other things about Koh Samui

Posted from Ko Samui, Surat Thani, Thailand.

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The largest of the islands off the east coast of Thailand is Koh Samui, and it’s also the most overrun. I couldn’t discern this from the moment I arrived, as the pier my Songserm ferry boat landed at was out of the way and a far cry from the hostel I booked into. I had been getting used to little islands, so I was largely unprepared for what I found on Koh Samui.

Numerous taxi drivers barked their prices at me, as usual, but me, having no apparent map-reading ability thought I could walk to my hostel. Hahaha. I gave up after ten minutes of walking in the blazing sun. I was soaked.

Lucky for me, I ended up finding a motorbike taxi to my hostel for 100 Baht – an impressively low price. The only thing I knew about getting to The Lounge was what I read on the website. I had to get to the 7/11 in Bang Rak. Little did I know there are five of them in the village. My driver dropped me off at the wrong one. Amazed, but also not surprised, I resorted myself to having to walk and find the correct 7/11 on my own. I had made it about three shops when my driver reappeared and put me back on his bike to get me to my hostel. This did surprise me. He spoke English to me now too. I told him I was very happy he came back to get me and he smiled. We ended up finding the correct place and he dropped me off right in front of the hostel. Yeah!

The difference between an island like Koh Tao and Koh Samui is money. It reaks of money. Lots and lots of money. Samui is filled with five-star resorts and the restaurants to compliment them. There’s a club district with a whack of girly bars – where a drink will cost you 500 Baht, but that’s minor sex tourism. It’s funny that the Buddhist culture shuns nudity and inappropriate behaviour, yet sex is so openly sold here. It’s a disaster, really. I can’t help but wonder what will come of Thailand in 50 years.

The island is huge at 228 km². There are numerous towns and villages, so choosing a place to stay was really about finding the cheapest hostel, at least for me. Some people are on holiday for a week or two, so I imagine it’s easier for them to justify paying $30 to $100 a night for a room. I still have 2.5 months to go.

Due to all the money, it was difficult to find the cheap food I’ve become so accustomed to. I couldn’t bear to pay $4 for fried rice. Luckily I found a place by the beach that had some decent Thai food at fair prices. Sure, my stomach made some weird noises, but apparently my Dukoral vaccine is still working.

The great part about the beach area where I was staying was it was an easy 10-minute walk away, and it was deserted. There were few resorts in this area, so it wasn’t littered with white people. Of course, that could have to do with the copious amount of sea lice that litter the water here. Sea lice is just a pleasant term for baby jellyfish.

I only needed to go in the water once.

Not too shabby.

Not too shabby.

On one evening a group of us from the hostel went and ate dinner on the beach. I, the finder of cheap meals, splurged. These things can happen. But it was wonderful to watch the sunset and drink a beer whilst curling my toes into the sand and having a well-dressed man serve me food.

I rented a motorbike one day on the island. I had been planning to rent one for a while so I could learn to ride one and therefore be able to get around if I was in a small place. This actually ended up being an instrumental decision. I never crashed it. I never even fell off. Heck, I never even wore a helmet. My initial ride was a little hectic and scary, but after an hour on the bike I felt good. I even got good at starts and starting and turning. The bike came in handy when I had to go to the hospital.

 

Entrance to the buddha is free, an uncommon occurrence in Thailand.

Entrance to the buddha is free, an uncommon occurrence in Thailand.

After my hospital visit, I, dejected and defeated, I decided to spend an extra day in Koh Samui to let my wounds have a bit of stability before moving. Plus, I was in a bit of pain. I took a ride to Big Buddha Pier and wandered around, wondering if the blessing the lady who rented me the scooter really worked. I mean, I didn’t crash the scooter, right? I just crashed through a roof.

Some boys were fishing using a net whilst I was reading.

Some boys were fishing using a net whilst I was reading.

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I went to the beach and laid in the shade for a few hours finally finishing Wuthering Heights. What a crazy weird novel that is. I have no idea why people call it a romance novel.

The next day I slept through my alarm and missed my pickup for the ferry to the mainland. Shit. Luckily the staff at the Lounge got me on the next ferry and I was on my way for a horrible day filled with long waits and little communication. But in the end I would wind up in Phuket, my gateway to Thailand’s southern beaches – which I can’t properly enjoy anyway. Bummer.

 

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