Fisherman’s Reggae Bar, Bang Rak, Ko Samui

What we say: 3.5 stars

Located at the far eastern end of Bang Rak, 100 metres before the entrance to Big Buddha, one will find one of the most character-laden little beach bars that Ko Samui has to offer: Fisherman’s Reggae Bar.

Those are not cocktail mixes out front. You can fill your scooter with fuel too.

A simple wooden structure perches on stilts at the water’s edge. Inside, every available spot of wall space has been filled with reggae paraphernalia, be it the signed photos by well-known Thai reggae band, Job2Do or Bob Marley memorabilia in every form from posters to flags. Hundreds of postcards sent by past customers depict scenes from around the world and represent the diverse people who pass through here – owners Ruay and Chai don’t see them as customers but as new or old friends and the feeling is clearly reciprocated.

Pretty as a picture.

Enter the bar at street level, and enjoy an elevated view of the working fishing village below, where fisherpeople come and go in longtail boats, untangle fishing nets and sort the day’s catch; the Seatran ferry comes and goes too. Don’t expect a peaceful afternoon read – longtails are noisy, as is the traffic. Walk down a few rickety wooden steps to the beach below, where a couple of salas have been strategically placed to watch the activity and chill over a cocktail (or few) while soaking up a bit of ‘Buffalo Soldier’ or ‘Three Little Birds’ and feeding nuts and fruit to the tame resident squirrel.

Be sure to visit the bar around 20:00, when every evening Ruay and Chai’s son Champ and his trainer perform a poi, or fire dancing, show. This form of entertainment is popular on Samui, and Champ, who is only 13 years old, recently earned the title of ‘Number Two’ on the island, with his trainer taking first place. His parents’ bar is his practice ground, to the benefit of their customers. Sunset is another choice time to chillax at the bar, as Bang Rak offers some of Samui’s best sunsets.

Little boys who play with fire …

Those that get a little peckish while enjoying their cheap beer (50 baht) and cocktails (120 baht) need not worry. Ruay works magic from a kitchen smaller than most bathrooms. Here she whips up Thai classics (be sure to try the no name, here it’s excellent) or an evening barbecue on the beach.

What a way to end a good day. Can you hear Bob singing?

The only let down (and we would be nitpicking really) are the toilet facilities, which consist of a primitive wooden structure a few metres away. The fussy can walk 100 metres to the new Green Plaza which houses the Green Bay Hotel, and use their bathrooms.

Now for lunch I think a pineapple shake, some no name and a little Bob are in order…

About the author
Rosanne Turner relocated to Thailand in 2010 from South Africa. She enjoys sharing her discoveries of Samui after walking every beach, hill, coconut grove and forgotten path in search of that memory-making beach bar. You can follow her blog at Travelling Pen.
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