Thai Cooking Schools in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is jam packed with activities and most people are never short of things to do when staying on the island. Whether it’s taking in some of Samui’s most famous sights, such as the Big Buddha statue, or elephant trekking through the jungle, there really is something for everyone. But how about taking part in an activity where you can learn new skills, meet new people, sample great food and take home what is perhaps the ultimate Thai souvenir? Attending a cooking class on Koh Samui is a great way of doing all of those things. What better way of impressing your friends back home than by cooking up a feast of authentic Thai cuisine?  Along with Chiang Mai, and Phuket, Samui is also home to a wide and varied selection of cooking schools which cater for all ages and cooking abilities, from complete beginners to expert chefs. Increasingly, a number of resorts and hotels on Koh Samui also offer guests the chance to take part in a Thai cookery course. Learn to cook all of your favorite dishes from spicy to Som Tam to a rich and creamy Massaman Curry – you can even take courses on the traditional Thai art of fruit carving. Of course, if you consider yourself to be something of a Thai foodie already, then taking a cooking course is another excellent way of further exploring the wonders and techniques of creating Thai cuisine. Not only that, but it offers something different and is an activity the whole family can enjoy.

Samui Cooking Classes: What to expect

Samui Cooking Classes What to expect As mentioned, Koh Samui is home to a number of different Thai cooking schools. Whilst each will offer their own different program and have their own unique way of doing things, it is normally the case that each cooking class is run on a daily basis. The day will usually begin with a  trip to the nearby fresh market, where you will not only purchase all the ingredients you need to make your favourite dish but you will also be given information on each of the different vegetables, herbs and spices which are commonly used in Thai cooking. Once you’ve finished at the market, it’s back to the cookery school and straight into the kitchen with your fresh ingredients, where you’ll get to grips with some of the equipment and utensils used when cooking Thai food, such as a wok and a pestle and mortar. Your teacher or class leader will then take you through the various stages involved in creating each dish. It could be that the school allows you to cook whatever Thai dish you like but it’s more commonly the case that the school will have a set menu, alternating throughout the week which will determine exactly which dishes you shall be making. When you have finished cooking, you then get to sample all the great food you have made! Some schools will also give a certificate of completion, recipe books and other souvenirs such as aprons. For those who take their cooking a little more seriously, many of the cooking schools on Koh Samui will offer a variety of different courses, which can even include one to one tuition and intensive week long programs, which are geared more towards professional chefs or those working in the food industry. Thai cooking classes will almost certainly be held in English, normally from a Thai chef with professional experience, with some even having worked and lived overseas. Here is our round up Koh Samui’s best cooking schools.

Pai’s Cookery Class

Pai’s Cookery Class Samui Located in Chaweng Beach, Pai offers fun and informal Thai cookery classes, perfect for those looking for an introduction on how to make Thai food. Whilst Thai cookery classes are normally held daily during the high season, Pai’s classes are often by appointment only so please make sure you contact her well in advance to avoid disappointment. For more info: <Pai Cookery Samui

Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts

Pic: samuitefl.com

Pic: samuitefl.com

The Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts is not only one of the best cooking schools on Koh Samui, but is renowned throughout Thailand and has been sharing the secrets of fine Thai cooking for more than a decade.  SITCA offers a professional, friendly environment where you can get to grips with the intricacies of Thai cuisine. Get to know your Som Tam from your Tom Yum in SITCA’s modern and air conditioned facility. The institute offers a range of different courses, with half day classes available from 2,250 Baht per person. It also offers classes for private groups, starting at 1,950 Baht person with a minimum of ten people attending. For the professional chefs, there are 6 and 12 day intensive courses with prices starting at 52,500 Baht and 105,00 Baht respectively.

Spirit House Cooking Class

Spirit House Cooking Class Samui The Spirit House Spa and Restaurant in Chaweng Beach provides a luxurious insight into traditional Thai culture. This popular resort also offers Thai cooking classes from its professional in-house Chef. Each class teaches you how to prepare an appetizer and main course from its authentic Royal Thai cuisine menu. After which you get to sample the delights of your labors, as you tuck into the very say dished you have been involved in creating. Some of the dishes which are available for you to try your hand at include Red Duck Curry, Tom Yam Goong and Crispy Coconut Prawns – delicious!

Sonja’s Thai Cooking Class

Sonja’s Thai Cooking Class Samui Sonja provides Thai cookery classes in both English and German and offers 3 different courses available to small groups of between two and four people. Course 1 starts at 10am and lasts for approximately 2.5 hours, during which you’ll learn how to cook a soup, a starter and a famous Thai curry. You’ll also receive a starter pack to take home so you can put your new found skills to the test.  Course 2 starts at 1pm and lasts for 4.5 hours, with students learning to cook 5 dishes from Sonja’s extensive Thai menu. Course 3 starts at 4pm and could be a good gift for those looking to do something different when celebrating a birthday or other special event. Sonja also has her own garden where she grows the fresh herbs and vegetables which are used during the cooking class.

The Passage Samui

The Passage Samui Villas and Resort offer daily Thai cookery lessons (apart from Sunday) with prices starting from 750 Baht per person for one dish. Located in the tranquil Laem Yai Beach on the northwestern tip of the island, the resort has a large and varied menu of dishes which are demonstrated by one of its expert chefs in what is a fun and relaxing environment. Upon completion of the class, attendees will receive a souvenir apron, recipe card and a Thai cooking class certificate.

Sandalwood Thai Cookery Class

Sandalwood Thai Cookery Class The restaurant at the Sandalwood Samui Resort offers beginner and intermediate cookery courses which present traditional Thai food with a modern twist. Each of the courses can be taken one on one or in small groups. Lessons begin with a trip to the local market before returning to the kitchen to prepare a meal with your freshly bought ingredients. The Sandalwood also offers a course for couples who want to learn how to create the ultimate romantic dining experience. A traditional fruit carving course is also available.

