Short Getaway to Koh Samui, Thailand – Day 2
Just in case you were wondering whether Day 2 even existed, it did, of course. Just that I had been busy making tons of cake pops over the 2 weeks and also nursed a slight cold at the same time, so updating of my blog took a backseat.
So, let’s continue talking about my trip to Koh Samui. Warning: long post with pictures.
After a good night’s sleep, we were awoken by birds’ singing (which I later guessed must have been from singing birds kept by the resort). The sun rose beautifully and we were able to see our surroundings more clearly.
Our room and resort surroundings – Bandara Resort and Spa
We have no complains about the room. It was clean and of ample size for us.
Ours was a Deluxe room with a King sized bed. There was a daybed too.
A sliding door separates the bathroom from the bedroom, so if you were sitting in the bathtub, just push the TV to face you and you can watch TV from the tub. Within the bathroom itself, there was a separate shower and toilet area. Actually, we could watch TV while sitting on the toilet bowl too haha! And of course there is another door at the side, surely we did not need to climb through the bathtub whenever we needed the toilet!
After a great breakfast, we checked out the resort a little.
There were 4 pools in the resort – 2 infinity pools, a bigger lap pool and a children’s pool. Beside the big pool were 8 salas (pavilions), but they were always taken up very early. We were not early enough, so we went for the sun loungers at the beach instead.
There were also quite a number of love trees around the garden, apparently planted by the couples who got married there.
Of course, how could we not check out the beach, which was tranquil and very peaceful.
The tide was calm, the water was nice and warm, no hustle and bustle, time seemed to have come to a standstill.
I sat on the sun lounger and attempted to read, but I just could not stop looking at the mountains and yachts on the horizon. It’s not that they are something new to me. There is something about looking at mountains. I often see scenes in books or on TV and it seems like in so many places, wherever you are, you are bound to see some nice hills or mountains in the far end. Even in cities like Tokyo, you can go up a high building and you see Mt Fuji. In Singapore, you can go up the highest building and not see such a thing. Just because we do not have such a thing called mountain or hill. We have a so-called Bt Timah Hill, which is only a mere 164 metres, so it doesn’t count, as far as I am concerned.
The only thing about Bophut beach, where we were at, is that the sand is not very fine. In fact, it was quite course. I’m not sure about other beaches on the island, perhaps they have nicer sand? But still, I was very contented to be there.
Transportation and moving around
We decided to go visit the rest of the island a little and explored our options. Our resort offered free shuttle service to Chaweng, the most happening area of the island. But the timing did not match our schedule, so we sought other options.
Taxi was too expensive. They also do not go by the meter and fares are negotiated before the journey starts.
Car rental could be arranged by most hotels and resorts, but they were not cheap either. Most rentals come in blocks of 4 hours and you could also hire a driver at additional charge.
Songtheaws are something between bigger tuk-tuks and a pickup truck. They run on fixed routes which are displayed on the front of the vehicle. They are ok, with fares between 20-60 baht per person per trip. The hotel staff told us the later it is in the day, the higher the fares. At that moment when we asked, about noon time, we were told it would be 60 baht.
Then we considered motorbikes. Rental of motorbikes, or rather scooters, were everywhere. BUT they do not cover insurance and some shops may be a little dubious in the way they do things. Also, they would keep our passport during the rental period. We felt uncomfortable with this, but in the end, we decided to take a risk since it was common practice for them. At 250baht for 24hrs, not only is it the cheapest way to get around, it was also the most convenient.
After paying for the rental, the boss tops up the scooter with about a liter of petrol. Any additional petrol we use is at our own expense.
I was a little nervous at first, because I have never ridden on a motorbike before. The only time when I was pillion was a 5 minute ride from Mr D some 10 years back. I guess that was so short it didn’t count. I was pretty scared stiff at that time. It wasn’t him. I was scaredy-cat.
And off we went! We stayed in the road shoulder most of the times, since it was for slower vehicles and we were slow! At 40km/h, who could say we were fast? It was me. Any faster than that, I would ask Mr D to slow down. Besides, Mr D realised our scooter could only go up to 60km/h max. The traffic seemed a little chaotic at first. There were no lane markings and some roads were not in good shape. But eventually, we felt pretty alright. In fact, other road users do give way to one another. In a way, the drivers were also more patient and friendly than the ones back home.
We wanted to go to Tesco Lotus, a hypermart, to check out places for lunch. But instead we saw Big C (another hypermart) along the way and got waylaid instead. Wasn’t a bad idea. We had lunch and I bought a sarong (150 Baht) as well as a new set of bikini at a bargain (200 Baht), if you ask me. When we were about to move off, we realised the front tyre was flat. Backtracked to a petrol kiosk and realised that there was actually a cut in the tyre. So, we went back to the rental shop to change to another scooter.
