Island hopping continues this time to Ko Samui

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March 26th 2012
Published: March 30th 2012
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Big Buddha
26th March ’12 Phuket to Ko Samui

Much to our amazement the minibus found the guesthouse and picked us up on time, the time being 6.45am, we then had a little tour round Patong picking up other people. One of the last people we collected was a young, very westernised Thai girl who sat in the front and chattered non stop to the driver. She also turned round and said hello to us and asked us where we were from. The minibus then stopped right in the heart of the real town of Patong where we were told another bus would be along soon.

The young Thai girl came and stood with us and explained that she was nervous about travelling on her own without a friend so could we be her friends, we said yes of course, she thanked Buddha and then told us her story. She was on her way to Ko Samui to meet up with her English boyfriend who she had met a year ago while she worked as a Bar Girl in Patong. She is 24 (she looked much younger) and he is 35 and a very good man apparently, they skype each other
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Predator vs Alien
every day and as he didn’t want her to work in the bar he pays her money each month!! She said because of this she would never go with another man and anyway she has the Buddah. She said the boyfriend had got her a passport but she hadn’t been able to get a visa for England as she couldn’t prove they had known each other for a year as they don’t send emails, which was a shame, but she really hoped he would marry her and all her friends were jealous that she had such a good man.

She is originally from Bangkok which is where her parents live and she does again now (as she doesn’t have to work), she doesn’t like Bangkok as it is too busy which is why she decided to work in Patong, she had to work in a bar as she has to support her parents and has no brothers or sisters to help out. She was such a sweetheart and when we arrived in Ko Samui to go our separate ways we had a big hug and she gave me a 20baht note origamid into a heart – for love, it
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Elephant Gate
made me think a lot about the bar girls and their desperation and I only hope her ‘good man’ really is one and marries her!

Once we docked we were met by a driver from our hotel which was just as well as it is in a very remote location. So this was to be our 5 night Boutique Hotel and Spa Groupon special offer stay! When we arrived (absolutely knackered from our 3 bus 1 ferry 12 hour journey!) we were shown around the ‘resort’ by one of the guest relations staff dressed in an all white loose linen outfit. It’s quite a small place but beautifully done and everything is very zen, very calm and tranquil, with huge stone jars with water burbling out of them and a new positive motivational quote chalked up each day!! The pool, he assured us, is only freshwater so perfect for anyone with allergies……so by now I’m getting the measure of the place, the spa is beyond our budget but should we wish to we can use the fully equipped gymnasium free of charge!!

Before we were shown to our room we were invited to the meet the staff event
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Temple on the beach
on the beach (oh god). The room is fabulous, real luxury, more of a suite really with big floor to ceiling windows and a balcony the full length of the room with a bath on it!!!!! I think it’s meant to be a hot tub but it looks just like a bath – very bizzare. There is a little kitchen area, a lounge area – complete with books, a giant tv and dvd player, complimentary fruit bowl, free bottled water, a huge bathroom come dressing room, with an enormous shower which feels like you are being rained on rather than being pummelled by a shower – it’s great!! The bed is huuuuuge and comfy and all lovely crisp cotton sheets, a real treat.

However we can’t afford to eat or drink here! It’s mega expensive, a can of pop is nearly 4 times the price of one anywhere else and I can’t even begin on the price of the restaurant food. Fortunately they have a beach bar where basic Thai food is only double the price! But the first night we had no option as, as I have said we are very isolated.

Reluctantly we made our way
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Our room
to the meet and greet, we were so tired we really just wanted to get some grub and go to bed. We only went as nibbles and cocktails were mentioned. We walked down the artfully arranged giant rocks (instead of steps) onto the beach to find a kind of circle of beanbags awaiting us. I was whisked away for a free 5 minute taster massage (which was very good and made me wish we could have afforded a full one), then we were given a glass of something red and a couple of spring rolls. We then plonked ourselves into the bean bags and eventually 5 other people turned up plus Matt (guest relations), the others were all very glamorous and talking about how to buy linen trousers like Matt’s and other such rot and he told an ‘amusing’ tale about 2 Australian back packers he met who had him staying in a hut in the jungle ha ha ha ha. Eventually we could take no more and said we would have to go as we hadn’t eaten all day and then I tried to get out of the bean bag and just couldn’t do it!! How embarrassing, eventually Howard
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Bath on the balcony!
managed to heave me out and we scuttled off quick!

