At Koh Samui we stayed at Sandy Resort, a very nice hotel backing onto our own private area of beach (at Bophut beach). The 3 nights here were our ‘holiday break’ part of the tour, as we were spoilt with lovely rooms, good restaurant, bar, Internet, a swimming pool and massages alongside the beach. We spent plenty of time here just chilling by the pool and the beach and we thought it would only be right to get a massage too. It was a nice mixture of aromatherapy and Thai massage, laying there relaxing & listening to the waves gently lapping onto the beach. This is hard-core travel I tell ya!
Koh Samui can be very touristy in many parts. For instance Chawenga beach is a bit like a package holiday town with trendy bars, loads of restaurants & shops and heaps of tourists. It’s great if that’s what you like - we did head down there one evening for a meal and drinks with the group.
Luckily our area was nowhere near like that - it had kept its authenticity and Thai charm which was an added bonus. If you want a beach break in Thailand maybe you’d want to try here instead of the heavily visited Phuket.
As with most of Asia there were dogs a plenty. Here especially. I’m writing this after visiting Bangkok and Vietnam and I can say that nowhere had as many dogs as here. Some looked quite mangy and could have done with a trip to the doggy barbers, but I didn’t see any that looked particularly psycho. One was so soft that one day it appeared with bright green eyebrows that someone had drawn on him. In the main area there were loads too, mainly just laying around the streets quite sleepy in the heat. One of them was laying in the road at the kirb-side fast asleep. It was a bit risky with the taxi’s and mopeds so our tour leader, Vic, ran off and came back with a traffic cone to put next to him. Around our hotel I couldn’t help myself, I had to make friends with a few of the dogs and would feed them scraps after breakfast. I think I’m a good judge of character as to whether a dog is a bit of a nutter or not, so I knew which ones I could approach. (I hope that stays the same for the rest of the trip – no rabies thanks!) Anyway you get the picture – lots of dogs. Just filling the blog really cos we spent most of the time here relaxing.
During our time on the beach we came across many women selling bits and bobs. It was a lot of fun bartering and haggling for ice creams, an anklet and hair band for Rachel and a shirt for me. I had a bit of fun with the lady trying to get me to buy the shirt. She was complaining how I wanted to pay less than she’d payed for it and laughed as she said ‘how will I eat?’ They like a bit of fun with haggling and enjoy a barter session (as they are usually much better than us tourists). Due to her entertainment qualities and friendliness I agreed a price of 150 Baht (about £2.40 ish), although she originally wanted 300 & claimed she bought it for 180. She thanked me and left. I’m sure she’ll be laughing last as it falls apart after 1 wash!
The only other main thing to talk about (and which is pretty cool), is our speedboat trip out to Ang Thong national park, a collection of picturesque, protected rocky Islands. It began with a frantic and fast 1 hour journey across some quite rough seas. We were literally jumping over the waves and coming down with a loud crash, whilst getting lifted from our seats. Some of the waves were high enough to send us into a nosedive back towards the water. It was great fun but a bit nervy for some. Water was spraying over into the boat and at one stage even a projectile fish clattered into Kellie's face and landed in the boat. This made for extra entertainment on top of the screams as peoples bums left their seats.
Eventually we moored in a bay with thankfully very calm water. Here we had an hour snorkelling in the warm and crystal clear waters. We were given bread to feed the fish and they came in droves to grab it and tear it from our hands. From there we headed on to one of the islands of the national park. We moored on a gorgeous yellow beach lined with high rugged rock cliffs. It all made for great scenery but as I took pictures to add to the blog, I noticed some very dark clouds heading over, fast.
At the side of one of the cliffs we climbed some very steep and rickety wooden steps, over bridges, clambered through rocks and squeezed through narrow crevices and arrived at Emerald Lake. It was a gorgeous and picturesque lagoon with green tinted water completely surrounded by dominating cliffs. However it was a shame the sky didn't match the beauty of the lagoon as the clouds had come in and the rain began to fall. By this point Rachel had already gone ahead with the rest of the group back to the beach to find shelter from the ominous storm. I stayed on to take some pics....bad move. Within 2 minutes it was hammering down; monsoon styleee! I got drenched as I made my way back, carefully trying to navigate the way and not take the quick route down the slippery steps; on my face. By the time I got back to the beach it turned out that everyone had gotten soaked anyway and we all tried to take cover from further drenching (if possible) under over-hanging rocks. Some stood next to tall rocks and were protected as the rain came in sideways in the wind and pummeled the other side of the rock. As the storm continued and the thunder clapped hard in the sky, it was getting pretty cold stood around in sodden clothes. My remedy for this was to head out and sit in the warm sea for the rest of the storm. Ahh much better.
After about 45 minutes or so from the beginning of the storm, the rain had slowed enough for it to be safe to reboard the boat. We quickly headed to our third stop on another island for lunch. The original point of this stop was to climb to the peak of the rocks for views of the surrounding islands. Unfortunately the storm had put a stop to this so we headed back home over more bumpy seas to hot showers and dry warm towels.
Later that night we met with the group for dinner. As it was July 4th (American independence day), Vic had arranged for us to dine at an American run restaurant for Kristen (as she's from New York). It was called Catcando?? (don't really know why) and it supplied us with as much as we could eat in racks of ribs, macaroni cheese, bbq beans, coleslaw and cake too! A lovely well fed end to an exhilarating day!!