It was a good thing the place is not too big, so all this going around did not waste much of our time. Driving around was also easy, because there is only 1 main road that goes round the island. We took a leisurely ride to Big Buddha temple, which is one of the main attractions on the island.
Being a hot day, we had to seek refuge in some ice-cream!
It wasn’t the cheapest, but yes, being Movenpick, you could say it probably was the best on the island. The ice-cream parlor was a nice little place with white walls and big glass doors. It was very airy looking and indeed it was! The aircon was switched off, yet the sea breeze was so cooling and nice.
We continued on our journey to Chaweng. Along the way, we stopped by for a short rest and went in to a shop for a leg massage. It was a no-frills shop, somewhere opposite the White House Beach Resort and beside a steak house. In fact, the sofa in the picture below was leaning against the glass wall separating it and the steak house. We could see the steak house customers through the thin curtain.
But the massage was great, at I think, 250 baht per person, which was the average price at most streetside shops. 2 middle-aged ladies tended to us and rubbed balm (not massage oil) on our tired legs with long and experienced strokes. I also realised the boss switched to some relaxing music for us and the hour long massage was finished off with a few rubs and strokes on our tired backs and shoulders.
Recharged, we continued our way to Chaweng. I asked the lady boss how far we were and she said 20 minutes, not forgetting to serve us a reminder with a warm Thai smile to ride safely, since according to her, accidents are common.
It was easy to notice whenever we have reached some towns, because we would see beach resorts springing up, and then more shops. Finally, we have reached Chaweng.
Basically, that is how the whole street looks. If you just travel along, you would not even know there is a beach right beside, because there is no glimpse of it at all. The street comes to live more at night, when pubs crawlers start filling up the pubs that line the sides. There are numerous shops selling other stuff, clothing, fashion accessories, bags, spectacles and seafood. If you are looking for some nice department stores, there are none. But the whole street has many shops selling beachwear, hats, “branded” sunglasses and bags and souvenirs. There are also several optical shops here, I guess it must be quite cheap to have your prescription glasses made here, but since we both do not wear glasses or contacts, I have no idea.
It is a must to bargain when making your purchase, because it is the way things go here. Both of us are not great fans of negotiating prices (makes me wonder if my previous job was really right for me!) and we also did not have many things to buy.
We seek refuge from the hot sun and went to McDonald’s for a while, where Ronald greeted us the Thai way. 🙂
It was good we rode a scooter, so finding parking was easy. It was also amazing that though the street looks messy, with those overhanging cables and all, it was very clean. Dusty yes, but litter? No. There was also no dustbins in sight. Makes me ashamed that Singapore prides itself for being clean, when all we have is a superduper team of cleaners.
By late afternoon, restaurants in the area all started displaying their seafood on layers of ice. Lobsters, oysters, prawns, fish etc. Being a seafood lover, I find it irresistable.
Most of the restaurants along the street offered similar menus at similar prices. We randomly chose a restaurant and went in. Being the only customers there (since we were early), all attention was on us. It was a very hot day and we looked sticky and sweaty. The staff brought extra fans beside our table.
As we had began to tuck into our sumptuous meal, suddenly, electricity stopped. All fans and most lights went out. As the sun had not set yet, brightness was no issue. But we began sweating like mad. The restaurant was also not enclosed i.e. there were no doors, without the fans, our food attracted many hungry houseflies. While I saw a few men working on the messy electricity cables just outside the restaurant, the waiters and waitresses helped us to manually fan away the flies. Mr D and I tried to eat quickly, a staff offered to help us peel the crabmeat from the crab. Wow! I have never had anyone do that for me before! To me, part of the pleasure of eating crabs is knocking the shell and peeling the meat myself. But under the circumstances we were in, we gladly obliged. When a waitress saw my sweat dripping down my forehead, she took a big piece of hard paper, stood behind me and fanned me! I felt so pampered.
The restaurant offered other meat and seafood platters, but our platter had the most items I think, with 1 lobster, 2 oysters, 2 crabs, 4 king prawns (which I dropped 1, clumsy hands!), 1 fish, squids, mussels, clams, 2 baked potatoes, 1 corn and salad cost us about 1790 baht, nett. Was a steal to me! We can never get such prices back home. And the seafood was pretty fresh. Fresh seafood needs little seasoning, just plain grilled like this was heavenly to me. And yes, we were very hungry, so we finished every bit of it.
Before we ended the meal, electricity was back, yeah! Despite the heat and loss of electricity, the dinner was a great way to end the day. Unfortunately, a little after that, I realised I had lost my sunglasses. I had somehow dropped them on the street somewhere when we left the restaurant, but I couldn’t find them though we traced back our steps. It wasn’t an expensive pair, but I rarely lose my things and I certainly do not like the feeling. The dinner brought me to a great high, then losing my sunglasses promptly pulled me back down. I only had myself to blame for being careless.
Unable to find my glasses, we left the area for a slow ride back to our resort, ready to have a nice bath and a good rest to welcome the next day.