I have a problem.
I'm taking the first step by admitting, that I, Amanda Bowen, have a problem.
I'm addicted to Thailand.
It's unoriginal, a bit ridiculous, I've been 5 times, and 4 years consecutively.
Even worse, the last three years running I've been to Koh Samui. In fact, it's 3 trips in just over 18 months.
I blame Luxury Escapes and their bloody irresistable dirt cheap deals. It's not MY fault! Who wouldn't take 8 nights in paradise, with breakfast, 4 hours of spa treatments, cooking classes, 5 hour happy hours and airport transfers for a $999?
Exactly. Everybody wants that.
So besides the price tag, why do I love Thailand so much? Well, I must admit, it's mostly the food. And cheap booze. And massages, facials, and mani/pedi. It's R&R paradise, if you ask me! Actually, after you find out where to eat, hit up this article from Ever Asia about what else to do in the area. The 10 Absolutely Best Things to Do in Koh Samui
So, I've been savvy enough to have a car on each of my three trips to Koh Samui, and therefore have eaten ALL over the island. This puts me in a pretty stellar position to advise you on where you could potentially access BRILLIANT food and drink on this beautiful island.
So without further delay, I give you: my top ten FAVOURITE places to eat and drink on Samui.
1. Haad Bang Po
This is paradise on crack, and our number one favourite plate to eat on the island. Set on the curved beach of Bangpo, or Bangpor, - it is all thatched huts where you can sit cross legged on cusions, colourful lanterns and amazing food. Alternatively you can sit at bench tables with your toes in the sand. Touch choice. Recommend relaxing here all afternoon, ordering 2 large Chang and 1 small dish at a time. Great seafood. Get a whole steamed fish - even the fried versions are delicious and light - not stodgy.
2. Krua Bang Po
Krua Bang Po was the first restaurant we tried in the little village of Bang Po and we loved it, and still do. This is feet in the sand type gear - but you're sort of raised up on a retaining wall on the beach, as opposed to being right at water level. This is a bigger restaurant and has a big menu - something to please everyone in the family.
3. White Pearl Restaurant (Bang Po)
White Pearl is one of our favourites because it's beautiful and the owner Sean is awesome. Super friendly guy who's been everywhere, seen everything and has settled down in his own version of paradise. His fiance Dang cooks some of the best seafood on the island, and Sean's cocktails are troublemakers! Ask for recommendations and go with the flow. European food available too.
The anticipation is killing him.
This greens dish is everywhere in Thailand- Morning Glory. Always with garlic, sometimes with soybeans and chilli, it's a cheap, delicious and nutritous side plate.
4. Gusto Italian- Fisherman's Village
The owner of this restaurant has been on the island since 1990, doing only he knows! The restaurant is in a family-friendly tourist area, and has beautiful tables on the beach for romantic night time dining.
We had a beautiful antipasto platter with cured meats imported from various regions of Italy. It was totally indulgent and lush. Wine will set you back about $30-40 AUD a bottle, but it's yummy and imported Italian. So worth it when you're in the mood, and half of what you pay at home.
Woodfired pizzas here are also a must.
5. Krua Bophut - Fisherman's Village
Gorgeous Thai in a heavy-teak 'I'm in a fancy thai restaurant' setting. A really upmarket feel inside, a more relaxed alfresco feel outside. Good prices for Fisherman's Village and just really excellent Thai. Right at the end of the Fisherman's set, on the beach side.
6. The Jungle Club - Chaweng
Best views on the island, and some of the best tropical views I've even seen in my life. A truly happy place, I've been meaning to go back and stay at The Jungle Club, but always end up just going for a leisurely lunch and relax on the iconic orange bean bags on the deck overlooking Chaweng. The track up the mountain to this joint is improving every year, so even if you just have a little hatchback you should make it up just fine!
7. 4 Monkeys Bar- Bang Po
Eeek! I love this colourful little house/bar. Drink cocktails on the front deck with your bestie, feet up, overlooking the beach. If they're not strong enough, the very accommodating staff will 'fix' that! Good coffee, too!
8. Walking Street - Fisherman's Village on Friday Nights
How fun! Fisherman's Village turns in to a food and knick-knack market every Friday night. Go along for the bbq'd meat on sticks, the dollar beers from eskies lining the street and the $2 cocktails. Seriously consider the knock off MAC and Bobbi Brown - if only the brush sets. Surpringly excellent quality and make great gifts!
If you're not full up on street snacks, take the opportunity to eat some delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants lining the streets.
9. The Banyan Tree Lobby Bar - Lamai
If you're a coffee freak then Thailand is probably quite disappointing for you across the board. If you are desperate, head up to the Banyan Tree Lobby Bar for unsurpassed views of cliff-side villas and endless ocean...and a really decent coffee. Caveat: it will cost you an arm and a leg. Say, $10 AUD. Worth it when you have a handkering perhaps. They do give you excellent cookies with! If not, try 4 Monkeys in Lamai as suggested. Bakubung is also supposed to have decent coffee, although I cannot yet verify.
10. The Boat- Bang Po
We visited The Boat restaurant as some of our favourites were closed following the Thai new year. We had the restaurant to ourselves, along with about 10 staff. The service was charming, attentive and a truly delightful experience. As was the garlic crispy squid! My recommendation is just ORDER THINGS. Even if you don't know what they are. And the Morning Glory here is gooooood!
11. Antica Locanda - Bangrak
Good woodfired pizzas and CARAFFES OF WINE. A personal favourite. Near the Big Buddha.
12. Celli's Pizzeria - Bang Po
This lovely guy was on holidays when we visited in March 2015, but last year we had some delightful chow at his place, and some fun chat, too. Only open a few years, the owner imports even his FLOUR from Italy, because he is not messing around! The pizza is the main event, although there are many other delights to be sampled, also. Wine here is also imported and will set you back $30-$40 a bottle. It's a great idea to bring in up to two bottles of wine per person in to Samui, as wine is notoriously rare and expensive in Thailand!
If, however, you're happy to spend you holiday on soft drink, bottled water and imbibing icey cold Chang, Leo, Singha and Tiger - you'll be sweet as!
So there you have it - my eating and drinking guide to Koh Samui!
Can't wait to visit again - it certainly is our happy place!