After one short flight south of Chiang Mai, Mother and I arrived for the third and final leg of our Thailand adventures on a very hot little island called Koh Samui. We were aiming to have a chilled out few days, rarely leaving the beach or pool, but our hotel Centara Villas was so expensive to eat and drink at, that we had no choice but to venture out at least once a day.
Koh Samui is a very small island with a lot of beautiful stretches of beach, but not all are maintained to a very high standard. Along the main beachfront of Lamai, it seems as if the businesses and hotels are in charge of cleaning the stretch of beach that backs onto their business, and some just don’t. I saw a fair share of ladies (and ladyboys) offering Thai massage, hair and nail treatments along the beachfront if you’re interested. If you fancy being pampered but not outside, the main street running parallel with the beach (Had Lamai Road) is home to massage parlour after massage parlour.
Koh Samui is more expensive than mainland Thailand due to the fact that you’re a trapped audience. Massage and beauty treatments vary in price, but you can still get treatments as cheap as we found in Bangkok & Chiang Mai.
For clothing, there’s a lot more tourist driven produce here – ‘I love Thailand’ t-shirts and such.
There is a lively market on a Sunday evening in Lamai.
Mother had her eye on these little coconut milk-jelly-pancakes, but I was not sure at all. It turns out, they’re hot sweet little domes of coconut perfection.
The Sunday market isn’t just a tourist spot, there are also trade stalls for fruit, veg, seafood and meat.
Restaurant wise, be picky. I wouldn’t eat anywhere that was empty, or anywhere with a line of waitresses outside shouting at me to get me to come in. And looks and size aren’t everything (haven’t we heard that before)! We had decent Pad Thai’s in the smallest un-glamorous restaurants right by our hotel.
Taxis are expensive, and they refuse to put the meters on. If you ask them to, they just won’t take you. Everyone recommends getting a scooter in Koh Samui, but I saw far too many grazed legs and faces to consider it. Luckily, Centara Villas has a shuttle bus that goes from the hotel to Lamai and Chaweng, so we were able to get around much cheaper this way.
There’s not too much to do on the island, but there are other islands nearby you can get to in a few hours or less via speedboat or ferry. Koh Samui is definitely a more relaxed area of Thailand, and very different to Chiang Mai or Bangkok. If you’re up for ending your trip to Thailand with pina coladas and beautiful sunsets, this is where you need to be!