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More Koh Samui @ my www

26 Mar

I finished my Koh Samui page; which includes info as well as a lot of pictures I haven’t posted before. Might be updated _suddenly_.

Accommodation in Koh Samui – Dreams Villa Resort

22 Mar

I stayed at Dreams Villa Resort in Bo Phut; a two storey villa with living area, kitchen, patio (two; facing the garden and the pool), bathroom downstair, and two bedrooms; as well as two bathrooms upstairs. The interior is fresh, and the furniture is very comfortable. It was perfect for two people, we had so much space, and this is bigger than our apartment in Oslo. The pool was heated, and we used it a lot. The only thing missing was a better road leading down to the main road (the seven minute distance wasn’t really a problem).

See, I was happy 🙂

List of other hotels/resorts we considered, and reason for exclusion:

Baan Kao Hua Jook  Villas / 10 minutes from the beach in Chaweng. Looked perfect, but couldn’t find many trustworthy reviews.

Banburee Resort and Spa / Read a lot of complaints of the resort lacking a beach. We drove by here, and this place is remote. You don’t have any many (any?) choices for restaurants in the area either. Only if you have a car.

Coconut Villa Resort & Spa Samui / Beach seemed great, but villas seemed too small.

Kanok Buri Resort & Spa / This place looked interesting. You get a lot for less, supposedly great beach (but I’m not a fan). We wanted a one-bedroom apartment, but everything is in the same room here.

Mantra Samui Resort / Cozy room, but it’s an expensive hotel room.

Samui Cliff View Resort & Spa / No beach. Only rocks. Beach 10 minutes away. Remote, no restaurants nearby, only the highway.

Sea Valley Hotel and Spa / Couldn’t find any reviews.

If we’d be willing to spend more we’d chose a huge villa @ Kirikayan Luxury Pool Villas & Spas, or the Fair House Villas & Spa

 

If you have stayed at any of these places and have a blog post about it, please comment with your link!

Island Safari in Koh Samui – Half Day Excursion

20 Mar

I usually hate this type of organized tours where you are pushed around like a monkey, but I wanted to visit Buddha’s Magic Garden and since it is remote this seemed like the way to do it. Hah.

1. Viewing point
What the…. Totally useless. Luckily one a five minute stop.

2.  The Mummified Monk
A dead monk with sunglasses and grey skin. Yay.

3. Elephant trekking
I did not really want to do this because I didn’t see the fun, but once you’re there and have the opportunity you think you ‘have to’. It was totally uncomfortable. We payed 300 BHT extra to get our picture taken (it was horrible, but that’s not the camera man’s fault I guess). At one point the elephant rider got off the elephant and asked if we wanted to get our photos taken with our own camera. That was the best part, but we still looked like idiots. Then the rider got back on and asked me to take a picture of him. I wondered what was the point, but tried to meet his wish. Then he said ‘No…!! I want money, for me.” We just looked at eachother and decided not to give him anything. We already payed for the trekking and the useless polaroid!

4. Elephant + monkey + crocodile show
Brilliant. The elephants are very amusing and they have personalities. The part of the tour I thought I’d dislike the most turned out the be the part I most appreciated. Here also they tried (and managed) to get money from the visitors if the visitors wanted to climb the elephant, or even pose next to it. 200 BHT please. They got a lot of money, at one point I thought that was the show.
The monkey show was boring, with a poor tied up monkey fetching coconuts.
The crocodile show was lengthy, and not very entertaining. I enjoyed watching the three men interact, but the crocodiles didn’t have to be there for my part.

 

5. Namuang Waterfalls
We have spectacular waterfalls in Norway so this did not do much for me. You could choose to take a bath in the cold waterfall at the bottom, but it was quite small, so when the six people that were occupying it left and there was room for our group we were already leaving. There was enough time for two beers (most expensive beer in Koh Samui at 60 BHT) and an ice cream, so that was a plus. I wish I would have arrived drunk to begin with.

