Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Koh Samui Attractions: Thailand’s Wildlife

Make sure to check out some of Thailand's wildlife while on the island

One of the biggest Koh Samui attractions today is the island’s collection of interesting and unique wildlife. Approximately 282 mammals have been identified in Thailand, which basically means that a whopping twelve per cent of all mammal species across the planet can be found within this country.

Seeing at least some of these animals up close and personal is simply one of those Koh Samui things to do that shouldn’t be neglected. Folks fascinated by these beasts will definitely be impressed by the diverse range of wildlife – including everything from an elephant to the world’s smallest mammal, the Hog-nosed bat – to meet.

Tourists will be pleased to know that there are 13 species of primates, 18 ungulates, 36 carnivores, 70 rodents, and 92 bats. Today, there are two species of bear dwelling within the borders of Thailand. One is the Asiatic black bear, and the other is the Malaysian sun bear – the smallest bear in the world to date.
Moreover, both bears are omnivores, so they primarily thrive on vegetables and fruit.

There are also nine wildcat species – including the tiger – in existence within Thailand. Other species include the golden cat, leopard cat, and the popular clouded leopard. However, these tigers have dwindled in number due to heavy persecution. Fortunately, the West Forest Complex continues to act as the country’s most important tiger habitats to date.

Ungulates – commonly referred to as hoofed animals – in Thailand include sambar deer, barking deer and wild boars. The gaur, which is the planet’s biggest wild cattle species, can also be found here as well. Moreover, mountain goats known as serows have also been spotted on the steep cliffs of Thailand’s western area.

Of course, elephants (which were once depicted in the country’s flag) also dwell in Thailand. Unfortunately, just like the tiger, their numbers have diminished due to hunting as well. Today, there are only 2,000 to 3,000 of these animals left, of which many roam in parks protected by Wild Watch Thailand.

Nevertheless, the opportunity to see at least some of these beasts are one of the most renowned Koh Samui attractions island visitors wouldn’t want to miss during their holidays. Without question, going on trips to appreciate the beauty of these mammals is one of the best Koh Samui things to do today, especially for those who so happen to enjoy going to zoos and other natural wildlife habitats.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Top Five Herbs and Spices in Koh Samui

Delectable Thai herbs is one of the reason Thai food is so delectable

The list of Koh Samui things to do goes beyond watersports at white sand beaches, exploring uninhabited islands, hanging out at bars, or relaxing on the balcony of a villa facing the ocean. Thai food – which is touted by health experts to be one of the healthiest foods known to man – is loaded with special herbs and spices with special disease-fighting and immune-boosting properties.

According to Koh Samui travel guides, there’s a wide range of these cooking ingredients with excellent nutritional value. With that said, feel free to check out the list of this island’s top five herbs and spices below.

First on the list is lemongrass – this herb’s usage dates back to ancient times when the Chinese utilized its medicinal properties for the treatment of diseases such as fevers, headaches, stomach aches, flus, colds, arthritis and fungal conditions. Today, lemongrass is extensively used as an important ingredient for the preparation of numerous Thai dishes, mainly because of its fragrant, lemony characteristics.

Second on this list is Galangal – although grown in the majority of Southeast-Asian countries, this variation of ginger was originally used as medicine and a cooking ingredient in China and Java. Its popularity gradually breached the walls of Europe during the Middle Ages. Galangal was even used by St. Hildegard of Bingen as a remedy for diseases ranging from heart disease to indigestion.

Third, we have turmeric – Koh Samui travel guides explain that its main active ingredient is curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory attributes, thereby making it effective against conditions such as arthritis. Additionally, it’s also a powerful antioxidant, which makes it great for destroying free radical buildups.

Fourth entry on the list is Chillies – not only does this ingredient lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, or help an individual sleep better at night, but it’s also good for the heart, and actually helps maintain glucose and insulin levels as well.

Fifth and last item on the list Coriander – its seed has been used since ancient times by healers across the globe for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems. Koh Samui travel guides say this herb is also known as cilantro in the western world, and the herb and seed are used in numerous Thai cuisines today.

Considering all the health benefits to be enjoyed from these herbs and spices – as well as the remarkable flavor they render – tourists are strongly advised to include “eating Thai food” in their list of Koh Samui things to do.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Canopy Adventures in Koh Samui

Enjoy an amazing canopy adventure in Koh Samui

People should make a list of KohSamui things to do before departing for their trips in order to maximize every precious hour they spend in the tropical paradise. They also need to take into careful consideration the Koh Samui weather – although climate conditions tend to stay favorable throughout most of the year, a rainy day could postpone an outdoor trip by several hours or longer.

But given that the clouds are gone and the sun is bright and shining, tourists who’d like to get that adrenaline rush of a lifetime should definitely consider making a quick stopover Canopy Adventures in Maenam.

The rush that has gotten folks from around the world buzzing involves zip-lining through a rainforest at speeds reaching 50 mph and beyond. Not only is the adventure breath-taking, but the beautiful, unspoilt view of nature at its best is simply astonishing.

A good thing about Canopy Adventures is they eliminate the need for customers to travel going to the actual zip-line site themselves. Tourists will be picked up at their hotels, apartments, villas, or wherever it is they’re staying, and be escorted to the area.

