Koh Samui beach club, Sunday brunch koh samui, Koh Samui restaurant

Best Restaurants and Where to Eat in Koh Samui


Wondering where to eat in Koh Samui? Check out our top picks for the best places to dine so you don't miss out on the culinary experience of Koh Samui.

Try a Beach Club

From Lamai to Lipa Noi, Koh Samui is full of stunning stretches of beach. Where the sand meets the turquoise waters of the ocean you'll find some of the best dining the island has to offer. If the thought of a fantastic meal with your toes in the sand and a warm tropical wind coming in off the Gulf is your idea of paradise, you need to check out Koh Samui's superb beach clubs. These luxurious venues offer live entertainment, eclectic menus that combine Thai and Western flavors, extensive cocktail lists and the best views you could hope for. Whether you enjoy a party, like to chill and relax or anything in between, you can find a place for every taste. Hours vary greatly between Koh Samui beach restaurants, so it's best to check online before heading out.

Try Eating at a Hotel

Koh Samui is home to many first class hotels and resorts. They're dotted all over the island and feature some of the best restaurants in Koh Samui. From delectable fresh seafood and world-class sumptuous deserts to a dazzling array of Thai and Western fusion foods, these fine dining establishments will leave you completely satisfied. Remember to make reservations where you can. Many places have a dress code so make sure to check in advance if particular attire is needed. You don't want to be turned away at the door! Many hotels and resorts have on-site spas so why not get a relaxing massage or premium treatment before your exquisite meal?

Find a Sunday Brunch

Beach vacations were made for relaxing and nothing gets you in a calm, tropical mood like Sunday Brunch on Koh Samui. Most brunches start mid-morning and continue on through the day, with an endless buffet of the freshest fruit, gourmet carving stations, eclectic and imaginative desserts and themed cocktails. A lot of them include live music and entertainment, the better to chill out by! Beat the brunch rush by arriving early to stake out a good seat. Many of the best Sunday Brunch spots boast amazing seaside locations so you can enjoy a wonderful view with your morning cup of coffee. Don't let the locale fool you, many brunches are fairly chic and you'll want to show up in more than your bathing suit!

Go to a Market

Thailand is famous for its day and night markets, which are packed with tempting treats that you're unlikely to get anywhere else. Koh Samui is no exception. For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, do as the locals do, and spend your dinner grazing at a night market. The most famous night market is located in the north of the island near Bophut. Fisherman's Village Koh Samui night market is a must see for every visitor. Sample Northern sausages, banana pancakes, and authentic Pad Thai. The market also has a robust shopping area, perfect for grabbing some souvenirs. Check out this link for more information.

From East to West and North to South, Koh Samui is full of fabulous food. Get lavish spa treatments and dine in style at their exclusive hotels and resorts. Enjoy a Sunday Brunch like no other, island style. Check out Koh Samui's numerous Beach Clubs and have a world-class meal against the backdrop of the ocean, or visit an authentic Thai night market. Don't miss the unparalleled dining experiences the island has to offer!

beach wedding Thailand

What Does A Wedding Planner Do | How To Pick & Questions To Ask


Ever wondered what a wedding planner does and if you need one? Our post answers all the big questions with helpful tips on what to look for & how to choose.

What Does A Wedding Planner Do?

What a wedding planner does is make planning your big day as stress free as possible. They help you prepare a realistic wedding budget, help book the entertainment and venues to fit your preferences, getting you good deals on vendors and going over vender contracts to make sure they are in your best interest, making a timeline of what is supposed to happen on your big day by who, and even helping you plan and book your honeymoon.

How to Pick a Wedding Planner

Choosing a wedding planner can be difficult and overwhelming. After all, how do you know who is good and who is not, especially if you do not have any friends or family members who can recommend a good a wedding planner to you? Here are some tips that will help you.

1. Choose what service you want or need.

There are different types of wedding planners. Full service wedding planners will handle everything, from catering to venue to entertainment. But there is also partial service wedding planners who handle venue booking and day-of coordination. Partial service planners are cheaper, but they leave more work for the bride and groom to do.

2. Interview prospects

Choose a few planners that interest you and interview them in addition to comparing prices and services. Ask them if they have professional training, what types of weddings they have worked on in the past, and how long they have been in the profession. Also ask for reviews and recommendations from past clients.

3. Keep Cost in Mind

Have your prospective wedding planners planned weddings with budgets similar to yours? A good wedding planner will be able to get you the best service for the best price because they can cut deals with a variety of vendors. Also make sure to ask what the total cost will be and if the planner's fee and caterer's fee will be covered in that.

beach wedding

Questions to Ask a Wedding Planner

Here are some questions for a wedding planner

  • Are you available on my wedding date?
  • What's the average cost of the weddings you plan?
  • What sort of services do you offer?
  • What is your main specialty?
  • How many weddings have you planned?
  • How many weddings will you be working on during the process of mine?
  • Have you planned other weddings at our preferred venue?
  • Do you handle payment processing and contract services?
  • Are there specific professionals you work with? What is your process for hiring them? Do any of them offer client discounts?
  • Will you advocate to make sure our wedding will be our vision?
  • Do you handle invitations, guest lists, and RSVPs?
  • Do you do destination weddings?
  • Will you coordinate delivery and arrival with the florist, caterers, and musicians?
  • What are some ideas you have for our wedding?
  • What is the biggest wedding disaster you have had to deal with, and how did you fix it?
  • How often will we communicate? Do we meet in person or through phone?
  • How will you help me stay within my budget?
  • How do payments work?
  • Do you have preferences?

Planning a wedding is difficult, but with the help of a good wedding planner. No matter you are looking for a beach wedding planner or indoor wedding planner, with a good planner you can enjoy a little more time to yourself without have to stress out on venues, catering, entertainment and more.

A Rainy Day on Koh Samui

What to Do in Koh Samui on a Rainy Day | Indoor Activities


The wind is kicking up. The clear blue sky is suddenly cluttered with raincloud that blot out the radiant island sun. A downpour is coming and you have only a few moments to pack up and get indoors. Mother Nature doesn’t always give us balmy, tropical days but you shouldn’t let a cloudburst dampen your spirits! There are plenty of things to do when it rains in paradise! We’ve compiled a list of the best waterproof Koh Samui activities that will keep you entertained until the storm blows over.

1. Take a Thai Cooking Class

Perhaps you’d like to learn the secrets of great Thai cuisine straight from the locals themselves! Thai Cooking Classes are one of the most popular Koh Samui activities no matter what the weather and they’re an especially good option when the rain keeps you away from the beaches. Master traditional Thai food and impress your friends back home.

2. Dine at Beach Republic

What to do in Koh Samui on a rainy day? How about staying cosy and dry while sampling some of the finest Thai, Mediterranean and Tapas that Koh Samui has to offer. Beach Republic’s varied menu serves up popular Thai dishes like Massaman Curry and Tom Ka Gai, as well as your favourite comfort foods from back home. Got a sweet tooth? Beach Republic’s Caramelized Apple Tart with vanilla ice cream will hit the spot. Beach Republic restaurant, open from 7:00 am to 10:30 pm daily.

3. Shoot Some Pool

Feeling competitive and not sure what activities to do in Koh Samui when the beach is drenched? Why not check out some of Koh Samui’s bars and pubs for a friendly game of pool? There are many popular restaurants for locals and tourists alike and offers up classic pub fare alongside Thai dishes, so you can snack as you shoot!

4. Pamper Yourself

Maximise your rainy day with a trip to Beach Republic’s Asian Fusion Spa. Western and Asian techniques merge together in a unique, refreshing and rejuvenating experience that you won’t forget soon. Watch your stress and worry dissolve under the care of professionals trained in cherished arts such as traditional Thai massage, Japanese Reiki, Chinese reflexology and Indian Ayurvedic treatments. Unwind and realign yourself, it’s what to do in Koh Samui on a rainy day.

5. Go See a Movie

Blockbuster movies and cinema popcorn were made for rainy days. Wait out the storm in the comfort of Koh Samui’s Major Cineplex, where you can see all of the hottest Hollywood movies. Major Cineplex is full of modern, state-of-the-art theatres which make for a very enjoyable viewing experience and among favourite activities to do in Koh Samui. Tropical storms generally blow over quickly, so by the closing credits you should be able to enjoy sun and fun on the beach again.

6. Stock up on Souvenirs

When the beaches are wet and the sea is choppy, head for Koh Samui’s best shopping destination, Central Festival. Thailand has some of the world’s first class malls and Central Festival is no exception, featuring stores for every taste and budget. Get souvenirs for friends and family back home and don’t forget to pick up a little something for yourself also!

7. Experience Art Like You Never Have Before

Art Samui takes influential pieces of Thai art and makes them 3D, for a unique and unparalleled visitor experience. The technique is called “trick art” and it’s been delighting tourists since the museum’s inception. Ask a local what to do in Koh Samui that's different and they may very well answer "Art Samui". At Art Samui, you’ll be able to interact with art in a completely new and marvellous way and you'll never look at traditional museums the same again!

8. Visit Magic Alambic Rum Distillery

Have you ever wondered how your favourite spirits are made? Learn the key to creating and flavouring delicious Thai rum at the Magic Alambic Rum Distillery. Tour the distillery and enjoy a delectable flight of rum. Your next daiquiri on the beach will taste even better when you’ve developed a newfound appreciation for the artform of rum distillation.

9. Center Yourself With Yoga

For centuries people have practised yoga for both physical and spiritual health. You can reap the benefits of this ancient practice even after one session. Whether you are a yoga expert or a first-timer, you can find a studio that caters to your needs on Koh Samui. Ride out the storm and realign your body and mind.

10. Relax at The Ocean Club

Dreary days get a lot brighter in your own private cabana with a canopy to shelter you from the rain. Watch the storm pass with a tropical drink in your hand and a nibble from the Ocean Club. The best part? Once the clouds clear, you’re right on the water’s edge and ready to enjoy sunbathing and swimming once again.

What to do in Koh Samui on a rainy day? Plenty! From premiere dining at the Beach Republic, to awe-inspiring 3D art, fabulous shopping, healing yoga and exclusive treatments at Beach Republic’s Asian Fusion Spa there is so much to do on a rainy

wedding venue

Thailand Wedding Venues I Best Places To Get Married In Thailand


Thinking about getting married in Thailand? Checkout our latest blog post to see the most amazing venues Thailand has to offer to make your dream a reality.

Choosing a destination for your wedding is a huge decision. After all, there are so many options to choose from all over the world. More and more people are choosing to say ‘I do’ in Thailand and it is easy to see why. Whether you imagine a beachside wedding, in the presence of elephants or in a luxurious hotel, Thailand has so much to choose from. To top it off, the Land of Smiles, as Thailand is famously known as, also comes with charming hosts, delicious food and great weather to match.

Wedding Venues in Thailand

With so many places to get married in Thailand, perhaps the most complex part of planning your Thailand wedding is choosing the actual venue. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a wedding venue in Thailand.

