Koh Samui, the first island that we visited on our trip to Thailand.
Unfortunately, we only had two nights to spend there, so we didn’t really get a chance to get a feel for the island and properly explore it, but the time we spent there was still somewhat enjoyable.
Upon arrival on the island, we were bundled into a minibus and driven up the long and bumpy road to our accommodation, Bangpo Village. Bangpo was gorgeous. For anyone seeking a quiet holiday away from the madness of the backpacker scene, I cannot recommend it enough. Our lodgings were a wooden bungalow on stilts, and we not only had air-con and WiFi, but two double bedrooms, a living room, fully integrated kitchen and outside space with a double mattress to recline on, and all for the small price of £24!
In addition to this, our bungalow was a stone’s throw away from a beautiful deserted beach, which literally stretched as far as the eye could see.
Despite our long journey, Me and Simone were desperate to get our bikinis on and hit the beach, so as soon as we’d dumped our bags, it was off with the clothes and into the sea! Minor a minor hiccough when Simone dunked her phone underwater to prove it was waterproof (hint – it wasn’t), we had fun in the water and then sunbathed for a bit while we waited for Lewis to finish showering, or unpacking, or whatever it was he was doing.
When he eventually joined us, we took a walk along the beach in search of food, stopping at a seafood restaurant filled with locals. My chili squid and oysters went down a treat but Simone wasn’t too keen on her sea urchin salad – after having a bite, I didn’t blame her, it was awful. Anyway, we chilled at the restaurant for a while, finishing our beers and wandering back to the bungalow to get ready for our first night out in Koh Samui and wait for Paula to arrive. When she did, she wasn’t feeling good (the bar she’d been at the night before laced its shots with amphetamine so she was coming down, hard), and so she decided to try and get some sleep, leaving me, Simone and Lewis to hit the town on our own.
We’d read that Chaweng was the place to be, and so we headed there. First we ate in a gorgeous restaurant that served Italian food, before wandering around the streets of Chaweng in search of a nice bar to spend our night in.
Well, I say ‘wander’ but in reality it was more like a sprint. You see, it was the night before Songkran (Thai New Year), and the celebrations were starting early. By ‘celebrations’ I don’t mean drinking to excess and partying the night away. Oh no. Thais celebrate New Year by having huge water fights on the streets, and while we were well aware that Songkran was coming, we’d totally overlooked the fact that it might start early!
Me and Simone had dressed to impress, wearing nice clothes, full makeup and styled hair. What fools we must have looked then, legging it through the streets of Chaweng in our flip flops, tripping over our silk harem pants and clutching our non-waterproof bags to our chests to protect our electronics. All the bar girls were lying in wait up and down the cobbled streets with industrial sized water guns and buckets filled to the brim with ice cold water, which they took great pleasure in pouring over the top of our heads and down our backs. Restaurant owners stood next to barrels full of iced water, dunking their buckets in and drenching passersby, cars drove past with groups of young Thai men hanging out of the windows with water pistols, and for the three of us farangs, unarmed and clueless, we were a prime target.
We ended up legging it down a street full of bars, ladyboys and prostitutes running after us howling with laughter as they soaked us. Eventually, not able to run any further, we ducked inside a bar aptly named ‘Reggae Pub’ that was basically a huge shrine to Bob Marley. We stayed in there for one drink before deciding to find somewhere else, as it was eerily quiet inside.
However, that proved easier said than done, because although all of the bars looked busy, it soon became apparent that the only customers were handfuls of middle-aged white men surrounded by the desperate bar girls. Eventually, when it became clear that we weren’t going to find any sort of backpacker scene, we settled on the next bar to beckon us inside, and had a couple of beers in what was quite possibly the most disturbing place I have ever been in.
The sad neon lights flashed like some seedy gay bar in Soho, and the staff (all blatantly hookers) pretty much ignored us. To our left there was a 40-something sex worker grinding on the lap of a skinny boy who couldn’t have been older than 12. His dad sat next to him with another, albeit younger, woman grinding on him.
When we couldn’t handle anymore of the uncomfortable scene taking place in front of us, we decided to check out the club opposite, which seemed to be the only busy place in Chaweng. This place, smoky and dark, was also full of prostitutes and Western men, but as it was so busy, we managed to get some seats in the corner and keep ourselves to ourselves a little, even getting up for a dance now and then.
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The morning after, I had a nice long lie in and when I woke at around midday, Paula and Simone had gone out to explore the island, so I sat outside and updated my travel journal while I waited for Lewis to wake up, kept company by Pluto the dog, who’d not left our front door since we’d arrived the morning before.
By the time Lewis woke up, we were both starving and there was no sign of the girls so we decided to head out for some food in a small cafe across the road. I don’t remember what I ordered, mainly due to the fact that as soon as we sat down to eat, the heavens opened and we witnessed our first Thai thunderstorm.
Now, if you’ve never been lucky enough to be caught in a storm in Thailand, let me tell you – they don’t mess about. When it rains, it pours, and when it pours, thunder and lightening are always around to make things that bit more dramatic.
Sitting in this empty cafe on a main road in the middle of a thunderstorm, me and Lewis joked that we were on the most unromantic date possible, and we really were. We waited a while for the rain to cease, but eventually decided that it wasn’t going to, and so we went to the nearest 7-11, bought some alcohol, and took it back to the bungalow to start drinking.
When Simone and Paula got back, they were like drowned rats, but they’d rented scooters and explored all the beaches on the island and they were full of enthusiasm about the beauty of Koh Samui. However, after the disappointment of the night before combined with the rain, we decided that it wasn’t worth trying to have another night out (we had to be up early to get the ferry in the morning) and so we just went for something to eat in a restaurant and then headed back to the bungalow to play cards and have a few drinks.
So to conclude? I enjoyed my time on Koh Samui. Would I go back there? Probably not. The nightlife seemed pretty seedy, and from the brief time that I spent on the beach and the area surrounding the bungalow, there didn’t seem to be many (any?!) other travellers/people in general, which to me just felt a little lonely.