Samui Wining & Dining
LIFE IN THE FIT LANE
 Samui as a fitness destination.

 Samui as a fitness destination.

Can life on a tropical island with its beaches and bars ever hope to combine with keeping fit? It might seem impossible given the atmosphere of hedonism that prevails on Samui. But while some islanders and visitors rarely work out, others seriously devote themselves to being fit. How do they go about it? It turns out that there are many ways to maintain a level of fitness or simply to get started. Here’s a brief round-up of what’s on offer when it comes to sport and physical activities.

          

Gyms In addition to all the gyms run by hotels, there are more than a dozen on the island offering fitness at moderate prices. Most follow the standard format of treadmills, step machines and plenty of weights. As such they are good for both cardiovascular workouts and muscle-training. Some gyms offer both individual trainers and classes. And some even offer programmes whereby you can come and stay for a week or longer in order to get fit.

          

Stand-out gyms include Hillside Village Fitness Centre (Facebook: HillsideVillageFitness). It’s one of the cheapest on Samui, and is one of the few that has its own swimming pool. Not many people seem to know of the existence of the gym, so you’re likely to have the place to yourself.

          

A recent addition to the fitness scene is Success Gym (Facebook: SuccessGym) on the lake road in Chaweng. It offers trainers in many fields and classes including women’s Muay Thai, Bodypump, yoga, TRX, Zumba and circuit training. The largest gym on Samui, Samui as a fitness destination.they also have everything when it comes to cardio and weight-training and other machines. Elite Gym (elitegymsamui.com), meanwhile, has two locations in Chaweng and offers fully-equipped gyms and trainers in different fields.

          

Dance, Aerobics and Fitness Air Wellfit (Facebook: airwellfit) is a dedicated studio that offers everything in the way of dance, with sessions throughout the day. There’s also fitness, cardio, aerobics, power training and more. Suitable for adults and children,and run by professional trainers, Air Wellfit is extremely popular on Samui. There are more than 20 different classes for all levels of fitness.

          

Thanks to incentives at community level, hundreds of people take to the outdoors almost every day to do aerobics on the street; there are classes across the island and you’ll find aerobics enthusiasts practicing in car parks or other unused spaces. Sessions usually start at 6:00 pm or 6:30 pm and provide an hour of fast-paced exercise for young and old. Incredibly informal, there’s no need to register. Simply turn up, join in and have the small fee (usually around 10 baht) ready for collection. The only drawback is that the venues are outdoors and classes are cancelled if it’s raining. A popular class is held most evenings at the southern end of Chaweng Lake.

          

Yoga Samui offers a great many yoga centres, and for many ex-patriates here yoga is the number one choice when it comes to getting fit. It pays here to shop around, as prices vary and in some cases may be more expensive than in the west. Try Vikasa Yoga Retreat (vikasayoga. com), which also has its own café or Shahda Yoga (tel: 0 619 969 540) which offers regular yoga,
P100-3Pilates and dance classes. Meanwhile, Free Yoga Community Samui (Facebook: Free Yoga Community Samui) is a group created for all people who live on Samui and would like to practice yoga but can’t afford the classes. Any donations (not necessary) go to good causes. Currently the group has provided successful hospital help to a young person who hadn’t been able to leave his house for 23 years due to seizures.

          

Cycling, Running and Swimming The ring-road itself can be seen as a massive fitness circuit. At 52 kilometres long, it’s regularly used by cyclists. Though mostly flat, there are lengthy hill sections so it’s not particularly easy. There is also the danger caused by vehicles passing close to cyclists – be warned. The ring-road is also used by runners, with a few completing the entire circuit. The road is officially used by the various cycling and running races that take place on Samui every year, but at these times is supervised by police who cordon off the appropriate areas, thereby ensuring safety. It’s possible to avoid traffic altogether. For a carless run, try the promenade at Chaweng Lake. It’s used as an informal track by many joggers as is the concrete road that leads up into the hills in Bangrak, close to The Scent Hotel. Hash House Harriers (ksh3.com) run every Saturday afternoon along jungle trails. Details are posted on their website. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to indulge in alcohol in order to run with them. You can also walk rather than run.

          

Some people love to swim in the sea to keep fit. It’s best not to venture far out, due to currents and you need to ask locals about sea conditions: there are riptides in places and at certain times of the year, jellyfish. Every year there are near-fatalities and drownings, so it pays to exercise caution, or simply head for a hotel swimming pool.

          

Watersports and More There’s plenty to do aside from actually swimming in the sea. The Samui branch of Kiteboarding Asia (www.kiteboardingasia.com) offers a variety of courses and rentals as well as SUP. You can also qualify with them.
P100-3 Samui Kiteboarding Club, meanwhile, offers lessons and rentals up at their café in Maenam (tel: 0 841 906 228). You can learn windsurfing on Samui, with courses for beginners to advanced. Samui Windsurf (samui-windsurf.com) offers courses in Lamai and Lipa Noi.

          

Golf Samui is certainly a destination for golfers. Santiburi Samui Country Club (santiburisamui.com) consists of an 18-hole championship golf course set on the hills in Bophut amongst palms and forested slopes. There’s also the Royal Samui Golf & Country Club (rsgcc.co.th), a beautiful 9-hole golf course set in the hills near Lamai.

          

Football Samui United (samuiunited.com) offers an environment for children to develop their football skills and football objectives. Trainers put on football training lessons for boys and girls aged from under six to 16 years old. Their aim is to teach and support both recreational and competitive football, all in a spirit of fairness.

          

Muay Thai There are now many places to learn Muay Thai on Samui. You can simply attend classes set times a week at schools such as Wech Pinyo Muay Thai (wechpinyomuaythai.com) with trainers who can teach complete beginners all the way up to professional fighters.
You can be part of a group or have individual sessions. If you’re looking for courses where you stay on Samui and train for a few days to a few weeks, check out Lionheart Muay Thai (lionheartsamui.com) or Punch It Gym Koh Samui (punchitgym. com).

          

No matter if you’re on holiday or live here, there’s plenty on offer and you can more or less pick and choose what you’d like to do. Most kinds of training are to be found here now and there’s more in the pipeline. But there isn’t even any need to do anything formal. You can let the geography of the island mould your body and dictate your fitness regime. Simply do what one visitor does every day for three weeks on her annual holiday here. She swims from Chaweng to Koh Matlang, does an hour or so of yoga, swims back, then walks to the local market and back, some four kilometres, and eats the fruit she has bought. Holidays are always about having a good time and being/getting fit can be a blast – especially on Samui.

          

 

                   

 

 


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