  • Where will you say those magic words? Picture the setting that you have in mind when you say your wedding vows. Are you along the beach, looking out to panoramic views or inside a grand hall? Let your imagine guide you.
  • Is the venue comfortable? This might sound like a given but too many people forget to consider that the venue should be well-ventilated and feature amenities, such as toilets and even showers for your guests
  • Is there enough space? Unless you plan on arriving at the venue being ready to go, you’re probably going to need some space to get ready - without having to say hello to everyone that’s walking around. You also want to make sure that your guests have a place to lounge around and relax.
  • Thai or Western? You can choose between a classic Western-style wedding or get married like the locals in a traditional Thai way.
  • What about the reception? The kind of reception you want will determine whether you need a lot of space (dancing and partying, anyone?) or not much more (like a lovely dinner and toasting). Make sure to ask about your options.
  • Do you care about the weather? If you are getting married outdoors then you should be aware that the weather might not cooperate. Even though Thailand has lots of sunny, gorgeous days, all it takes is some rain to completely change the atmosphere. If you don’t care, great! But if you do, be prepared, consider having your wedding indoors, especially during rainy reason. Or have a plan B ready just in case.

Other important things to consider when choosing between places to get married in Thailand are your budget, the amount of guests and logistics and the menu.

Beaches

Some of the best wedding venues in Thailand are right on the country’s beautiful beaches. It’s hard to beat the serene atmosphere that comes with a quiet, tastefully decorated beachfront wedding. Beach wedding in Koh Samui is one of the most popular wedding locations the world, offering upmarket accommodation close to the beaches. Phuket is another popular option and is also an entry point to many smaller, secluded islands. Lastly, Krabi has gorgeous limestone cliffs and lush surroundings.

Elephant Camps

If you’ve pictured getting married at an elephant camp, you’re not the only one. An elephant wedding offers a unique experience to make your wedding standout. There are several options for elephant weddings across the country, ranging from the mountainous areas of Northern Thailand to the beaches in the South.

Golf Clubs

Golf clubs can be an excellent location to have a wedding in Thailand. They are already equipped with gorgeous landscaped areas and they definitely have enough space for accommodating large groups. Most golf clubs also offer elegant indoor and outdoor dining facilities, and gazebos or archways where your wedding ceremony can take place.

Hotels

Thai people tend to choose hotels as a wedding venue, and for good reason. Hotels are incredibly convenient with accommodation onsite and everyone in the same location. They also tend to be quite cost effective due to wedding package deals on top of the amenities that hotels are already happy to include (chairs, tables, dishes!).

Hotels are also ready to go, meaning you don’t have to turn the place inside out to make it appealing. Everything you need is pretty much onsite so you can focus on the finer details that will make your wedding even more special. Plus, getting ready for your wedding in a hotel room is an event that many people have imagined before.

Formal Gardens

Garden weddings in Thailand are another beautiful outdoor option. There are numerous garden venues across the country, whether you want to get married in a luxury hotel’s garden setting, in a park or even a gorgeous cliffside garden that overlooks the ocean. Picture the combination of lush, immaculate gardens, ponds and the smell of Thailand’s most fragrant flowers that will reduce, or even eliminate, your decoration costs.

Community Halls

While many people want an extravagant wedding venue, some are happy to get married in a community hall. They are a simple and romantic way to get married, though there are some pros and cons to keep in mind. Some pros of having a community hall wedding are the cost and having only your closest friends and family with you, though the latter might be considered a con depending on the size of your circle. Another con is that you don’t get to have a big wedding day and many community halls are not visually appealing.

Whichever venue you choose for your big day, we hope that you have the best wedding that is as close to your heart’s desire as it can be.

Top Things to do in Koh Samui - Beaches & Sightseeing


Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and is located in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus. A hot spot for tourists from all over the world, there are plenty of things to do in Koh Samui. From beautiful beaches to the Ang Thong Marine National Park to cabaret shows and luxury villas, there is something for everyone in Koh Samui.

Best Beaches in Koh Samui

Beaches are of course the top highlight of any trip to Koh Samui. Here are a few of the best:

Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach Chaweng beach is by far one of the top beaches in Koh Samui with Chaweng being the largest resort town in Koh Samui. With its white sand, rocky headlands on either side, and the fact that it is located on the widest part of the bay is what draws people to this magnificent beach on a daily basis.

Lamai Beach

Lamai beach is the second largest resort town in Koh Samui. This beautiful beach also features white, powdery sand that is perfect for sunbathing while reading a good book. It features a deep stretch of water that is wonderful for all types of water sports along with swimming. Large boulder rocks are the hallmarks of this beach.

Bophut Beach

Bophut beach covers several kilometers between Bangrak and Maenam beaches and is one of the oldest places on the island and offers the popular Fisherman’s Village, which is located on the eastern stretch of the beach. The beach is made up of thick, yellow-colored sand and is lined by resorts that are designed to fit any budget.


Best Sightseeing in Koh Samui

Sightseeing in Koh Samui focuses on exploring the incredible natural beauty and serene landscapes that are easily accessible. Koh Samui sightseeing tours can give visitors a taste of these nearby attractions during day long tours:

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park Ang Thong National Marine Park is a pristine archipelago of 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand that features majestic limestone mountains, a thick jungle, beautiful white-sand beaches and fertile mangroves. And if you want to explore, there are also amazing waterfalls and hidden coves and lakes available to visit. This park is also home to a wide variety of exotic wildlife and sea creatures.

Big Buddha Shrine

Located on the northern coast of Koh Samui, the famous Big Buddha shrine is a major attraction on the island. It is the most popular landmark in Koh Samui and is about 12 meters high in all its golden glory. The temple that surrounds the Big Buddha includes many shrines and smaller Buddhas. There is a market there for your shopping enjoyment and it includes an offering of lucky charms, souvenirs, and tons of food booths.

Best Chill Out Activities

Those looking to kick back and totally relax will have a wide range of choices for mellow activities in Koh Samui.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch Beach Republic Sunday brunch Koh Samui style is a classic way to while away the day while drinking and eating from large buffets of Thai and international delicacies. Several beachside restaurants, hotels and beach clubs will provide the perfect setting for a long and lazy brunch. Champagne and alcohol packages are common and can provide the perfect backdrop for a Sunday of luxury and leisure.

Spa

Beach Republic's Spa Enjoy an afternoon at the spa for the ultimate chill out experience in an incredible natural setting. Pools and aromatic herb groves will wash away any stress and fill visitors with peace and tranquility. The forest will immerse visitors in lush surroundings, and traditional massage and steam packages are available.

Chilling at a Bar

Chilling at a bar is perfect for decompressing and steeping in good island vibes. The bar at Hin Ta - Hin Yai Rock Lamai beach plays reggae from the afternoon into the early hours of the morning and has a fun treehouse vibe.

Koh Samui offers visitors a little of everything and can suit a traveler on any budget. The diversity and range of beaches and attractions keep Koh Samui a favorite among those in the know, and draw travelers back again and again to reap the rewards of a delightful combination of beach paradise and friendly local spots.

How To Get Married In Thailand For Foreigners

April 5th, 2017 by Noky

get married in thailand Thailand is a stunningly beautiful, exotic destination that provides you with a paradise setting for your upcoming wedding. The crystal clear waters of the seas and lagoons, the gorgeous hills and the lush green jungle areas can captivate your attention and leave you yearning to tie the knot in this incredible destination. You may have big plans to get married at one of Thailand’s most popular beach resorts, with a towering waterfall in the background or in some other incredible setting in Thailand. However, before you move forward with your plans to wed here, you may be wondering what the requirements are to be legally married in Thailand. The good news is that many foreign countries legally permit their citizens to get married here. However, it is wise for foreigners planning a marriage in Thailand to fully explore and follow the requirements to ensure that their wedding is legally binding. Many countries have specific requirements that are unique to their citizens, so a closer look at each country’s requirements is in order.

Getting Married In Thailand Legal Requirements

If you are planning to get legally married in Thailand, it is important to learn more about Thailand’s requirements as a first step. Regardless of whether you are a foreigner marrying another foreigner or you are marrying a Thai citizen, the country’s requirements are the same. You must follow these steps:

1. Obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. This document may be available through the consulate in Bangkok or through your embassy if you are a foreign citizen. Each country may have specific requirements that its citizens must meet, and each person wishing to get married must obtain their own Affirmation. This is a special legal document that essentially states that you are legally permitted to get married by the country. For foreigners, you typically must present your passport. If you have previously been married, documents attesting to the legal termination of that marriage may also be required. Thai citizens generally need to provide their House Registration Document and their National Identification Card to their consulate.

2. Translate the Affirmation of Freedom to Marry document. If you have obtained an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry document from your home country’s embassy, it likely is in your native language. It must be translated into the Thai language as the next step. There are various services that you can use throughout the country that can complete this step for you.

3. Take Your Affirmation document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your translated Affirmation of Freedom to Marry document must be legalized by the Thai government. This is done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office.

get married 4. Register the marriage with the amphur. The amphur is the office that officially records marriages, and this step means that your marriage to your spouse is legally binding. To register the marriage, you simply submit your documents to the amphur. The amphur will issue a marriage certificate in Thai. You typically must pay a translator to translate this document into your native language.

5. Certify your marriage with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After you have properly registered your marriage, you will again visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to file your translated document. This officially records the marriage.

6. You must also report your marriage to your home country. If you are a foreigner, you will take your documents to your embassy. If you are a Thai resident, you will take your documents to the consulate. This step finalizes your marriage in Thailand.

Getting Married In Thailand For US Citizens

If you are an American citizen interested in getting married in Thailand to another American, a Thai citizen or a citizen from another country, you may be wondering what specific steps you need to take to complete the process. The United States generally recognizes marriages of its citizens in Thailand, provided proper steps are followed. Personnel at the U.S. embassy are not permitted to perform marriages. Instead, these steps should be followed:

1. Visit the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to obtain a notarized Marriage/Divorce Affidavit. This is available through the American Citizen Services unit. You will need to schedule an appointment and arrive at the office with the proper fee for the notarized document.

2. Use a professional translation service to translate this affidavit into the Thai language.

3. Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok to have the marriage document legalized. There is a nominal fee for this process as well.

4. Foreigners getting married in Thailand will also need to register their marriage with the amphur. You will present your translated documents to the amphur, and they will register the marriage and issue a marriage certificate. The amphur may also require your identity documents, such as your passport, as well as your documents showing that prior marriages have been legally terminated. Your marriage certificate will be in the Thai language, and you typically will need to use professional translation services to translate this document into your own language.

5. Take your translated marriage certificate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. The Ministry officials will certify that the marriage is legal in Thailand.

6. You must then register your marriage in the United States in order for your home government to recognize the marriage. This is not done through the embassy. Instead, you will need to contact the Attorney General in your home state for their specific registration requirements. Many states will require a copy of the registered marriage certificate in order to validate the marriage in the United States.

Is A Thai Marriage Recognised In The UK?

A Thai marriage is recognized in the U.K., provided you follow the specific rule and requirements that have been established by both the Thai and U.K. governments. First, keep in mind that a religious ceremony in Thailand is not legally binding. If you wish for your marriage to be legally binding, you must follow all marriage requirements that Thailand has established. Second, note that the British Embassy is not legally authorized to conduct marriage ceremonies. Third, remember that the British government will only recognize the marriage as legally binding if the Thai government recognizes it. With this in mind, you should follow a few important steps to complete the marriage process.

