Nov 23 2011
Magic Cup is a tiny coffee shop, 100 metres past Seventy-Five restaurant supply store, and they make the best iced cappuccinos on the island for 35B; the coffee is ground and milk frothed while you wait.
Boudoir Restaurant is one of Samui’s best kept secrets, rather hard to find, but worth the try. Huge portions of rustic country French dishes are served up at reasonable prices by French couple Stephan and Isabelle. As the name suggests, the place oozes sex appeal and romance, with opulent décor, mood lighting and comfortable seating, encouraging guests to linger over another bottle of wine. The owners have been known to smuggle cheeses and cold cuts back from France in their luggage, such is their passion for authentic French ingredients. Booking in advance is essential. T: (085) 783 1031.
Caffe e Cucina Ristorante, located opposite the entrance to Santiburi, is undoubtedly Mae Nam’s best Italian eatery. Prices are reasonable by Western standards, and the setting is intimate and cosy. Pizzas have a thin, crisp base; try the calzone, which is huge and stuffed full of delectable ingredients.
Best swimming pool
Fair House Villas and Spa welcomes day visitors to their pool, as long as they order a meal. The swimming pool has several levels, Jacuzzi-style day beds set into the water, a basket ball hoop and a swim-up bar complete with stone turtle bar stools. Who needs to stay at a five-star resort for a bit of luxury? The poolside menu offers simple dishes at reasonable prices for the standard of this resort. Sun loungers, both around the pool and on the beach, are serviced by the pool bar. www.fairhousevillas.com
See and do
Located near the Chinese temple and pier, Mae Nam hosts its walking street market on Thursday evenings, with the usual street food, entertainment and cheap cocktails. Should you be on Samui around Chinese New Year, this is where the party is happening – remember to bring ear plugs!
A few metres from the Chinese temple on the seafront is Kim’s Gallery, where you can see or buy local artwork (see photo at top).
For a great viewpoint and scenic drive, take the new road that links Mae Nam to Lamai, as it passes though coconut plantations, farmland, huts and offers jaw-dropping lookouts over Samui. The turnoff is left at the bridge coming from the Bophut side of Mae Nam.
Into golf? Mae Nam Hills is home to the Santiburi Golf Course and Country Club, one of Asia’s finest golf courses. Well maintained fairways and greens are set in 23 acres of typical tropical surroundings, with views over the bay and to the neighbouring islands, making it hard to keep your focus on the game. www.santiburi.com
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