Saturday, December 31, 2011

Koh Samui Street Food: Chinese Noodles

Chai-see Ba-mee Gee-ow is a franchise of Chinese-style noodle stalls which are to be found outside 7-11 and Family Mart convenience stores, on street corners and in just about every populated area in the whole of Thailand. The noodle stalls are instantly recognisable with their distinctive yellow light boxes with bright red Thai script.  

Chai-see Ba-mee Gee-ow, Chinese noodle and soup stall, Bangrak, Koh Samui

The most popular dish is 'ba-mee gee-ow', which translates as 'yellow noodle dumplings', which can be served in hot soup ('sai naam') or served with a hot bowl of soup on the side ('heng'). The dish contains yellow, Chinese noodles, rice-noodle dumplings stuffed with pork with sliced ham and green vegetables. The dish is very tasty, as is the soup, with no strong flavours to put off fussy eaters and cheap at only 40 Thai Baht per bowl.

You can order to take your food away or eat-in on provided plastic table and you are provided with dried chilli, sugar, vinegar, crushed peanuts and fish sauce which can be added to the dish to suit your own tastes.

Written by Samui Holiday Villa Rental, your portal to luxury Koh Samui Villa Rental.

Big Buddha Statue & Temple, Bangrak, Koh Samui

Koh Samui's Big Buddha statue is one of the island's top tourist attractions and is located within Big Buddha temple ('wat pra-yai'), on a tiny island, on the far eastern side of Bangrak Bay.  Built in 1972, the impressive 12 meter high golden statue glistens in the tropical Samui sun and it is one of Koh Samui's best known landmarks as it can be seen from several kilometers away.

Koh Samui's Big Buddha statue, located in Bangrak, is one of the island's top tourist attractions

The access road to the Big Buddha Temple is located just after the fish market, next to the long established BBC restaurant and there are usually adequate spaces for parking in front of the entrance to the temple just after the first shops that you pass.
Next to the car park are several cheap Thai restaurants, several souvenir shops, ice-cream and refreshment stalls alongside a small selecton of chic boutiques and art shops which are worth a quick browse.

As you pass through the temple gates, a staircase leads up to the Big Buddha statue and at the base of the stairs are two pogodas where monks give blessing to the locals in exchange for offerings which include flowers, candles, food and water.

On the left, is a covered area where you can sign the underside of a temple roof tile (to be added to temple roofs in future building projects) in exchange for a small donation of Thai baht.

To the right are fortune telling machines. To tell your fortune, you first need to work out the day of the week that you were born on. Place a ten baht coin in the machine of the day of your birth (there are 7 in total, one for each day), read the number that is shown when the lights stop spinning and then read the fortune that corresponds to this number which are displayed on the wall in both Thai and English.

At the base of the Big Buddha statue is where locals to pay their respect to the Buddha
Up the staircase brings you to the base of the Big Buddha statue itself. In front of the statue is a small shrine where locals give offering for Buddha, and around the statue are a number of bells which can be rung for good luck using the pices of wood provided at the top of the staircase. This is also a very good spot to take some snaps of the stunning sea and island views which surround the temple.

Big Buddha is well worth a visit to soak up some local culture, take some nice photos and enjpy the views. Please note that visitors are requested to dress politely (i.e. no bikini or thongs). 

Read more information on Koh Samui Island, Thailand, Koh Samui activities and things to do and Koh Samui tourist attractions.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Koh Samui Hospital (Government Hospital)

Koh Samui has one government hospital named Koh Samui Hospital which is located in Nathon, on the island’s western coast. The hospital has undergone a huge face lift recently with a clean, modern waiting area and well-organised staff.

Koh Samui Hospital is clean and well-organised

The waiting room usually has ample seating for all visitors and is well-organised with numbered counters each serving a different purpose. Register at the registration counter and you are given a counter number where you should wait until your name is called. You may then be directed to different counter to pay for treatment, and another which issues pharmaceuticals.

Though not many of the staff are fluent in English, some have enough English skills to allow understanding. Costs for treatment and drugs are extremely reasonable, especially when compared to Koh Samui's International hospitals. 

The main hospital building, car park and landscaped gardens are very clean and well-maintained with ample parking, outside eating areas and a children's play park. A shop sells refreshments, snacks and boxed rice dishes and there is a coffee shop just inside the side entrance to the main building. There is still a lot of re-building going on within the other parts of the hospital as they continue to pour resources into upgrading the interior of the buildings.

I would recommend Koh Samui's Government run hospital for all major and minor emergencies as it is always fully-staffed and the only hospital on the island with the resources to deal with life-threatening injuries and life-saving surgery. I have visited the hospital many times and have always been happy with the service and costs. When my son was delivered at the Koh Samui Hospital (on our paediatrician's advice) I just couldn't believe how well everything went and how friendly and well-organised the staff were. The only thing that could be improved on are the wards which are clean and comfortable, but lacking privacy. There are basic private rooms available at very low rates but they are given on a first come, first served basis.

To reach Koh Samui Hospital, follow the ring road through Nathon from north to south and then take a right turn at the large set of traffic lights just after the town. The hospital is located at the bottom of this road.

Outside eating area, nest to children's play park with stunning views towards Thailand's mainland

Samui Holiday Villa Rental is your portal to Koh Samui Villa Rentals

Friday, December 2, 2011

Koh Samui Sea View Villas - A Guide to Hilltop Villas With Views on Thailand's Most Beautiful Island

Koh Samui, a tropical island holiday destination in Thailand's Gulf, offers some of the best beaches in Asia and truly stunning sea and island views, making it one of the best South East Asian destinations to enjoy a luxury villa rental holiday with exceptional tropical views. Samui sea view villas are dotted around the island with the largest density in the busy northeast of the island, specifically the Bophut and Maenam hills, Plai Laem, and the hills above Chaweng and Chaweng Noi. Typical sea view villas have two to six bedrooms with views ranging from partial views to complete 360 degree panoramas and rental rates ranging from approximately $150 to $1,500 USD per night. But just what level of luxury can you expect in return for your hard-earned cash?

At the top end, you can expect to pay between $600 and $1,500 USD per night for a top-class, luxury, three to five bedroom hilltop villa with panoramic views. For this price you would expect the villa to have uniquely designed, stunning interiors with only the most opulent in furnishings, artwork and fittings. These villas can be fully staffed with the latest in electronic lighting and top-end entertainment systems with a villa manager to take care of your every wish. At the other end, you can expect a smaller, two to four bedroom villa with swimming pool and good to excellent sea views, though not panoramic, for around $300 to $600 USD per night which would include daily cleaning.
Rental rates for villas on Koh Samui are highly seasonal. Most of the smaller, medium-budget villas have a high season from December to April and July to September, mid-season from May to June and October to December and peak season during Christmas and New Year. The more luxurious, hilltop panoramic view villas generally have four different rental rates which take into account Asian festivals such as Chinese New Year or Songkran (Thai New Year) when rental rates can sky-rocket.

The best times to look for a bargain are September to mid-December and the months of May and June. The annual monsoon arrives towards the end of the year, usually in November, so booking during the middle of the year should offer more favorable weather. At these times, the majority of luxury sea view villas offers low-season rates and often has free night promotions such as stay four nights and pay for only three.This is also a good time to pick up a good deal on a reduced occupancy rate as you can often save about 20%, for example, on booking a five bedroom villa with only six guests who require the use of three bedrooms only.

Bob Johnston is a leading content writer on Koh Samui hilltop villas and Koh Samui seaview villas.
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