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On Saturday 29th of March Central Festival opened its doors and invited everybody to enjoy a brand new shopping experience in Koh Samui. Central Festival is CPN’s first Theme Mall model designed in what they call a “Reminiscence of Southern Lifestyle” theme that offers new experiences of shopping in a world class attraction”. They hope that this new attraction will help Thailand to become the Tourism Capital of Asia that it will help Samui to become a world class beach destination.
The mall is built on a 37 rai plot of land with a total project area of 90,000 sq.m the approximate investment in this project was 3,450 million baht. The projects target market is high-end tourists with high purchasing power because these days there are more than 500 hotels with 19,500 rooms and more than half of them are four and five star hotels.
The mall has four main decoration themes, the Chaweng Port theme that combines contemporary architecture with an old time ferry port, a Birdcage theme with Chino-Portuguese style, a Fishermans Village theme and Old Market theme in Colonial style. There are over 200 Thai and International brand shops and restaurants and a night Bazaar. However the promised cinema seems to not have appeared.
As you might expect parking is something of a challenge at Central Festival, although the underground car park is very large it is still not easy to find a spot. From the entrance on the lake road past the roundabout getting to the underground car park involves driving round the entire shopping mall so it is better to use the back entrance. When you come back to your car and find that you are blocked in by another car don’t worry, all you need to do is summon a parking attendant who will push the car out of the way for you and guide you out. Despite the parking chaos there are plenty of friendly staff around to help you. Don’t forget to make a note of your parking bay, they are numbered so you don’t forget where you parked.
The plaza is basically over two floors with an open air roof, although the permanent shops are all air conditioned. There are plenty of places to enjoy a hot or cold drink, an alcoholic beverage, a snack or a meal such as Copa Cobana, Be Bistro, Le Siam, The Coffee Club, Café Zazen, Zen Sushi, Starbucks, KFC, Haagen Dazs not to mention the food hall that has a fabulous Kebab shop at its entrance. Inside you will find a wide range of cheap Thai dishes, Indian, Russian, Japanese and Italian and if that is not enough the gigantic Tops supermarket has a vast range of readymade meals and pastries, sandwiches buns and cakes in its deli section. You will also find a vast range of domestic and imported goods, fresh produce, household goods and beverages.
When it comes to fashion you can seriously fill your boots here with shops such as Uni Qlo, Ouiset, Xact, Esprit, Rip Curl and Playboy to mention but a few and of course the massive Central department store with brands such as A-Lumnus, Christiana, Timberland, Arrow, British India, Lee,DeFry, Paul Frank and Enfant.
For kids this is a dream come true, the plaza has its own beach with kids toys and a fantastic amusement park called Pirates of the Marioland that will keep big kids just as happy as the younger ones.
The top level is home to most of the big name banks and you will also find beauty clinics, a hairdressers, Boots, Watson, Power Buy for all of your electronic needs, a travel agents, Samsung and other IT and electronics stores, supersports and BS2 books and a very useful tourist information centre.
There is lots going on at Central Festival that also has a big central stage with lots of entertainment.