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Koh Samui Top Ten Picks

Over the last decade or so, Koh Samui has established itself as one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations. What was once only a place for backpackers and people looking to get off the beaten track, the island has now developed in to a place that can be enjoyed by all manner of people both young and old.

There is so much to see and do on the island and in the surrounding area that that visitors to Samui are positively spoilt for choice with the amount of fun activities, interesting sights, incredible restaurants and stunning natural beauty that can be found here.

Throughout this page you will find a countdown of what we consider to be the most interesting sights on the island, which no visit to Koh Samui would be complete without seeing for yourself.

All of the items that make up the Koh Samui Top Ten Picks are based completely on our own opinions, all of which are totally impartial. If you happen to think there is something that we have failed to include on the list or you disagree with any of our choices, then we’d love to hear from you!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and tell us about your own favourite parts of Koh Samui and the surrounding area.

10. Muay Thai Training

Koh Samui has quite a reputation as a destination for people who want to learn the art of Muay Thai or train in some of the islands excellent gyms in order to improve their Thai boxing skills. People travel from all over the world to train here, with many gyms offering travel and accommodation packages that combine an intense training program with a relaxing holiday on a beautiful tropical island.

koh-samui-muay-thai-trainingRegardless of your ability or experience, the Muay Thai gyms and fitness camps that can be found on Koh Samui are open to everyone, from complete novices to professional fighters.

Some of Thailand’s most experienced and knowledgeable Muay fighters have setup training facilities on the island, with the largest selection of Muay Thai gyms being found in Lamai. Many of the gyms here are equipped with the latest facilities and equipment such as boxing rings, weight rooms and punch bags.

Thai boxing isn’t simply about combat or fighting. Due to the nature of many of the moves that are involved in the sport, a great level of stamina and strength is also required.

Therefore, taking part in Muay Thai training camp on Koh Samui can be a perfect way to lose excess body fat and get in shape.

Daily training sessions can include time spent in the ring sparring, but for those who would just prefer the fitness benefits from this kind of intense training, then a personal training schedule can be specially designed based on an individual’s own level of fitness and experience.

For more experience fighters, where better to perfect your fighting technique, improve your kicks or work on those knock out blows than with the help of ex-championship fighters, on a tropical island paradise?

More information on Muay Thai and the benefits of training on Koh Samui

9. Koh Samui Water Sports

Koh Samui has an abundance of waters sports and other activities that are popular with many people who visit the island. With the Samui’s incredible beaches, clear, warm waters and stunning natural beauty, the island and its surrounding area offers the perfect setting to participate in a wide range of water sports, such as scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, sea kayaking and sailing.

kayaking-on-koh-samuiKoh Samui’s commitment and growing reputation as a destination for water sports is one of the many reasons why more and more people visit the island each year.

For some people, water sports on Koh Samui can be as simple and relaxing as going for a swim in the islands beautiful waters or snorkelling around rocks and reefs, which are thriving with marine life. For others, their idea of Koh Samui water sports might involve hiring a jet ski, windsurfing or gaining a PADI scuba diving certificate.

Some of the scuba diving sites that are located not too far from Koh Samui are considered by some to be amongst the finest in the world, due to the large amount of exotic marine life, as well as having excellent diving conditions for people of all abilities.

Throughout Koh Samui you will find scores of scuba diving schools and instructors, which generally offer diving courses at much cheaper rates than you can find elsewhere in the world.

If you are feeling a little more adventurous then why not give sailing or even kiteboarding a try, both of which are available on the island, with the waters around Samui offering near perfect conditions for both sports

One thing that you can be certain of is that there is no shortage of options when it comes to participating in water sports and other fun activities whilst staying on Koh Samui.

More information on Koh Samui water sports

8. Restaurants

When people talk about Koh Samui being a paradise island they aren’t just talking about the islands wonderful beaches, friendly people and stunning natural beauty.

In recent years the island has become well known for its large number of excellent restaurants and eateries, serving up some of the finest cuisine from all over the world. To coincide with this, a growing number of high quality chefs are now choosing Samui as the ideal location where they can share their impressive culinary skills. It is now said that the island now boast more Michelin star chefs and 5 star restaurants all in one place than anywhere else in the world.

Combine highly skilled chefs with the wide range of high quality, fresh ingredients and produce and the results will almost certainly be more than pleasing. Tropical fruits, delicious vegetables, free range poultry and meat, countless varieties of fresh seafood and fish, all help to make Samui a culinary treasure trove, which is just waiting for you to discover.

Not only is the there a wide range of excellent restaurants available on Koh Samui, there are also more than enough dining options to suit all tastes and just about every budget. It is definitely fair to say that you won’t be going hungry when you stay on Koh Samui!

Such is the choice of dining options available on the island that no matter where you might be staying, you are never too far away from a good restaurant. But it isn’t only about the amount of restaurants that are available on Koh Samui, the variety of different types of food that is sold here is also quite staggering.

As well a traditional Thai cuisine, the island has everything from budget international fare such as burgers, pizzas and English pub food to a la carte fine dining and just about everything else in between.

More information on the wide range of dining options available on Koh Samui

7. Hin Ta and Hin Yai

One of Samui’s most famous attractions is the Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks, which are located between Lamai and Hua Thanon. An important part of Samui culture and folklore, Hin Ta and Hin Yai are well worth checking out if you visit the island.

When translated into English, Hin Ta and Hin Yai means ‘Grandfather and Grandmother rocks’ and upon visiting the rocks you will immediately see why they have become one of Koh Samui’s most popular attractions.

For those that don’t know, Hin Ta and Hin Yai pose an uncanny resemblance to the male and female genitalia, which makes them quite a site and certainly makes for an excellent photo opportunity.

It is said that the rocks have been formed naturally by the elements, but as with many unusual sights and attractions in Thailand, there is often a story or fairly tale associated with them and this is certainly true with Hin Ta and Hin Yai.

The area around Hin Ta and Hin Yai is also pretty spectacular with amazing views of the clear blue water and coastline around Lamai.

