Here goes - just returned from 8 nights at Buri Rasa in South Chaweng. Have written a review on the hotel so won't bore you all with repetition. We mostly spent our days sunning and swimming, so sorry if the following is too long and isn't as informative as I would have liked.
We ate at Ninja's alot - basic, great value and tasty when you asked for it a spicy. Long table a couple of times - try the whole fried fish. Chilli's once, good drink specials but the food was a bit bland and the seafood overcooked. Baci once when we were all Thai'd out, big serving sizes, v. good pizza and the crab pasta was delicious. Eat Sense once - was the most disappointing meal, most likely because we had high expectations based on the prices - beautiful location and romantic but the food was just a bit average. The Cliff for lunch, bit pricy but so worth it - amazing views, great food and good serving sizes. Betelnut at Buri Rasa - easily the best meal we had all trip, something different, innovative and delicious.
Went snorkelling to Koh Tao with 100 degrees east (Mango Bay and Koh Nang Yuang) which was amazing - they took us to fantastic locations at times when they weren't crowded - we were lucky enough to see a turtle. Imho, the additional cost compared to larger outfits like Petcherat and Blue Stars was worth it - the whole trip was very genial, only ten people on the boat and very unhurried.
Took a cooking lesson at Sitca (had done one previously) and enjoyed it just as much as before. I liked that we prepared everything for the meal beforehand and then cooked it all together as you would a dinner party. There was plenty of food for two and my husband came to join me in their dining room upstairs. Delicious meal for two offset the cost of the lesson which was cool and the notes and CD are quite comprehensive. Wasn't that keen to go to the markets as with the Siam kitchen lessons due to the heat and the ingredients were all recognisable.
Hired a car through the hotel (budget) one day and drove round the island - would have been good to do more research beforehand as we weren't keen on the animal shows that were very well signposted but we got to see more of the island and have lunch at the Cliff. Driving wasn't really an issue - just be patient and watch out for the lack of indication.
Tailoring: can once again recommend Timmy's - maybe more for men's clothes than women's but with time for lot's of fittings they did a great job and were very accommodating. Can easily say - avoid Scandi at all costs!! We tried them because friends had a good experience and they were really pleasant at first but the finish just wasn't there - never got my shirts right with funny bulgy bits at the ends of darts and they tried to package them up so I wouldn't try them, the shoes hubby had made broke yesterday morning the first time he put them on. Think it'll be a while before we can laugh about the experience - it put a bit of a downer on our last night,
Shopping wise weren't very adventurous, but did buy some dvd's and a couple of gorgeous things from Jim Thompson at the Centara Grand. We saw really nice handbags at BSP leather and Baggy's - wish I'd bought one now after seeing how close to the originals (at Singapore airport) they were.
Also enjoyed Murray's and the Reggae Pub (especially the band on Friday night), but it pays to be open minded and non judgemental about the crowd.
Overall a fantastic trip and we'll hopefully be back next year :)