Unfortunately in the hotel information we have discovered that there is a Thai night (only £20 per person – you can get a meal in Thailand with drinks for about £1.50) and a BBQ on the beach night (only £50 per couple with a free bottle of wine) and both occur when we are here……

27th – 31st March Ko Samui

The next day our plan was just to laze about and rest! We had to get up though as by some good fortune our groupon voucher also included a free breakfast – result! So we went along to the open air restaurant, which if not for groupon we would never have seen, well what a breakfast it was, it was all a la carte so we expected to just pick one thing, but no we discovered you could pick whatever and however much you wanted! It was all beautifully presented and tasted gorgeous, apart from the runny black pudding in the full English that is, not that I eat black pudding but Howard was looking forward to it. There was toast, croissants, little buns, all different
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Howard doing his favourite thing (well while he can't go and watch the Boro anyway!)
jams and marmalade, fruit juices, water, tea, coffee and then the choices……oh well I will shut up about that now as you will all be saying no wonder she has piled on the weight!! We then staggered back to bed!

Later that afternoon we ventured out into the heat and for some inexplicable reason decided to borrow the hotel bikes and try to cycle to the nearest village. Well we lasted about 5 minutes, had sweat pouring off us and couldn’t get all the gears to work, so it was about turn and how walked up to the desk and said ‘sod that for a lark, I need an engine’ lol. Soon we were on our trusty scooter tootling along the roads in a breeze, now that was more like it! We found the village – a small one road fishing village along the coast with lovely views and a couple of restaurants. We stopped at one and had some dinner, feeling as if we had escaped from Alcatraz. Bizarrely while we sat there, there was this enormous bang followed by a thud and the owner just laughed and said ‘coconut’ and sure enough the place was built round the trunk of a palm tree and one had fallen off onto the roof and then bounced off onto the beach.

On the way back we stopped at the Kwiky Mart and bought in supplies of beer and pop to stock the fridge up and save us money. So now we were sorted, we had wheels and therefore the option of cheap grub, the fridge was stocked and we have a fabulous room to lounge about in, oh yes and a freshwater pool and the beach!

Another day another breakfast and another inspirational quote and the temperature reads 38 degrees. Howard pulled a fast one at breakfast and when the waitress came for our order he sat there saying ‘hmmm I just can’t decide between the steak and egg or the chef’s special pancakes hmmmmm’ to which the waitress replied ‘why don’t you have both sir?’ and Howard kind of laughed and said ‘oh go on then yes I will’ as if she had twisted his arm. So he did and ate croissants and toast as well! So now we seem to have a routine, eat as much breakfast as possible and then nothing until about tea time
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Hotel sunset
and that way we save money and don’t have to drive in the dark!

So we set off on the trusty scooter to ride around the island, boy was it hot though, it was only bearable when we were actually on the move. The island is very pretty, all palm trees, greenery and high hills inland and lovely coastline. We called in at Chaweng – one of the seaside tourist resorts and checked out about our onward journey to Penang, however all though we could have booked tickets none of them would come out to where we are staying to pick us up as it is too far hmmm.

We called in to see the Big Buddha which is exactly what the name says and around the temple were some small shops including one which sold metal sculptures all based around Alien and Predator! - they were incredible and included 2 gigantic ones outside.

We ended up at the Port Town and found a great bakery/restaurant which did really good really cheap food and had a look round the shops and found a really unusual t shirt shop but Howard refused to by the excellent one of
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Hotel beach
Frank Zappa sat on a toilet!

We made our way back to the hotel travelling along lots of very small roads which wound through palm trees, past small houses and along the coast until it turned in land and got very confusing. We unknowingly sent 2 other tourists on a scooter in completely the wrong direction for the main road, which we only discovered when we found it ourselves and came across a gateway flanked by 2 enormous elephants.

