Our second stop in our travels was the beautiful island of Koh Samui, just off the east coast of Southern Thailand. We arrived in Koh Samui by boat, which cost us 400 baht per person including a transfer from the airport. We’d flown to Surat Thani which was so much cheaper than flying direct to Koh Samui! The boat came in to Nathon pier, where we’d organised a minibus transfer with the ferry people for 150 baht each.
Nathon pier is on the west of the island and we were staying in the south east at Lumai beach, but the journey only took about half an hour to drive literally the whole way across Koh Samui. We checked in to Weekender Bungalows and got given the keys to number 19, which only cost £7 a night through booking.com.
After dropping our stuff off we went for a wander and to get some food, we both hadn’t eaten since before our flight that morning and so were really hungry! Where we were staying was literally right on the main street of Lumai beach, so we had a wander down and went to a restaurant called ‘Nana Seafood’. Here they had a deal on all cocktails and Thai food being 99 baht and all beer 60 baht. After the prices we’d been paying in Bangkok this seemed so much cheaper, so we decided to eat here. I had the duck curry, which was honestly one of the best curries I’ve ever had. It was so tasty and full of fresh pineapple – so good! James had the Massaman, which we both washed down with a beer. We stayed for a cocktail then headed back for an early night, as the travelling all day had made us pretty tired.
The next morning we woke up and the weather wasn’t great, so after braving the rain for some breakfast we headed back to the shelter of our little bungalow to catch up on some work. The rain started to clear in the afternoon and the sun was trying its best to come out, so we decided we’d hire a bike and have an explore of the island. This was my first time on a bike and I was quite nervous, but I had no need to be (especially as I wasn’t actually driving it myself…). Everyone out here is on a bike, I don’t actually know how you’d get around the islands without them! A lot of people don’t wear helmets, which are available for no extra cost so this seemed a bit ridiculous to me.. We definitely wore ours!
After the initial first couple of roads I’d gotten more comfortable (I’d realised that they’re actually pretty good at staying upright) and as we drove around the beautiful cliff roads with the wind on our faces I started to really enjoy it. We followed the ring road north up the island until we saw signs to the Big Buddha, where we stopped to have a look around at the statues and temples. When they say it’s big, they’re not joking!
After having a look around we headed back down the coast. There were some amazing view points, so we stopped at one along the way to admire the incredible view. Something we also learnt is that people beep at shrines when they drive past! We were getting very confused thinking people were beeping at us, then realised that we’d parked just along from a shrine. So if you think people are beeping at you as you’re doing something wrong, the chances are they aren’t!
After stopping off at the viewpoint and taking some snaps, we went back to Lumai and stopped off at the beach. We hadn’t had great weather in Koh Samui which was a shame, but it was a nice evening so we made the most of it! The sea was so incredibly warm, it was like a bath.
Where we swam on the beach were a few restaurants, so we browsed the menus and decided we’d come back to ‘Bamboo’ for dinner that evening as it was good value and had tables right on the beach. We drove the bike back to the bungalow and got ready to go back out again. We walked back down to Bamboo, where we sat on the beach and shared a Chicken Massaman and Panang as the sun went down. The spot on the beach was so beautiful (and the drinks so cheap!) that we stayed here quite a while chatting and drinking.
We’d been informed when we checked in that we should not miss the Sunday night market, as this was full of amazing food, stalls selling just about anything and pop up bars. We walked back along the main street down to the other end where the market was held, and we were not disappointed! This was the kind of place that, if I didn’t have to carry the same bag around with me for the next few months, I’d have bought A LOT. All the stalls sold amazing clothes and jewellery that I wish I could’ve stocked up on, as it was all so cheap! I did buy myself a beautiful handmade notebook which I’m going to use to keep notes of the trip, but other than that I stuck to window shopping.
We soon realised that we needn’t have gone for dinner either, as there was so much food here which looked amazing! Again, we stuck to just looking at it.. which was probably for the best, as we could’ve gone a bit crazy. After browsing all the stalls we sat down for some drinks at one of the pop up bars, and watched as an American man sung the three same songs over and over for about half an hour. This was made even funnier, when we realised that the men controlling the backing tracks for him were also the island’s policemen. At least you know it’s a safe island when thats what they’re doing!
We decided to stay out for a few more drinks, which was a bad idea for our heads the next morning. Long island iced teas are a bad enough decision in the UK where they actually measure the alcohol, so out here they really are lethal! We woke up the next morning feeling like death. I looked out the window to see it was raining, which made me feel a lot better about going back to sleep for a few hours. We had to take the bike back at 3, and by about 2 it had stopped raining so we dragged ourselves out of bed to return it. We decided that some food and the sea was a better hangover cure than anything, so went back to Bamboo for a late lunch followed by a swim.
After our swim we thought we’d walk along the beach to go see the Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks as they are situated at the other end of Lumai beach (the southern end). These are two rocks that have naturally formed to resemble the male and female genitalia, and therefore are something of a tourist attraction! We didn’t actually make it to the rocks, as we got caught in a very heavy rain shower so decided to turn around and find some shelter. We made it back to our little bungalow and waited out the rain whilst changing into some dry clothes. We were originally meant to be leaving the island that day, but as the weather hadn’t been great we’d extended our stay an extra night hoping to get a bit of sun and a chance to see more of the island. As it was the last night, we went to a nice Italian restaurant called Salathai for a nice meal, as we weren’t sure that a thai curry was a good idea when we still felt a bit rough from the night before. I had Spag Bol (home comforts!) and James had a pizza, both of which were really good. We headed back to the room to pack up our stuff ready for the morning and get an early night.
The next morning it was ACTUALLY sunny (for once!), so I was glad we’d packed everything the night before! We ran down to the beach for one last swim and some breakfast, from yes, you guessed it – Bamboo! We had to check out at 12, so we had time to enjoy a couple hours on a sunny Koh Samui, which was far more beautiful! From our hotel we went back to Nathon pier to catch the express boat at 1.30pm over to Koh Phangan for the next part of our adventure.
Leaving Koh Samui I did feel a bit sad, like we hadn’t fully explored everything the island had to offer. We’d had a great time, but due to the weather we’d spent a lot more of it than we’d have liked sat inside. Still, I’d had my first proper taste of island life, and couldn’t wait to continue on to the other islands to see how they all compared!
Charlotte Rick x
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