibe. The wooden kiosks are packed with T-shirts plus craft and design pieces. One highlight is Little Me shop, which sells cool items from Chiang Mai brand Rubber Killer. Then make your way to Blue Vaniila, an oceantheme souvenir shop on the same road.
Fisherman's Village Walking Street, Bophut. Open daily 5pm-11pm
Santiburi Beach Resort and Spa
After a US$20-million renovation, this Samui institution is now home to luxuriously contemporary villas and suites. The revamp also includes new looks for classic restaurants Rim Talay, Sala Thai, Vimarnmek, The Lounge and Poolside Bar, plus a brand new spa which focuses on Thai ayurvedic treatments. Rates from B12,552.
Away Koh Samui Elements Resort and Spa
Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia has finally followed up its famously chill Away Koh Kood property with this resort on Phang Ka, in the southwest of Samui. The 37-room resort is packed with single- and double-bedroom pool villas and deluxe suites with a private beach plus two restaurants, including the beachfront Bamboo. Rates from B5,500.
Baan Talay Pool Villas
Perched amid coconut trees on a mountain overlooking Chaweng Noi Beach, these villas offer a real tropical hideaway. Both the onebedroom pool villa and two-bedroom deluxe villa come with fully-equipped kitchen and private plunge pool. Rates from B4,200.
The oh-so-chic spa at W Retreat has launched an exciting sauna experience. Thaimazcal combines Thai herbs with Mexican temazcal, an ancient form of sweat lodge believed to improve health and purify the body. The treatment finishes with delicious mocktails featuring yet more Thai herbs at W’s Tonic Bar.
Normally charter only, this catamaran service now offers scheduled day and sunset trips departing daily from Bo Phut Fisherman’s Village. The day trip (B4,900) takes in Koh Phangan and Koh Som, and includes lunch, while the sunset trip (B3,200) departs in the late afternoon for Koh Som before returning in time for dinner (minimum six people). Every Friday also sees a cocktail cruise from Chaweng Beach to Bophut (B3,600).
Credit Yuwadee Somwong
Credit Yuwadee Somwong
Samart Payakaroom Gym
The newest boxing gym on the island comes from the man widely considered to be the greatest muay Thai boxer of all time. Twohour training sessions run throughout the day from 8am-7pm at B500, while you can also arrange to train with the master himself for rates starting at B4,000.
65/41 Moo Thaweerat Phakdee Rd., Bang Por Beach, Maenam, 094-524-2288, 084-707-9094. www.samart-samui.com
Join us the tour with this video: