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downundergal Ko Samui - A travel report by Kerrie
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Ko Samui,  Thailand - flag Thailand -  Surat Thani
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downundergal's travel reports

Samui – Not quite my idea of paradise!

  13 votes
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Koh Samui located off the east coast of Thailand has really found its niche with the tourist crowd. It is far busier than I expected and as for being a paradise with a perfect beach well, it’s not as great as the tourist brochures would have you believe.


Main beach at Chaweng.
Main beach at Chaweng.
I was expecting a quiet laidback tropical island so arriving into the main hotel & restaurant area of Chaweng on Koh Samui was a mini culture shock for me. The tourist strip of Chaweng/Lamai is a bustling, jam packed strip of restaurants, tailors, bars and shops with never ending stream of traffic including a greater concentration of horn tooting taxis ever to be found in one place.
On the plus side if you love nightlife and restaurants there are plenty of these. Some of these restaurants are absolutely fabulous. The beach where we stayed at Chaweng was supposed to be one of the best on the island but although it was white sand it was actually quite coarse. Let me also say that there are hidden spots on the island but as the majority of tourists head towards this area due to the main concentrations of accommodations this is mainly what the visitor sees.

Favourite spots:
Bophut at sunset
Bophut at sunset
One of my favourite spots would have to be Bophut Beach and the Fisherman’s Village located at the northern end of Samui. (Thanks for the tip, Brit). It boasts a lovely strip of white sand almost deserted and the village is very small with one main street and some great little accommodation options and funky restaurants it was as far from the madding crowds of Chaweng that you could get. After visiting on a day trip we opted to head back here to stay before we flew out rather than go back to Chaweng.

What's really great:
Beach Vendors
Beach Vendors
In Chaweng I loved where we were staying as the pool was on the beach front so you could lie back on your deckchair, watch all the action and not have to move a muscle. The beach hawkers would wander past and as soon as you showed the slightest bit of interest in what they were selling they were on to you and had the deal stitched up in no time. This ranged from bits of fresh pineapple, ice creams, sarongs and all manner of souvenirs.

Sights:
Fisherman's Village
Fisherman's Village
We hired a jeep and drove around the island but really the main sights are down on the sand and the beach. Some of the spots around the island are quite nice for a spot of lunch but nothing really out of the ordinary.
We called in at the Samui Orchid Resort and Aquarium and Tigers. The entry fee was exorbitant and after walking around the outside where they had so many beautiful parrots, exotic birds and otters all in small cages where they all looked so hot I felt so sorry for them so we gave it a miss. I would imagine the tigers and the fish held on the inside were probably no better looked after.

Accommodations:
Our room at the Montien - romantic hey?
Our room at the Montien - romantic hey?
For my money you can’t go past the Montien House at Chaweng Beach. Small, family run, not new or ritzy but a great pool area and restaurant fronting the beach and most importantly with a friendly atmosphere especially with the restaurant staff and other travelers.
Accommodation ranges from basic bungalows from 1540 baht per night upwards.We opted for the middle range and it was pretty special.
It was a Deluxe Room in part of the new Building wing built at the front of the resort closer to the road side than the beach as opposed to the bungalows nearer the beach. Because the property is not that big it was a short walk through a tropical pathway to the beach and pool.
Costing 2450 baht per night it was beautifully decorated and complete with a king size four poster bed, huge marble bathroom with a bath and separate shower, twin basins and to top it off a computer that offered free internet access, great to log onto Globo…well it was possible some of the time at least cont'd below

Nightlife:
The Lodge where we stayed at Bophut.
The Lodge where we stayed at Bophut.
Breakfast was included with the chef there waiting to cook your choices and a full buffet in addition with some beautiful tropical fruits on offer.
We shopped around while we were there as we only booked the first 3 nights but it really did offer the best value for money, similar cost up to 1000-1500 baht per night more.
When we returned from Koh Tao we went to Bophut Beach (thanks for the tip, Britman!) and we stayed at The Lodge, a great little place on the beach again and only about 7 rooms in total. Cost for a double was 1200 for the night without breakfast. Comfortable rooms with aircon.
A lovely strip of sand, very quiet and low key they had a little pavilion on the beach where you could have a massage or get your nails done. Who can resist that when on holidays?