1. As a first step, you will need to obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry. This is available through the British Embassy in Thailand. To obtain this document, you will need to bring your passport and any documents you have attesting to the termination of previous marriages you have been in. Original document should be provided. Copied documents will not be accepted. The affirmation document can be downloaded from the Internet and completed prior to your arrival. A small fee is charged for this document.

2. You will need to use a private translation service to translate the Affirmation into the Thai language. This service is not provided by the embassy, but there are many translators that offer this service in Bangkok.

wedding rings 3. British foreigners getting married in Thailand will then need to authenticate the Affirmation. Take your translated document in the Thai language to the British Consular's office for an official certification and signature. Thai registrars will not accept the document until it has been authenticated in this way.

4. Once you have completed this step, take your translated and authenticated document to the registrar, or amphur. The amphur will officially register the marriage and prepare a marriage certificate for you in the Thai language. You may need to get this certificate translated into your native language. Only use a service that offers a “sworn translation” service through a translation bureau. This is a requirement if you wish to use the marriage certificate in the United Kingdom.

5. Bring your translated marriage certificate to the Consular Section so that it can be recorded by the U.K. government. You are not legally required to take this step. However, it is helpful for statistical purposes, and it is necessary if you need to regenerate a copy of your certificate at a later date.

6. If you are marrying a foreign national, take note that that individual does not automatically gain U.K. citizenship through marriage. He or she will need to obtain the proper legal requirements, such as a visa, to relocate into the United Kingdom. This process can take up to three months to complete, so you should plan ahead when requesting the relocation visa.

Getting Married In Thailand For Australians

If you are an Australian citizen planning to get married in Thailand, you may be wondering how your marriage process varies from other countries. Australians must follow a few specific steps when getting married in Thailand if you want your marriage to be valid in your home country. The Australian embassy can only provide assistance with helping its residents learn about the foreign marriage process in Thailand, and it cannot assist with marriage planning in any way. Keep in mind that you must carefully follow each of these steps fully in order for your marriage to be legally binding in both Thailand and Australia. Foreign marriages of Australian citizens have been legally recognized by the Australian government since 1995. If you wish to get legally married in Thailand, follow these steps.

1. Visit your Australian embassy in Bangkok to complete a pro-forma Statutory Declaration. This form may also be completed at the Australian Consulate-General’s office in Phuket or in a Chiang Mai consular office. There is a fee required at the time this form is completed. Remember that the “Single Status Certificate” will not be accepted. If you have previously been married, you must provide proof that the previous marriages have ended, such as by providing divorce documentation or a death certificate. Some Thai registration offices also require passports of Australian citizens to be certified by the Embassy. There is a fee for this service, so you may which to check with the registration office that you plan to use to determine if this is required by their office. If so, certify your passport at the time you complete your Statutory Declaration.

2. Australian foreigners getting married in Thailand must also translate their Statutory Declaration document through a private translator into the Thai language. This process may take one to two business days, so plan ahead when completing this step.

3. After your document has been translated into the Thai language, it will need to be authenticated through the Thai Department of Consular Affairs. There is a fee for this that is payable to the Thai government. This step in the process may take an additional two to three business days to complete. There are various offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and other cities that offer this service.

4. Once your document has been authenticated, you can visit a District Office, or amphur, to register this marriage. This is a step that legally binds your marriage in Thailand. You will be issued a marriage certificate by the amphur. Amphurs do not provide translation services, so you may need to bring a translator with you to complete this process. Some amphurs also require an appointment.

5. If you plan to relocate with your foreign spouse to Australia after getting married, your spouse will need to obtain a visa. The Consular Services Section at the Australian embassy can assist with this process. Applying for a visa may take several weeks to complete, so you should plan ahead to obtain a visa in a time frame that is suitable for your plans.

Getting married in a gorgeous and exotic setting like Thailand can be a dream come true. However, the marriage process dictated by the Thailand government and your home country’s government must be carefully followed if you wish for your marriage to be legally binding. You may also need to plan ahead when trying to get your foreign spouse into your home country by applying for a visa very early in the process. By following these steps, you can plan for the perfect wedding in Thailand.


Getting Married in Koh Samui | Your Beach Wedding Starts Here!

March 7th, 2017 by Noky

Beach-Republic-Weddings Discover what makes weddings in Koh Samui Thailand so incredible.

Destination weddings give you more freedom to have fun, be original and have the kind of ceremony that will make all your friends jealous. Make yours even better by getting married in Koh Samui, an island where the sunset over the crystalline ocean waters makes the most stunning wedding venue anyone could ask for. Why plan a stressful wedding the traditional way when your beach wedding could feel like a vacation experience from beginning to end in a tropical resort? Few places will treat you and your guests with the famous, high level of hospitality offered in Thailand; the people here are always relaxed and accommodating.

Koh Samui is a paradise in the Bay of Thailand that has about 140 square miles of palm trees, beaches and romantic spots to say "I do" in. Best of all, Koh Samui has its own local airport so that you can fly right in without having to take a ferry. No matter where you are, nothing on the island is more than 16 miles away at the most, so you can plan to be anywhere within 30 minutes on average.

Wedding resorts in particular are a specialty of Koh Samui. Out of about 300 hotels available on this sun-soaked island, you'll find lots of options for your perfect celebration. Even top-name hotel brands like the Four Seasons, Le Meridien, Sheraton, the InterContinental and Novotel have exceptional wedding venues to offer here next to fabulous beaches. In other words, you can finally put those travel miles you've been saving up on that credit card to good use when you book a room here!

When is the best time to plan Samui Beach weddings?

These days, the monsoon season generally hits Koh Samui with heavy rains from late September through early December. While you can get deals then in cooler weather, it's not the best time for an outdoor wedding.

Beach-Republic-Weddings You'll have the best chance at getting lots of sunshine if you plan your ceremony for February, which also has the bonus of being the most-romantic month as it contains Valentines' Day. March and April are also good months with lots of sunny weather; however, do keep in mind that April is often the hottest time of the year too with temperatures reaching up into 90 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. May through August are also good times of the year in general. In this tropical climate, the weather can change quickly. Still, that means that locals are accustomed to staying flexible if you need to change your wedding date due to inclement weather, so don't worry. It's best to book your wedding resort for at least three days so that you can get into the rhythm of island time and tie the knot at the best moment.

Here's a short Koh Samui guide to picking the best beach for your wedding:

Whenever you have the option, always pick a resort that has their own private beach to guarantee that you'll have a tranquil ceremony. Just south of Mae Nam Pier on the Northern part of the island, the beaches are pristinely white with water deep enough for jet skiing but not too rough for swimming. This is typically a quiet part of the island that's great for honeymooners.

The Laem Sett area on the Southern end of the island is home to the Kamalaya Koh Samui resort, which occupies an exceptionally secluded beach and immaculately landscaped native forest behind it on their property. These shallow waters make a great spot to disembark on a kayaking trip too, but for deeper waters, you'll need to venture further down the coast.

The Chaweng Beach is not too far from the airport on the Northeastern corner of the island. It's very large, which makes it great for bigger weddings, and it's postcard-perfect with water that's great for snorkeling. This area is very much like the classic getaway beach everyone dreams about visiting on their vacation. Beaches near both Chaweng and Lamai are also not far from excellent nightlife attractions when you're ready to party or entertain guests before or after the ceremony.

Beach-Republic-Weddings The wedding villas available on Koh Samui offer lots of luxuries.

  • Many top-brand and boutique hotels offer you a private pool in your wedding villa.
  • Enjoy your own private tropical-garden area.
  • Savor your favorite Thai foods and cocktails over a candlelit dinner on your terrace.
  • Slip into silk dressing gowns and slippers when you step out of your over-sized bed.
  • Outdoor rain showers cool you off after sunbathing in the morning.

For a stress-free affair, get an experienced wedding planner Samui.

One of the best reasons to plan a destination wedding is because it's a lot less work since most resorts offer incredible deals on wedding packages and personal wedding planners who will literally take care of everything for you. All you have to do is pretty much just show up with your guests, and they'll help you with everything else. When you're ready to start booking, contact your resort and speak to the wedding planner about arranging for discounts for your wedding party so that you'll all get a great vacation that's worth every penny.


How To Plan A Beach Wedding In Thailand

January 17th, 2017 by Noky

Beach-Republic-Weddings Imagine the crisp white of a wedding dress contrasted against the color of an ocean that sparkles like gemstones, where the warm sun turns skin to gold. Embark with family and loved ones on an exotic journey to a foreign country where the history is rich and the local culture tantalizes the senses. Stare into the eyes of the love of your life and say “I do” on the day that binds your hearts forever in matrimony. Want to plan a beach wedding in Thailand? We’ve done the homework, so you can get an idea for how much it might cost, the best venues and how to find a planner.

Price

Compared to other popular international destinations, the cost of a wedding in Thailand is quite affordable with a vast selection of beaches and venues to choose from. Depending on your wedding demands, like whether you want a western style or Thai style ceremony - along with the number of guests that will attend, you’ll find transportation, accommodation and meals priced considerably cheaper than what you might find back home. Wedding packages in Thailand are a convenient option that not only allow you to have flexibility and ease with planning a full wedding, but allows couples to spend more on luxury while saving on services rendered. Do you want to add a Thai touch with orchids or lotus blossoms? How about a delicious spread of Thailand’s infamous curries and cuisine? You’ll have plenty to mull over, as most resorts offer all inclusive deals starting around 180,000 THB that let you pick and choose, including everything from displays, seating and floral arrangements to catering, music and lighting.

Planning

Beach-Republic-WeddingsWhen you’re planning a destination wedding on the other side of the world, it’s can be understandably overwhelming. Not only are you making crucial decisions without physically being there, but the language barrier can create confusion and communication can get lost in translation. Hiring a wedding planner in Thailand not only brings peace of mind, but efficiently tackles decisions that require local knowledge on all things wedding related. Fortunately, tourism in the land of smiles greatly caters to soon-to-be wed couples and connecting with a professional,english speaking wedding planner isn’t difficult. A planner will discuss the goals of your wedding with you before submitting a quote for services matching your requests. If possible, it wouldn’t hurt to take a pre-wedding trip to Thailand to meet with the planner to get to know them and the connections they have in the Thailand wedding industry.

Venue

Thailand boasts hundreds of beautiful islands with an abundance of venue options to discover a resort on the beach that speaks to your heart. The question is, which island do you choose? Phuket and Koh Samui are favorable options to make sure you get the wedding of your dreams while your guests get the comfort and relaxation they expect. While Phuket on the Andaman coast offers unspoilt beaches and the convenience of being in close proximity to the mainland and airport, Koh Samui, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is a favorite wedding destination, boasting elegance with a modern infrastructure and romantic ambience. Besides the benefits of gorgeous weather with average temperatures ranging between 23- 32 celsius, Thailand’s second largest island offers beaches galore, making it a breeze to find that idyllic half moon stretch of shell-strewn beach shaded by skinny coconut trees. Here, your guests will be able to enjoy the comforts of home with stylish restaurants, luxury hotels and shopping while lush wilderness and outdoor activities are just a hop, skip and jump away. You’ll discover a number of wedding venues on the beach or for a more intimate experience, wedding villas allow the entire wedding party to stay together in one place, holding the ceremony directly on the resort grounds.


