Reaching Your Target – Archery Is Alive and Well on Koh Samui
A hidden gem of a place – and an activity that you definitely wouldn’t think you’d find on a tropical island. Archery in its modern forms is taking off on Samui, and you can have fun with this ancient sport, and then afterwards celebrate your triumphs over a drink, snack or meal. The place to go is Flying Arrow Restaurant & Archery – it’s the one and only destination for archery on Samui.
Why do archery at all? In Europe, during the Middle Ages, it was a popular sport and people gathered all the time to practice. Since those days, however, it’s been in decline. Archery then might seem to be a historical cul-de-sac, a sport forgotten. It turns out not to be the case at all. Modern archery is flourishing, and is characterized by contemporary takes on ancient armaments. Grace and speed are still there, but the skill itself has been aided by modern technology and materials.
Flying Arrow is the brainchild of Michael Hauenstein, who hails from Switzerland, and who’s built both an indoor and outdoor range in Maenam. He’s been an archer for 30 years now and still loves the sport. He provides full equipment and several types of bow, including crossbows. You’ll probably remember as a child having a bow and arrows, but the real thing is quite different. Bigger, more technical, and requiring skill.
Michael provides basic instruction and can train adults and children. Enthusiasts also drop in – there are few places for them to practice in Thailand. He’s a very friendly person, and good at coaching. He knows full well that most people who come to the archery won’t be familiar with bows. They are all different and feel different to shoot. Some have taken precision to new levels. The crossbows that Michael uses, for example, come with glass sights: peer down them and an electronic red dot marks your target.
However, training isn’t the only thing Michael does. He has, so to speak, another string to his bow: he’s also a professional chef. He has worked in Costa Rica and South Africa as well as in Switzerland. He’d been coming to Thailand on holidays and decided to settle here and combine two of the things he loves doing most in life: cooking and archery. He shares the cooking with his girlfriend Khun Praweena – Michael makes a variety of schnitzels, burgers, pasta and international food while Khun Praweena focusses on delicious Thai dishes. The kitchen’s open from breakfast onwards. Drinks include cocktails, beers, ice tea and a variety of soft drinks.
You’ll find Flying Arrow in Maenam. Turn off the ring-road at Soi 1, then head up the lane till you see the sign posts for the archery. It’s open in low season from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm daily, except Sundays, and in high season, every day from 9:00 am – 10:00 pm. A try-out package for beginners costs just 390 baht per person per hour (350 baht for children). You get to use a variety of different bows and learn the basics of shooting arrows. Michael also offers group packages for schools. He can also stage parties and gatherings and provide the catering for them, including birthday cakes and other special items. He also offers training courses and competitions in all common styles. Team training takes place during weekday mornings.
Flying Arrow is definitely recommended if you’re looking for something less ordinary to do while you’re on Samui. Archery is one of the few activities that really is fun for all the family. An eight-year old child at the range, when asked what she thought of Flying Arrow, summed it up in a single word: “Cool”. Flying Arrow is a wonderful find, a great place to hang out with friends and family, enjoy great food, whether Thai or international, and while away a good few hours trying out the various bows.
(via Samui Holiday Magazine)