Hangouts:
The Islander Pub
The Islander Pub
Can’t beat the Islander Pub and Restaurant for a cold draught beer at the end of the day. It attracts a big crowd from all parts of the world but especially with all the local Brits as they have quite a few televisions dotted around showing the latest sporting matches. It also has a large menu with a changing nightly special of all those things you might pine for if you come from England. I must admit though the meals were good, quantities large and service good.
We tended to stay down the Chaweng end of the strip as opposed to Lamai as it seemed the closer to Lamai you got the standards also seemed to drop.

Restaurants:
Prego - a beautiful restaurant.
Prego - a beautiful restaurant.
Prego – how smooth and stylish! Open plan on three sides with black and white marble and beautifully decorated with timber furniture and splashes of red. The menu is Italian and the food is to die for! Wait staff on tap, you are served a comp. platter of at least 4 breads with 4 dipping sauces of capsicum and black olive tapenade, balsamic vinegar & olive oil and herb butter. My Risotto with prawns and asparagus with rosemary, yum. For the surroundings and the service the prices were not too bad. Our meals were 250 – 270000 baht (approx $6 - $8 US) & no charge for the bread. Plus they also offer pizzas which are cheaper even still.
Most of the resorts set up their restaurants on the sand at night. Choose what you wish from the display and they barbeque it for you.
At Bophut opt for the Happy Elephant but in the original section not the slick new upmarket outdoor area. Same kitchen but inside you get cheap prices and generous servings, outside, small servings and outrageous prices.

Other recommendations:
Bophut beach was really beautiful.
Bophut beach was really beautiful.
If you are here for diving make the trip to Koh Tao instead, it is much quieter and more geared for divers/travellers not on the package tour jaunts.

I like my islands more low key than what the main part of Chaweng is so Bophut won for me hands down.

But, would I come back? Probably not in a hurry.


Published on Saturday January 28th, 2006


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Sat, May 10 2008 - 05:23 AM rating by tenpounds

Samui is no longer paradise, it is nore like a builing site. Do not go there without checking here. http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?s=1dcd4e0ff7c610641bd39de542f4dff3&showtopic=183559

Sat, Apr 15 2006 - 12:55 AM rating by tokyomike

First of all, thanks for the very kind comments on my reports. I'm glad you stopped by, as they pointed me here to your site. I'm always happy to meet a person who enjoys Thailand like I do. And if I were to write a report about Samui, it would have a lot in common with yours. I agree that Chawaeng really destroyed my topical idea of "Sleepy Samui" that I had based on the info I'd read on it. And I also enjoyed some of the quieter beaches in other areas of the Island. I think next time I'll say around MaeNam Beach -- tropical paradise, and go party in Chawaeng!!! Also, good intel on hotels on the beach there. I was there with my Thail ex -- born and raised with a silver spoon in her mouth, it was 5-star all the way. Nice, but mostly unnecessary. For me, 1500Baht or less is all I need. Hey, maybe that's why I'm still single. Haha. No, seriously, fantastic report. Thanks :) And for the record, you have coolest profile photo of all on this site --Fighter Pilot! Very cool! NIce to know you!

Sat, Jan 28 2006 - 02:14 PM rating by frenchfrog

I have nothing more to say than martin and david, it was a fantastic report.

Sat, Jan 28 2006 - 01:11 PM rating by mortimer

A good read and interesting to have different views from the ones in our memorys. Have you visited Britman in his Villa? Thanks for sharing

Sat, Jan 28 2006 - 12:34 PM rating by magsalex

An honest report. I have to agree with you that if you can find a quieter spot away from the crowds,traffic and touts it can be enjoyable!

Sat, Jan 28 2006 - 08:50 AM rating by davidx

Fine report, Kerrie, and valuable information.. It proves that a report can be interesting and enjoyable even when the place described is a bit less so.

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