Samui Wining & Dining
Shameless Shopping

The Poolside Restaurant & Bar at Nora Chaweng Hotel offers the perfect respite after a day of shopping


8 Samui – and Thailand in general for that matter – is known for its fantastic shopping. Among countless other things, you can get your hands on humorous T-shirts, and knock-off designer bags that’ll fool all your friends back home. And everyone knows it’s customary to bargain down the prices at the stalls here, which makes shopping more of a game than a simple money-spending exercise.

     The great thing about shopping on Samui is that you can come away from a ‘splurge’ (think heaps of bags hanging from your hands, wrists and shoulders) and still have not spent that much money – compared with what you’d have spent back home at least.

      So it’s guilt-free shopping, to an extent. And not only have you come away with a load of new things for yourself, it’s likely you’ve also picked up a few bits and bobs for your family and friends back home too!

       But getting the best deal while shopping requires perseverance and hard graft, which can be tiring. And, after a full day of negotiating, you’ll probably be craving a hot meal and a cool drink. That’s where The Poolside Restaurant & Bar at Nora Chaweng Hotel comes in.


Cocktails are a speciality here, and
they’re available at great prices too.


       Although there are a few hotels that come under the ‘Nora’ brand on Samui, the others are situated in more secluded locations. Nora Chaweng Hotel, on the other hand, is, as the name would suggest, in Chaweng – in fact, it’s right in the heart of it. And its eatery, The Poolside, has more deals than meals. Not to mention drinks so refreshing they’ll take your breath away.

       And while you may have spent the afternoon bargaining down prices, you probably still spent a little more than you’d intended to. So what you need after all that is a really great price that isn’t hard to land. And, at The Poolside, there are more of those than you can shake a fork at. There are two different areas to sit at The Poolside – an inside dining space and an outside terrace. So you can choose which vibe you want to be surrounded by depending on what mood you’re in. Inside you’re sat in a cool, slick, air-conditioned room, while outside brings you to a chilled out, open air space from which you can people-watch.

       And what better, after a long day pounding the streets chasing bargains, than a refreshing cocktail? Cocktails are a speciality here, and they’re available at great prices too. The Blue Samui is always a big hit with customers, comprised of vodka, Blue Curacao and Crème de Cacao White topped off with Sprite. Or you could go for something like a mojito, made at The Poolside with light rum, dark rum, Triple Sec, lime juice and coke. Not only does this place have a whopper of a 'happy hour', from 2:00 pm till 7:00 pm (where you can even get your drinks to take away), but there’s always a cocktail of the month, which you can enjoy with the all day dining menu for just 120 baht – or without alcohol for 70 baht.

       A fantastic new addition to the abundance of great deals to perk up a weary soul, is an outdoor kitchen that rustles up pad Thai and barbecue food – chicken, pork, etc. – every day of the week. And you can eat the food there, or they’ll box it up for you to take away. Naturally, these tasty bites are best enjoyed with a tipple or two from the aforementioned cocktail menu.

       If, on the other hand, you’re off the booze after a few too many heavy nights in Chaweng, then you could always opt for something vitamin-boosting, like a tropical fruit shake or smoothie. What’s the difference between a fruit shake and smoothie, you ask? A fruit shake is made with ice while a smoothie is blended with ice cream. One deliciously indulgent smoothie is the mango honey smoothie, made from mango, honey and vanilla ice cream.

       If you haven’t noticed already, fantastic prices are a given at The Poolside. Take the daily menu deals, where you get a promotional meal set for 250 baht. But the management are not rigid about what day of the week it is, so if you want Wednesday’s deal on a Saturday, they’ll rustle it up for you at the discount price anyway!

       And then there are the monthly promotions. This is where Chef Jiraporn and her team try out new dishes and novel combinations of flavours. Recently, they created a Japanese-inspired tuna roll that was deep-fried and served with cucumber, carrot and grilled tomato, all topped with pesto sauce. Chef Jiraporn is always trying to come up with new and innovative takes on popular snack foods, so watch this space.

       One of the many great things about The Poolside is its versatility – the polished and romantic experience inside and the holiday-esque vibe outside. Another is of course its location. Nora Chaweng Hotel is in that perfect position for you to just plonk down your shopping bags, put your feet up and enjoy a refreshing cocktail and energizing bite to eat.



Christina Wylie


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