.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, October 06, 2008


Koh Samui on the cheap

Koh Samui is perhaps Thailand's most popular island resort for good reason. It has many natural attractions and facilities have expanded in recent years to cater to the influx of visitors. This doesn't mean it must cost you and arm and a leg to go there. Yes, there are many upmarket resorts to cater for the well-heeled if that's your bag but if you are travelling on a budget Koh Samui still has a lot to offer.

I arrived on Koh Samui by ferry from the mainland and was met by my friend, Colin, who had hired a motorcycle. We headed off together to a quiet area on the north-eastern shore of the island. There we visited Richard who was staying at a bungalow resort. I took this photo as we sat on the veranda of Richard's 500-baht-a-night bungalow right on the beach. The bungalow is small but has all the basic stuff included. This area is away from the busy-ness of Sumui's east coast. If you want a really quiet spot you couldn't do much better than this. The resort where Richard was staying has its own restaurant with reasonable prices. If you want to chill out there is no reason to leave. And if you want a change there's another restaurant about five minutes walk up the road.

I stayed with Richard while Colin went back to the ferry terminal to pick up Lhi. After they arrived we headed off for the east coast. There was a storm approaching so Colin went alone on the bike and Lhi and I waited for a songtheau. They travel around and across the island at regular intervals and are the usual way for getting around. We managed to keep our luggage dry but the rain got in at the sides of the songtheau so both Lhi and I got our backs wet. It is the rainy season at the moment so you have to expect this from time to time.

Lhi and Colin got themselves a bungalow at Utopia which is on the northern end of Lamai Beach. The place was fairly heavily booked so they were back from the beach but it was only a short walk away. Their cabin was small but comfortable. It was surrounded by other cabins as you can see in this pic taken from their veranda. 500 baht a night included wireless internet access and an all-you-can-eat breakfast for two people. Let's face it, in Australia you'd pay at least that just for the breakfast.

I checked out Lamai Pearl towards the southern end of Lamai. If I didn't have Colin to show me around I don't think I would have found it. It is well off the road and there are no signs. Imagine your grandfather bought some remote seafront land about 30 years ago and built a cabin on it. He built it himself. It was solid but a bit rough and ready. That describes the cabin I got for 250 baht a night. It wouldn't suit everyone. For starters the bed was rather firm. Imagine a concrete block covered with a yoga mat—that's what it felt like but it was a real mattress and I like a firm bed. The place was clean and right on the beach. I was very happy there.

If you don't want to rely on songtheaus to get around you can hire a motorbike. Colin got his at Nathon near the ferry terminal. This meant he was able to use it to get across the island. It cost 150 baht a day and gave him a little trouble. He got a flat tyre. They said he would have to pay to repair it himself. But the tyre repair shop pointed out that it needed a new tyre because the old one was bald. He was close to the hire shop at the time so they gave him a different bike. The same thing happened again. I got my bike (see pic) in Lamai. There are hire places all over the place. Mine cost 125 baht a day, was newer than Colin's, in better condition and gave no trouble. I recommend you check the bike over carefully before you take it. Driving on Samui (or anywhere in Thailand) can be a bit crazy and it pays to have a safe vehicle.

If you'd like to know a little more about what to expect on Koh Samui I suggest you take a look at my earlier blogs and my flickr photo pages. Have fun.

Labels: , , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?