bookmark_borderIn Koh Samui – Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

In December 2012, I was in Koh Samui for 4D3N for my ‘annual holiday’. Due to my previous mistake I made for my Krabi trip, this time around, the holiday was planned in the mid of the year to avoid any unnecessary extra exorbitant cost. Research was done fast and furious in advance and all bookings (including air tickets) were made by third quarter of year 2012.

Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

There are plenty of resorts and hotels in Koh Samui to choose from and it really depends on your preference, choice of location and moolah. I was having a hard time (as usual since it is my first time at said island) to pick on the location I’d stay for the rest of my holiday. Famous spots in Koh Samui such as Bophut, Chaweng, Lamai and etc. are usually THE place for tourists.

Welcome Drinks by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

At the end of the day, I had to decide and this resort; Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa, was the choice of mine out of many other potential ones. Booking was made via their website and I got a really good deal for early booking. Besides that, free airport transfer service was provided by the resort for guests (like me!) who booked directly from their website.

Decoration at Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Located approximately 20 minutes away from Samui International Airport, this resort is strategically built on the hills. The reason why I said ‘strategically built’ is because each room has a sea view. Besides that, it is located far from the main road and the resort is quiet throughout the day. But having said this, the downside is that one requires transportation to travel to other places. Daily shuttle services were available to popular places such as Chaweng and Fisherman’s Village. Car and motorcycle rentals were also available at the resort at affordable rate.

Lobby, Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Upon arrival, guests will be ushered to the deck sofa and will be served chilled fruit juice and cold towels while waiting for check-in. The lobby was simple, cultured with semi-open air concept. Furnished with artistic touch, sofas were decked out here and there while brochures were stacked and placed nicely for guests’ reference.

Key Holders by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

One particular part I liked about the lobby was the key area. Nicely decorated, each key has a bird keychain and the ‘hook’ resembles like a bird house.

Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Getting to the room was quite a chore. Due to the design and placements of the resort, the walk paths were probably one of the steepest I’ve experienced. One would need much energy to walk around the resort. Morning exercise was inevitable for me since I had to walk up to get to Ubuntu restaurant for breakfast.

Love Jacuzzi Oasis by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

There are four types of rooms at this resort. My initial reservation was the WOW Mantra Room. But to my surprise or maybe due to their mistake of giving me wrong salutation during airport transfer pick up, my room was upgraded to Love Jacuzzi Oasis.

Jacuzzi by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

By that, the room is slightly bigger and there is a jacuzzi tub at the balcony… with breathtaking sea view! There is also a lazy bed at the balcony for sunbathing or….

Book Rack by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

I always prefer wooden tiles compared to the carpet floor and this room has won me over in this case. Spacious, simple yet contemporary, the room was probably one of the best rooms I’ve stayed for holidays. The room was so comfortable and cozy that it made possible to hibernate in there for the entire day, which I did so on the second day because the weather was rather wet, rainy and gloomy. The king size bed, the soft, large pillows and comfortable duvet were also part of the culprit for sleep-ins.

Workstation by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

And for every anti-social, Facebook/Twitter/internet addicts, the room has a desktop that’s hooked to a LCD screen. The main purpose was for web browsing. Plus, there’s complimentary wifi for guests’ usage. Moreover, Mantra has more than thousands of movies and tv series that are accessible via their network.

iPhone/iPod Docking Station by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Illy Coffee Machine by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

On the same table, there was a Illy coffee machine (chargeable for usage) and iPod/iPhone speaker dock. Complimentary items such as teas and bottled waters were all available. Bookworms will be glad to know that Mantra Samui encourages reading. And with that, story books were found in the room as well as at common areas such as restaurant and lobby.

Bathroom & Toiletries by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

The bathroom, which occupied roughly 20% of the overall floor plan, situated behind the bed. Due to space constraint, there was no bathtub in it. Instead, a powerful shower head and rain shower were available. Toiletries such as soaps, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cotton buds and etc were arranged neatly in between two hand basins.

Facilities at Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Facilities were somewhat complete as what you normally would have expected from a hotel. 24 hours gym and swimming pool, playroom, yoga studio, squash court, spa, terrace (for sun bathing) and movie theatre room were readily available.

Infinite Pool at Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

I didn’t get the chance to soak in their infinite pool and I regret not doing so.

Ubuntu Restaurant, Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

There were two restaurants in the resort (with more to come in near future). The breakfast was held at Ubuntu restaurant and boy… it was a lovely place.

Sea View at Ubuntu Restaurant, Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

With the sight of the sea and cool breeze in the morning, it was probably the best environment to have the first meal of the day. The vicinity of the restaurant was not huge (neither was it small) but it was sufficient to cater its guests.

