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The JT Insider Guide: Koh Samui

Koh Samui is arguably the most stylish of the Thai islands, and home to a large expat community who visited the tropical shores and never left. One such jetsetter is our ‘woman on the inside’, a font of all things Samui. We got in touch for her tips on what’s hot in Koh Samui for 2014.

FOOD

H Bistro at Hansar Resort, Bophut Beach

H Bistro was suggested to our insider by a Michelin-starred chef working on the island – and recommendations don’t get much better than that. The menu is largely Mediterranean, with an emphasis on French, but the dishes range from Maine lobster to gaeng phet pet yang (roasted duck breast curry), which you can enjoy inside or out on the terrace.

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Tree Tops, Anantara Lawana

Tree Tops is – unsurprisingly – set in the treetops and is a rather romantic dining destination. Menu items include the miso-baked black cod with coconut rice and sugar peas, and there’s even a salt menu with varieties ranging from black truffle salt to Mediterranean sea salt.

The Larder, Chaweng

Craving some home comforts? This new British restaurant sells amazing scotch eggs, amongst many other simple, yet wonderfully presented favourite dishes from home.

Walking Street, Fisherman’s Village

For some traditional street food, head to ‘Walking Street’, a street market held every Friday. Choose from favourite dishes like satay sticks, and coconut ice cream served in hollowed-out coconut shells, with a variety of BBQ meats, seafood of the day, spring rolls, and even seasoned insects on offer alongside western options like burgers, kebabs and hotdogs. Our insider’s guilty pleasure is the deep-fried calzone!

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The Shack, Fisherman’s Village

A long-standing expat favourite, this grill does steak and burgers to a high standard, and also has a very good wine list.

Karma Sutra, Fisherman’s Village

The relaxed, French-run Karma Sutra serves delicious beef Carpaccio and chips, with the option to upgrade to the Kobe beef if you’re feeling fancy.

The Hut

This is about as ‘insider-y’ as it gets and is perfect for those seeking an authentic Thai experience. Run from a local family’s home, the food is incredible, especially the curries, and the service is warm and welcoming.

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DRINK

Coco Tams, Fisherman’s Village

Laidback Coco Tams is a cool beach bar with a little garden, huge beanbags and hanging wicker seats for a chilled-out beer or two.

Bandara Resort, Bophut Beach

Aside from their daily happy hour between 5pm and 9pm, Bandara serves high tea with cakes and sandwiches, if you’re seeking something a bit different.

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Jungle Club, Chaweng Noi

Set up in the mountains, Jungle Club is surrounded by jungle (as the name might suggest) and has an incredible view out across the Gulf of Siam. There’s a swimming pool right on the cliff edge, so you can happily spend an entire afternoon admiring the scenery over a few cocktails.

BATTLE OF THE BEACH CLUBS

Beach Republic, Lamai

In open competition with popular Nikki Beach, Beach Republic gets our insider’s vote, largely based on the quality of their epic Sunday Brunch Buffet.

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SPA

Tamarind Spa

A top Samui spa spot, Tamarind Spa is built into the rock surfaces, embracing an all-natural approach.

GOLF

Santiburi Resort

One of the best courses in Thailand, golfers shouldn’t miss a round at Santiburi, which hosted the Bangkok Airways Open in 2006. The 18-hole championship course is surrounded by lush scenery and is set inland, which affords it a cooler climate.

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