Heading away from the rocks, there are also a number nice little souvenir stalls selling all sorts of Thai handicrafts and other gifts. There are also a handful of stalls which sell coconut caramel, which is delicious and well worth trying.

If nothing else, the sight of these unusually shaped rocks will certainly put a smile on your face and will provide you with a talking point when you look back through your Samui holiday snaps!

More information regarding the story behind Hin Ya and Hin Ta

6. Fisherman’s Village

The Fisherman’s Village in Bophut is arguably one of the most elegant, traditional and well preserved places to visit on all of Samui. If you want to get a true sense of what the island used to be like before the introduction of mass tourism, fast food chains and international resorts then head over to the Fisherman’s Village.

Lined with a number of Chinese style old wooden shop houses, the village itself has almost a Mediterranean feel to it. There is also a relatively large French expat community that live in the area and this is probably somewhat reflected in the architecture and feel of the surrounding area.

You won’t find any of the large supermarkets or brand name outlets here; instead the Fisherman’s Village is home to a number of boutique style shops selling a wide range of goods from handmade clothes and handicrafts to furniture and footwear. If you are looking to take home souvenirs or gifts for friends and family then head over to Bophut Plaza in the centre of the fishing village.

Located amongst the trendy boutiques and souvenir shops are a number of good restaurants, bars and other eateries which are a great place to relax and have drink or bite to eat, whilst taking in the magnificent views of surrounding turquoise waters. Emerald Bar in the Fisherman’s Village is one such spot that offer great panoramic views of the sea.

A great place for couples or families, the Fisherman’s Village is the complete opposite to what you might find in Chaweng or Lamai, especially when it comes to the night life.

Koh Samui has developed rapidly over the past decade, and whether you think mass tourism has been good for the island or not, it is important that we don’t forget how Samui used to be, not all that long ago.

Before the traditional Samui is lost forever, make sure you visit Bophut and the Fisherman’s Village in order to take a nostalgic look at the Samui of old.

5. Explore Koh Samui

Koh Samui has been described by some as nothing more than a toned down version of Phuket and whilst this might be true to certain extent, the island still has plenty of areas that are relatively undeveloped.

It is fair to say that the majority of visitors to Samui will more often than not end up staying in Chaweng or Lamai. However, to find Samui’s unspoilt and undeveloped areas, you will need to get off the beaten track, as it were, and explore the island, in search of Samui’s hidden treasures.

Probably the best way to explore Koh Samui is to hire a motorcycle and head out on to the open road.

Whilst Samui’s roads can be dangerous, providing you wear a helmet at all times, drive responsibly, don’t take unnecessary risks and be aware of what other road users are doing around you then travelling around the island on a motorcycle or scooter can be fun, exciting and inexpensive. Also note that you should only hire a motorcycle if you have adequate travel/medical insurance cover and have previous experience in riding a motorcycle.

Once you’ve hired your motorcycle, you should consider exploring the west coast of the island. A good route could be to start in Maenam in the north, on the main island ring road and head south towards Nathon, Taling Ngam and Phangka Bay, until you to get to Thong Krut.

Right along the west coast there are secluded bays and beaches that are well worth visiting and which are generally very quiet.

Some days you could even have a whole beach to yourself. Once you head down to Thong Krut and Bang Kao, in the south of the island, there are a number of really good restaurants that are located right on the beach. One such restaurant is Bang Kao Seafood, which serves great tasting food, which is reasonably priced and provides magnificent views out to sea, well worth checking out.

The waters around here are also great for snorkelling and fishing and can also be a good place to book yourself on a fishing trip to the nearby islands of Koh Tan and Koh Mudsum.

Another option is to head away from the beach and go off exploring inland. Here the roads can get a little steep and quite hilly in places but providing you take it easy, you should be ok. Once you travel inland and along the islands main hill/mountain roads, then you can see some pretty spectacular views of many of the islands coconut plantations.

It is said that some of these areas are rumoured to have been earmarked as a potential location for a new international airport, which is very much at the rumour stage at the moment, but an interesting bit of island gossip nonetheless!

Anyway, exploring the inland scenery of Samui gives you a pleasant alternative to the islands beaches and coastline and in parts, can be just as stunning.

Travelling around the island is fairly straightforward and providing you find your way back on the island ring road, there is little chance of you getting lost.

For those that don’t want to a hire a motorcycle, another option is to travel around the island by Songtaew. Although this won’t give you the freedom of a motorbike, it is still a very cheap way to travel from one part of the island to another.

Overall, getting away from the busy tourist hotspots of Chaweng and Lamai and exploring other areas of Koh Samui is something that everyone can enjoy.

4. The Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram

Samui’s famous and extaordinary mummified monk, which is located at Wat Khunaram in Lamai, is the next item in our top ten list and is one attraction that you should definitely go and visit. This remarkable and unusual sight gives you a firsthand look at traditional Buddhist culture and Thai history.

At Wat Khunaram you will find the mummified remains of a monk called Luong Pho Daeng who died in 1973, whilst meditating. Ever since, his body has been on display at the temple in the very same meditative position. Today, you will see him sitting upright in a display case and unbelievably, after nearly 40 years, the body of Luong Pho Daeng shows little sign of decay.

In the Buddhist religion, rather than being frightened by death, Thai Buddhist’s are very accepting of it and consider death to be an opportunity to be reborn and get one step closer to nirvana.

One thing that you won’t fail to notice about Luong Pho Daeng, is that his mummified form is wearing sunglasses! It is said that the sunglasses were place on him just after he died by a fellow monk with a somewhat jovial sense of humour. Whether this is true or not, nobody really knows but it does help to give you an idea of the fun loving nature of many Thai people.

Wat Khunaram is open during daylight hours but probably the best time to visit is first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon when people visit the temple for worship and when many of the monks will be chanting.

Entry to the temple is free, although donations are welcomed to help with the temples upkeep and maintenance.

As this is a sacred and religious site and a place of worship for many people, please make sure that you dress appropriately and respectfully at all times.

