23 September 2012

Chaweng, Koh Samui

As much as we like it here on our little paradise island, it must be said that it is REALLY QUIET this time of the year. The low season has really kicked in, the restaurants are empty, the only noise is the cicadas and the occasional bark of the territorial dogs. The plus side is that you can really relax, focus on your own thoughts, concentrate on the yoga and do some work. But sometimes one does feel a touch of cabin fever setting in and then you need to go out there and see some people.

So, we decided to go and check out the neighbouring island of Koh Samui. Neither of us had been there before, so we were interested and also a bit apprehensive to see if it would meet our expectations of being a busy, touristy place, a package travellers' mecca full of westerners who drag huge Samsonite trolleys, get drunk, buy cheap fake goods and eat seafood. Nothing wrong with any of that, of course, if you're into that kind of travelling mentality, but we usually tend to steer clear of such places. But as we get an abundance of peace, quiet and tranquillity on our island, we were up for one day of mod cons.

So we drove our bike to Thong sala, bought tickets for the Seatran ferry (500 baht = 12 euros for the two of us) and 30 min later we arrived on the northern shore of Koh Samui, near Bo Phut. The other alternative would have been the trusty Lomprayah catamaran, but as its pier was further away from Chaweng, we went for Seatran this time.

Awesome food stalls abound in Thailand. Here's one at Thong sala pier.

Seatran, our red friend

Fierce speed competition with Lomprayah

 We'd booked a night in The Island on Chaweng beach (the busiest and most touristy of Samui's beaches, we'd heard), so we rented a scooter, enjoyed the comfortable ride along smooth asphalt roads (not a given on Koh Phangan where most of the roads are made of concrete), took a wrong turn only once and soon arrived at our hotel. It was nothing too special, but the location was nice and the price included breakfast. Plus the courtyard with the more expensive bungalows was super cozy:

The plan for the day was to check out the shop of my favourite clothing brand Psylo, have some drinks, get a nice massage and eat some seafood. This we achieved, plus I got to go to Boots and buy my favourite cucumber moisturizer! And there was divine Magners cider <3 Thank you, Australian and  Irish people for your pubs. The seafood was also really good, we chose a place which didn't have shark on the barbecue stand that evening (sadly it was really hard to find such a place...) and ordered some barbecued jumbo prawns and crab in curry sauce. Reasonable prices and tasty fare.

Looking a bit like Khaosan road, Bangkok


Even the leperchauns wear flip-flops around here!

Busy Chaweng

Cheerful massage spa staff. Awesome hot stone foot&leg massage <3

Gotta love the power lines around here. No wonder the electricity is a bit iffy at times.

Oh, and to top it all off: we finally tried the fish spa! It feels really weird, having these little fellas nibbling away on your feet and legs. But they do get the job done, I don't think we've ever had such smooth and silky skin in our legs. Well done, little fishies :)

Another funny thing to notice was that the nordic (mostly Swedish) influence has reached the tropics as well. There was also a Viking bar and another Swedish bar which proudly annouced that they sell snus.

To sum it all up: Samui was actually pretty nice, as it's low season: I kinda liked the hustle and bustle of tourists as a contrast to our "countryside living". What I didn't like so much were the "bouncers" who try to get people to come and eat at their restaurant or to get a suit tailored at their shop. Those we don't get here in Srithanu. Perhaps we wouldn't choose Samui on the itinerary if we were purely travelling and had only a short amount of time to stay in the tropics, but as a short break for people watching and a bit of shopping, it surely filled its purpose nicely. All in all it was a really relaxing day, and we've both recharged our "people-batteries" so that we can enjoy the peace and quiet again. It sure felt nice to come back home to Koh Phangan today!

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