6. Lunch at some private property
Bland Thai food. A woman asked us if we wanted juice or beer. We said beer, and then she said OK, and you have to pay for the beer please. OK. 60 BHT again so she was playing shop with us.

Then the tour guide asked us if we wanted to see one more temple and we didn’t know what to say, so we ended up not going. Why would you ask us at the end of the day? Later I realized I did want to see the temple; Wai Plai Laem, but oh well. The bad news happened when we then realized we weren’t going to Buddha’s Magic Garden. The guide said this wasn’t on the program. We showed him the program and he ran to his car and showed us another program (which did not include it). He said our program was two years old. Long story short, he wasn’t happy about the fact that we wanted to go back to the travel agent because she misinformed us, but we did and she gave us 400 BHT back which she claimed was her commission.

I hate organized tours.

Bo Phut, Koh Samui

19 Mar

Fisherman’s Village
#1 to do and see is the Fisherman’s Village. It’s filled with nice restaurants (most with beach view), bars, and shops, but the place rarely ever gets crowded like Chaweng. On fridays the place is packed with locals, tourists, and stands selling clothing, accessories, wine (you can even do some wine tasting) and food. Take the time to buy a banana pancake at any stand. It’s delicious (and not very rich like I expected). I’m glad I tried this the last day of my visit, otherwise I’d had at least one each day.

There is a cocktail bar at the end (north side) of Bo Phut beach with amazing cocktails, and a totally chill-out atmosphere. You can either sit in the straw chairs (which bounce up and down), or lie on the huge cusions on the sand.

On some nights there is a market in the “parking lot” before you enter Fisherman’s Village. The locals gathered here to buy food, drink, buy clothing, play games, and listen to concerts.

 

 

Bo Phut beach
During the day you can enjoy the calm, clean, and deep waters of Bo Phut beach. A very good beach for swimming, but not so much for sunbathing in the sea an entire day. The dogs own the beach as much as you, but they don’t bother you. Look out for the three legged dog.

Maenam at night

18 Mar

We took a Tuk Tuk to Maenam and should have understood the signs when the driver laughed at us when we did not have a resort we wanted to go to.

There were a few restaurants/bars, but we only saw about ten people. Thomas tricked me into believing that a pile of rope was a huge land crab, which makes me wonder if crabs are as fast as they are ugly. Well, this was the most interesting part of our 45 minute adventure in Maenam. It wasn’t too late. This place is dead. I have no idea where people who stay here eat at night.

The only place that seemed alive was a workshop which was blasting all sorts of relevant r’n’b and dance hits on max volume.

Koh Samui restaurants

17 Mar

Koh Samui has been chosen as #10 Food & Wine destination in Asia in 2011 by TripAdvisors’ travelers.

Source

While I haven’t been anywhere else in Asia (if you don’t count Cyprus to be part of Asia, and you probably don’t), I definitely understand why Koh Samui is holding this spot. The food was terrific! Even when dining at the most questionable restaurants with the menu’s coming apart and dead flies in the rice (only happened once, and was actually quite disgusting) the Thai food served was delicious!

Below is a list of restaurants we ate at (excluding the highly overrated Spirit House):

Bo Phut restaurants

Massaman Curry @ The Pier
When in Norway I never get potatoes with my massaman orders, but it was definitely a nice touch. The mildest portion of massaman I had in Koh Samui.
My rating 3/6


Panang Curry @ Enjoy Restaurant & Hotel
The only meal I didn’t write any notes about… I remember eating it all, drinking three bottles of water to be able to get up from my chair and move, and then going home and passing out.
My rating: 4/6

Beef appetizer @ Enjoy Restaurant & Hotel
Tasteful, but a bit hard to chew. Quite heavy meal in itself. Gave me new ideas for tapas nights.
My rating: 3/6

Yellow Curry noodle @ The Smile House
We decided to end our meal at the restaurant we had our first Koh Samui dinner. It was very tasteful, delicious, and HOT! I tried so hard to get through the entire meal, but it wasn’t possible. For the taste and how the meal is put together I would want to rate this six, but it was just too spicy.
My rating: 5/6


