Reggae music and bars on Samui

What we say: 3.5 stars

Anyone looking for a little laidback reggae vibe will not be disappointed with Ko Samui’s selection of Rasta bars, local and visiting bands and paraphernalia. Local band the Rasta Monkeys has a fan base of note, and plays at venues around the island.

Two Rasta monkeys play a young fan’s guitar.

Secret Garden in Bang Rak has recently brought back what was for years a Samui institution: Sunday Sessions. The Rasta Monkey Band performed here for the first time this month, and will do so again periodically. Check out the Secret Garden Facebook page for updates.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The band does Bob Marley covers, as well as those of famous Thai reggae band Job-2-Do and a few of their own too. This six-man band is most notable as they seem to have so much fun on stage, drawing the crowds in. Drums, trumpet, trombone, bass and smaller percussion instruments make up the music. The band also plays Bondi in Chaweng beach road, and at Freedom Way Bar, which has recently located from Fisherman’s Village to along the beach in Bang Po.

Fisherman’s Reggae Bar is located at the eastern end of Bang Rak beach, overlooking longtail fishing boats, and serves great food at reasonable prices. Here you will find some Bob Marley tunes seldom heard, not only the usual favourites, plus Rasta T-shirts and jewellery for sale. A poi (fire dancing) show can be seen nightly at 20:00 and is definitely worth a look.

Beautifully haphazard.

Reggae Pub along the Chaweng Lake was established in 1988, at first with only a bar counter and few chairs. It’s expanded since then though and is now a two-storey venue, with a large stage hosting live music, as well as pool tables. It it so well known that the soi it’s on has been named after it. Soi Reggae is the second largest party street in Chaweng, behind Soi Green Mango. Getting there, one needs to pass several sleazy bars, so be warned, guys will be propositioned. The Reggae Pub no longer plays only reggae, but the place is a shrine to the father of Reggae himself, Bob Marley.

Tucked into the rocks right at Hin Ta Hin Ya is the Rock Bar. Built from driftwood and bamboo, it is made up of several huts and platforms, and overlooks a small cove and the rude rocks themselves. Job-2-Do frequent Samui, and when they do, this is their venue of choice, due to the large open space on the rocks that can hold the crowds, and a breeze that clears the air… (ahem). The Rasta Monkeys usually form the opening act when Job-2-Do plays here.

Music aside, the market stalls that line the tourist drags such as Chaweng are full of Rasta knickknacks to buy. Feel the good vibrations, mon…

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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