10 Reasons Beach Republic is the best resort on Koh Samui, Thailand

January 7th, 2016 by Norm Schriever

3There are plenty of great resorts and hotels on the beautiful island of Koh Samui in Thailand, but absolutely no one offers the same combination of luxury living,  beachside relaxation, upscale amenities, and chill island attitudes like Beach Republic. It’s no wonder why Beach Republic wins some of the most esteemed awards in the industry year after year and The New York Times and CNNGo.com called it “a must-visit destination.” Here are 10 reasons why our guests think Beach Republic is the best resort on Koh Samui:

Do you prefer a luxurious pool, a pristine white-sand beach, or both?

You won’t have to choose at Beach Republic, as we offer the best of both in all of Koh Samui. Located at the northern tip of Lamai Beach, a flawless expanse of powdery white sand with crystal clear aqua-blue water surrounding unique rock formations awaits. Separated only by a row of regal green palm trees, you can also relax and take it all in from the gorgeous infinity pool, enjoying poolside drink service. Even better, enjoy them both every day!

No one “Chills Different” like Beach Republic!

Maybe you’ve heard the term “Chill Different” or even seen the #ChillDifferent hashtag and wondered what it means? It’s our own signature twist on fun, mixing the best of the friendly island vibe, tropical Thailand, thunderous fun, and maximum lounging. In order to initiate chill vacation mode, you can lounging on a large outdoor bed in the shade, sun chairs you won’t ever want to leave, or a private cabana – all with our exquisite infinity pool on one side and Thailand’s nicest beach on the other. Throw in first class dining, champagne or tropical cocktails, and some of the best DJs spinning your favorite music and you’re finally getting an idea what it means to Chill Different!

Beach Republic offers Koh Samui’s best nightly entertainment

With the best live music, dancing, lounging, drink specials, fine dining, and partying in all of Koh Samui, you’ll never want for a good time at Beach Republic. Whether you’re a hotel guest or just visiting Koh Samui and want to see what all the buzz is about, come enjoy Thank God It’s Monday, The Tuesday Blend, Wicked Wednesday, Big Fish Thursday, Fiesta Friday, Soulful Saturday, and Sunday Sessions. But don’t forget to come out for our daily Sundown Salute – Samui’s most beautiful happy hour.

Escape Break

Escape Break – formerly Escapology – is a real-life escape game that earns rave reviews from players. Locked within a themed game with up to five of your friends, you must work together to solve puzzles, find clues, and discover hidden objects in order to win your freedom! Try two unforgettable games: Ghost Ship or Kowloon Captive, but no matter which one you play, the clock is ticking and the pressure is on with Escape Break, providing a thrilling good time!

Luxury is spelled “Whisgars”

Vacation should be about enjoying the finer things in life and at Beach Republic, that includes some of the best cigars and whiskey you’ll find anywhere in the world. Whisgars is Beach Republic’s unique concept bar offering high-end Single Malt Whiskies and Premium Hand-Rolled Cigars to please even the most discerning aficionado Whether you’re unsure what to order or a true connoisseur looking to discuss the merits of different varieties, our well-trained and passionate staff is always helpful.

All of Koh Samui is your playground

Since Beach Republic is located on the island of Koh Samui, which many consider the best island for a vacation in Thailand, you’ll have countless activities and options right outside our front door. Take plenty of day trips and explore the best beaches, restaurants, nightlife, diving, snorkeling, Muay Thai, cooking classes, nature and wildlife, and island hopping, then return to the comfort and luxury of Beach Republic.

Rejuvinate in our world-class spa or fitness facility

If all of this eating, drinking, swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing gets too strenuous, check in to Beach Republic’s boutique spa, located right on the tranquil shores of Lamai Beach. Fusing traditional Asian and Western styles, The Asian Fusion Spa utilizes the best of Chinese reflexology, Japanese Reiki, Indian Ayurvedic treatments, and traditional Thai massage to leave you feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and refreshed. But if exercising is your idea of stress relief, enjoy the western-style fitness facility with all the machines, weights, and amenities you need to bring out a leaner, sexier you

The best dining on all of Koh Samui

Is all of this relaxation making you hungry? Beach Republic offers a variety of dining options created by some of Thailand’s award-winning chefs. From fabulous five-star fare to all-day snacks delivered right to your beach chair, enjoy our signature menus of Tapas, Mediterranean, freshly caught seafood, and some of the best Thai cuisine you’ll ever eat. If you’re not stuffed already, don’t forget the Beach Republic Sunday Sessions brunch – a local legend on the island!

 

Live, sleep, and stay like royalty

We almost forgot to tell you about the best part of Beach Republic – our accommodations. The Residences at Beach Republic is a collection of 39 private villas, penthouses, and spacious suites that are fit for a king or queen. Each villa and penthouse has its own private chemical-free pool, and units also offer home kitchens, dining areas, big-screen televisions, iPod docks, CD and DVD players, and wireless Internet. Guests who stay with us at The Residences have easy access to our Ocean Club and restaurant, fitness facilities, Asian Fusion Spa, and all of the entertainment and amenities luxury beach living has to offer

You can now own your own piece of paradise

If a holiday stay isn’t enough, you can now invest in paradise with Beach Republic’s unique fractional ownership program. Enjoy all the benefits of full real estate ownership – including rental income and capital appreciation – but without the hassle or upkeep, and at only a sliver of the price.

Not only was Beach Republic awarded Thailand’s Best Shared Ownership Development at the prestigious Thailand Property Awards, it’s also been crowned with the title of Asia’s Best Resort Residences by the esteemed Property Report the last three years in a row. With 42 units to choose from including spacious suites, Private Pool Villas, and Penthouse Sky Pool Villas, your Beach Republic experience doesn’t have to end with your holiday.


All about things that fly, crawl, swing, slither, swim and stampede in Thailand!

December 31st, 2015 by Norm Schriever

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.05.04 PMThailand is an animal lover’s paradise, with at least 401 species of reptiles, 1,000 different mammal species, 1,338 types of butterflies and 1,000 different birds. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most common and notable animals you might see in Thailand!

The most dangerous animals in Thailand

There are several species of dangerous animals, reptiles, fish, and insects in Thailand that tourists and visitors should be aware of.

Believe it or not, mosquitos are responsible for more human deaths in the world than any other animal! That’s because some tropical mosquitos carry dangerous illnesses like Dengue and Malaria. The good news is that most of Thailand is not Malaria territory and simply spraying on some bug spray will prevent problems.

There are numerous dangerous and poisonous snakes in Thailand, including the Chain Viper, six species of poisonous Cobras including the spitting Cobra and the King Cobra, Coral Snakes, Pit Vipers, and several kinds of Krait.

Sea snakes are also very poisonous, and staying in the water, there are dangerous Rockfish, Dragonfish found around coral reefs, and some species of poisonous jellyfish.

Watch out for things that crawl like centipedes, known as ‘Tdakab’ in Thai, because there are a couple varieties than can deliver a nasty sting. Scorpions are prevalent in some areas and though they can deliver a sting like a wasp and quite a scare, aren’t particularly poisonous or dangerous.

Snakes

Since most of Thailand was tropical jungle and forest traditionally, there were a lot of species of snakes, though their numbers have diminished slightly. Other than the aforementioned Cobra, poisonous snakes include the Oriental whip snake, Southern bridle snake, Kanburi pit viper, Malayan pit viper, the reticulated python, the Asiatic rock python and the Sumatran short-tailed python, just to name a few. In all there are about 60 species or more of poisonous snakes.

But don’t worry; there are about 200 species of snakes in Thailand but the vast majority of them are neither aggressive nor poisonous.

Elephants

Elephants, called “Chang” in the Thai language, are highly revered and respected in the nation. In fact, the likeness of an elephant used to adorn the flag of Thailand and Chang is still the name of the most popular beer there.

For centuries, elephants were used for logging and other heavy tasks, and unfortunately poached for their skin, tusks, and meat. But conservation efforts by the Thai government started with a 1989 ban on logging, recasting elephants as a tourist attraction, not a beast of burden. These days, there are plenty of places around the country you can see and experience elephants, but they often fall under criticism from western animal rights groups for their treatment. While there definitely need to be strides to take better care of these large mammals, what at is often not understood in the west is that the tourism is the only way for elephant owners to make enough money to feed and care for them, which is no small undertaking.

There are some great elephant rescues and reserves around the country that treat the animals ethically and safely and promote education for all.

Big cats

While several species of tigers used to roam free in the jungles and hills of Thailand, but these days, it’s estimated that only 250 to 300 exist in the wild. What you will find are a lot of “tiger farms” and even the Tiger Temple, where tourists can get up close and touch and pose for photos with the regal beasts. But just like elephant farms, these have fallen under fire from animal rights groups, who suspect the tigers are drugged or sedated or often trained with cruel and painful methods.

Thailand is also home to other beautiful big cats like leopards, jungle cats, leopard cats, and the civet cat.

Other large animals

Elephants and tigers aren’t the only grand animals in Thailand, as the country is also the indigenous habitat for the red and the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Malayan sun bear, the Asiatic black bear, the Eld’ s deer, the Schombugk’s deer, the Sambar deer, the mouse-deer, the Asian wild dog, the sperm whale, wild pigs, hogs, goats, oxen, tapirs, wild cattle, and otter.

Monkeys, macaque, and gibbons

Thailand has no shortage of monkeys roaming around in the wild, especially on islands like Koh Pi Pi, Koh Phangan, Koh Chang, and deeper in the forests. A lot of the monkeys you might see aren’t monkeys at all but macaques, including the Rhesus macaque, the Stump-tail macaque, the pig-tailed and the long-tailed macaque and the Assamese macaque. Gibbons like the white-handed gibbon and the black-handed gibbon are also prevalent, though it is more rare to spot them since they live high up in the canopy, swinging around (most monkeys jump) from tree to tree with long arms but no tail, singing distinctly.

Lizards, reptiles, and turtles

There are hundreds of species of reptiles common to Thailand but you’ll probably first spot the common house gecko. They are harmless (or even quite beneficial, as they eat mosquitos and other insects) and even considered good luck! The Tokay Gecko is harder to spot but easy to hear, as it omits a loud clicking noise that sounds like ‘TOO-KEHH.’ There are also larger geckos – the nik-kae – that have known to be aggressive when they are territorial, as well as the black jungle monitor lizard.

Thailand is also home to one of the most ancient species on earth, turtles, including the loggerhead turtle, the Asiatic soft shell turtle and the black turtle.

Bats

The world’s smallest bat (and possibly the smallest mammal in the world) calls Thailand home. The bumble bee bat, also known as the Khun Kitti bat or Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, lives in western Thailand and southeast Burma in riverside caves and only grows to about 1.1-1.3 inches.