 Panang Curry @ The Pier 
Once more with feeling.  Best panang I had. How could I not know about Panang Curry before coming here? Now all I can think about is Panang Curry. My rating: 6/6

Chaweng restaurants

Grill Lobster @ The Page, The Library hotel
The most expensive meal bought at a restaurant in Koh Samui. 1650 BHT to be exact. Lobster with garlic.
Thomas’ rating: 5/6

Goong Pad Normai @ Poppies
Thomas’ rating: 5/6

Kao Soi @ Poppies
Northern noodles with chicken and yellow curry. I love noodles. I love chicken. I love yellow curry. Exciting, and very tasteful. Maybe my best meal in Koh Samui!
My rating: 6/6


Massaman curry @ Ivory restaurant
So this is what Thai fast-food looks like. Only it wasn’t served fast at all. The most boring meal any of us had while in Koh Samui.
My rating: 3/6 (and I’m being nice)

Massaman Curry @ 56
OK, I am not impressing myself with being adventurous with the curry options, but I can’t help that this dish is as good as it is. Served with potatoes, a bit different than what this dish regularly tastes like. It was a real shame I couldn’t have it all. I wish I could wrap up the chef in a bag and bring him here to cook for me.
My rating: 5/6

Green curry @  Smile House
The place where we started our Koh Samui food romance. I wrote “heavenly” and “strong” in my travel diary.
My rating: 5/6

Lamai restaurants


Green Curry @ Coast restaurant, Lamai Wanta beach resort
The meal was mediocre, maybe not as fresh as other places, but this is a meal you have on the go (restaurant set on the beach). This is where I was served rice-with-insect, but what really drew the score down to a three was the lack of chicken in the soup. I don’t mind the bugs as long as they’re fried (or steamed)… My rating: 3/6


Tom Yam Kai @ Catcaxtoo Bar & Grill
I wanted to try something different, and got it. This meal was great for breakfast; light, warm, and tasty . It doesn’t look so inviting in the bowl (and some stuff was galantly picked out), but the lime juice is such a delicious base. My rating: 3/6

Beaches of Koh Samui

17 Mar

From left to right:

Chaweng beach
Surprisingly our favorite beach. It has the clearest water of all the beaches we visited in Koh Samui (but cannot be compared to the crystal clear waters of neighbor island Nan Yang). The water is very shallow about 50 – 100 m out. The water is cleaner the farther south you are.

Bo Phut beach
At first sight this beach seems pretty dull and not worth getting in. The boats and occasionally fishermen spoil the view, but the water is clean and good for swimming. There is a steep slope, and it gets deep quick. The water is not clear. With very few hotels and mostly restaurants situated along the beach, you don’t have to share the waters with many others.

Bank Rak beach
I don’t know why you would go here if you could choose to go somewhere else. There’s a lot of traffic in the water, and it’s not clearer than anywhere else.

Lipa Noi beach
We were so excited to arrive at this beautiful calm beach (below Nicki Beach resort) with nearly noone swimming here. After staying in the water for about five – ten minutes we felt like we were being continuously “stung” all over our bodies. Needless to say, we got out the water very quick. It was such a let down. I’m nut sure what caused this “stinging”, but we saw a lot of plantation flowing on the top of the water (maybe from the trees?) and we figured this was why we didn’t see many others in the water. If it hadn’t been for the pain we endured in the water, I think this would have been our favorite beach on the island.

Choeng Mon beach
A calm and idyllic beach, but the downside are the huge rocks which especially on the south side make it almost unbearable to stay in the water.

Lamai beach
This is supposedly a lot of the locals’ favorite beach. We went here a couple of times and there were always quite a lot of waves, and while it is clean from trash there is some vegetation floating in the water. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see what it was like when the waters were calm. Would recommend this beach for water sports.

I didn’t visit Silver Beach, which I read somewhere else should be very inviting with clearer water than Chaweng. Or maybe not, guess I’ll never know now.