Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Places to go

Magnolia Cafe, Spa and Yoga/Pilates studio.

Last Sunday evening we were invited to a double celebration, being held at the chic Magnolia Cafe, part of the well known Magnolia Spa. I always love to recommend this place for its very special food and superb bakery. 
Magnolia is located North of Chaweng, past the Samui International Hospital, just over the hills, on the right hand side, next to Kanda Buri Hotel and opposite KC resort. 

The occasion was Magnolia Cafe's 1st birthday, plus the soft launch of  a new Samui Studio, 2 floors above the Cafe, of Yoga, Pilates & Thai Chi.

To showcase Magnolia Cafe's menu, there was an amazing free Chill Out Supper, which included plenty ( yes - plenty! It hasn't even finished by the time we left!)  red & white wine, & soft drinks. 

I love the bakery there - they do the best cheesecake on the island - New York Cheese cake, then also Chocolate fudge cake and Almond cake. Also some good choices of food are Eggplant / Cheese / Spinach Quiches, Cheese or Spinach & bolognaise Lasagna, pizza, spaghetti, amazing salads, sandwiches and more, all are homemade!

The Spa in Magnolia is also excellent - try the Dead Sea Mineral treatments, Salt & Oil Scrub, Mineral Cream Scrub, Dead Sea Mud Facial treatment or one of the Aroma Therapy, Hot Oil Massage , Hot stone, back Neck & Shoulders, Herbal Ball Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Scrub, Sun Care, traditional Foot, Thai massage and Oil Massage or any package combination for all of the above. 

The treatments come with professionalism, attractive décor, all-around comfort and private air-conditioned rooms. You will enjoy the tasty secret recipe welcome drink, hot tea and the best cookies you ever had – those are homemade cookies! 

Anyway, here are some pictures from that great party we had!!! 

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Places to go

A day trip on a longtail boat exploring Koh Tan

A few days ago we went with inspection on a very beautiful trip, where we have never been before. It was a trip to the island of Koh Tan, which is located south off Samui. For some reason we all tend to go to the islands north off Samui, i.e Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Som, or west to  Angthong Park but we underestimate the southern islands - Koh Tan, Koh Mudsum...

Our host was a great Australian guy with a French name Andre,  really cool guy who's done quite a few years in the Army ( most of his life actually)  and been to quite a few wars in this he told us lots of interesting stories on the way...

I, my husband and a few of my friends, who decided to join us on a trip, drove to Thong Krut early morning, trying to get there in time...Thong Krut is quite a drive from Bophut - about 40 minutes. 
Andre was already waiting for us in the small wooden cafe, where he kindly offered us a cup of coffee to start our day. 

15 min later we boarded a traditional Thai longtail boat and off we went...

Our Thai captain :-) 

We arrived at our first snorkeling site and spent some time there, swimming, snorkeling, admiring colourful fish and even swimming to a small beautiful beach, which was not too far, had some fun there :-)

When we had enough of that, we went back to he boat and took off. 
Next stop was a small cove called Ao Tok, where we had some fruits and drinks, just to refresh ourselves. 

A simple life of locals...

Simple but functioning very well pier :-)

We sat at the table, and talked for a while, took a few pictures, got to know local owners of this small place and then it was time to move again...

We travelled around Koh Tan, admiring virgin beauty of it, saw a few fishing boats on the way, and then stopped to snorkel and swim again. 

When we were done with snorkeling, it was time to go to the main beach of Koh Tan. 
We arrived to the main beach at Koh Tan, and then we had a choice between kayaking, exploring the area, staying and relaxing at the beach or taking a 1,5 km trip to Mangrove Forest... 

Now I am going to tell you a bit about Mangroves ( I hate to admit that I actually had a very little idea myself about this beautiful trees)...

Mangrove forests protect tropical coastal areas from erosion. The massive root system of a mangrove forest dissipates wave energy, especially from storm surge and Tsunami.

The unique ecosystem found in the intricate mesh of mangrove roots offers a quiet marine region for young organisms. In Thailand, many species of commercially important fish rely on mangroves as a nursery. Other organisms supported by the mangrove root structure include algae, oysters, shrimps and crabs.

Mangrove forests are currently among the most threatened habitats in the world and are disappearing at an accelerated rate.

Mangroves suffered the same fate as other natural resources, with mangrove areas being used for industry, agriculture, and residential areas beyond the limits of their natural ability to regenerate. Mangroves of Thailand have been heavily exploited for shrimp farming since 1975. It has been estimated that thousands of hectares of mangrove forests have been cleared to make room for artificial shrimp ponds.

Organic wastes (sewage), toxic minerals (heavy metals), organic chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) suffocate the underwater sections of mangrove. These poisons also become concentrate within the cellular structure of the plants. Over time, these environmental stresses can kill large numbers of mangrove trees, so everything needs to be done to protect this natural ecosystem.

Anyway, that was an experience, walking above the root system, the crabs crawling around, the birds making noise above our heads, at some places I was even scared a bit :-) 

When we finished that trek we were met by the trailer ( tractor actually :-)  which took us back to the beach as we were too tired to walk all way back :-) 
On the way we stopped at the rubber plantation, saw how is rubber being made from latex, very hard work it is...

 Andre had the best place on that tractor :-)

We were sitting behind :-) 
They are actually building a proper trailer with benches, it's probably ready by now, this was just a temporary thing :-) Good fun anyway! 

The rubber place...
That's how they get the latex first - from the cut in a tree.

After seeing men at work we went back to the beach to have lunch, we had 2 absolutely delicious big local fishes, fried rice with vegetables, fruits and soft drinks - young coconuts and watermelon shakes...

After lunch I felt it was time for relaxation, so I found a good spot :-) 

Then it was time to leave, which was quite sad actually, we loved being there...
People who book overnight tour, get to stay in the beach bungalows near the restaurant... so lucky :-) , but we had to take a boat back to Samui, which we did, stopping once more to swim and snorkel for a bit, then got back to our island, said Goodbye and drove back home. 
Next time we go overnight :-)
Contact us if you wanna come along :-) Andre does 1, 2, 3 and 4 days tours to various places around Samui, on different boats, simple longtails and beautiful yachts, catamarans and speedboats, private tous, group tours, you name it.