There are other mummified monks on Koh Samui but Luong Pho Daeng is certainly the most famous.

More information on Luong Pho Daeng and other religious sites on Koh Samui

3. Wat Plai Laem

Built in 2004, Wat Plai Laem is arguably on Samui’s most colourful and beautiful temples. Located on route 4171, not too far from the Big Buddha statue, the temple is home to a number of religious sights and temples.

The temple itself was designed by Jarit Phumdonming, a renowned Thai artist and took nearly 3 years to complete.

Arguably the most famous of these sights is a large and spectacular statue of an 18 armed Buddhist goddess, the design of which actually look more Indian than Thai. The statue is certainly impressive and you can’t help but be drawn to her as she looks down at you from her position in the surrounding lake.

The large statute set against a backdrop of the clear blue sky can make for a great photograph.

At Wat Plai Laem there is also a large sitting Buddha, which although is not quite as spectacular as te 18 armed goddess, it is still pretty impressive and is another famous attraction that can be seen on this site.

Away from the statues and religious deities, you will find the main temple, which is home to a number of carved images that are said to depict the life of Buddha. The inner walls of the temple are also beautifully decorated with other Buddhist images.

Entry to Wat Plai Laem is free of charge. If you do plan to visit the site then please make sure that you dress respectfully at all times.

2. Ang Thong National Marine Park

The stunning Ang Thong National Marine Park is one area close to Koh Samui that no visit to the island would be complete without visiting.

The marine park is made up of over 40 islands, which are located approximately 40kms north-west of Koh Samui and covers more than 100 square kilometres. Ang Thong is an area of incredible natural beauty and at times can be nothing short of breathtaking.

As well as being stunningly beautiful, this amazing group of islands are actually rather fascinating, as geographically, they are quite different from many of the other islands that can be found in this region. Upon first sight of the Ang Thong Marine Park, it almost appears that the islands seem to rise out of the sea from nowhere, as these dramatic rocks soar hundreds of metres high.

The waters around the islands are an impressive, rich turquoise colour and contain scores of tropical sea life, which makes it the perfect place for scuba diving or snorkelling.

Around the islands you will also be able to find a number of impressive limestone caves that contain large numbers of stalactites and stalagmites.

Some of the islands in the Ang Thong National Marine Park are home to some incredible viewpoints, which offer some of the most spectacular views in Thailand.

It is said that the Ang Thong National Marine Park inspired Alex Garland to write the international bestselling book, The Beach and after visiting the marine park, it is easy to see why.

Visiting Ang Thong from Koh Samui is fairly straightforward as there are a number of operators who provide tours by boat that depart the island every day. Many of these tours will also include food and drink, as well as snorkelling equipment and kayaking tours around the islands, which is something you should definitely consider going on.

Make sure you visit the Ang Thong National Marine Park, marvel at the stunning natural beauty of the area, explore the caves, tunnels and secluded beaches of many of the islands or take a peek at the amazing array of underwater wildlife, whilst taking part in a spot of snorkelling.

A trip to the Ang Thong National Marine Park isn’t something that you are going to forget in a hurry!

More information on the Ang Thong Marine Park

1. Wat Phra Yai – Big Buddha Statue

For people who live on the island, it is probably not all that surprising that we have named this as our number one attraction. However, The Big Buddha statue on Koh Samui is undoubtedly the most famous attraction here and visiting the statue is arguably worth a trip to the island in itself.

sightseeing-on-koh-samuiUpon visiting the statue you will no doubt marvel at the sheer size and beauty of this magnificent structure. It really is quite something.

This amazing golden statue was built in 1972 and stands an impressive 12 metres tall. It can be seen from quite a distance away and if you travel to Koh Samui by air, it is often the first attraction you will see as your plane approaches the islands airport.

The Big Buddha statue, sitting in a Mara posture is said to depict a period of time during Buddha’s journey to find enlightenment, where he successfully repressed the dangers and temptations that were thrust upon him by the evil Mara by remaining calm and meditating. The pose in which the Big Buddha sits is a symbol of determination, purity and enlightenment.

Once you get up close to the statue you can see some magnificent views of the sea and nearby beaches.

At the base of the Big Buddha is a courtyard with vendors selling and nice range of souvenirs, clothing and handicrafts. There are also a few stalls selling snacks and refreshments and couple of small restaurants and cafes, which look out to sea.

During the day, locals and Buddhist devotees come to the site to offer fruit, flowers and incense to the statue, which when witnessed can give you a real insight into Thai and Buddhist culture. The daytime is also when the whole site is generally busiest with foreign tourists.

Come the night time, the statue takes on an even more exotic and holy aura as it is lit up by a series of spot lights that help to give the statue a wonderful golden glow.

During religious festivals such as Songkran or Loy Kratong, the Big Buddha Temple becomes filled with people who descend on the site to make merriment and party with friends and family.

The Big Buddha Temple can be found by taking route 4169, towards the northeast of Samui. You will then need to turn onto route 4171. Located not too far from the airport, the temple is open all day, but the best time to visit is first thing in the morning when the locals bring flowers and food to Buddha and the temples Monks are busy performing their morning chanting.

The giant golden Big Buddha statue is one of the islands most iconic images, so make sure that you don’t leave Koh Samui without seeing it for yourself.

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Kiteboarding on Koh Samui

The popularity of kiteboarding in Thailand has increased rapidly over the last couple of years and the country now boasts an as active and vibrant kiteboarding scene as anywhere else in the world.

The west coast of Thailand, with its clean off shore waves and strong north-easterly winds is generally considered to be the country’s kiteboarding hub.

For those of you that have never heard of kiteboarding or kitesurfing, then the principles of this exciting and innovative sport are very simple. Basically, a kitesurfer stands on a small board, which is complete with foot straps to help keep them attached to the board. The surfer then uses the power from a large kite, which they control and manoeuvre to help propel themselves across the water.