When we got back we were nabbed by Mariska the other guest relations person (also in a loose white linen outfit) who commented that she hadn’t seen our names down on the Thai night list, so I just told her that we were back packing and this was our one moment of luxury so we couldn’t afford it. She was far more interested in asking us about our trip than bothering to follow up on the Thai night which was good and subsequently we haven’t been hassled about the BBQ night either. We also managed to sort out a taxi to the port for the next leg of the journey.

That night we ventured down the road to
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Let's be positive!
the village to eat at a restaurant that was no.1 on trip advisor no less. I would say price wise it was mid range. It was owned by an American guy who was really friendly and told us all about the best dishes and made recommendations, including a penang curry which he said was a unique flavour he couldn’t describe. So as it’s our next stop we had to try it! Turns out the unique flavour is aniseed, no wonder he didn’t describe it as it could have been quite off putting and I doubt I would have ordered it had I known, but in reality it was delicious – odd but delicious. The waitress was a really glamorous lady boy – so good for them for employing her as many people in Thailand really shun the lady boys.

After hearing the American owner giving the same spiel to about another 5 lots of customers it was wearing a bit thin, but he is obviously proud of his restaurant. Once we finished he came over and said ‘ hey so was the food good? Should I keep the cook?’ which seemed funny until we heard him say the exact
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Mummified Monk complete with shades
same thing to all the other diners!

Next day, next breakfast and Howard just told the waitress he was going to be greedy and ordered 2 again! We just spent the day with Howard on the computer and me in the pool, then later in the afternoon went up to the port to book our tickets to Penang and to eat some good grub. Rode down to the temple on the beach to watch the sunset – which was obscured by clouds!!, came back and watched dvds.

Here we go again another day another breakfast – but this would be our last here as we leave so early the following morning. Howard stocked up on his usual 2, we read todays inspirational motivational message and then saw the temperature was 41 degrees, all motivation and inspiration fled! However we did force ourselves out on the trusty scooter again and went off to find the Mummified Monk (how could we not?!!)

The MM was a very strange sight, apparently this guy only became a monk at the age of 50 but led a very good pious life and had left instructions that when he died he was to
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Pretty but we still can't reach the viewpoint
be put in a casket on display to serve as an inspiration to others. When he did die his body didn’t decompose so they just followed his instructions. It was a very odd thing to see, he was sitting crosslegged and dressed in a robe but was wearing sunglasses! He looked a tad worse for wear but was still remarkably well preserved.

Following that we went to visit Waterfall no.2, but to get to it you have to drive up the hill to the safari park. All very strange, you cannot follow the road up to the actual waterfall but have to park at the safari park and walk up past some of the attractions, dodge the elephants giving people rides and then you are told it’s another 30 minute walk up hill or you can pay for a jeep ride up. Well Howard wouldn’t pay and I wouldn’t walk (41 degrees heat remember!) so we gave up on the idea. On our way back to the scooter we came across the have your photo taken with a tiger stall so we walked over for a look. There was a fully grown tiger sitting on a rock with a
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Thong Krut
‘keeper’ aka bored looking lad in a t shirt, sat next to it, loads of people crowding around peering at them. The thing was the tiger was on a rock about 10 feet away from the crowd and there was only a little 3 foot high wooden fence separating them. Literally nothing to stop the tiger jumping over and eating someone! It wasn’t chained or anything, I guess it was probably drugged or something but it was unreal, we didn’t hang around.

Next stop up another hill to the view point, only trouble was the road was dug up half way up and you could just to say get past on a scooter, which we did and carried on until we reached the blocked off section with no way to go on. There was a detour sign so we tried that until it petered out into a tiny rutted path and disappeared off the mountain side. Oh well we thought we will just go back to the turn off to the viewpoint restaurant and try that. Once again up the side of the mountain, onto another dirt path and then we reached a chain across the path saying closed!
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Thong Krut
That was the end of our viewpoint attemps, we did find a heli pad though.

Back down on the main road we returned to our hotel and its lovely air con via a stop for a drink and a meander along a few more little palm tree lined windy roads.

Ko Samui is a nice island.

Next stop Penang, Malaysia.


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