KOH SAMUI SPORTS ACTIVITIES AND RECREATION
Sports Activities And Recreation
Whether you're here for a week, a month or the long term, there's much more than beaches to keep you busy and interested on Koh Samui. An assortment of water and other sports are on offer around the island, as well as animal shows, boat trips and jungle tours.
So grab your sense of adventure and chose something a little more active and challenging to fill your leisure time.
There's a growing sport culture on Samui thanks to a number of ever improving facilities and services. Most of the larger hotels provide tennis courts, which can usually be hired by visitors, and there is also a driving range next to the Bandon International hospital and a small golf course in the grounds of the Fairhouse resort.
As from June 2003 there are an impressive international standard eighteen-hole golf course in the foothills behind the Santiburi Dusit Resort on Mae Nam Beach, which is sure to attract plenty of enthusiasts from all over the world.
Football is also a national passion, and local teams love to have foreigners join in their friendly games, which often take place on public pitches in the cooler early evening hours. For those who prefer to stay indoors there's Living Bowl, the multi lane bowling alley in Chaweng as well as countless pool and snooker tables in bars and billiard halls all over the island.
Most of the top hotels have gyms with the latest training equipment and regular aerobics and other classes. Many of these are also open to outside customers for a fee. There are also several public gyms with circuits and weights such as the World Gym on the main island road in Chaweng and a similar set up at the Lamai Gym, where you also can get trained in Thaiboxing.
There is also a fully equipped fitness centre and Gym right in the centre of Chaweng over looking the main shopping strip above the aquarium and Sea Quest restaurant. This offers running and step machines, weights and all the usual accessories.
Mind and Body Fitness
The proliferation of Spas and Health Centres on Koh Samui means it is now possible to pursue a variety of alternative exercise programmes. Places such as the Spa Resort in Lamai offer Yoga and Chi Kung classes, and there are also various meditation and healing programmes on offer around the island.
Traditional Thai massage is also something of a workout, and there are innumerable places to get a good foot or body massage either at a professional Spa or massage centre or simply lying on the beach under a swaying palm.
If you prefer your challenges on dry land, there are several other options for adventure on Koh Samui including go-cart tracks in Mae Nam, Quad bikes through the jungle, a professional shooting range where you can actually fire off rounds from an AK 47, and even a Paintball set up outside the Reggae Pub for the ultimate thrill.
All the above facilities are managed proficiently, to international standard, but using your common sense and paying careful attention to safety procedures applies just as much on Koh Samui as it does in your home country.
One reason why Koh Samui is so popular with families and children is for the wildlife shows. You can see monkeys collecting coconuts, ride an elephant to a waterfall, wrap a snake around your shoulders, jump from the jaws of a crocodile, watch buffalo ploughing the fields or spot different types of tropical fish as they swim around an aquarium.
Although these shows are not for everyone, the animals are generally kept in good condition and the handlers appear to show concern for their well being. If you do see animals being mistreated, please report this to a reputable wildlife charity such as WWF Thailand.
Jungle Treks and Mountain Biking
Samui's mountainous hinterland provides excellent hiking and biking opportunities, and there are now some companies offering guided trips to the island's relatively untamed interior.
Also possible, is to head inland by yourself in a four wheel drive jeep or on an off road bike, just look for one of the many side roads leading off the main round island ring road and see where it takes you. Small inland roads from Lamai and Mae Nam are particularly good starting points for these trips, but make sure you are dressed and equippe cffor the wild side.
Water is particularly important because you might not bump into another person for several hours.
Koh Samui is a growing destination for golfing enthusiasts from around the globe, and the island already offers a world class 18-hole golf course, at the Santiburi Country Club, which is located in the hills above in Mae Nam beach.
There is also a challenging, and well kept small course in the grounds of the Fairhouse Resort in North Chaweng, as well as two driving ranges to practise on: one in Lamai, and the other next to Bandon International hospital near Bophut.
All these locations are open to the public year round, with clubs, caddies and instruction also available to visitors on site. Check local listings for full details of services and prices.