Monday, November 15, 2010

Koh Samui - Oct 23-24

I flew direct to Koh Samui from Chiang Mai. At $225 it was by far the most expensive purchase I've made. I knew my time in Thailand is limited now and I didn't want to spend any of it on buses or overnight trains. The flight was quick and easy and I arrived in sunny tropical Koh Samui in just an hour and a half.

I had selected a hotel at Big Buddha beach before leaving Chiang Mai but when I arrived, there wasn't any access to the beach which apparently across the street. I hadn't paid for a reservation, so I just moved on. Someone suggested a place called Fishermans Village which was about 10min up the road so I figured I would start heading that way. After a few minutes of walking and no taxi's I was worried 10mins might not really mean 10mins and in the heat of the afternoon sun, I was thankful for the girl on a scooter who pulled over and offered me a ride into the town. Seeing how far my walk would have been, I was very appreciative of her offer.

I found gem in the midst of the overpriced luxury boutique hotels and stayed in a fantastic guesthouse run by a German who lived on the second floor. The rooms were like apartments with big clean bathrooms, a/c, tv, full kitchen and private balcony. It was right on the main street and over looked the "action". I use that term loosely since its a pretty sleepy town despite the lounges, restaurants and all the shops. This perfect find came at a lofty 800 baht a night (about $26).

The next morning, I rented a motorbike for the day and went out to explore the other beaches and towns. I made it to Chewng, a party center and tourist magnet. Full of shops, cafes, market style vendors, bars, lounges and energy, this was the perfect contrast to where I was staying.

I took advantage of the beautiful beach and found myself a beach bar and lounger to set up camp for a few hours. I drank smoothies and dipped in the ocean all day. Fantastic. When it came time to move on and see more than just the beach, I strolled up and down the street (there's just one main street) but being completely shopped out, I wasn't finding anything that caught my interest. Changing my intention to finding food, all I found was Irish Pubs and American bars that served hamburgers and pizza. There was usually some Thai food on the menu, but it was 3x the price it should be.

I decided I would find somewhere else. Back on my scooter it wasn't 2min before I found a group of real Thai food shops which are nothing more than street stalls and plastic chairs. These are perfectly acceptable (ie; clean) places as they are very busy serving locals. I stopped in and had a drink, an appy, a main and a side of rice for 130 baht (less than $5). Best of all, they were super friendly and loved to have me. Not something you get in a Thai impression of an American bar.

I went back to my end of the island but not without using up every ounce of gasoline I put into my scooter. Riding around was so fun, I drove up island until I thought I was out of gas than turned around and made it back to my guesthouse putt-putt-puttering my way in and turning over the keys.

I had seen enough of Samui in the day and a half I was there and decided to leave in the morning for Koh Phangan in search of somewhere to hang my hat for the remainder of the trip. I am all traveled out now. I no longer have an interest in planning day trips to explore, being adventurous or searching for excitement. I'm homesick, miss my red head and just want to sit on a beach somewhere until its time to catch my flight home on Saturday. Tomorrow I'll catch a ferry and hopefully stay put for a few days.

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