More beaches and more people

Trip Start Oct 05, 2010
Trip End Nov 24, 2010

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, October 24, 2010

Everything's bigger

This was a huge island, and there were quite a few beaches. But our hotel was right next to the largest beach, so we stuck with that one. I didn't really take that make photos here (minus a sunrise we woke up for), but that was because I was too busy sitting on the beach, buying flip-flops, and eating seafood.

Immediately upon getting to Koh Samui I knew that I liked Koh Tao more. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it was a lot more crowded, there were a lot more shops, and a lot more tourists. We were at the beach the first night around sunset, and there were TONS of people there. I was surprised to see more locals than tourists on the beach, but there were just so many of both. Although we did manage to find a spot with a gap in the crowds, and so that gave me a little comfort.

We also had some great seafood here. I have gotten squid and fish a number of times. They bring the little guys out to you, and you get to pick which one you want. Then they weigh it, and go in the back to chop it up and cook it. Very nice. And coconut shakes, still in the coconut aren't too bad either. Gotta love the tropical fruit.

There is no price tag

There were a lot of shops along the main drag in town, and so we spent some time along here. I was mostly interested in t-shirts, so I got a few of those. But unfortunately, Thai "large" is US "medium," and so a lot of places didn't have my size, as they only went to large (medium to us - thanks fast food). So it seemed that us bigger guys didn't have as much to choose from (and Joel didn't even stand a chance here).

I'm pretty sure that all Diesel and Billabong stuff is made in Thailand, because you can get pretty much anything from them here, for a lot less than in the US. Not sure if they're knock-offs, stolen from the factory, or just extras they had, but what I do know is that they were all cheaper than their US counterparts.

Bargaining is the norm here (and pretty much all of Southeast Asia, for that matter). Of course, the first price they ask is ridiculous, and I have even laughed at a couple people when they told me their original price. I have found that it just comes down to being firm on a price, and not budging. You also need to be willing to walk away from something; I have done exactly this, only to have them grab me as I'm leaving and agree to my lower price. Another thing they like to say is "No, I lose money," which of course isn't exactly true: Joel bought a shirt from someone at their so-called "lose money" price. A lot of times, we're really only negotiating over a dollar, or less. But as many travelers I've me agree, it's not about the money; it's the principle.

But they ask such a high price, because many times people will take it. Even if they quote you something astronomically high, it is still cheap for the US. So why not ask so much? It works. A lot, I would guess (I probably got ripped off more times than I know).

Bye bye, Southern Thai (land)

After two days here, it was time to leave. Everyone else had flights to catch: Joel to Hanoi and then home, Matt to Hawaii, Andy from Bangkok to Denver, and Greg back to China.

And this left me. This is where I go at it alone. I enjoyed the time with everyone, and it was nice to have someone do all the work for you sometimes. But I'm also going to enjoy filling in all the gaps and taking it a little slower. The nice thing about traveling alone is that I do what I want. The only person that has say is me, so if want to save a few bucks and get a room with no A/C, there isn't going to be a Joel there bitching about how hot it is (just kidding, Joel; it was more like whining).

When I traveled in Costa Rica for 2 weeks back in 2008, I did that
alone as well, so I've done it before. I remember the big drawback to traveling this way is that I don't have someone to share in the experience.
But I think that now, with blogging as I am, I get to share it with
all of you. At least a little. And that make it more interesting to me.

So I will keep writing, and if you can, please keep reading. I hope
that you can enjoy hearing about my travels, as I enjoy writing about
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