Dolphins

Thailand is the habitat for some majestic dolphins, including the spinner dolphin and the rough-toothed dolphin and their distant cousin, the black finless porpoise. It was also one of the few places on earth where freshwater dolphins existed. Still to this day, its believed that a small number of Irrawaddy and bottlenose dolphin swim in the freshwater rivers in central Thailand.

Fish

While there are so many species of fish in Thailand’s waters it’s almost impossible to count them, it’s estimated there are at least 365 species of just coral reef fish in the Gulf of Thailand alone! The world’s largest freshwater fish, the Giant Mekong Catfish, can be found in Thailand, as can the Whale Shark, the largest fish in the world.

Crocodiles

Those sleek and looming crocs lurk through Thailand’s seas, including both the Siamese and the saltwater crocodile. There are also thought to be five species of freshwater crocodiles, the largest in captivity reaching almost 20 feet long and weight well over a ton!

Things that fly

There are more than 1,000 species of birds and 1,338 of butterflies in Thailand, making it a naturalists dream!

Already extinct

Sadly, there are several specials of animals indigenous to Thailand that already have been rendered extinct, including the kouprey (a species of wild cattle), Schomburgk’s deer and the Javan rhinoceros.

 


25 Facts about Songkran, Thailand’s own unique New Year celebration.

December 22nd, 2015 by Norm Schriever

Songkran1. While the western world celebrates New Years on December 31 at midnight and considers January 1 the first day of the year, the rite of passage of the changing of the year is done differently in Thailand, and most of Asia for that matter.

2. Thailand’s New Year is called “Songkran” and celebrated in mid April, the hottest time of the year in the southeast Asian country.

3. But it’s not just a one-night affair, as the Thai New Year observation goes on for three full days. While it used to be a floating hotel with dates that changed slightly depending on the year, Songkran is now set for the 13th to the 15th of April.

4. Songkran is quite possibly the most unique New Year in the world, celebrated with a national water festival that’s grown to legendary proportions. Not only do all Thais take part, but also tens of thousands of farang (foreigners) visit the country every year to join in the wet and wild festivities.

5. For those three days, the streets basically become a massive water fight, with every man, woman, and child (but especially teens and young adults) throwing water on each other unmercilessly.

6. It’s also the longest holiday in Thailand, running three full days, day and night. However, in some parts of the country that are vacation spots or cater to tourists, etc. the water fights sometimes go on for a full week!

7. For weeks ahead of the New Year, you’ll see giant water pistols and crazy, colorful Hawaiian-style shirts sold on the side of the road in anticipation of the antics. Thais will also resort to garbage pails full of water, hoses, and buckets – whatever it takes to soak their fellow man or woman.

8. In cities, you’ll even see big tanker trucks driving around delivering water (or soaking people themselves) and delivery trucks also deliver blocks of ice, deposited in the trash pails so the soaking will be frigid as well.

9. Everyone is fair game to get doused with a bucket of water when they are walking around during Songkran. Tourists who wish “not to participate” better stay in their hotel rooms for those three days or not come to Thailand!

10. Water isn’t the only thing thrown around, as children and other Thais love smearing others with colorful paste, especially all over their faces. Don’t worry – it’s just colored talcum powder, and considered a good thing or a blessing if they gift you with a handful of paste to the face. The use of chalk during the water festival originated from the practice of monks marking blessings with colorful chalk.

11. Some mischievous Thais even add a little Tiger Balm to their talcum powder paste, which will make your skin tingle a little but isn’t harmful.

12. There are a few exceptions to the water fight free-for-all during Songkran; you should never ever throw water on Buddhist monks, police officers and other officials, or babies, toddlers and the elderly.

13. Where does this delightful tradition come from? Although it’s been a Thai holiday throughout its entire history, the origins of Songkran are from from neighboring Burma. The word Songkran derives from the word “saṃkrānti” which literally means “astrological passage” and relates to movement or change from the bad of the old year into the good of the new.

14. Songkran parallels the rising of Aries on the astrological chart, which is the calendar of many countries in Asia and keeps with the Buddhist and Hindu solar calendar.

15. How should you prepare for Songkran? Other than catching up on sleep and taking a lot of vitamin C (since everyone is partying overtime and soaking wet – and the cleanliness of the water can be suspect – it seems like the whole country catches a cold after Songkran,) you’ll want to bring the right things. Cheap sunglasses (or even goggles!), athletic shorts that dry easily, a dry wick shirt, boat shoes or flip flops (though those slide around a lot), waterproof sunscreen or a hat (tourists often forget about the strong sun since they are always wet, often getting a bad sunburn), and DEFINITELY a quality waterproof bag or case for your phone, money, hotel key, etc.

16. With all of the water fight “sanuk” (fun) going on, don’t forget the true meaning of the New Year holiday. Traditionally and still to this day, Songkran is a time for Thais to symbolically cleanse and rejuvenate their bodies and souls to end the year, preparing for good fortune in the new year to come.

17. For most Thais, Songkran is a time to return home to be among family, paying respect to elders. Children pour water over the palms of their parents and grandparents in a sign of thanks and reverence for their ancestors.

18. Once back at home, children and family visitors alike help the housewife clean her residence spotlessly, as any remaining rubbish or dirt will bring back luck. Any images of Buddha are also washed with the utmost attention and care. Once Songkran start, Thais visit the local temple to pray and offer food and alms to the Buddhist monks, as well as pouring water over them to purify their sins and bring good luck.

19. In most cities in Thailand, there will also be colorful parades in the streets and beauty pageants with traditional costumes where “Miss Songkran” is coronated.

20. Thais may observe their New Year holiday with slight differences based on region. For instance, in central Thailand, Thais often perform “merits” like releasing birds or fish back into the wild, and some Thais even release bigger animals like buffalos or cows to their freedom.

21. In southern Thailand, Songkran is also known as “free day,” and residents make sure to observe the only three rules that apply during the festival: people shouldn’t work and shouldn’t spend money; they should not hurt people or other animals; and they should not lie.

22. 2In the north of Thailand, there is always gunfire and firecrackers shot off into the sky to scare away bad luck. During the days, people prepare food and collect other practical household items and gift them to the local monks at the temple, where they also bath Buddha’s statue.

3. While the intent of the water festival is all fun and blessings, the unfortunate reality is that there are many accidents and injuries on the roads during Songkran due to drunken motorcycle driving more than just wet roads. If fact, police statistics show that the death toll from roadway accidents doubles every Songkran, in a country that already has one of the highest road fatality rates in the world. Be careful and “Songkran responsibly!

24. In 2016, Songkran will take place April 13-15. Instead of just a big party, the Thai government and cultural authority is asking that all people – Thai and farang – focus on the spiritual message and intention of the traditional holiday.

25. Having experienced the Songkran festival many times all over the country, my favorite place to observe it is on the island of Koh Samui. It’s not as crowded and unsafe as places like Bangkok, not as touristy as Phuket, and definitely more genuine than tourist party central in Chang Mai or Pattaya. Koh Samui is just the right mix of a great time and a true representation of the cultural tradition. So come join us at Beach Republic in Koh Samui for both western New Years January 1 and Songkran!


Koh Samui is for lovers! 12 Romantic excursions on the island.

December 18th, 2015 by Norm Schriever

1Are you going to Thailand with your girlfriend, boyfriend, fiancée, or spouse? You’ll find no more romantic getaway destination than Koh Samui, a 228-square kilometer island paradise off the Eastern coast of mainland Thailand. While you’re there with the love of your life, there are plenty of romantic excursions, outings, and activities that will have you feeling more amorous than ever.

  1. Lounge around on the beach with your special someone

In the midst of all of these activities, don’t forget to spend some quality time with your special someone on our flawless expanse of powdery white sand beach, with crystal-blue water so clear you can spot coral and starfish beneath. Need we say more? Located at the tip of the peninsula between Lamia Beach and Chaweng Beach, you’ll truly feel like you’re living in a postcard as you relax and play along the sandy stretch at Beach Republic.

  1. Take an authentic Thai cooking class

Practice your domestic skills alongside your better half at one of Samui’s traditional cooking schools.  World-renowned as some of the finest cuisine anywhere on the globe, Thai food you can now learn to cook local recipes (not just eat them.) The Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts (SITCA) offers cooking classes for chefs and amateurs of all levels, taught in modern, air conditioned facilities, and Ying’s Thai Cooking Home and Smiley Cook offer more authentic cooking experiences.

  1. Get a couples massage

A romantic getaway wouldn’t be complete with out a relaxing, rejuvenating, and intimate couples massage, and in Koh Samui, you’re definitely in the right place. In fact, Samui was voted the 2nd best spa destination in Asia in recent TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. So check out Beach Republic’s boutique spa located right on the tranquil shores of Lamai Beach. Fusing traditional Asian and Western styles, The Asian Fusion Spa utilizes the best of Chinese reflexology, Japanese Reiki, Indian Ayurvedic treatments, and traditional Thai massage to leave you feeling closer to your loved one than ever.

  1. Take in a sunset with that special someone

While popular and beautiful Lamai and Chaweng Beaches are on the east coast of the island, Beach Republic is still a great place to chill and watch the sunset of a lifetime with your lover. Or you can take a ride over to the west coast of the island and watch the sunset from Bang Rak Beach.

  1. Dinner on the beach

Getting hungry? Whether it’s a fairytale dinner on the beach under the stars or just an amazing and relaxing dinner by the beach, Beach Republic has a variety of dining options – from fabulous five-star fare to all-day snacks delivered right to your beach chair. Enjoy our signature menus of Tapas, Mediterranean, and Thai cuisine.

  1. Take a boat tour of the islands with your soul mate

You may not feel like leaving your room a whole lot, but we urge you to go on a private tour of the surrounding islands with your soul mate. Koh Samui is only a ferry or boat trip to plenty of nearby beautiful islands like Koh Tao, with the best scuba diving in Thailand and only two hours away, Koh Phangan, the island famous for its full moon parties, and the island paradise of Koh Nang Yuan.

You can also take a brilliant day trip to the startingly beautiful Angthong National Marine Park, an archipelago of 42 tropical islands where part of the movie The Beach was filmed.

  1. Get professional photos taken on the beach

While you’re in paradise with your favorite person in the world, document the trip of a lifetime with professional photos, taken right on the beach or your favorite spot on the island. Beach Republic works with a great team of professional photographers who will set the whole thing up and make you look like you’re on the cover of a magazine!

  1. Take a yoga class together

Bend, contort, and take deep meditative breaths side by side with your lover in a yoga class. There are plenty of amazing yoga studios to chose from all over the island, and even if you’re a beginner you can enjoy the meditative and karma boosting benefits of a yoga class alongside your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancée, or spouse.

  1. Visit the risqué grandmother and grandfather rock

If you’re feeling a little bit spicy, go visit the famous “Grandpa and Grandma Rocks” (Hin Ta and Hin Yai) with your lover. The natural rock formations are a naughty pleasure for the locals who say they are reminiscent of male and female genitalia, a attraction that incites giggles.

  1. Take a splash in a waterfall

There’s nothing more romantic than splashing in a tropical waterfall with your love interest, and Koh Samui has some of the best you’ll ever see in your life, including the Na Muang Waterfalls and Hin Lad.

