We got the Catamaran over from Ko Pha Ngan, it is surprisingly close and only took us 30 minutes. Our ferry ticket included a taxi to the resort of our choice and as Hat Chaweng apparently has the best beaches, we opted for there. Hat Chaweng is also the main resort so very busy and quite commercialised but good for a few days. We jumped off in the centre with some other people who were heading to Lucky Mother bungalows, we followed and got a room with hot water which was reasonably priced! We spent the day lazing on the beach adn looking around the centre, which has McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King etc etc as well as some nice Thai restaurants. The shopping here is also very good some small stalls and also an outlet centre. Everything that you could need on one street.
We spent 4 days in Ko Samui but did very little, but we did manage to go and watch some Muay Thai boxing (traditional Thai boxing). It was quite expensive but worth it, it was supposed to start at 9pm but the fightin actually got underway at 9.45pm. The Muay Thai form of boxing means you are alloewed to hit your opponent anywhere and you can use any part of yuo body except you head to fight, so quite vicious. The bouts started with small children about 7, there are 5 rounds of 3 minutes. I expected the fighting to be quite tame as it was aimed predominately at tourists but even the children were going all out. Legs and arms flying everywhere and landing on eachothers legs, heads and bodies. The referees step in very rarely. The followinh fights were older boys and men. We managed to see 2 knock-outs and lots of blood. One of the knock-outs was pretty brutal and the guy was knocked unconcious for a few minutes (we were worried he wasn't going to get us), but the medical team rushed on. It was quite fierce but enjoyable, we stayed for 5 out of the 7 fights as it was a bit too much. We were both glad we went!
On our last day we went on a tour to the Ang Thong National Marine park, the apparent inspiration for the novel The Beach. We opted for the speedboat tour which had been recommended as it is faster and there are fewer people. We set off after breakfast of croisant and coffee. The guide was offering sea sickness pills and after about 1/2 an hour one guy was puking into a brown bag, nice! We made it to our first stop for snorkelling, the boat anchored up and we were able to just jump off the back. There were loads of brightly coloured fish swimming around the coral, we had an underwater camera with us, but we haven't got the pictures printed yet, hope they come out well. We then went to another spot so that we could go kayaking around the limestone islands. We managed to argue the whole way around as I have no sense of co-ordination and we kept going around in circles, Wayne was getting more frustrated by the second! We managed to get around the islands even though the current was quite strong in places, and we all made it into a cave surrounded by limestone walls, which was great. We then went to a deserted beach and had a delicious Thai lunch, we were then able to relax in the sea and on the white sand beach. The next highlight was a climb over a limestone pinnacle to a blue lagoon. We were able to got to the top of the cliff and look out over the marine park and the islands. We then made it all the way down to the lagoon edge, where there were loads of fish swimming around. Once we got back to Ko Samui we were taken to a Elephant Park, where we had an elephant ride. It was good but really short, the elephants feel very leathery not at all how I expected them to feel. I think that this was a bit too touristy and there were even 2 elephants, including a baby, chained up so that the tourists could feed them - quite sad, although we did have an excellent day.
In the evening the beach of Hat Chaweng transforms in to BBQ's and bar areas. The bars use the sunloungers to make seating. The loungers are led flat, a small box with a table cloth is then put in the middle of 3 loungers to make a table. Silk cushions are then put on the loungers so customers can either sit of lay down while they have a beer. These bars also set out lots of fairylights and even bury plant pots onto the sand. Vendors walk up and down the beach selling fireworks and also big laterns which you place a candle in side and set off in to the night sky, they burn for quite a distance out over the sea.
Ko Samui was very nice and we enjoyed our time here, it is very strange though how different it is to Ko Pha Ngan even though they are so close.