Passengers will be taken on an off-road safari through the island’s untouched areas, approximately four kilometres from the main road of Maenam. Along the way, a quick stopover is to be made at Hammock bar, where folks can enjoy refreshments. They’ll also be fitted out with the necessary equipment and gear for the adventure waiting ahead.

Once everyone has been securely outfitted with all necessities, participants will go on a short trek going to the training area. A trained guide will then show each individual how to cable ride, and then allow everyone to practice on their own. Learning isn’t difficult at all, as only a few minutes are needed to become an expert.

From there, guides take their students to the next phase wherein they can zip from one point to another at freewill. There are seven tree platforms and six lengthy cables, which add up to a total of 500 meters of pure fun!

With all that said, cable riding is definitely one of the many Koh Samui things to do during a holiday within the island. So long as the Koh Samui weather conditions are predicted to be fine, anyone from the age of 7 to 85 can feel free to zip through trees like monkey anytime!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Eating Cheap Yet Delicious Food In Koh Samui

DelectableThai food can be found throughout Samui (photo courtesy ShaSahotels.com)

Lots of people are accustomed to paying large sums of cash to eat delicious food. While this is a reality in many parts of the world, especially within developed nations, it doesn’t necessarily hold true in other places, especially in Thailand.

Koh Samui isn’t just home to breath-taking sunsets, warm weather, luxury accommodations, and a range of trendy clubs, the tropical paradise is also renowned for its exotic cuisine that have tourists drooling over their plates.

Not only is the food to die for here, but it also costs a reasonable to affordable price, depending on where a vacationer eats. For those looking to pinch pennies – so they may perhaps use their cash for traveling around the island or classy hotel rooms – there are a number of options that they will be able to choose from without having to dip into their savings.

Thai restaurants, which specialize in selling local fresh food, are great options for those with restricted budgets. Tourists will be pleased to find a range of these joints along Chaweng Beach, wherein dishes start as low as 50 THB.

However, keep in mind that these businesses are used to seeing their customers incapable of handling the level of spice they incorporate into most dishes, so it may be necessary for guests to inform their waiters how spicy they want their meals.

Other venues to grab an affordable mouth-watering meal at include Thai temple fairs or markets. Here, visitors can enjoy a tasty piece of chicken with sticky rice and sweet chili sauce for 25 THB.

The walking market, which passes through Bophut Fisherman’s village every Friday and Meanam on Thursdays, is also an excellent source of cheap food. Some of the island’s best stalls can be found at these venues, as the food is always delicious and tagged at low prices.

Lastly, Samui have eat-all-you-can BBQ buffets – these hotpot restaurants are found throughout the entire island, and costs about 109 THB per head. Upon sitting down at any table, the standard operating procedure observed by most of these restaurants is to serve a small piece of BBQ chicken or beef onto a flame.

Unlimited vegetables, meats and fish for barbequing can be found at the buffet area. In addition, there’s also another area that serves limitless spring rolls, French fries, fried rice, and other goodies to eat. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Koh Samui Hospitality Sector Predicted To Grow Stronger

Hotels like the ShaSa hotel are becoming extremely popular 

Despite the on-going European financial crisis, which has negatively impacted the tourism industry worldwide, the hospitality sector of Koh Samui has done well so far this year, and is predicted to grow even more in the coming years.

“This year saw stronger demand on the resort island during July and August, which have a profound impact on annal trading figures. Expectation is therefore that the overall annual occupancy rate will move up by a few percentage points from the 67-per-cent level achieved in the first half,” says Bill Barnett, the managing director C9 Hotelworks.

He also explains how the island has achieved a fairly equal balance between supply and demand prospects, which in turn counters the issue of an oversupply of accommodations. This is despite the fact that excess inventory has been a commonly mentioned problem by those engaging the tourism industry.

The occupancy rate in Koh Samui increased to an impressive 8%, which denotes three major hotel developments – with a combined total of 371 rooms – coming down the pipeline within a span of two years. This equates to a healthy addition of three percent to island’s supply.

On the other hand, Phuket has an additional 5,000 hotel rooms in the pipeline, thereby causing an eleven percent spike in the resort island’s supply.

Despite Samui’s enhanced tourism performance, the figures don’t spread evenly amongst the different accommodations establishments. Studies conducted by C9 Hotelworks shows that the occupancy rate (during the first half) of upscale hotels was 73 per cent, which is followed closely by mid-scale properties at 69 per cent, while luxury hotels were calculated at 59 percent only.

Ironically, budget hotels had the smallest occupancy rate of all, as research tags it at 53 percent only. Nevertheless, the market-wide occupancy rate encompassing all accommodations types has reached 67 percent, which is eight percent higher than last year, and the highest it’s been since 2008.

While many speculate that local tourism shall increase significantly when (or if) plans for a second airport materialize, others feel that Koh Samui would be better off with just one airport.

"Looking forward, the restrained air traffic may be a blessing in disguise to the island, as restricting mass-tourism growth could enhance its natural appeal," says Barnett. "While the competitive markets of Phuket and Bali are overrun with skyrocketing numbers, Samui's positioning is gradually shifting upward to a niche resort destination."