  1. Stay in luxurious privacy or private luxury!

You’ll want to stay in a beautiful, high-end, and intimate resort on your romantic vacation, and Beach Republic definitely won’t disappoint. The Residences at Beach Republic is a collection of 39 private villas, penthouses, and spacious suites, each with its own private chemical-free pool, and some with home kitchens, dining areas, big-screen televisions, iPod docks, CD and DVD players, and wireless Internet. Guests who stay with us at The Residences also have access to our Ocean Club and restaurant, fitness facilities, Asian Fusion Spa, and all of the entertainment and amenities luxury beach living has to offer.

  1. Tie the knot and spend your honeymoon in the same place

If you’re coming to Koh Samui with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancée, and the mood strikes you, keep in mind that Beach Republic is the perfect place to get married AND spend your honeymoon. Of course your wedding should be a magical, memorable, event-of-a-lifetime, and there’s no better place to host it than on an idyllic white beach in a tropical paradise. Beach Republic has a team of professional wedding planners and comprehensive packages so you can your guests can just relax and enjoy the proceedings…and go home as Mr. and Mrs.!


25 More Fun, Interesting, and Crazy Facts About Thailand

December 9th, 2015 by Norm Schriever

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 11.52.13 AMIn part one of this blog, we covered 25 fun, interesting, and crazy facts about Thailand, one of the most beautiful and visited countries in the world. Not to be outdone, here are 25 more facts about wonderful Thailand!

  1. Thailand is the world’s 51st largest country by size, with Russia taking the top spot and the United States coming in third.
  1. Thailand may be a relatively small nation, but it can claim numerous world records with the largest gold Buddha (5.5 tons), the largest crocodile in captivity (19 feet, 8 inches and 2,455 pounds!), the largest restaurant (The Royal Dragon), and the world’s largest longest reigning monarch with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who ascended to the throne on June 9, 1946.
  1. In the not so distant past, past, every young man in Thailand entered the Buddhist monkhood for at least a period before their 20th birthday – even the Thai Kings! But these days, far fewer young men observe this tradition.
  1. The World Record for the longest hair in the world belongs to a Thai man named Hoo Sateow whose locks extend to 16 feet and 11 inches.
  1. Siamese cats are named after the Kingdom of Siam and native to Thailand. Called “wichen-maat” in Thai, which translates to “moon diamond,” they are revered in the country. In fact, a 14th-century book poetry documents 23 breeds of Siamese cats, though only 6 exist today, though it is still good luck to give a pair of Si Sawat Siamese cats to a bride before her wedding night.
  1. Just how revered are certain cats in Thai culture? Two rare “diamond-eyed cats” named Phet and Ploy were married in 1996. While pet weddings are rare but not unheard of around the world, this one was by far the most expensive, with the feline nuptials adding up to more than $16,000 for the lavish affair.
  1. Bangkok is home to two major airports, one for international travel and the other for domestic. The older domestic airport, Don Mueang International, has the highest control tower in the world at 434 feet.
  1. According to the Global Destinations Cities Index, Thailand is the most visited city in the world with 16 million international arrivals ever year, more than even London and Paris.
  1. Plenty of Hollywood movies have been filmed in Thailand, including The Big Boss (1941), Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), The Ugly American (1963), The Deer Hunter (1978), The Killing Fields (1984), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The Beach (2000), Alexander (2004), Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason (2004), Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005), Stealth (2005), and the beloved and hilarious The Hangover Part II (2011).
  1. Thailand doesn’t take fondly to criticism of the King or members of the monarchy, and such public criticism is actually illegal and subject to imprisonment. Even outside depictions are censored, like the movie The King and I, which showed the Siamese ruler King Mongkut as uneducated and uncultured. In fact, he was the first Asian ruler to speak, read, and write English fluently and highly intelligent, called the father of Thai scientists. So even today, the movie is banned in Thailand.
  1. There was once a serial killer in Thailand so prolific and feared by the people, that when he was apprehended and publically executed, the authorities put his corpse in a glass box on display so everyone could see he was really dead.
  1. While Muay Thai, “The Art of Eight Limbs” is the most famous Thai sport, elephant polo is also popular. In fact, The King’s Cup elephant polo is one of the biggest sporting events in the country and includes neighboring nations Sri Lanka and Nepal, with home games hosted at the Hua Hin beach resort.
  1. The highest point in Thailand is Doi Inthanon in the Thanon Thong Chai mountain range, which sits 8,415 feet above sea level.
  1. Hundreds of thousands of backpackers, tourists, and young foreign hedonists visit the Thai island of Koh Phangan every year, which has been home to the infamous Full Moon Party for decades, and now also celebrates Half Moon and Black Moon parties.
  1. In the 1960s and 70s, an area in northern Thailand was the largest opium producer in the world, as the cash crop was cultivated and sold by the hill tribes there. That area of northern Thailand as well as the western tip of Laos and the eastern corner of Burma (now Myanmar) was called “The Golden Triangle.”
  1. The Garuda – a mythical creature from the Hindu faith – is the national and royal symbol of Thailand.
  1. Only a century ago, Thailand had one of the densest and most beautiful jungles and forest lands in the world. But due to logging, development, and industry, Thailand suffered the second-highest rate of deforestation in the world. Today, only about 25 percent of Thailand is still covered in forest, though logging has been banned to try and conserve.
  1. Made famous by the movie “Bridge Over the River Kwai”, the Burma-Siam railway sits in the town of Kanchanburi in Thailand, where almost 100,000 people died working to finish the feat of engineering.
  1. The largest fish in the world resides in Thailand, the Rhincodon typus or whale shark, commonly reaching 35 feet long!
  1. The dense jungles of Thailand were home to some of the most remarkable snakes in the world. In fact, the longest snake in the world, a reticulated python that measured 33 feet long, was discovered in Thailand. Likewise, the most poisounous snake in the world, a king cobra that can kill an elephant with one bite of its venom and stretches to 18 feet long, is indigenous to Thailand.
  1. Bangkok is notorious for some of the worst traffic in the world. It’s so bad that traffic police in Thailand’s capital city have to wear facemasks because of the dangerous levels of pollution in the air and 20 percent of Bangkok’s police force develop some sort of lung disease or respiratory problems!
  1. The language spoken in Thailand is called Thai, which linguists and scholars believe originated between the 7th and 13th centuries as a dialect of Chinese and then absorbed other influences. Thai is an extremely tonal language, with 32 vowels and 44 consonants in its alphabet!
  1. Thailand is home to a vast network of tributaries and canals, many of the waterways used for transportation, with whole communities living along their banks and floating markets. In fact, Bangkok is often called the ‘Venice of the East’ because of its large number of canals.
  1. The Mekong River running along part of Thailand’s eastern edge is the largest river in Asia and one of the biggest in the world, the natural habitat for more than 1,300 species of fish, including a “River Monster”, a huge catfish that reaches 10 feet long and can weigh 660 pounds!
  1. Thailand has hundreds of islands, so many so that they are hard to count and even Wikipedia just places the number at “hundreds.” The islands, called “Ko” in Thai or “Koh”, lie both in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Many were uninhabited or sparsely populated by fishing communities until recent decades, where tourism made Thailand’s islands a sought after destination.

15 Thai Cultural Traditions Every Traveler Should Know

December 2nd, 2015 by Norm Schriever

1 copyGreeting the Thai way

If you’ve been in Thailand for even a day, you’ll notice that people often use the wai, the traditional way of greeting by pressing your palms together at chest, chin, or forehead height and bowing the head slightly. The wai can be used when saying hello to someone, goodbye, or thanking them, and shows respect and reverence.

Public displays of affection

Despite its reputation otherwise, Thai culture is actually very conservative in many ways. For example, Thai people do not usually kiss, hug, or show other physical displays of affection in public, outside of maybe innocent hand holding.

Avoiding direct confrontation

It is polite and good manners to always speak softly, avoid aggressive speech or acts towards another, and avoid direct confrontation. Losing one’s emotions or coming to anger easily are very bad indicators of character in Thailand and therefore, disrespectful.

Photos

If you’d like to take a photo of a Thai person, it is good manners to ask them if that is ok beforehand.

 

Days of color

One of the most charming traditional practices in Thailand is the wearing of different colors depending on what day it is. Based on a pre-Buddhist Hindu legend, each day has a specific color associated with it for people to wear. Mondays are all about the yellow shirts to pay heed to the day the King was born, pink is for Tuesday, and light blue on Friday for the Queen’s day of birth, etc. Now that you know, see if you spot those colors on those days – or join in!

Sabai Sabai

In the Thai language, this universal phrase means something like “take it easy,” “Relax,” or maybe even “Chill Different,” like we say at Beach Republic! But seriously, saying Sabai Sabai is a happy, sunny, and friendly reminder of the best vibe Thailand has to offer.

A national observance of pride

To encourage nationalism, the Thai government introduced several practices for all of its citizens, like broadcasting the national anthem twice a day. When the anthem is played at those times, everyone – workers, pedestrians, drivers in traffic, and students are expected to stop and stand. While it may not be required for foreigners to stop what they are doing in observance at these times, too, it would be polite.

Never mind

You might hear the phrase “Mai pen rai’”used liberally, which is the Thai way of saying, “never mind.” It’s another way the people communicate the Thai philosophy of keeping cool, looking at the bright and humorous side of things, and letting worries slip away.

Religious Objects

You’ll see a lot of religious sites as well as small altars in homes, hotels, businesses, etc. all throughout Thailand, as the country is about 95% Theravada Buddhist. Avoid touching or disturbing these altars, that often contain fruit, food, garlands, or even money.

Head high, feet low

In the Buddhist faith, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body while the feet are the lowest, as they represent base attachment to the earth, the cause of human suffering.

For those reasons, avoid touching someone on the head as it is considered highly offensive, and don’t raise or point your feet at someone or any religious objects. Also, don’t ever step over someone’s outstretched or crossed legs in Thailand – it’s more polite to walk around them.

Shoes off

Always remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a religious site, leaving them by the front door.

What to wear

Yes, it’s hot and balmy in tropical Thailand so it’s far more comfortable to wear beach attire, but dressing too scantily can be seen as highly offensive in Thai culture, for women or for men. At religious sites, women in particular should not wear sleeveless tops, short skirts, shirts showing their midriff, etc., or they may be denied entrance. Interestingly, it’s also taboo for a woman to touch a monk or give anything to him directly, though it is fine to talk to monks.

Reverence for the King

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and they take respect for their King and royal family seriously, as they have served for more than 60 years. You’ll see the King’s likeness everywhere – on money, photos in every restaurant, in the newspaper, in taxicabs, on billboards, etc. It’s definitely a no-no to do or even say anything to disrespect the King or his likeness.

Anything from defaming or altering a picture of statue of the King, speaking badly about him in public, or writing something derogatory about him will be met with serous reprimand – or worse. In fact, Lese-Majesty – the Thai Criminal Code – elaborates in Article 112: “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

Names

Thai people are usually called by their first names, preceded with the honorary title, “Khun” for both men and women. If you get to know some Thai people well, you’ll also encounter a wide and interesting array of nicknames, drawing inspiration from colors, fruit, animals, money, and even automobiles!

