A visit here always seems more like a leisure experience than a commercial one. Perhaps that’s why it’s so popular with just about anyone on the island. Built in 2014 by CPN Property Development & Investment, it’s become a landmark on Koh Samui. CPN is renowned for its malls, all of which have the word ‘Central’ in their names, which they’ve built throughout Thailand.
The mall is both contemporary and elegant, and unlike so many in Asia, it’s not enclosed with the obligatory Arctic air-con – Central Samui is open-air and fits in well with the island’s relaxed feel. . You’ll find the mall is very green – whole trees grow here and air plants hang from the walkways. It takes inspiration from the tropical foliage that graces so much of Koh Samui. And in a nod to formal European gardens, there’s even a maze in its heart, which you are welcome to visit. Getting to the center isn’t difficult; it’s just a question of negotiating some hedges, and you’ll find yourself at the center. There’s more walking to be done and that’s in the mall itself – there’s a lot to see.
The mall ranges over just two floors. On the ground floor, at the northern end, you’ll probably want to drop into Central Food Hall. It’s basically a very international supermarket + delicatessen, with the option of a place to sit and eat. It’s one of the island’s go-to places for foods that are from the west and quite rare. You’ll find a selection of cheeses, cold meats, wines, and chocolates, amongst many other products.
Next door there’s a restaurant area where you can eat fairly cheaply – just order from the various stalls and bring the food to your table. Central features a variety of eateries and restaurants, along with coffee shops. Choose between Thai and international. For the latter think steaks, seafood, pizzas and pasta, barbecues, and so on. There are also two Japanese restaurants, one of which has kaitensushi.
Clothing stores are well-represented at the mall. You’ll find Uniqlo and A-Z along with smaller stores.
The mall also features a combined bookstore and stationery store, and places where you can buy electronic goods, such as computers, laptops and cellphones.
Children are particularly welcome and have a small playground with a climbing frame and sandpit. You can also bring dogs to the mall too.
Located on both floors, you’ll find Central’s own department store offering an array of goods, clothes and the island’s most extensive selection of children’s toys and clothing. Downstairs there’s a wide selection of perfumes, watches and accessories. On the upper floor, there are most of the high street banks, conveniently located next door to each other, and even more conveniently, open at the weekends and the evenings.
The upper floor also features a cineplex, showing original version movies and there’s also an XD theater if you need an adrenalin rush.
Parking is definitely not a problem at Central; the entire basement is a car park. It’s rarely full. Best of all you can park your car for free – you just have to show proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or a passport.
The mall is open from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm, though closing times may vary.
While away some time at Central Festival and no matter how much or how little actual shopping you’ve done, you’ll be left with a relaxed feeling. This is no stress retail therapy at its boundless best.