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Published: April 28th 2014
Exchange Rate $1AUD = 29.6Baht
As the spicy Samui sun begins to retreat and no longer stings our skin, there is not a ripple in the ocean and the sky turns into a beautiful oil painting with soft pink, red and orange hues. A sense of calm and relaxation washes over us both as we lay back on the powdery white sand to enjoy what has to be our favourite time of the day. As the day slowly escapes us and evening falls, the twinkling lights peek out from the palm trees and fences along the beach and Koh Paengyan lights up on the horizon. Whether it be losing ourselves in our books, taking a dip in the lukewarm unspoilt ocean or watching the world go by, sunset on the beaches in Koh Samui has to be the most serene time of the day.
Our original plan for Samui was 4 nights at Bangrak beach and 4 additional nights wherever the wind blew us. Our first stint was at the Boardroom Bungalows on Bangrak beach. After leaving our hotel in Bangkok at the ungodly hour of 4am we arrived at our beachfront home bright and early at 8.30am. We
managed to check in early albeit for a 200 baht extra charge (a bit rich when no one was at the place anyway!) So we got our room sorted, laid out our clothes and did what you do best in Koh Samui, donned the bikini’s and budgie smugglers and set ourselves up 20 metres outside our room on the beach!
Our beachside location was idyllic, the white sandy beach stretched on for miles, it was lined with palm trees, the local ferry terminal was close by, and a few resorts and restaurants were dotted about, but otherwise it was largely more remote with only a spattering of people here and there. Or so it would seem on first glance….of course Murphy’s Law follows the Williams’ everywhere and before we knew it, the long stretch of quiet beach had a number of guests (people and dogs alike) and wouldn’t you know it, they all parked their butts right near us. Of all the sand to choose from, why do they have to sit right next to us? The first day was quite amusing as a local stray dog (not particularly friendly) was intent on sitting right on top of us,
and when we tried to shoo him away he would growl at us and nestle himself in even closer - pretty sure he was telling us who was boss and who really owned this patch of sand. Then we had the “2 Fat Ladies” come to visit. These very, very large European or maybe Russian women walked all the way up from quite a distance away (everyday!) to come and swim, frolic, photograph “model" shoots and even fish near us. Now we are no expert fishermen but we do know at least how to throw a line in the ocean. These two on the other hand were like a comedy act, and they should thank their lucky stars they didn’t end up with a hook or two in each others sagging butts. The way they were swinging and tossing the lines around was like someone doing the sprinkler dance and bloody dangerous to boot….but much to our amusement. To top it off on another of their regular daily visits to "our" beach spot they proceeded to lay down in the shore line and take photos of each other rolling in the ocean - like some kind of men's magazine model
shoot. This photography went on for a good 20 minutes with all the "Sports Illustrated" style poses you can imagine. It was serious entertainment and almost too much for us, as it was difficult to contain the laughter!
Beach friends aside, it was a blissful spot on Bangrak that we had snagged. Throughout the day we would jostle between sunning ourselves, to a cooling dip in the ocean (even though it was more like a warm bath!) and back to the relief of the shady palms from the heat. We watched the ferries come and go and the locals come down for a swim in the late afternoons once the sun had lost its bite. It definitely was the best spot on the Bangrak beach.
Come day 2 we knew we needed to get our routine sorted and our chores out of the way so we could practise the ancient art of total relaxation. We both like our routine when it comes to a relaxation schedule and we don’t like that schedule being interrupted. We managed to hire a scooter for the 4 days for 150baht per day. All of the hire places start at around 200baht per
day, and it seemed 150baht is about their limit for discount. But be warned, with temps between 27-35 degrees and the sun beaming for a good 80% of the day, those scooter seats will burn your bum if you’re not careful. We carried a scarf around with us to put on the seat when we couldn’t park our scooter in the shade. So we then jumped on our scooter and headed for the local supermarket to stock up on breakfast, beers, water and snacks. We also managed to find a local “laundromat” (aka a few washing machines on the street) to get some much needed washing done at only 30 baht per load - as opposed to approx 40baht per kilo most places charge to do your washing for you. Our final chore was to find the local gym and check out their facilities. Yato Fitness was approximately 500 metres down the road from where we were staying. It had everything we needed to get our hearts and muscles pumping and we agreed this was the place to visit for the coming days.
