Spice It Up in Thailand
Ever since I watched Anna and the King, visiting Thailand became my next adventurous idée fixe. And even though I found out later the movie producers were banned from filming it in Thailand, I still imagined it as a land of mysterious temples, picturesque mountains and waterfalls, and beautiful traditions.
Thailand, the Kingdom of Siam before 1949, is a constitutional monarchy with the longest-reigning current monarch, Rama IX (1946 – present). It encompasses significant territory of Indochina, northern part of the Malay Peninsula, and several coastal islands. The two biggest Thai islands and also the most popular tourist destinations are Phuket and Ko Samui, and as my family had already visited Phuket, we decided to spend some quality time in Samui and then proceed to exploring Bangkok.
I first saw Samui from the airplane’s window and was astonished by the harmony of colors that opened up to my eyes. Silver mountains, covered with emerald forests and lit up with twilight sunrays, were scattered all over the island and reflected in the deep blue water of the Andaman Sea.
Upon arrival, we were offered refreshing coconut water, which became my favorite drink not only because it perfectly satisfies thirst but also because it is very nutritious and helps suppress hunger.
We arrived at Santiburi Spa Resort late afternoon and managed to catch a glimpse of sunset from our villa’s terrace. The resort was gorgeous, implemented in classic Thai architectural traditions. It featured several restaurants (authentic Thai, seafood and barbecue), a luxurious spa, spacious golf courses and other kinds of tourist amenities. It also had a beautiful private beach, with individually assigned hammocks and sunbeds.
But no matter how exquisite the hotel was we were eager to explore the island, especially its local cuisine. The best two places for food are Fisherman’s Village and Chaweng Beach. Fisherman’s Village is an elegant, well-preserved neighborhood that stretches out for several miles along the northern coast of Samui. It features the only pedestrian promenade on the island, encouraging tourists for a perfect evening stroll before or after dinner.
Most of the restaurants in Fisherman’s Village offer a fresh daily catch, prepared in the finest Thai culinary traditions, which means spicy, very spicy. I discovered an absolutely fantastic dish that is called Tom Yum, a super hot savory broth with chilies, lemongrass, shitake mushrooms, scallions and seafood. You’ll probably cry when you first try it, so if you, ladies, want to keep your makeup on, I’d recommend asking your waiter to make it medium spicy.
Fisherman’s Village also features many artisan shops, where you can purchase beautiful hand-made jewelry and exotic clothes. There is even a real steakhouse named The Shack, owned by an American expat who serves the most tender Australian Kobe beef.
In my next post, I’m going to write about sightseeing in Samui and nightlife entertainment in Chaweng, which I promise will be worth checking out.