It might sound quite easy but the reality is that for first timers, kiteboarding can actually be rather challenging. Due to the fact that your body is the only thing that connects the kite and the board, a good level of physical fitness and reasonable amount of strength is required to pilot the kite and steer the actual board through the water, both at the same time!

People are often surprised at the speeds that can be reached when kiteboarding, but when you consider that the kite generates lift in very much the same way as the wing of an aeroplane, then it is hardly surprising that kite surfers are able to reach such speeds.

This can also explain why kiteboarding is becoming so popular and is arguably the most exciting, adrenaline fuelled water sport to be introduced to Koh Samui in recent years. Not only that but it give you a great opportunity to take in Samui’s spectacular beaches and crystal clear waters.

Koh Samui Kiteboarding Courses

There are a number of different kiteboarding schools and instructors that can be found on Koh Samui, all of which offer a wide range of different lessons and courses, from beginner to expert.

If you have never tried kiteboarding before then you should seriously consider taking part in a beginner course, which can last for up to 3 days and offers people the perfect introduction to the sport of kiteboarding. During a course of this kind you will learn all the basic skills and techniques in order to be able to land, launch and fly your kite safely.

Day two and three of a beginner’s course will then teach you more techniques with regards to controlling your kite and board on the water, as well as understanding wind and weather conditions. Some of the kiteboarding schools on the island will also provide you with a certificate upon completion of the course.

A two or three day beginners kiteboarding course on Koh Samui will normally cost somewhere in the region of 10,000 to 12,000 Baht.

Other courses that are available include a one day beginner course, which costs approximately 4000 Baht and covers the very basics of kiteboarding. The main part of this course will enable you to come away with a good understanding of how the different equipment which is used in quite boarding works, as well as getting your first taste of just how fun and exciting this sport can be.

You can also opt for private, one-on-one tuition, which can be beneficial for more experienced users who want to practice a particular skill or technique with an instructor.

Kiteboarding Instructors on Koh Samui

Here are details of some of the Kiteboarding schools and instructors that are available on Koh Samui:

Koh Samui Kiteboarding
Web: www.kohsamuikiteboarding.com
Tel: 086 267 1189

Kiteboarding Asia
Web: www.kiteboardingasia.com
Email: Samui@kiteboardingasia.com
Tel: 081 591 4592

Wet & Dry
Web: www.kiteboardingsamui.com
Email: info@kiteboardingsamui.com
Tel: 084 190 6228 or 081 082 7163

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Windsurfing Koh Samui

If you happen to visit any of the beaches or islands in Thailand then you won’t have to look very far before you see an array of different water sports available for you to participate in. Some of the most popular water sports in Thailand are snorkelling, kayaking and scuba diving.

windsurfing-koh-samuiOver recent years Thailand’s growing reputation for scuba diving has led many people to consider many of the country’s dive sites to be amongst some best in the world. Thailand clear, warm waters also make excellent conditions for snorkelling and swimming.

However, one water sport that has become very popular in Thailand in recent years is windsurfing, with Koh Samui offering near perfect conditions for the sport and throughout the island there are plenty of places where you can give windsurfing a try.

Koh Samui Windsurfing

Windsurfing has quickly become one of the most popular water sports in Thailand and throughout Koh Samui there are a number of different places where the sport can be practiced. Some of Samui’s beaches, such as the ones at Bophut and Maenam, offer great conditions all year round for windsurfing.

The beaches on the East Coast, at Chaweng and Lamai, also offer plenty of opportunities for windsurfing, although it tends to be more seasonal in these two particular areas. Due to the risk of this side of the island being exposed to north-westerly monsoons, it is generally ill advised to windsurf off the beaches at Chaweng and Lamai between the months of October to May.

Apart from the possibility of monsoon winds off Samui’s east coast, generally speaking the island is fantastic for windsurfing, with its multitude of clean beaches and clear waters, the majority of which have long stretches that are free from rocks and other hazards.

Also, depending on the time of the day and the season, winds and other weather conditions are usually fairly predictable and for these reasons, windsurfing on Koh Samui is suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced windsurfers.

Another reason why Koh Samui is perfect for windsurfing is that you don’t need to use a wetsuit as the water temperature is often between 26 to 28 degrees Celsius, nearly all year round.

Not only is windsurfing on Koh Samui great fun and often very exhilarating, contrary to popular belief, it can actually be quite easy to learn and get the hang of. A number of the islands larger resorts will offer windsurfing equipment to guests and such are the conditions on Samui that you can just go off and try windsurfing yourself, without any instruction or previous experience.

Having said that, it certainly wouldn’t hurt either having a few lessons or picking up some tips from one of the islands windsurfing schools. Learning by trial and error or trying to pick up windsurfing as you go can be frustrating at times. By learning a few basic techniques and principles, this will help you to raise your awareness of the sport, which will help make your first couple of go’s at windsurfing that much easier.

Once you have all the basics covered and you have a better understanding of windsurfing, you will no doubt want to put your new found skills and knowledge to the test. Whilst you might more than a little eager to head straight out onto the water, always make sure you check local weather forecasts and conditions and if it looks like there is a chance of it turning stormy, then don’t go out to sea.

As mentioned, when windsurfing on Koh Samui, you won’t need to wear a wet suit. However, you should make sure that you wear a life jacket at all times.

You also need to be aware of any unexpected hazards, particularly in crowded stretches of water, such as other windsurfers, swimmers, jet skis and children. This is especially true when you are just starting out with windsurfing as the chances are you will be learning how handle your sail and board in shallow water, relatively close to the shoreline.

It is also advisable to wear protective sun cream at all times due to the strong sun reflecting off the water which is all around you.

Koh Samui Windsuring Courses

Windsurfing lessons and course for beginners on Koh Samui normally start at around 2000 Baht for 2 and half hours. However, there are a large number of different lessons and workshops available for all levels of ability and generally speaking, prices will vary from one windsurfing operator to another. There are also group lessons, workshops or private windsurfing tuition available.

