To get to Koh Samui from Hua Hin you first have to get to Chumphon. The journey takes 3 ½ hours by bus (12 from Bangkok). Then it’s another 3 ½ hours to Koh Samui, on board the Lomprayah ferry, stopping at Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan. I have used this ferry service a few times, and it seems to be chaos. Everyone gets a little coloured sticker to match the label for the luggage, and once on board you watch your luggage disappear under the hundreds of other suitcases and backpacks that get stowed at the front of the ferry. You wonder how on earth you are going to retrieve your belongings, but once you arrive at your destination (and especially if you are going to the furthest island, that is Koh Samui, when there are less people left to get off) you find your bag, and alight onto terra firma again without too much trouble.
I stayed at Samui Beach Resort, in Lamai Beach http://www.samuibeachresort.com/index.html . The rooms were basic with a fan, hot shower and a double bed. There are other, more expensive, types of accommodation available, but if you are on a budget then the standard rooms are more than sufficient, ranging from 550- 1380 baht depending on which season you visit.
I was planning on having an early night because I was exhausted with all the travelling, but met a guy called Marco, who I had previously met in Bangkok, so we had dinner and a few drinks together. This is one of the beauties of travelling. Most people are on the same route, so you can bet you are going to meet up with them again some other place on your travels.
The next day I got up early, had breakfast overlooking the sea and went for a walk into town. Lamai beach is on the eastern side of the island and is a lot more relaxed than Chaweng or Bophut. I planned to walk round a local market but they only had a few stalls open, so I walked back to the resort and did a bit of sun worshipping all afternoon. The waves are really big on this side of the island and the current is very strong, so you have to be very careful if you go into the water. I waded in, only knee-deep, but still managed to get washed up onto shore!
Later, I met Marco again and he had been on a fishing trip and he had caught some yellow snapper. So we got the chef, in the hotel restaurant, to cook it for us and we had it for dinner. It was delicious, fresh from the sea (literally). Marco was a lovely guy and we had a laugh together, he was leaving for Oz the next day and I was to be alone again. Although I enjoy my own company, when I am travelling around, but it’s always nice to have someone to talk to now and again. Saying that there is no shortage of people to talk to, you just have to put yourself out there a bit! At the time I felt that even though I had only been in Thailand for a couple of weeks, I knew that I loved it there and could quite easily stay (who would have known that I would be living in Thailand just one year later!)
I went on “The Jungle Tour” around Samui Island the next day. There were so many cool things to see and do. It was awesome. Our vehicle was an old army jeep, and we went to see waterfalls and rubber plantations, where they showed us how the sap is taken from the tree and made into rubber. There was a mummified monk, who is hundreds of years old and died in the meditating position. He sits in a glass case at Khunaram temple. We went elephant trekking, and saw a crocodile show. The crocodile show consisted of these crazy guys sticking their hands into the crocs mouth to retrieve a 100 baht note. They also put their heads into the crocodile’s mouth. They used a stick to rub the crocs head with, presumably to either calm it or to let it know what he was about to do (although I am sure crocodile’s can’t be trained like other animals). If the crocs head closed he would have no head left! Crazy stuff! And indeed this has happened recently, at Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm in Bangkok. Luckily the guy got away with head wounds. Nothing compared to what could have happened!
The jeep was great, and because I was a solo participant on the tour, I got to ride on the seat above the driver, which I shared with two guys from Italy. I got a mouthful of trees a few times, and the driver was a bit of a nutter. He kept squealing as he perched us at a 45 degree angle over a cliff top. It was quite amusing (for him?) and he added to our own squeals of delight (or terror!) We had lunch at the highest point of the island at some 650m about sea level, where there were beautiful views of the bays below. I arrived back at the hotel and there was a BBQ going on at the hotel restaurant, where they had a band playing, so I spent a couple of hours there revelling in the experiences of the day. I had such a fabulous day and it was worth the fact that I was so worn out from being jolted about in the jeep all day.
I got up early the next day, had breakfast and went in search of new beaches. I walked about 15 minutes or so but every time I tried to get to the next stretch of the beach there were too many rocks or the water came right up to shore. So I walked on the road and finally got access to the beach, through a hotel. I found a lovely little beach and had it all to myself. I stayed there for a couple of hours and walked back to my resort, had lunch and then went to the beach near my hotel. Even thought it was an overcast day you still have to be careful. I spent so long lounging on the beach, reapplying sun cream at regular intervals, I still got burnt.
My time on Koh Samui was over and I had to leave my hotel at 6.20am to catch the boat back to Chumphon. The crossing was fine and then the bus to Bangkok took 6 hours. I didn’t feel well today and had a banging headache all the way, but I finally got to Bangkok later that evening. Once off the bus I flagged a taxi to Khao San Road, but the taxi man told me I wouldn’t get accommodation, so I told him to do one and I walked. Luckily it wasn’t far and, as I had got lost on my wanderings previously, I knew where I was going. I had arranged to meet Michael, who was also here with Real Gap, (Real Gap was the company I had booked a Muay Thai boxing programme through). Michael was 22, from Glasgow, and a really nice guy. We got on really well, considering that was the first time I had met him, and it was good to meet someone else, before I met up with the others.