Spa and Sun
24.07.2009 - 31.07.2009
View Round The World on sonianick's travel map.
It was finally time to go South and chill out...we had been travelling for a couple of weeks and had the need to settle down, have a swim and enjoy being lazy. We arrived at Koh Samui airport and we already perceived that everything works slower in the islands...we got a bit annoyed by the fact that there are no public taxis that take you around the island, only private minibuses which cost you around 600 baht for a 5 min ride. We found a cheap bungalow i.e. Utopia resort in the area of Lamai (2nd largest beach of the island), and pretty near to Chaweng, the main touristic area. As we got in early, we had the whole day to spend there, so we went to the beach in the morning and the afternoon was dedicated to a 3 hour siesta. There was a heavy monsoon storm outside, so we did not feel bad at all for not going out and discovering the island.
We actually did not see much of Koh Samui, as everyone recommended us not to waste any time there, but to go directly to Koh Tao, the diver's paradise...and so we did. The following morning we took a ferry and after 2 hours we were in Koh Tao. As the island is tiny, we thought it was better to stay near to the main services area and from there move around with taxis or a bike, so we made our way to Sairee Beach. After a little search around the resorts and bungalows on the beach, we found our place, the Blue Wind. It's actually a bit overpriced (900 baht - 20 euro) for the hut we had to stay in, but at least we had a TV, toilet paper was included, and the bar was literally on the beach, so you could sit on the wooden floors on your pillow and the sea was only 20 mtr away. Sairee beach has a really good vibe, around 5 or 6 pm, just before the sunset starts, all the bars on the beach start playing music and everyone just sits there and does nothing but chill. For dinner, we went to an area behind the beach, which is full of food stalls where you eat really well and cheap, that's actually our favourite Thai food :-).
We then realised that we had been in Thailand for more than one week and never tried one of the famous massages. All the places we had visited so far in the country were packed with small spas where you could get all sorts of massages at really convenient prices, and Koh Tao was not a difference, so we decided it was time to get one. We went inside the first spa we felt was nice and got our treat...from that day on, it became our ritual, to have dinner and dessert would consist of a Thai massage or a reflexology for 5 Euro...it makes you feel so gooooood!
To get around the island we rented a scooter, as a car was not an option and taxis are not easy to get. Still, there are taxi boats for those who do not like to drive scooters. Roads are very bumpy and steep so if one is not good at driving two wheel vehicles, better not to start here...actually we saw many people with all sorts of injuries, so you have to be careful...plus they do not provide you a helmet. Fortunately, we did not have any problems at all, and we ended up visiting a couple of beaches: Sai Daeng, secluded and full of coral, in front of Shark Island, and a couple of creeks around it where there was no one...it was great. Our favourite place though, we visited the following day...Nang Yuang. Nang Yuang is a natural park of three islands that are connected with sand banks. It is one of the best spots to do some diving and snorkelling and the water is the best on the Eastern islands. We went there in the morning with a taxi boat and spent the whole 4 hours we had in the water, staring at the coral reef and chasing the fish. If you ever go to Koh Tao you should never miss Nang Yuang...it's amazing.
Our last stop in the Eastern side of Thailand was Kho Pha Ngan, which can remind you a bit of Ibiza as it's all about partying hard and drugs if one is interested. From the port at Thong Sala, we grabbed a mini bus to Haad Rin, which is famous for its Full Moon parties. We had read on Lonely Planet that there were some budget bungalows on the far end of the beach, called Mellow Mountain Sea, so we went there and asked for a room. We finally got one next door, at the Mountain Sea Bungalow, that is practically the same. We did not realise at time though, that we were staying at a druggy's place. Both the bar from our hotel and the Mellow Mountain bar serve magic mushroom shakes that make you allucinate for a while. We spent the whole afternoon at Haad Rin beach just sleeping, eating, swimming...and we met some guys from Israel. Well, the whole of Koh Pha Ngnan is full of people from Israel, you even get kosher menus if you want. These guys told us about a pool party that was taking place the same night at a resort called Coral Bungalows, and they told us it was cool and fun to go to, so we told ourselves "why not?". We prepared for the night, had sushi at a Japanese restaurant, got our compulsory massage and headed off to the Pool Party with the free taxi service. Well well well, we got there and what we saw was like a high school party: a swimming pool with people in it, drinking from these famous alcohol buckets and playing around...people dancing around it and others already at the beach getting on "business", if you know what we mean. Basically it was full of losers, wannabes, easy girls, cool boys, oldies playing it young and nostalgic souls...overall, we decided to join the crowd, we got our own vodka bucket and had a little dance...after a while, when it was still safe to leave, we retired...to save up energies for the next day.
The following evening we went to the Half Moon Party. Whilst the Full Moon Party takes place at the beach, Half Moon ones are organised in the jungle. We took a taxi together with other people that were going to the party and met 2 Spanish girls from the Basque Countries. We got on so well we decided to stick together...and when we entered the party area, well, our friend Luli would say that "all cages were opened for the night". Psychodelic decoration, body painting and trance music were filling the place. Many people had fun paintings on their bodies, but the best we saw was a guy who had his back painted with the sentence "FULL MOON PARTIES ARE SHIT ANYWAY". The party was fun and we had the chance to meet people from Israel, Amsterdam and many other places...it was great to be there and experience it.
After two days in Koh Pha Ngan, little sleep but a lot of relax, we made our way to meet our friend Jose in Phuket.