Smile

Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles for a reason, so don’t be shy about flashing those pearly whites and you’ll fit right in with the locals!


A timeline of Koh Samui's history.

November 25th, 2015 by Norm Schriever

  samui04 1,200 years ago

Historians have uncovered evidence that leads them to estimate that people first inhabited Ko Samui about 1,200 years ago.

1687

The island remained largely undiscovered by the outside world until 1687, when ancient Chinese maps show its exact co-ordinates, referring to it as ‘Pulo Cornam’.

1700s-1800s

For a long period, there is no other remaining history or documentation of inhabitants or life on the island.

samui07Late 1800s

At the end of the 19th century, Koh Samui was rediscovered by fisherman, sailors, and sea traders from China and Malasia who used the island as a safe haven against storms and high seas as they traveled across the Gulf of Thailand.

In fact, one theory of how the island got its name claims that the word “Samui” derives from the Chinese word “Saboey”, which translates to “safe haven.”

Impressed with the beauty and abundance of the island, many of these Chinese and Malay seamen stayed. With plenty of fish and wildlife, fertile soil, fruit trees, calm seas, and a good climate, these first foreign visitors made the island their home.

coconutworkersThey also brought Buddhism with them, which eventually became the island’s main religion as well as a small but thriving Muslim population. Up until then, the islanders worshipped spirits, and over the centuries the religions often mixed and intertwined to form a fascinating cultural stew.

 1900-1940

Before 1940, tourism didn’t exist on Koh Samui, in large part because it was still virtually inaccessible for all but the most intrepid adventurer. In fact, the only way to get from mainland Thailand to the island was by night boat, which took more than 6 hours and arrived at Nathon.

There were still no roads or vehicles on Koh Samui, and people got around by foot or on boats hugging the coastline. The path from Maenam to Lamai, for instance, took several hours of walking through the interior mountain and jungle terrain.

Post 1940 development

As more boats ran to the island and more outsiders started to visit, settlement of the island grew. Koh Samui offered a great place to live and work for many, as the many varieties of fruit trees that produced durian, lang san, and many others, fertile soil, and plentiful natural resources sprung up. Rubber plantations and coconut exports were two of the most lucrative ventures on the island, and as the economy grew, soon Koh Samui was a significant force in Thailand’s economy.

history-koh-samui-3But development of the infrastructure was still slow going, in large part because the distance from the mainland and Koh Samui’s mountainous topography made it very hard to transport and run heavy machinery needed. In fact, the original plan to build Koh Samui’s first road were abandoned when construction over and through the mountains proved too treacherous.
1967

All of that changed in 1967 when Khun Dilok Suthiklom, the leader of the island, petitioned the national Thai government for assistance with improving Koh Samui’s infrastructure. The government approved his request and the road project was underway again.

The high hill between Nathon and Maenam and the rocky and mountainous terrain between Lamai and Chaweng proved a formidable challenge, but hundreds of manual laborers pressed on (with the help of a lot of dynamite). First, trees and rocks were cleared and a narrow track was established that circumnavigated the island, and soon vehicles could pass, speeding construction. But everything always came to a stop during the monsoon seasons, when the heavy rains and flooding made building impossible.

history-top-image1973

By 1973, the project had come along enough for the government to complete the road by pouring 52 kilometers of concrete, though at first, the road was only 2 meters wide. That was good enough for one car to pass so if another happened to be on the same stretch of road, someone would have to pull over. Eventually, the road was widened to accommodate more traffic.

Mid 1970s

By 1975, western and European hippies, backpackers, and adventurers started coming to the pristine paradise of Koh Samui, quickly establishing it as a hidden secret for beach lovers. At first, visitors had to sleep out on the beach, in hammocks, or in simple bungalows, but soon, the islanders extended their hospitality (and saw the opportunity) by starting simple guesthouses, restaurants, and other services for the foreigners.

koh_samui_Beach(1)Right through the rest of the 1970’s and 80’s Koh Samui, with its hippy vibe and basic, humble accommodation, which was certainly much different to what you will find on the island today, continued to be popular amongst those travellers who were in search of a real escape and tropical island getaway.

The industry of growing and exporting fruit flourished as well, with palm, coconut, and fruit plantations and orchids offering up banana, durian, lychee, pineapple, mango, guava, and rambutan to market in mainland Thailand.

1980

The Tourism Authority of Thailand commissioned a project that year to explore, develop, and promote the island as a tourism destination. It quickly became a favorite destination for both Thai nationals and foreign tourists. More and more guesthouses, hotels, dive shops, cafes, and restaurants sprung up, and many foreigners chose to stay and get married or open up businesses, making Samui their home.

1989

Despite its popularity, it was still quite a journey to get to Koh Samui until 1989, when Bangkok Air privately funded the first major international airport on the island. It still is in use today and is one of the nicest and most charming tropical airports in the world.

1990s

With the new airport, droves of tourists came to the island, but Koh Samui was ill equipped to handle the growth, and infrastructure. These growing pains result in planning, utilities, and services that were often disorganized or unregulated, but a large number of new hotels and buildings popping up and an influx of visitors.

2000s-present

The growth of Koh Samui as one of Thailand’s best tourist destinations continued through the 2000s. These days, the island has a permanent population of over 63,000 people and a hotel occupancy rate of 73% for its 17,479 hotel rooms, with the number still expanding.

But for those who still want to see white sane beaches, majestic coral reefs, plenty of coconut trees and friendly islanders, Samui is still a throwback to Thailand’s wild and exotic past.


20 Reasons Thailand is the Best Country in the World to Visit! (Part 1)

November 19th, 2015 by Norm Schriever

4This year, close to 30 million visitors are expected to touch down in Thailand, spending glorious vacations experiencing the islands, ocean, culture, and food in the Land of Smiles. In fact, Thailand’s tourism accounts for about 20% if its GDP annually, and it was recently named one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world. Thailand is also home to thousands of expatriates – foreigners who have chosen to live and work or retire in Thailand. Add it all up and we’re of the humble opinion that Thailand is the best damn country in the world! We even came up with these 20 reasons to back up our opinion!

  1. Thai Food!

 Let’s face it; Thai food is some of the best grub you can find. From the cheapest street cart to the best restaurant, the taste sensation that is Thai food is second to none. Pad Thai noodles, Tom Yum soup, spicy papaya salad, chili fish, mango with sticky rice, or simply fresh coconut milk; once you taste Thai food you may find your top ten favorite foods are all Thai! And if Thai cuisine doesn’t really tickle your taste buds there’s a lot of savory international food that be found. Thailand is a very international place thanks to the hordes of tourists and expats around the country. Some of the best sushi restaurants outside of Japan are in Bangkok, and you can find amazing halal and Indian food. And surprisingly, you can also find a ton of great Mexican food that is said to be the best outside of North America.

  1. The Diverse Ecosystems

Thailand has over 180 national parks, marine national parks, and protected forest areas. In Chiang Mai, located near the highlands of Northern Thailand, volunteers are working on reforestation projects to help keep it luscious and beautiful. Central and Eastern regions of Thailand have vast agricultural areas, and the thin peninsula of Southern Thailand boasts incredible beaches with an abundance of diverse marine life. For nature lovers and enthusiasts of adventure sports, the jungles of Thailand are inviting places. Many of Thailand’s jungles are in its national parks. You get to visit them and camp overnight. The dense jungles outside the national parks offer a spectacular set of activities – zip lining, elephant safaris and river rafting.

  1. It’s Perfect for Travel

For those of you who like to have multi-destination vacations, or for the avid backpackers among you, Thailand is smack bang in the middle of everything. You can get cheap flights to many other great spots. It’s only 2 hours to Singapore, 3 hours to Hong Kong, 4 hours to Bali, and half way between Australia and Europe.

  1. Songkran

One of the most fun times on the Thai calendar is without doubt Songkran Festival. Held in April to celebrate the Thai New year, the festival of water is not something to miss. It may actually be the most fun a person can have- in the world- ever. The entire country takes part in a two to three day water fight, with buckets, hoses, water-bombs, and super-soaker guns to wash away sins and worries of the old year away so you can start fresh. It’s not uncommon to get soaked by a group of old ladies, or to get pushed into a fountain by a bunch of kids.

  1. It’s Affordable

The dollar goes a long way in Thailand. There are hundreds of hotels and guesthouses for well under $20 a night. Thai food is likewise inexpensive and you can find great street food for under $1. If budget hotels aren’t really your thing, Thailand has some incredible hotels and resorts for very reasonable prices. Many budget travelers spend an average of $30 per day. Taking a taxi in New York City costs approximately $3 a mile. In Thailand, it costs around 30 cents. A 3-course Thai meal at a midrange restaurant costs $10, and a bottle of imported beer costs $1.50. If you want to shop, the prices are usually a pleasant surprise to anyone coming in from the West. Thailand is nothing if not affordable.

  1. The Nightlife

Whether you are on an island or in one of Thailand’s cities, you won’t be far from the bars and nightclubs that have made the country famous. Don’t worry, it’s not all go-go bars and scantily clad women; there are plenty of awesome discos, nightclubs and regular bars, too. Koh Samui offers some great beach bars and beach clubs where you can wear nothing but your bathing suit, and Bangkok offers an array of world-class nightclubs where you will have to dress to the nines. If bars and clubs aren’t your scene, the night markets in Chiang Mai and Bangkok are a sight to behold. Thousands of vendors, street chefs and artisans line the streets, selling their foods and souvenirs at very low prices.

  1. Massages

While the average cheap massage in North America can cost $30 and up, an hour-long session in most Thai parlors doesn’t exceed $6. Thai people consider massages to be vital to their health and well being, and unlike western-style serenity retreats, they can be chatty, sociable group affairs. These types of massage are not to be thought of as purely relaxing, though. From the traditional Thai massage technique to foot massages and reflexology sessions, Thailand is a Thai masseurs may crunch you and bend you in all sorts of directions to help your posture, get rid of any knots and generally straighten you out. You may be a little sore the next day, but all the days after you’ll feel as right as rain.

  1. The Weather

Thailand has fantastic climate with light breezes, and constant sunshine. Whether you visit in December or May, expect warm weather and mostly clear days. The weather in Thailand is sublime, and is also one of the main reasons it has become such a popular destination for those who are seeking sun, sea, and sandy beaches.

  1. Excellent Transportation

When you factor in cost, availability, and comfort Thailand has some of the best transportation systems in the world. There’s a rail network that connects many of the more important hubs, with comfortable cabins and low prices. Many believe that Thailand also has the best buses in the world. Due to the lack of freeway overpasses, the buses in Thailand can be 5 meters tall or more, with two decks of comfortable seats, or one deck of super-luxurious VIP seats that all come at a very very low cost. AND buses ALWAYS arrive and leave on time!

  1. The Architecture

From temples and palaces to museums and traditional shows, Thailand is a cultural and architectural paradise. It boasts thousands of temples and shrines. One of their first places that you should head to is the King’s 150-year-old residence, the Grand Palace of 1782. With dazzling architecture and spectacularly landscaped grounds, it’s definitely not a place to miss out on.

