Published: February 12th 2011February 11th 2011
Sunday 30th January
Ko Samui Airport is a private airport originally built by Bangkok Airways, which is still the main operator with two flights daily from Phuket as well as Bangkok and various other Thai cities. We've landed and we're picked up in a minibus laid on by the World Resort hotel which is located on the North of the island on Bo Phut beach.
Ko Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand and measures some 21 kilometres at its narrowest point, and 25 km at its longest. It is Thailand's second largest island with a permanent population of approximately 55,000. The old capital is Nathon, on the southwest coast of the island.
The central part of the island is an almost uninhabitable mountain jungle, Khao Pom, peaking at 635 m. The various lowland areas are connected together by a single 51 km road, running mostly along the coast to encircle the bulk of the island.
The hotel exceeds expectations as we settled in for the night and we look forward to a relaxing day tomorrow before touring the island the day after.
Tuesday 1st January
The weather is much nicer today compared to yesterday and
we're off to tour the island with a hired driver from the hotel which cost us £6 each.
We set off and drove past the fishermans village area until we arrived at the Wat Phra Yai Big Buddha Temple where we were let loose to explore.
The Big Buddha Temple here is very pretty as we walked up the steps past the small temples which hold lots of golden buddha staues and figures. As we reached the top of the steps we realised how big the Buddha up top was. Its roughly 15 metres tall and all around the statue there are sacred bells which the monks present here are banging with sticks while saying prayers and then taking photos of each other!
The majority of the population consider themselves Buddhists. While the devoutness of their practice varies just as it does with religious peoples throughout the world, the temple remains a cultural focal point for every village.
We joined in and walked around the bells while taking in the goreous views of Bo Phut Bay and the island of Koh Phanang away in the distance.
We jumped back into our motor and headed on our way down the
East Coast of the Island passing by Chaweng Bay which is very popular with tourists. We stopped at a viewpoint which looked out to Chaweng and also Hua Thanon Bay which was nice.
Our next stop south of Lamai Beach was a bit of a surprise as we were led to some strange rocks called the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks or as the locals call them , Hin Ta and Hin Yai. We walked through the quaint village streets here and we soon found out why they call the rocks this once we got there. The rocks look like genitals of male and female origins and we giggle as we watch people doing silly things with their cameras by taking certain shots at angles. Ill let you look at the photos to judge for yourself as it may be to rude to print on here.
We travel along the road and its hard to believe the amount of bikes on the road here and almost everyone aren't wearing helmets which is worrying. I read in the in flight magazine on the plane that 250 people from Europe are killed every year in Thailand from bike accidents mostly because
they don't wear helmets.
Moving swiftly on from the rude rocks we gathered pace and arrived at our next stop in the south of the Island at the Wat Khun Aram temple where we had a look at The Mummified Monk there.
Luang Pho Daeng was a Thai Buddhist monk who died while meditating in 1973 at the age of 79 years old. His body has not decomposed and remains in a mummified state. As we approached we had a wee giggle as the mummy is wearing Raybans! He's sitting proudly in a glass box in the temple and has a big following as there were people praying and burning incense. We stood around for a few minutes until we decided enough was enough as it was getting freaky as im sure i saw him move!
Our next stop took us to the lovely Namuang Waterfall Number 1. Its roughly 20 metres high and you can swim at the foot of it in the deep pools or take an Elephant ride around the trails nearby. We walked to the base of the falls and took a look at the elephants before heading back though the jungle at
the same time being eaten alive by mozzys! We took on some water as the temperature is much higher in the jungle here than on the coast.
Next stop, Nathon Town where we had a hour of walking around the shops and admiring the views out to sea from the piers and coffee shops. Nathon is the major port for fishing and inter-island transportation and the main high street consists mainly of old Chinese shop houses and markets. Its a charming little place to be fair and we relaxed and waited for our driver whom was just as eager to get back to the hotel as we was by this stage!
Once back at the hotel we arranged to have dinner down on the beachfront which was nice and we had curry for tea while talking about the days activities aswell as planning out our trip to Koh Phanang tomorrow.
The hotel kindly booked our seats on the Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran and also arranged our taxi there which was a blessing as we really struggled online to find actual departure times for boats.
Wednsday 2nd February
We are treated to some celebrations at the hotel before
we leave as its the chinese new year today. Theres firecrackers and fireworks going off for the good part of a hour plus theres offerings being placed in the reception such as food and burning of incense which added to the atmosphere. We soon arrived at the Lamprayah Pier in Bang Por Bay where we paid our 250 Bahts for the one way ferry across the sea to Koh Phanang.
Koh phanang can only be reached by boat and i would advise to book a ticket before leaving the hotel as we saw some disgruntled tourists turning up just before departure and being refused tickets as the boat only holds around 150 people and only sails 8am and 1pm.
Little did we know the journey would only take Twenty minutes and we're soon being bundled off with our bags and left on the pier at Thong Sala on Koh Phanang.
There are more photos below