For more information about windsurfing on Koh Samui please visit www.samui-windsurf.com

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Koh Samui Sailing

Imagine truly getting away from it all and heading out onto the beautiful turquoise seas that surround Koh Samui, taking in the stunning natural beauty of this aquatic wonderland.

In all honesty, there probably aren’t too many better ways to spend your holiday than to take a couple of days, maybe even a week out, sailing around waters of Koh Samui.

koh-samui-sailingThese waters are home to some of the most beautiful natural sights in all of Thailand. The Samui archipelago, located at the heart of the Thai Gulf, is where you will find some 40 or more islands, the vast majority of which are completely uninhabited and offer people a chance to visit one of the last truly unspoilt areas of the country.

The waters and islands in the Samui archipelago are absolutely teeming with wildlife and provide some of the best opportunities for snorkelling, diving and swimming in the area.

Exploring these waters by boat, luxury yacht or catamaran is a once in a life time opportunity and one that you will almost certainly remember for many years to come.

Many of the Koh Samui sailing trips are perfect for people on their honeymoon, groups of friends or families. Sailing around Koh Samui can offer you something more special than spending a couple of weeks just lying on a beach. Whilst, Samui’s beaches are still one of the islands major attractions, a sailing trip around Samui can be a truly wonderful experience.

Koh Samui Sailing Boats

When it comes to sailing around Samui there are a variety of different boats and tour packages available including private yachts, day or night charters and catamarans.

Here are some details of the different boats and packages that on Koh Samui:

Koh Samui by Sailing Boat
Day and overnight tours to Samui’s neighbouring islands aboard a spacious sailing boat are very popular amongst visitors to the island. These well equipped boats are relatively easy to handle and are good for people who might be trying sailing for the first time.

A favourite amongst families, honeymooners and small groups, a boat of this kind is perfect for sailing in shallow waters and is even capable of beach landings, which is perfect for those really secluded, golden sands that can be found on many of the islands in the Samui archipelago.

Suitable for up to four guests, sailing boat tours are available as both day trips or as an overnight stay.

A skipper and crew are also included in the tour, so you really can just sit back and relax whilst sailing around Samui’s beautiful neighbouring islands.

Koh Samui Sailing by Catamaran
Sailing by catamaran around Koh Samui will undoubtedly provide you with a truly unforgettable sailing experience. Passengers normally will have the choice of a 27ft or 33ft vessel, both of which are very fast and are perfect for hopping from one island to another!

The catamarans here are also fairly easy to sail and we would recommend anyone to take the opportunity to sail one of these magnificent boats.

Some of the catamaran trips from Samui normally include all meals, drinks, beer and wine, as well as use of things things like snorkelling, fishing equipment and a dingy or kayak so you can really go off exploring.

If you enjoy your sailing then a trip on catamaran is a must and where better than to experience this than off the beautiful island of Samui.

Koh Samui Sailing by Luxury Yacht
If you want to sail around Koh Samui in ultimate style and comfort then a luxury yacht charter could be just what you are looking for.

The yacht is complete with a master and guest cabin, the interiors of which are magnificent and both include en suite facilities. There is also more accommodation available in the aft cabin, sliding bunks, which can also be turned into a double bed for extra comfort.

You will also find a state of the art music and entertainment system, large flat screen TV, two large cushioned sun beds and a garage full of sports equipment that you can use throughout your trip.

There really is no better way to sail around Samui and the neighbouring islands.

For more information on some of the sailing boats and tours mentioned above please contact:

Sailing In Samui
Address: Chaweng Regent Beach Resort, 155/4 Moo 2, Bophut, 84320 Koh Samui
Tel:  081 940 1999
Email: kunta@sailing-in-samui.com
Web: www.sailing-in-samui.com

Koh Samui Regatta

The annual Samui Regatta is one of the largest in Asia and hosts the final of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix. Founded in 2001, the event started with just 11 boats, with locally based boats making up much of the fleet.

The main objectives of the Samui Regatta have always been to increase the number of tourists to the island and raise awareness and participation of the sailing scene in Asia. The regatta also does a lot to support local youth education and sporting activities throughout Koh Samui.

By 2003, the reputation of the Samui Regatta was beginning to grow and for the first time it attracted boats from such countries as Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The increasing popularity of the regatta didn’t stop there and as the reputation of the event continued to grow, it quickly became an important fixture in the Asian yachting calendar.

The importance of the event is further increased as the Samui Regatta is the last stage in the Asian Yachting Grand Prix series. This means that the performance of many of the yachts here will often have a major impact of the final standings and overall results of the Grand Prix series. This can often make for an exciting finale, with Samui Regatta at the centre of all the exctitement.

By 2007 the Samui Regatta was purchased by MobyElite, a professional events company, based in Bangkok. Since the change of ownership the event has continued to go from strength to strength. By 2008 over 20 different countries were represented from some 300 participants.

By the time of the 2009 event, the number of participants had risen to 350, with the whole event generating over 30 million Baht in media coverage and an approximate 250 million Baht for the economy in Thailand.

Today, the regatta has just celebrated its tenth year and is more popular than ever before.

For more information on the 2012 Samui Regatta, please visit www.samuiregatta.com

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Property brokers & agents on Samui

If you have already read the topics called How To Buy Property on Samui and How To Rent Property on Samui, you should already have a very good idea of how important real estate agents or brokers can be when buying property on Samui, Thailand. A reputable real estate agent will endeavor to do their very best to find you a reputable property that fits exactly with what your requirements and dreams are. What’s more, after reading the following, it should become clear that trying to deal direct with a Seller or developer will not always save you money but could have the opposite effect by costing you more.

There are some excellent real estate agents on Samui. Good agents will have generated good names for themselves over time. They will also very likely have their own offices, along with sign-written cars on Samui so they are accountable and can be contacted face-to-face if need be. Perhaps, meeting your real estate agent for the first time in a car park or in a coffee bar and then visiting property in an unmarked car may not be quite as confidence-instilling as meeting them in their office on Samui.

