Samui Wining & Dining
Why Here?

Khun Chanupong, the General Manager at Nora Buri Resort & Spa has found happiness for body, mind and soul on Samui.



We’ve all thought about popping off to a desert island and never going home again. But what’s it like for those who actually do it? Do they get sick of it? Do they still appreciate their surroundings? We headed down to Nora Buri Resort & Spa, on the road between Chaweng and Choeng Mon, to see how General Manager, Khun Chanupong Manachamni, finds life on this paradise island.


CW : Hi Khun Chanupong, where’ve you worked before arriving on Samui ?

CM : Actually, I’ve been working in hotels for over 20 years now. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work in a number of top hotels, too. The jobs have taken me across Thailand, to Bangkok, Pattaya, Hat Yai, and just before Samui, to Sukhothai.


CW : Why and when did you decide to make the move to Samui?

CM : CM: Sukhothai, where I was last, is in the North of Thailand so I was very far away from my wife and my young kids who were back home in the South. I decided that I had to move back to the South of Thailand to be with them and I dreamt about working on Samui. Thankfully, some positions opened up and I was able to move here. Nora Buri provided me with a private apartment where my family could stay as well so we’re all together again. We’ve been here for six months now.

CW : How would you compare Samui to the other places you’ve lived?

CM : I think the environment’s much better. The traffic’s also much more manageable than in a big city like Bangkok or Hat Yai. I’ve found that Samui’s the perfect place for me and my family, and I plan to be here as long as possible.


CW : What aspects of living on Samui do you like the most?

CM :Samui’s really unique. For me, it has the perfect combination of a beautiful natural environment and great weather. I don’t want to live in the city anymore. I’ve been in Bangkok for many years and, unlike there, Samui has fresh, clean air. It’s not too big or too busy either. It’s a lovely, quiet place where luckily you can also make a good living working in hotels.


CW : So you’ve explained ‘why here?’ on Samui, but what about ‘why here?’ in Nora Buri Resort & Spa?

CM :Well the owners of Nora Buri are Thai, they’ve employed Thai management staff and I’m also Thai. So the concept of Nora is to run this hotel with Thai principles and around our Thai culture. And that suits me perfectly because I love Thai culture. After I talked to the owner, I just felt this was the right place for me. I knew I should join.


CW : What do you do, day-to-day, in your job?

CM : Mainly I ensure the smooth operation of all aspects of the hotel. I also meet with management staff and greet the guests at breakfast. I make a point of greeting guests upon arrival, too, because I feel like the people coming to the hotel are coming to my home. And that’s a part of my Thai culture. Ideally, I like to meet every guest both upon arrival and departure. I think that’s the right thing to do. Another aspect of my job is to train staff and I do that by focusing on four main areas. Number one is smiling – it doesn’t cost anything to smile. Secondly, I want them to greet the guests properly, with the traditional prayer bow. People come to Thailand to see the Thai culture and Thai hospitality, so they should see it here at the hotel. The third aspect is to know and greet the guests by name. And the last thing is to put your heart into your service. People can read your body language so you must be genuine. These are small things but they have a big effect.


CW : What do you do on your days off?

CM : I still do all the touristy things! I like seeking out hidden, private beaches. I go to the depths of the island, into the small villages and into the jungle. Wherever I see a small road I try to find out what’s down it. I also love going to the small local restaurants. So on my days off, I take my family to enjoy a nice meal outside the resort. Additionally, I’m the leader of a Buddhist centre here on Samui. And every Sunday evening I lead a meditation session. We have nearly a hundred people that come to the centre now.


CW : It seems that you have a very well rounded life here.

CM :  Exactly, yes. I think spirituality is important. Because when we work we have a lot of stress. We should make time for meditation. Any person can meditate – it’s just a form of relaxation. Concentrating on clearing your mind. That’s it. It makes everybody feel good. When I meditate often, I feel love for people and my attitude is very positive. In my opinion, business and mind must go together.


Christina Wylie


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