Rise and Shine – Break your fast with the sunrise, at Santiburi Samui Country Club.

santiburi golf course

High up in the hills and coconut groves, above the ring-road between Maenam and Ban Tai, you can find undulating and beautifully landscaped manicured lawns, dotted idyllically with indigenous tropical trees and plants, lakes, waterfalls, streams and even a bit of rough. You have either found by design, or stumbled upon, Santiburi Golf Course. Way up here, almost 180 metres above sea level, where the air is cooler and fresher, you’ll be rewarded by some of the best views on Samui’s north coast. On a clear day, you’ll see a coastal panoramic view stretching from all the way from Bang Por in the north-west, to Choeng Mon at the most north-eastern point of the island.

The 5-star, 18-hole international standard championship golf course (par 72 and 6,930 yards), is known as one of the most beautiful courses in Asia, and ranks as one of the top five courses in Thailand, so it’s well worth a visit whether you play golf or not. The golf course and clubhouse fit effortlessly within the rolling contours of hills and valleys, blending in perfectly with the natural beauty of coconut plantations and the surrounding nature.

The clubhouse is built in a discreetly modern, Thai architectural style, with a superb feeling of light and space as it rises high above the landscaped greens, trees, lakes and bunkers. It provides comfortable and rather luxurious changing rooms, a well-stocked pro-shop and a restaurant with beautiful terrace seating so you can marvel at the truly spectacular scenery and enjoy the whole vista from the 270-degree view, open-air restaurant.

The atmosphere here is relaxed and has a genuine welcoming and personal feel, which is further exacerbated by the very helpful and polite staff. If you translate ‘Santiburi’ from Thai into English, it literally means ‘peaceful village’, which is a perfect description.

The restaurant serves a mixture of Thai and western food, and is much more affordable than you might think. Especially when you take into account that this great location, with its terrific view, allows you to take in both the sunrise and sunset. Opening hours are from 6:00 am just before sunrise, until 8:00 pm, about an hour after sunset.If you are an early bird and like to get up with the larks, it’s a great spot to have breakfast. Portions are on the generous side, setting you up perfectly either before or after you play an invigorating round of golf, or even enjoy a brisk walk, stroll, jog or cycle on the well-maintained roads and paths around the course, which are also free of any pesky street dogs! The breakfast menu includes eggs cooked in every which way you can think of; fried, boiled, poached, scrambled or as an omelette. If you have a big appetite, try the hearty and very substantial Santiburi Breakfast; eggs, bacon, pork sausage, grilled tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms, with toast, fruit juice or fruit salad and tea, coffee or Ovaltine. Or choose from the American, Continental and Asian breakfasts. Alternatively, just make up your own. It’s a sure-fire way to a fantastic start to your day. And if you are up for Early Bird golf which is before 7:00 am any day, there is currently a  discount off the green, golf cart and caddie fee, for either nine or 18 holes.

If you prefer to have a lie in whilst on holiday, don’t worry, the breakfast menu is available all day, as well as a good selection of appetisers, main courses, soups, salads and desserts. The menu is predominantly Thai with ever-popular dishes such as; spring rolls, prawn tempura, chicken or pork satay with peanut sauce, an array of spicy salads such as Som Tam Talay (a spicy green papaya salad with mixed seafood, string beans and peanut), chicken with cashew nuts, green curry, and a really great Pad Thai Goong (fried noodles with prawns). If Thai food is not for you, there are plenty of western choices such as club sandwiches, burgers, German sausages or leg of pork, spaghetti, lasagne and good old fish and chips, with locally caught fish.

In addition to the main menu, there are a number of set meal choices, all consisting of five courses; an appetiser, soup, salad, main course and dessert. And the prices really are excellent value for money. The clubhouse can also host events.
Catering for up to 100 people, the venue can be used for functions such as weddings and birthdays, as well as conference groups or any other event you may be planning.

Some guests come along just for the daily happy hour from 5:00 pm until last orders at 7.30 pm. You can order a 240 ml pitcher of Singha beer for just 150 baht, great value and ideal for sharing while relaxing at one of the terrace tables and
enjoying the views or catching up on current affairs with the newspapers and magazines available. The restaurant also stocks a good selection of red or white wines from some of the world’s best wine-producing areas as well as conjuring up cocktails, mocktails and soft drinks. There is certainly something for every occasion, everyone and every budget.santiburi golfAnyone from beginner to novice is also welcome to play a round of golf. You don’t have to be a member or have your own golf clubs. Everything can be rented from the clubhouse at reasonable prices, and the excellent and very proficient
caddies will help and advise you throughout your game. There are no handicap requirements, but beginners are advised to start on the somewhat easier first nine holes of the course, due to the demanding and hilly environment. The course
itself has a distinctive character with every hole delivering its own unique challenge for the golfer. There are steep uphill and downhill slopes that create multiple playing levels. There are long winding fairways, as well as breath-taking gorges,
bunkers and lakes that serve to challenge and improve the golfer’s skills and experience.

Prices are very reasonable for the quality of this championship course, and every Wednesday all golfers receive 50% discount on the normal green, caddie and golf cart fees. There is also a special twilight promotion every day from 3.30 pm, with a massive 40% reduction for nine holes. To get there, turn off the ring-road onto Maenam Soi 7, towards the interior of the island and follow the well-posted signs for ‘Santiburi Golf Course’.

Rise early with the larks if you can, ascend the hills, marvel at the views and tropical landscaping, savour the cool, calm, clean air and the magical sunrise and enjoy a relaxing breakfast at Santiburi’s ‘peaceful village’. What better way is
there to start a simply delightful day on Samui?
Karan Ladd

For reservations or further information, telephone 077 421700-8.