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Published: April 16th 2006
Another day, another mini van ride. after saying goodbye to mike in trang we started the 6 hour journey to ko samui. after a ferry ride that was full of breathtaking views across the gulf of thailand to the islands on the horizon (the pictures dont really do it justice) we arrived in the main town and headed for the nearest food stall. after some refueling we got a lift to morning glory bungalows. mike's friend Hyannis has owned the place for about eight years and offered us a warm reception. we were stunned by the tranquility of the place, far removed from the busy parts of the island full of package tourists and fish and chip shops, maenam beach is a popular backpacker haunt that seems to have resisted the mass tourism feel of other parts of the island. our bungalow was 10 feet from the water that was more like a placid duck pond, with calm clear waters that proved to inviting to resist. we headed for the resturant where we had a couple of beers and some thai and indian curries, met a guy called sharkey who knew mike, and had definately partaken in the consumption of
more than his fair share of narcotics! after talking about the same thing over and over we made our excuses as we were knackered from a hard days traveling and went to bed.
refreshed from a good nights sleep and aware that unless we paid through the nose for tours and taxis the only way to see te island was to hire a moped. we got a bike for three days at an absolute bargain price and went for a butchers. samui is the busiest island we have had to negotiate on two wheels so far, and the day started with apprehension when we were nearly run over a couple of times, but after dave realised that sightseeing was a non moped activity, with eyes fixed firmly on the road, the day was seen through without incident. we ventured around to three of samui's waterfalls. the first was pretty simple but at a lovely spot, and lucy, after seeing an elephant pass it's breakfast exclaimed "i cant believe how big elephant poo is". no shit! the second of these waterfalls was Na Muang 1. this was more of a tourist orientated spot with easy access from the road and
full of families with their kids hell bent on spoiling your photos and splashing you're digital camera, brats! the second was Na Muang 2, more of the dedicated adventurer's trail and was free of coach parties and rug rats. the trail started with a simple climb to the base of the eighty foot waterfall that was really impressive apart from a few locals telling us to make our way up the top, and didn't seem to understand we were on our way but wanted to take a photo! after some waving and shouting they finally moved and we made the trek up to te top, or what we thought was the top. we some how acquired a guide to take us to the real top where we were promised a swim, and hot from the midday sun it seemed like a good idea. not realising the extent of the hike that was ahead of us we set off up into dense jungle, twenty minutes later and with our lungs nearing collapse, we were still no where near what seemed like a never ending trail, that for the most part was practically vertical. on our arrival at the top we were
greeted by some equally warn out westerners and jumped from the top of one of the rocks into a pool about twenty meters by twenty. with no life guards present there was concern for dave as he didn't bring his water wings, but after a masterful display of doggy paddle, he was bobbing around in the cool, fresh water like a pro. after we had cooled off we descended a different route that was much simpler than the jungle trek, "why didn't they bring us this way to start with ?" was the obvious question, we got a great view over the island and took some photos, in which we are clearly fed up! we gave our guide some money when we got to the bottom as he had saved Lucy's life more than once and even carried her VERY pink bag, an offer she will never get from dave! we spent the rest of the day exploring and made the mistake of heading to one of the busy beaches where songkran, the thai new year was being celebrated a day early and we both got soaked and covered in different kinds of powder. songkran means "change place" or "move"
and is also known as the water festival. after this unexpected cooling off we headed back to the hut and spent the evening exploring the island at night.
we woke up on the morning of the 13th to a ritual soaking from sharky and his mates who were sitting in the restaurant armed with water guns and already hitting the beers. we thought it would be rude not to join them so we jumped on the bikes and headed for a liquid breakfast and went for a tour of the island. songkran really has to be seen to be believed and involves everyone in the country having a massive water fight and nobody gets away with it. it took hours to make our way around and after the thousandth dousing with water we stopped to get involved on foot and have a beer. the beer was quickly watered down so we abandoned this idea and filled plastic bags with water and got our own back. the idea of songkran is to remind people of the importance of family and most people take a trip to their homeland to pay respect to their elders by poring scented water over their
heads, and thus washing away the past year to bring good luck and prosperity. for the rest of us its a damn good reason to get tanked up all day and have a national party that in some places lasts for 3 days, two was more than enough for us! that same evening was also the full moon party on koh pangan. we really wanted to go but they were charging a stupid amount of money that exceeded the price of our ticket back to bangkok, so we decided to save it for another time.
our last day on samui was again spent out on the bike, and we decided to head for "everest", samui's highest and most stunning viewpoint. the rid up to the top was an experience, and there were many times on the way where i thought we were going to have to turn back, our honda wave 125 wasn't used to the rough terrain and steep inclines, but by luck and determination with a bit of brute force it made the climb. the view was indeed stunning and provided a scene looking over the pine groves that cover the island, to maenam bay, and across
Na Muang 2
a well deserved dip after the hike up the mountain
the water to koh pangan. after getting ripped off for a coke we began the decent that was cursed by the words, "its ok, its always easier on the way down". it certainly is not, and we got stupidly lost trying to navigate the mass of tracks that have been built by the jungle tour companies. these roads were the steepest, most pot-holed so far, and there were many times where we heard the sound of the bottom of the bike clattering against yet another rock. lucy commented "do you ever get the feeing we are out of our depth?" and forgetting the irony that we were 447 feet above sea level, she was spot on. we finally found on of the tours full of people in a 4x4 jeep and we were kindly pointed the way by the guide who gave the look of "more stupid lost foreigners", he too was correct. after our decent was compete and our poor bike had got through the biggest ordeal of its life, we left it at the rental shop and walked into town for dinner.
we left the next day to head back to bangkok where cambodia and vietnam awaits.
Na Muang 2
a well deserved dip after the hike up the mountain
it was great to spend a few days on samui, an island that is as diverse as any we have visited so far, but its nice to be back in the smoke for a couple of days.
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