So with our chores out of the way our routine was set. We started the next
day with a quick bowl of cereal in the bungalow, followed by a trip to Yato Fitness to tear and grind our muscles. Vince has taken the role of head trainer and ensuring Suz gets an adequate amount of weight training in to build her upper body strength and bones (much needed preparation for our upcoming plans of learning to surf in Bali). After a sweat drenching workout we would have a refreshing icy protein shake and then head back to our bungalow for a baguette and vegemite (the remainder of our breakfast). We then donned our beach uniforms, bikini’s and budgie smugglers, hauled our plastic chairs to the beachfront and assumed the position. The day would then consist of reading, swimming, tanning, a quick bite for lunch, back to the beach for more swimming, sipping coconuts, snoozing and reading. To ensure complete relaxation this needs to be repeated for at least 1 week! On the topic of lunch in our daily routine we found a fantastic little place about 2km down the road from our bungalows called “Cafe Uno”. Most of the restaurants during the day are pretty quiet in Bangrak, but Uno has a steady stream of people
and whats even more encouraging is that they are locals! The first day we tried their fare we were hooked, delicious authentic thai cuisine and SO cheap. Main meals were 50-60 baht each! So after two meals and two waters for lunch we had spent a whopping 150baht!
Come nightfall we would inevitably make our way up to Fisherman’s Village, about a 7 minute scooter ride along the coastline. Fisherman’s Village is bursting with shopping stalls, bars and restaurants to suit every taste and budget. What’s even better is they have a Friday night “walking market” where the streets become jam packed with food carts and temporary stalls wedged in between the usual shops and restaurants. It is a must see if you are visiting Samui and a hotspot for backpackers as the food stalls are so cheap. Pad thai, chicken skewers, tempura prawns, grilled corn and even beers all for between 50-80 baht.
After our 4 days at Bangrak we did some exploring and found our next piece of paradise in Mae Nam beach. We managed to get a great deal for a pool side room at the Florist Resort with our room only 50 metres from
the beach for 1600baht (asking price 2000 baht). Mae Nam was even better than Bangrak beach as the water is a lot deeper so considerably cooler than the shallow waters of Bangrak. It was also tucked away from the main road so nice and quiet for that perfect little beach getaway. So once again we settled ourselves at the Florist Resort and got right back into our daily routine, only this time there were some minor adjustments. The perfect day as follows: Wake up 7am, cereal starter, ride 15 minutes to the gym, back home for buffet breakfast, don the beach uniforms, assume the position by the pool, oscillate between pool and pool side beds, read, relax, sip beers, snooze, shower to freshen up, head to the beach for our favourite afternoon time, and on a couple of occasions throw in some beach yoga, then the biggest decision of the day ‘where to go for dinner?’. So as you can see it was pretty arduous but you’ll be pleased to know we managed to get through an extra 5 days (on top of our initial 8) of this routine - stella effort at practising the full and total art of
relaxation. Oh and for anyone contemplating the Florist Resort we would highly recommend it, when we extended our stay we managed to get the price down to 1000 baht for a deluxe room (remembering the full price was 2000 baht) - so lesson there is barter hard with them! Only negative was one woman on the reception desk who was just a down right pain in the butt, very unhelpful and unfriendly, it was such a shame because the other staff were all so lovely!
In between the lazy days (well kind of, we did do exercise everyday, so not too lazy), we also tried our hand at paddle boarding out in Mae Nam and found it really quite enjoyable. We took turns between a proper paddle board - which was relatively easy, and a surf board which they were using also as a paddle board that was bloody hard! Slippery little sucker and you had to turn your core on like nobody’s business to be able to stand up and paddle around on the thing. Regardless it was lots of fun cruising out together to try something new. On our final days we decided to get even more
adventurous and book a semi private half day tour out to the island of Koh Taen and Koh Madsum to do some snorkelling and exploring. The tour was great in concept as it was just us and a family of 4 (really nice family which helps), a guide, all equipment provided, transport and meals (total cost of 2400 baht each). Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you look at it!) we have been spoilt for snorkelling and diving in our time, so the ‘remote’ areas we were told we were going to were good in that they were reasonably quiet, however the snorkelling was just okay. It was nice enough, but not what we were expecting and given the price I think our expectations were warranted. Regardless, we had an enjoyable day, it was invigorating to get some air in our hair flying across the ocean in the speedboat and it was nice to see some other beaches and the beautiful islands surrounding Samui.
We finished the Samui adventure off with a few more days of our “full and total relaxation” schedule and then sadly it was time to say goodbye to Thailand for now. Cambodia was calling and
a full 12 hour day, using 8 different modes, of travel to get us from Samui to Bangkok and then over the boarder to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I have a feeling our relaxed bodies are going to get a rude shock with the full day of travel planned, but only time will tell.
Favourite Food Finds:-
• Cafe Uno - two delicious traditional meals, two waters, only 150baht, what’s not to love?
• Banana & nutella roti (with some sneaky sweet condensed milk on top)
• Fun night out at Koburi Japanese in Mae Nam (great food and staff) - the owner is a crack up and he asked us to dress up with him for photos for his business Facebook site!
Favourite Exercise Experience:
• Yato fitness morning workouts
• Beach yoga
• Paddle boarding
We'll Remember This Place For:
• Evening/sunset time on the beautiful beaches
• Zooming around town on our scooter - that’s freedom!
• Lazy days!
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