Agents are also up to date with any changes in the laws regarding purchasing property. They employ Thai staff who keep in very close contact with the Land Department – a government office that deals with all matters related to buying and selling property – so that they are kept informed if, for example, a transfer tax is due to be increased or if the cost of registering a lease is due to be lowered. Sometimes, the Thai government decides to stimulate the economy therefore reducing particular taxes and transfer fees in order to achieve this outcome.

Real estate agents will also know what current promotions are available at the time. Because of the relationship built up between developer and agent, it is usually possible to negotiate free products like air-con units and Jacuzzis; extended payment plans can also be organized; along with free furniture packages and so on. And, because your real estate agent is your man-on-the-ground they will always be up to date with what properties are worth buying and what is happening on Samui. The agent will know if a developer is about to start a promotional campaign or if a re-sale property seller is getting desperate and may be about to lower their price or offer. Therefore, warning you in advance not to buy just yet and saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Agents are also happy to check the progress of your house or condo being built if off-plan. They will periodically take photos for you and email them to you so that you know your stage payments are being used to build your property and not to pay for developers’ all-night drinking sessions. Agents also know of developers with reputations. Some have reputations for bad quality – or bad service – or no after-sales service at all. Agents also are aware of the best up-and-coming locations in which to invest. They will know if a golf course is about to be constructed or if something undesirable is being built nearby. Of course, the brokers and agents can also liaise with your independent lawyer too if you have any questions.

Would a developer or re-sale seller inform you that the neighbourhood of the property in which you are going to buy with your complete life savings gets noisy at night? And, that there are groups of wild dogs running around or that there is a noisy Thai market 3 times a week on your doorstep or that there is a seedy strip club nearby? Highly unlikely!

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Property taxes & fees

Thailand may be a beautiful, exotic, very friendly destination and a world away from many countries in advanced capitalist societies. But, taxes and fees related to property still apply as they do in industrialized societies.

There are various taxes and fees to consider when buying property on Samui, Thailand. If you decide to rent out your sea view condo on the beach or your private pool villa nestled in the hills on Samui, you are legally required to pay tax on the rent that you generate. Any property that is classed as immovable property that is rented is liable to House and Land tax set at 12.5%. This is based on the yearly annual rental value of the property.

Regarding sales of property, there are four taxes to consider:
– Withholding Tax if the seller is a company is calculated at 1% of the assessed or actual price of the property.
– Specific Business Tax is calculated at 3.3% of the assessed or actual price of the property.
– Transfer Fee is calculated at 2% of the assessed price by the Land Department.
– Stamp Duty must also be paid by the Seller – unless in the case that Specific Business Tax is liable.

As you can see, Specific Business Tax is the highest tax here. This tax has been implemented by the government with the purpose to try to stop speculators buying property and selling it on quickly or ‘flipping’ it in order to make healthy profits. Specific Business Tax is also commonly known as speculative taxation.
property-taxes-fees

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Laws regarding purchase of property on Samui

The laws regarding the purchase of property in Thailand are clear. Strict rules apply to the purchase of condominiums and land. Follow the rules and you will have no problems at all.

For foreigners who wish to buy condominiums in Thailand, the process is straightforward and easy. Condominiums can be bought freehold by foreigners in Thailand as long as you have entered Thailand legally and the condo is constructed on land of no more than 5 rai. You must also, however, check that no more than 49% of the total floor space of the complete condominium complex has already been purchased by foreigners. This can be easily and safely checked via your reputable independent lawyer and with the Juristic office that will hold current records of the owners of the condos.

laws-regarding-purchase-of-property-on-samuiA foreigner wishing to purchase a condominium in Thailand must also observe the law that the money they use to purchase the condo must be sent from overseas. Again, this is a straightforward step and as long as you retain all the records of your money being sent from overseas to Thailand, you can then purchase a condo freehold. Also, should you ever wish to sell your condo at some stage in the future and send your money back to your home country, you can do so legally and easily with no taxes to pay unless of course you have a made a profit and you will be taxed on that profit.

It is generally not possible for foreigners to own land in Thailand in their own name. If you wish to purchase a house you will then need to register a lease for the land. The maximum time period for a lease is currently 30 years and this must be registered at the appropriate Land Department. A lease of less than 3 years does not need to be officially registered at the Land Department.

However, although you cannot own land in Thailand, you may own the building that is built on the land. You will have two contracts when purchasing house and land. One will be a lease contract while the other contract will be for the house. You must however apply for planning permission from the local municipality office and your building plans will have to be certified by a qualified engineer or qualified architect. It is also possible for a foreigner to buy property while overseas and not be physically present in Thailand. By using power of attorney you can instruct a lawyer to act on your behalf to complete the whole process. However, and as previously outlined, in most cases, unless you know someone very well who can vouch for the property, area, build quality, developer, views etc, it is recommended that you visit the property and location in person in order to minimize any potential risk.

All sounds simple enough. So, I presume there is only one type of title deed in Thailand so I do not need to worry, right? Wrong. In Thailand there are different title deeds. You have the highest ranked, which is freehold title or chanote nor sor 4, which gives you complete rights over the land. Then, you have Nor Sor 3 Gor, which is also safe and is just awaiting full title status. Then, comes Nor Sor 3, where the land has never even been measured so this could be highly risky. Finally, comes the Possessory Right – not recommended and not substantiated by the government – maybe best to avoid this type of land like the plague.

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How to rent property on Samui

Is renting property easier than buying property? Yes, without doubt. Renting a property in Samui, Thailand, is a lot more straightforward than if you are looking to invest in a property long term. Of course, the cost will be much more minimal compared to that of buying a property. Therefore, monetary risk is minimal.

