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Koh Samui, Thailand: Living the idyllic, laid back island life on the other side of Koh Samui

时间:2018-11-27    点击: 次    来源:网络    作者:佚名 - 小 + 大

Chef Tao likes to shop local. Rather than spending hours cooking a duck that will become the main ingredient of a Thai red curry dish, he prefers to pop out and buy a pre-cooked bird.

Our small cooking class – two other hotel guests and I – accompanies him to market and when you're staying on the peaceful western side of Koh Samui, that's not an arduous task. Unlike the east coast, where beachside hotels, guesthouses and restaurants in Lamai and Chaweng stand cheek-by-jowl and the traffic is hectic, it's all quiet on this western front.

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Ko Samui travel guide
Tao is head chef of the InterContinental Samui Bann Taling Ngam, which lays claim as the first luxury resort on the island. Operated as an InterContinental for the past six years, the property has occupied prime real estate on a hillside and along a beach for two decades, with few neighbours. A trip to the Sri Fah market in nearby Saket is a hassle-free affair and our trio are the only tourists present.

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 The InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam lays claim to being the first luxury resort on the island of Koh Samui.
The InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam lays claim to being the first luxury resort on the island of Koh Samui. 
Tao buys the duck from a roadside vendor and we follow him as he browses stalls and selects fresh tiger prawns for the green curry, various vegetables and a couple of litres of coconut milk made right before our eyes by a man who shreds the nut and presses the flesh in a rickety machine.

Back at the resort, the cooking class is not too taxing either; at this five-star bolt-hole the staff tend to do the prepping, while all we do is stir in the ingredients and swish in the coconut milk.

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Eating the dishes in the Amber restaurant with the most glorious views over what's called the Five Islands is superb. These five limestone chunks, Ko Si Ko Ha in Thai, are off-limits to all bar fishermen (also known rather romantically as "sea gypsies") who live in makeshift houses and guard the valuable birds' nests from poachers – the swallow nests command a high price in restaurants around the world.

The islands are my view as I eat breakfast and later as I have a drink in the Air Bar as the sun sets. It's mesmerising – no speed boats, no parasails or jet-skis, or perhaps I've just come at a very quiet time.

I first visited Koh Samui in 1984 and stayed on the western side – in much humbler digs – not far from the ferry wharf. Decades on, despite rapid growth elsewhere, the Taling Ngam region is still serene.

Although spread over nine hectares of gardens and a kilometre of beach, the InterContinental only has 79 rooms. Getting from hilltop to beach is best done by buggy and staff are always ready to whisk me up to the terrace for breakfast, to the hillside spa for a massage and down to my beach villa, complete with an ooh la la plunge pool, or to nearby Flames restaurant.



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