Food by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

As for breakfast itself, options were not abundance but it was sufficient to fill one’s hungry tummy with its selections of breads, pastries, cold poultries, cereals, fruits, and yoghurts.

Eggs by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Eggs, as usual, were cooked-to-order and hence, selections like scrambled, half boiled, omelette, sunny side and even egg benedict were available from the hot kitchen. Apart from that, there was special-of-the-day menu and it’s available at their makeshift stall. Of all days, I loved their pork noodles the most. Oh… did I mention they serve awesome pork bacon too?

Food by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Iced Cappuccino by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

Americano, latte, cappuccino and tea were available for order through their wait team while fruit juices were stationed at the bar.

Cheeky With Love by Mantra Samui Boutique Resort & Spa

So… one might wonder whether is there any complaints about this resort? Well… there are a couple I would like to voice out such as noisy air conditioning unit and erratic shower water temperature. But those were so minimal compared to what I have experienced. The staffs were friendly yet helpful (I did ask for some local food recommendation and they were happily providing details) while the resort was clean, nice and quiet. It’s things like these that made my stay wonderful.

Checkout my Flickr for more photos of this resort.

Address :
9/124 Moo1,
Mae Nam Koh Samui,
84330, Thailand

GPS Coordinates : 9.558232, 100.015163

Telephone Number : +66 77 951 600
Fax Number : +66 77 951 601

Email : /

bookmark_borderKata Digital Rucksack DR-467 Camera / Laptop Backpack Review

Ever since I started using my DSLR, I’ve been solely relied on Crumpler Six Million Home as my camera bag. It’s a shoulder bag and I can fit all my camera gears in it without any troubles.


However, having said that, there is one item I can’t fit into, the only item which I use more than any thing else; a laptop. Hence, I’m forced to carry another bag, that’s if I want to bring my laptop out. In total, I’ve to carry two bags whenever I plan to bring both of them (laptop and camera) out on one fine day.

Therefore, with that (trouble) in mind, I’ve decided to get a 2-in-1 backpack. There are couple of brands; namely Lowepro, Crumpler and etc., which offers such backpacks.


Initially, I was torn between choosing Lowepro CompuDaypack or Lowepro Fastpack 250. But after more readings and researches, Kata DR-467 came into play (and became my final pick) as it offers similar specifications yet at cheaper price. Besides, it garners quite a lot of good reviews over the internet.

The company (Kata joined with VITEC Group) has expanded and flourished world wide working together with its sister companies; Manfrotto, Gitzo, Avenger and others. Kata is a well known and respected brand in the Video and Photo market, which is distributed in over one hundred countries around the world.

– plucked from Kata’s website

In the specification sheet, the dimension of this bag is 13.4″ x 8.3″ x 7.7″.


In reality, it is slightly smaller than the ordinary hand-carry luggage. Therefore, it is safe to say that you can bring this aboard without checking in.

This bag weighs around 1.4kg (when it is empty) but frankly speaking, it doesn’t feel at that weight at all. But I do expect to carry more than 6kg worth of gears during outing / traveling.

With TST (Thermo-Shield-Technology) Rib, it offers additional structural protection for camera gears. In other words, it holds to a certain shape and minimizes the risk of damaging camera gears.

The layout of the camera compartment is pretty decent, I would say. But don’t expect much as it is quite compact, slightly smaller than my existing Crumpler.

Camera Compartment

By the looks of it, it can fit a DSLR (with mounted lens and without battery grip) and 3-4 more lenses and flash. Like any other camera bags, there is a set of dividers. With that, you can configure the slots according to your own needs.

Laptop Compartment

At the back, there is laptop compartment for laptop (duh!).  Though the pads aren’t as thick as my other laptop backpack, it is sufficiently enough to give protection the laptop needed. With my 13″ laptop in it, there is still ample amount of space. I could probably fit in some documents too.

Extra Compartment

On top of the camera compartment, there is an addition compartment for other usage. One could put their wallets, clothings, iPod, journal, diaries, books and maybe an extra lens in it too.

It states that Kata provides 5 years warranty for any defects in material and workmanship and with addition of Lifetime Warranty Extension if your register your product online, for limited period offer.

Element Cover
What set aside about Kata and other two mentioned backpack is that it comes with Element Cover.

Element Cover

Though it doesn’t looked ‘fashionable’, it works as ‘rain coat’ for the backpack.

Honestly, I have no complaints about this bag. At affordable price, it functions the same as other brands. Design wise, it looks alright. It doesn’t scream / indicates that there are expensive gears in the bag yet it doesn’t looked geeky / squarish at all. Usability wise, it literally offers what I need; camera compartment, laptop compartment and extra compartment. The only downside I found so far is that the pads aren’t as thick I expected it would be. I guess that’s why the bag is pretty light when it is empty.

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