Chaweng and Lamai, absolute paradise.

Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Where I stayed
Sundays Resort

Flag of Thailand  , Surat Thani,
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It was time to visit Chaweng beach and see what all the fuss was about.  From Bophut we could get a songthaew taxi for 50 baht each which is a massive saving compared to the local meter taxis, which by the way don't use their meters.  Chaweng town isn't anything to write home about, but a small dirt path along side the Karembu Resort revealed the most beautiful beach we have seen so far.

Powder soft white sand, deep blue skies scattered with fluffy white clouds, and crystal clear aquamarine water as far as the eye can see. Sounds nice doesn't it!? The coastline stretched for around 5 kilometres and took us a good hour or so to walk along in either direction.  The water was bathtub warm and varied in depth considerably. At some points you could wade out really far and only be knee deep. It was the perfect environment to set a new bat and ball record of 51 volleys.

Chaweng is dotted with lots of classy resorts, but surprisingly it was cheaper than Bohput. We still don't understand why.  However there was one incident at Chaweng beach which did taint our visit. As we left for lunch, a pair of German guys on a motorbike stopped us and asked if we could give them a moment of our time. They said they worked for Absolute, a company setup by David Loydd (from the gyms) and owns 5 star resorts around the world, if we turned up with one of their scratch cards we would win a prize. Emma scratched off a t-shirt and I scratched off 3 gold stars (a top prize; a free holiday, $1000 or a laptop).

To claim, all we had to do was attend a 90 minute presentation. We didn't have any money on us, so thought why not. They wouldn't be able to get anything from us anyway.  They provided a free taxi to their office at the far end of the beach and we walked in.  We met a sales guy called John, who gave us the spiel.  He told us that if we viewed 2 of their resorts and were not impressed we could get our prize and just walk out. He was very convincing, but alarm bells did ring straight away. However we went along for the ride anyway, as it meant a free tour of the island :)

3 hours later we were back at the office. I was pretty hungry now and not at all impressed, I am sure they sensed that. However they kept on talking and pushed a hard sale on us. Basically they offer a time share scheme were you buy a room type (e.g. 1 bed studio) and after a fee of 12,000 pounds, and a yearly maintenance fee of 300 pounds, you can claim a free 2 weeks a year at one of their 311 resorts (so you don't actually own a room).  A look through their website (which turned out to be internal only, hmmm scam) and another hard sales pitch from another English guy who kept knocking down the price, we finally got to leave, 5 hours after we arrived.

Oh and if you are wondering what our star prize was. It was a free holiday (with admin charges) to an absolute resort in Phuket, which included a compulsory 90 minute presentation that you had to attend ;) What an absolute load of ****. So if you visit Chaweng, please be careful, as we did see plenty of people signing on the dotted line and they are on Watchdog on the Internet.

Rant over, back to the beaches. Lamai beach was an additional 50 baht taxi from Chaweng and the drive there was spectacular as we climbed some really steep hills and got the most amazing views of the ocean.  Lamai is a popular area for tourists interested in the ladies, as it is the unofficial go-go bar scene on the island.  The beach wasn't as nice as Chaweng, but the area was definitely cheaper. The coastline was around 2 kilometres long and the sand was a little coarser.  We spent the day sunbathing on the beach and breaking our bat and ball record again, this time it stands at 74 volleys.

Unfortunately we didn't get to swim in the sea without being stung by tiny jellyfish, not a comfortable experience I can tell you. That caused us to get a taxi back to Chaweng later in the afternoon, but that part of the island seemed to suffer from the same problem. Maybe it was some kind of jellyfish migration, but we did get to see some of them washed up on Chaweng beach and they were the size of a 20 pence piece. It was a shame as it put an end to our sea escapades, but thankfully we got a few days in earlier in the week.

So far Koh Samui is the best island for tourists wanting the complete package and is relatively cheap. Chaweng town is our recommended area and has some great value for money resorts, plus a large selection of restaurants and bars. Throw in the fact its only a 20 minute boat ride from neighbouring Koh Phangan, it is the gem of the Southern Gulf.
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