Mar 10 2013
Rather than a silly souvenir that will lie in the back of the junk cupboard once home, a new skill is a souvenir that might come in more handy. Here are a selection of courses available on Ko Samui that should leave you with something longer lasting and more valuable than a tan — and they make an interesting change from the beach.
Many hotels and resorts offer some form of cooking course with their in-house chef and several dedicated cooking schools also offer courses. Often the class involves a trip to the local market with the chef to select the ingredients, which is a great way to learn about Thai fresh produce and to see how locals shop as well.
If you’re after something a bit more active, dive schools and charter companies, located mainly in Bophut and Chaweng offer plenty of opportunities to learn how to get deep into the water. Many offer PADI dive courses, with training in resort swimming pools, before venturing into the ocean. Once you’re qualified, join a dive charter to explore excellent diving locations not too far from Samui, though they’re mostly an hour or more speedboat trip away, including Ko Tao, Sail Rock and the Ang Thong National Marine Park. See tropical fish, rays, dolphins and corals and even the elusive whale shark on dive excursions. The Samui archipelago is generally good for diving most of they year, other than during the monsoon from mid-October to mid-December, when visibility decreases, and currents are stronger. Another interesting course to take once you’ve learned to dive? Underwater photography, with someone like Infinity Diving.
With Samui being home to Santiburi, one of Asia’s finest golf courses, as well as a few other courses and driving ranges, it makes a great location to hone your golf skills with the help of a pro. Samui Golf organises lessons for all levels, as either an individual or in groups. Choose from short courses tuning specific golf skills, to more intense courses for beginners learning from scratch.
You’ll need to know a bit about yoga before learning to be an instructor. But if you’re tired of the rat race, this may just be the career change for you. Samui is home to Absolute Yoga where you can get in your teacher training hours, while the Yogarden in Fisherman’s Village offers several short courses and workshops in various practices, including yoga, reiki and meditation.
One of Samui’s first day spas, Tamarind Springs, offers various courses in traditional Thai massage, manual lymphatic drainage and reflexology, among others, from beginner to courses for professionals wanting to hone their skills.
Naish SUP, located at the top end of Chaweng Beach in front of OP Bungalows, offers boards for rent and for sale, as well as SUP lessons. Lessons are with Nek, and you can paddle out to Ko Matlang, a small island a few hundred metres offshore. A reef a little further out creates a small wave for those who have mastered the flat, shallow water.
There are several locations on Samui to learn kite-boarding. Kite-boarding Asia is well-known in the market, and has several schools around Asia as well as the Samui school.
Samui offers a good range of Muay Thai training facilities, often frequented by some rather famous fighters — both traditional Western boxers as well as martial artists. These centres offer packages and can tailor-make one to suit your needs. Packages include fitness training, self-defence, boot camp, Muay Thai, weight loss, strength and cardio.
Nature Art Gallery offers one-, two- and three-day jewellery-making workshops under the guidance of the Rasaili gold and silversmiths. Whether you have a design in mind, or want some inspiration, they will help you from the conceptualising stage through to the finished masterpiece.
Bon Cafe provides many of the island’s resorts and restaurants with their coffee and offer coffee courses, from basic coffee knowledge courses through to professional programmes for those in the trade as well as a three-day barista programme.
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