Its eclectic combination of boutiques, high-end restaurants and varied accommodation, fused together with a Franco-Chinese feel has made for growing popularity, from the sybaritic, suitcase toting two-weeker to the budget conscious backpacker.
Considered one of the most preserved and idyllic places on Samui, Fisherman’s Village lies in the central area of the three-kilometre Bo Phut Bay. As the name suggests, it was a fishing village and a number of small boats can still be seen showered along the bay. It was also the island’s main French outpost for a number of years, so naturally the place has a certain je ne sais quoi about it.
A leisurely stroll down the village’s main soi allows visitors to soak up the elegant atmosphere provided by complimentary clusters of traditional Chinese style shop-houses and modern architectural treats. Each Friday a “walking street” is hosted, where a plethora of clothes, jewellery and food stores line the soi, accompanied by live music and performances.
Days can be filled during the remainder of the week swinging through the trees at the jungle activity resort, Jungle Adventures, while those with a competitive streak can challenge friends and family around the go-kart track.
When it comes to dining, a range of cuisines can be found in Fisherman’s Village, from Thai to Mexican, Italian to Indian and French to seafood, all served with a side dish of nostalgia and romance. To sit eating in one of the quaint converted wooden shophouses is to be transported back to Samui’s bygone days. A refined selection of chic restaurants in beautiful spots along the beach offers diners panoramic views of the coast, with the nearby Koh Phangan hovering on the horizon. Dining highlights include the romantic, yet affordable Thai establishment, Starfish and Coffee, the karmic and quaint Karma Sutra and the stylish, sleek The Pier. Other alternatives include the classic Italian, Villa Bianca and the self-explanatory The Mexican.
The village offers visitors an array of bars, with the usual combination of cool cocktail bars and farang pubs, with the distinct absence of go-go bars allowing for a much more relaxed atmosphere. For those who want to sink a pint while catching up on the football, there’s the omnipresent English themed bars, such as The Pub and the Crow’s Nest, while the more refined may prefer to settle down with a cocktail of choice and wile away the evening hours in the chic establishments of Sirocco and Gecko Village.
Depending on what floats your boat, there are accommodation options for everyone in Fisherman’s Village, from top-end spa resorts to simple retreats and villas. The resorts, more often than not are found scattered serenely along the coast, while welcoming, inexpensive villas still crop up around the village and its outskirts. The two stand out resorts would have to be the impressive Zazen Boutique Resort and Spa, and Hansar Samui Resort; both provide unobstructed sea views and direct access to Bo Phut’s pristine beaches.
Plenty of private villas also line Bo Phut’s backroads, with placid havens such as Ban Maliwan and the super exclusive Panacea residences in the hills overlooking the bay. There are also the more inexpensive alternatives like Smile House, a homely resort on the edge of the village, and Samui Heritage Resort, which comes with breath-taking views of the looming mountains.