It had been the perfect amount of time to spend in Koh Phangan as we left the Island. Catching each wave perfectly as our express ferry ploughed through the ocean we arrived at the docks of Koh Samui. We were met with a flivver, an air conditioned flivver at least to drive us to our hostel we were staying at opposite Chaweng beach. As we arrived a mistake had been made by the hostel in booking our room which left me and Georgia in a quite fortunate position in being able to stay in one of the nearby beach huts which were almost adjacent to the shore. The biota of a desert island surrounded us with great, boistrous palm trees and parched, wondering animals. The beach hut was slightly gimcrack, in a sense that it was abit showy and useless. The toilet didn’t flush, there was a hole in the wall and mosquitoes seemed to settle here like an unwelcomed guest at a birthday. In regard to pecuniary matters this was still a luxury as we were getting a good £20 beach hut for £4 for the night, even if it was a little mediocre.
All that has to be said about the forthcoming day is that we spent it quite happily on the beach, which was a lot nicer than Koh Phangan. Although it was more shallow, it was almost more clear and warm. That evening my stomach had been feeling better so I enjoyed eating the most amazing Thai curry accompanied with the national drink of Chang.
After a couple of days on the beach, tanning our skin and swimming playfully in the sea we noticed that a nearby resort had a sign outside it that read ‘free swimming pool’. Curiously we entered the grounds and asked what exactly the sign meant. A German lady owned the Pandora resort and gladly let us use the outside pool as it was low season. It would only be fair of us to buy a round of beers as often as we could from her as a thanks for letting us use her pool, besides it was favourable compared to getting sand everywhere at the beach.
I hadn’t felt so relaxed in my life than laying here on a sun lounger. This was mine and Georgia’s first beach holiday together and we lapped it up as best we could. I finished a book on the Vietnam war called ‘Dispatches’ by Michael Kerr. It has made me want to spend more time in Vietnam during our travels so that night we made a decision to erase Laos from our travel itinerary and replace it with an extra 2 weeks in Vietnam, I hope it is worth it.
I started to somaticize over the fact I hadn’t done much touristy activities during our stay on the Thai islands. We did what all good tourists do and visited a travel agents to book an organised tour. It was much more simpler and less expensive as getting around on the island isn’t cheap. We paid 350 bhat each which is something similar to £7 and we departed.
We were dropped off at Wat Plai Laem, a Buddhist temple with the most intricate and indeed delicate carvings I have ever seen on a temple. Boasting fantastic colours it was a majestic building yet there seemed to be little or no locals admiring it, just western tourists.
A short distance away was Wat Leam Suwanaram, a 100 year old temple which depicted a large Chinese lady monk known as ‘Jow Mae Kuan Im.
The most famous landmark on Koh Samui is the big Buddha that we visited next. It is placed on a small island that you have to drive across before you reach it. Although there are more impressive ‘Big Buddhas’ out there, the 12 metre high structure was marvellous to look at.
The next hour was spent visiting the highest point of Koh Samui which was around 700 metres above sea level. The view point overlooked the 7km stretch of Chaweng beach and gave you a more intimate glance of the gorgeous white sand, crystal clear water and surrounding nature. A short distance away there are two rock formations known as ‘Grandmother and Grandfather rock’. The granite rocks are shaped like female and male genitalia. It is said that a young man and woman ended their lives together here during a storm and the symbol of their everlasting love were permenantly shaped for an amusing viewing. It is a shame I didn’t take a picture of the female genitilia as it was too hard of a picture to take. If you google it though it will show as there is nothing else like it in the world.
Next we headed to Khunnaram Temple where the body of Koh Samuis most famous mummified monk, Loung Pordaeng is on display. Sat in the same mediation position he had been in before he died in the 1970’s it was a curious site to see indeed. Running the morbid exhibition was a living, breathing monk which offered blessings on a donation basis. This monk occupied my interests as he didn’t seem like your bog standard Thai monk. The man behind the robes echoed a life of sin before he was accepted by the monastery. Demonic tattoos stained his arms, subtle dents and scars populated his tired face which bestowed to me an image of the man having two very different chapters of his life. Nevertheless it was thrilling to be blessed by a him, a definite privilege that will stay with me.
We drove 20 minutes to Namuang waterfall, which was nothing but a disappointment to be honest. It had been advertised as a waterfall which had a torqoise blue pool beneath it. In reality it was a murky pool littered with heaps of rubbish, I couldn’t quite grasp what sort of a person would litter in a place so bountiful of natural beauty.
The forthcoming day was Georgia’s 23rd birthday! We had a lovely day relaxing by the pool, splashing out on breakfast lunch and dinner aswell as having a Thai massage on the beach which Georgia appropriately described as ‘painful’. She had a great day but spending your birthday in a foreign land away from your family is never quite the same, even if you are laying in the sun on a tropical island! Our time had come the next day to leave the exotic islands in the Gulf of Thailand, we are due to travel over 1000km North by bus to the famous city of Chiang Mai…wish us luck.