***

Look for part 2 of this blog, with reasons 11-20 why Thailand is the  country in the world to visit! Or email info@BeachRepublic.com any time for help with your vacation to Thailand or any information at all.


30 Facts about Muay Thai, Thailand's fighting art form.

November 13th, 2015 by Norm Schriever
  1. 3Muay Thai is called the “Art of Eight Limbs” because combatants always have eight different methods of striking available to them, including punches, elbows, kicks, and knees.
  1. Those eight strikes were meant to simulate the weapons of war – the punches, swords, elbows, hammers, kicks, spears, and the knees, sharp daggers. Likewise, the blocks using forearms and shins were meant to act as armor.
  1. Many people don’t realize that there is also a significant grappling component to Muay Thai, as fighters “clinch” grasping and controlling the other fighter’s head tightly. This allows them to throw more strikes unimpeded and try to spin their opponent off balance, throwing them to the ground.
  1. Even though they win honor, respect, and title belts, Muay Thai fighters don’t make much money. Often, professional fighters earn only $100 per bout, or much less in the lower professional or semi-pro ranks. So it’s no wonder they want to fight every 3-4 weeks.
  1. That means that many Muay Thai fighters have about 120-150 fights on their resume by the time they are in their mid twenties!
  1. Muay Thai isn’t a sport that someone just picks up as a teenager or adult. Usually, children in Thailand start seriously training at only 6-8 years old, and take their first fight at 8-10 years old. Many of the children or teens live right in the gym where they train, sleeping on the mats or in the ring. Training centers often take on poor children, teaching them to fight and feeding them. If the kids grow up to be accomplished fighters and start winning matches, their school and also their family gets a share of the winning purse.
  1. Muay Thai fighters and practitioners are known as “nak muay” in Thailand, while Western fighters are often called “nak muay farang” or “foreign boxer”.
  1. The first modern Muay Thai boxing ring, called Suan Kulap, was built at the Suan Khoolab School in 1921 in Thailand, right after World War I.
  1. The two most famous and frequented spectator stadiums are Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok and Rajadamnern Stadium, opened a decade earlier. Lumpinee Stadium is run by the Royal Thai Army and considered the mecca of the sport. Fighters who step into the ring – and battle honorably, win, lose, or draw, gain the attention and respect of the whole country.
  1. Although there is some debate as to the birth of Muay Thai, the origins probably can be traced back to 1238, when the first Thai army (then called ‘Siam’) was formed in the northern city of Sukhothai. The fighting men were enlisted in order to defend the city from so many warring tribes and kingdoms in the area, protecting the city’s inhabitants and those in surrounding villages and lands. Referred to as “The Sukhothai Era,” these men fought not for sport but to turn back and kill their enemies in hand to hand combat, including the use of weapons. Their training became the first evolution of Muay Thai. Since the threat of invasion was constant, the Siamese people continued to develop the military art of combat, or Muay Thai, with training centers throughout the kingdom.
  1. Another version of the start of Muay Thai recounts how by the middle of the 16th century, wars and fighting between the Kingdom of Siam and the Burmese was rampant. In 1767, one of the most famous Siamese fighters, Nai Khanomtom, was captured by the Burmese army. They knew of his fighting prowess so instead of killing him, they gave him the opportunity to fight for his freedom in a single test of hand-to-hand combat. Nai Khanomtom did win handily, and his Burmese captors honored their agreement and set him free. He became a legend in Siam and his method of Siamese-Style Boxing – later developing into Muay Thai – became recognized and emulated in the nation.
  1. The national sport grew and soon became beloved by all people from all walks of life, including King Prachao Sua during the “Tiger Era” of Muay Thai. This King was a great combatant, but couldn’t openly fight because no opponent would ever dare to disrespect the king by fighting back. So King Prachao Sua started dressing up as a common person and entering matches in distant cities and villages under disguise. He did so well that he went on to be called “The Tiger King” once the people found out he’d defeated three legendary fighters, Nai Klan Madthai (Killing Fists), Nai Yai Madklek (Fists of Iron), and Nai Lek Madnok (Strong Fists).
  1. While Muay Thai fighters now wear padded gloves similar to small boxing gloves, in the past, they only wore hemp ropes and threads or cotton wrapped around the hands and forearms as protection.
  1. As Muay Thai evolved so did the rules of the contests. There were no timed rounds in the first fights, as the winner was whichever fighter was standing over his thoroughly beaten opponent. But soon the fights were broken into timed rounds. With no clocks available, the match officiates would put a small hole in a coconut and float it in a barrel of water. The coconut would tart taking on water and eventually sink to the bottom – signaling the end of one round.
  1. Muay Thai is still the national sport and pride of Thailand, and can be witnessed and experienced by tourists and visitors. For those who want to watch a bout, there are plenty of small matches all over the country – including several places on Koh Samui, as well as at the bigger stadiums in Bangkok and other cities.

***

For those who want to train at Muay Thai, there are plenty of camps and gyms that offer classes for all levels. Many brave foreigners even train enough to step in the ring for their first official Muay Thai fight!

Look for part 2 of this blog coming soon, and email us if you’d like more information about Muay Thai training centers and matches on Koh Samui.


Beach Republic's 10 Best Dive Spots in Thailand

November 5th, 2015 by Norm Schriever

When we think of a perfect vacation in Thailand, white sandy beaches, island paradises, fun and sun, and warm, inviting people with big smiles often come to mind. But don’t forget that Thailand is home to some of the best SCUBA diving and snorkeling in the world, thanks to the abundant and vibrant coral reefs and warm, crystal clear waters. Here are ten of our favorite diving spots in Thailand, many of which are close to Beach Republic on Koh Samui.

  1. Hin Mouang

Known in English as ‘Purple Rock’, Hin Mouang is a feeding ground for pelagic fish, and is arguably the best dive spot in the whole of the Andaman Sea. The fastest way to get to the dive site is to do a live-aboard on a dive boat, or if you prefer to sleep on solid ground then your best bet is a two-hour boat ride from Koh Ngai. This spot features large and magnificently eerie underwater pinnacles that one can explore, as well as the steepest drop off in this part of the ocean. You can share the depths with soft corals, stunning anemone carpets, sharks, tuna, enormous barracuda massive shoals of fish, and gorgonians. Hin Mouang also boasts some very unique things, such as bryozoan. Bryozoan is clumps of white, straw-like things stand at around eight meters.

  1. Hin Daeng

Hin Daeng, also known as ‘Red Rock’, is close to Hin Mouang and is comprised of walls, plateaus and rocks. Again, you can access the dive by doing a live-aboard, or two-hour boat ride from Koh Ngai. In this epic dive spot, you can see moray eels, octopuses, leopard sharks, grey reef sharks, barracuda, and an abundance of crawfish, shrimps. Nurse sharks, manta ray and whale sharks can also be found from time to time. Hin Daeng not only boasts an array of stunning sea creatures, but also some of the most stunning coral reefs in the whole country.

  1. Chumpon Pinnacle

The best dive spot in the Gulf of Thailand, and easily accessible from both Koh Samui and Ko Tao, this spot has several underwater pinnacles. The shortest pinnacle stands at 16 meters and the tallest stands at 34 meters. The pinnacles attract many pelagic fish, such as barracuda, trevally, on occasion the mighty but humble whale shark. One of the most visually stunning dive spots in Thailand, Chumpon Pinnacle also boasts vibrant coral that stretches across the seabed some 30 meters below the surface, with the sun glinting off the silver scales of the many schools of fish that inhabit the area.

4. Japanese Garden

Also accessible from Koh Samui and Ko Tao, the Japanese Gardens have large granite boulders that are covered in hard and soft corals, supporting a variety of colorful aquatic life, and is home to the hugely territorial Titan Triggerfish. As the island slopes away, at a depth of around 5‐8 meters, the boulders give way to a carpet of hard-tiered plate corals that extend down the incline to a depth of approximately 16 meters. The gardens are home to an array of stunning sea life, such as angelfish, butterfly fish, long‐fin banner fish, and wrasses that swim in and around the recently wrecked wooden boat.

  1. Twin Peaks

Again, accessible from both Koh Samui and Ko Tao, Twin Peaks is named after two groups of granite rocks that are covered in corals and sponges. Clear sandy patches and a beautiful coral garden divide them. It starts at about 5 meters below the surface and drops to a depth of around 18 meters. Here you share the waters with stingrays, moray eels, pipefish, cleaner wrasse and many more. This is an ideal site for beginners, due to its depth, ease of navigation and the fact that the currents are week. The rocks are embedded into white sand and there is no shortage of marine life here. A friendly pair of rare saddleback clownfish can be found to the western side of the larger of the Twins.

  1. Hin Nok

Hin Nok is comprised of a plateau with five pinnacles and a vast amount of gullies. It takes around an hour to swim right around the entire plateau. Again, a boat ride from Koh Ngai, Hin Nok is visited by turtles and is home to the very peculiar and feathery Ghost Pipefish. Not one to want to be spotted by a sea of divers (pardon the pun) not only does it not look anything like a fish, to further confuse you it sometimes floats upside down in the water. This dive spot is filled with whip corals, angelfish, moray eels, barracuda, and butterfly fish.

  1. Koh Dok Mai

Located about halfway between Phuket and Ko Phi Phi, Koh Dok Mai is one of the top dive spots to do a night dive. The rocky island boats a unique and colorful undersea wall, a small cave, about five meters deep, which leads to a huge cavern with very strong currents, and a beautiful sloping reef. There is also an abundance of lobsters, so if you a keen eater of the luscious crustacean, you may want to look into hunting them here. The eastside of the island has an array of sea snakes, moray eels, and leopard sharks on the seabed.

  1. King Cruiser

Accessible via a boat ride from Phuket, the King Cruiser wreck is a stunning dive spot. The 3,000-ton catamaran passenger ferry, hit Anemone Reef back in 1997. Within an hour the ship sank with no loss of life. It rests in an upright position with the steering house 10 meters from the surface and the propellers at 30 meters. It boasts some beautiful shoals of colorful fish, and some gorgeous coral.

  1. Breakfast Bend

Named Breakfast Bend due to the fact that it is often the first dive of the trip, done immediately after breakfast. Breakfast Bend is located off the Similan islands, this dive spot has crystal clear turquoise water, fantastic visibility and a copious fish population. Here you can share the sea with the extremely poisonous, but non-aggressive, banded sea snake. It also homes scorpion fish, moray eels, triggerfish, leopard sharks, powder blue surgeonfish, barracuda, emperor angelfish, and shoals of glassfish.

  1. Richelieu Rock

Often described as an ‘underwater cathedral’, Richelieu Rock in the Surin Islands is comprised of a horseshoe of rocky pinnacles that stand at around 30 meters high, with around one meter that breaks the water’s surface at low tide. It can have strong currents at times, so it’s best to keep your whits about you. The best way to experience Richelieu Rock is by live-aboard boat. This spot is famous for whale shark sightings, but also great spot for swimming with large schools of pelagic fish such as barracuda, batfish, and Jacks. Mantas can also be seen from time to time. The incredible harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish, frogfish, and seahorses also frequent this great spot.

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