You do not need to check laws, rules, taxes and regulations. Still, that is not to say that you should be any less careful and vigilant when looking for your ideal holiday rental home in the sun. The chances are you will be like many visitors who only have one holiday per year and you want to escape from the wind, rain and cold. You will probably be so excited to be coming to charming Samui, Thailand. Therefore, you probably do not want to end up risking your tropical sunny holiday ending up somewhere you would never even travel through, let alone stay in, in your home town!

how-to-rent-property-on-samuiSo, the steps are similar. Search out a website; find your property, then, start asking questions. If I do not need to ask about things like leases, companies and other ownership issues, what do I need to ask? OK, you want to make sure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible. You do not want to end up having to complain about something and your real estate agent does not want to have to listen to you complaining about something either! So, ask about what the neighborhood is like. Is it a completed development and peaceful or are there houses being built next door to my holiday home? Is the holiday home fenced in or can Thai dogs run around the area all day and all night causing not only unpleasant mess but sleepless nights every night as they fight, howl and bark with their doggy friends?

Is the condo actually a ‘2-minute walk to the beach’ as advertised or is it actually a 10-minute drive in a car? Is there a sense of community with some shops, bars, restaurants and laundry facilities or will I feel like I am isolated and on the moon? Is the water reliable or does it run out sometimes? Is there an Internet connection and I can I receive WiFi in my room or just in the lobby or reception area? Can I watch satellite TV and can I pay to upgrade the package for football and movies or will I only get Thai cable TV? Is Internet and satellite TV included in the price? Is air-con included in the price?

Will my belongings be insured while I am in the property? How can I arrange cleaning, laundry and can I check in at 03:00am in the morning? Is the property fully equipped with full bedding and kitchen equipment? When and how will I get my deposit back? Are there enough sun beds for four people around the pool? Can I book a taxi to pick me up at the airport? Will the rental company be able to organize reputable car hire for me? Can they recommend tourist places that are worth going to see and the ones that are not worth going to see? And so on.

Once again, these questions are not meant to put you off; in fact, quite the opposite. When you have as many of your questions answered as possible, you will be guaranteed a peaceful and relaxing time in your dream destination. Make sure you try to find out about most of the above points. Then, the only thing you will have to worry about while on your holiday is making sure you go brown enough to show off your sexy sun tan when you get back to your cool, cloudy, country.

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How to buy property on Samui

Buying property in Samui, Thailand, when done in a professional and careful manner with due diligence, will be a rewarding and very enjoyable experience. If you decide to cut corners, things could turn out to be not quite as enjoyable. But, follow some simple steps and you will end up with your sun-drenched dream property in the tropical resort beach island of Koh Samui.

Where should I start?

That is simple – at the beginning. Do your research. Then do some more research. Forewarned is forearmed because the more knowledge you gather about your destination, property, laws and customs etc, the safer you will be. You will need to study the laws regarding purchasing property in Thailand. You need to know what you can do and what you cannot do. And, more importantly, what you can legally buy and what you cannot legally buy.

how-to-buy-property-on-samuiOK, let’s get started. You have decided what house you want to buy and where you want to buy it. You have seen photos of the property on a real estate website. You have decided that you will live in the property part-time and that you want to rent it out for a passive income while it is empty. So, time to email the real estate company. You should ask as many questions as possible about the property in case you decide to travel half way across the world to see it. But, what questions?

For example, is the property on a completed development? If it is not on a completed development what is the probable completion time? How long has the development been under construction? Is it possible it may never be completed and you end up spending your annual holidays on a dirty, smelly, noisy construction site? What kind of construction warranty will be provided – 1 year, 2 years, 5 years? Who will be my neighbours? Could there be a military shooting range nearby? Where is the water sourced? Who manages the communal facilities like security, refuse collection, shuttle services? How is the property currently owned? Is it in a company and if so is that company a legitimate trading company or a ‘shelf company’ set up solely with the purpose of putting the land in the name of the company to overcome Thai law, which is not recommended?

If you decide that buying the property in the name of a ‘shelf company’ is risky and not for you, you must take out a lease on the land, but, is the seller able to give a lease? Does the land have an allocation license enabling the land to be transferred into a Thai name who will then offer the lease? Does the land have a mortgage on it? Is the seller the actual owner of the land or someone simply acting on behalf of someone else? Is there a construction permit for the house on which the land sits? Is there already a mortgage on the land? What costs are involved regarding taxes and transfer fees? Will you put the land in the name of a Thai and take out a usufruct over the land? And so on.

As you can see, outlined above are just a few of the many questions that need to be answered before parting with your hard-earned life savings when buying property in Thailand. The objective here is not to frighten buyers away. But, simply, to make them understand that buying property in another country may be completely different and more complex than it is in their country of origin. Therefore, consulting a reputable, experienced, real estate company with many years’ experience in property in Thailand, could well safeguard your investment; answer the questions above along with many others; and more importantly, give you complete peace of mind. Do it the correct way. Do not cut corners. Then you will only have to do the job once.

So, all I have to do is put all my trust in a real estate agent then I am guaranteed my dream home – correct? No, not correct. Any reputable real estate agent, after they have helped you source a property that fits your budget, style, and specific purpose, should then recommend that you employ an independent lawyer. An independent lawyer will not only check that the contract you are about to sign is a contract that is in your best interests and possibly add or remove clauses, but they will also check the person selling the property is allowed to sell it. They will also check there is no mortgage on the land. And, for example, that the land has a proper title and that there are no roads due to be built in your back yard.

There is one final step to put in place. And, that responsibility is down to you – due diligence. But, what can I do because I do not know much about property in Thailand? Well, for example, you could ask other people what their opinion is of the property, the location, the development and the developer that you are about to buy from. Also, you can look on the Internet and even knock on the neighbours’ doors near the property that you want to buy. Neighbours have a habit of telling the truth. Once all this is completed and you have had the title search completed, sale and purchase agreement signed, payment has been made, you are then ready to register ownership and take possession of your dream home in the sun.

It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all the steps and questions that need to be addressed before buying property in an article as brief as this. However, if you follow the guidelines above, you will certainly give yourself the very best chance of buying the best property that will suit you. And, more importantly, you will be investing in a property that you will be more than happy with.

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