Beach Bums finally do something....
Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
101Trip End Ongoing
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So our first stop on our return to Samui was Lamai, this is smaller than Chaweng but still has a fair amount of shops and restaurants to keep us busy.
Lamai has a nice beach, but our hostel was not beach front so we had to go to a local bar to get a sunbed. What was funny about this beach is that it is so narrow that at high tide the sea comes right up under the sunbed so most farangs spend most of their day retrieving their flip flops from the sea.
What Lamai has more of than Chaweng is go-go bars. So what better way to spend Saturday night in Lamai than sat in a go-go bar watching Lady Thai Boxing. This was brilliant; there is a Thai boxing ring in the middle surrounded by little round go-go bars, each of which had a fighter for the night
The bar opposite our hotel claimed to have the best beach party in Thailand with human fireworks. Having seen more than our fair share of fire dancers over the last month we were not desperate to go and see more, but the scaffolding being put up in the sea left us intrigued so we popped over for a beer to see what all the fuss was about. Boy was this worth the effort. The standard fire dancers were out at first and they were ok but then one of them got onto the scaffolding and lit his Poi (the ball on a string they set fire to – the Maori word for ball). This is where we realised this was not your average fire dancer he had fireworks on his Poi’s so he turned into a human Catherine Wheel throwing sparks over the entire beach, it was totally stunning and well worth the price of a beer.
Having not had a haircut for 6 months, my split ends were beginning to take over my life so I bit the bullet and went for a trim
After a few days it was onwards to the next beach, Mae Nam. This was by far the best beach we found on Samui. Mae Nam was the original backpacker beach but Chaweng took over and Mae Nam has been forgotten, it now has just cheap to mid-range wood bungalows or 5 star amazing hotels, making it a very sleepy beach with a few bars and restaurants and not much else.
The hotel was like a petting farm with 2 huskies, a golden retriever and two cats that I quickly lured into our room. The golden retriever is the cutest dog ever and he just spent hours stood in the sea watching the fish. The huskies just looked hot. One day we were cooling off in the sea and there were a few other people paddling when a dog from further down the beach came bounding over to a guy in the sea as if it was his long lost owner, the guy backed off and the dog swam deeper with a look of absolute adoration in his eyes
There was so little to do here that we just lazed on the beach, occasionally walked along the beach for a sun set cocktail but mainly stayed in our hotel bar. We were really lucky and along with Clark and Emma met Barry and Laura who were en-route from London to their new life in Oz, so had a few late nights sat in the closed bar drinking into the early hours. The highlight of these evenings was Barry asking the confused looking Thai barman if he had Slippery Nipples, brilliant.
After one of these late nights we got home to find our cats (that I had been luring into our room with biscuits) asleep on our balcony as usual but unfortunately one of the huskies had followed us home and got onto the balcony before we could so we had a cat and dog hissing and barking at each other preventing us from getting into our hut
So Bophut is more of a harbour town so we didn’t book a hotel on the beach and went for a bargain spa hotel out of the town, but within walking distance which seemed fine. It seemed fine until the first night when we realised the walk into the town was either along a main road which had no pavements or through pitch black temple grounds. The temple seemed like the obvious option until the temple dogs started barking and following us and generally scaring us witless. Every night was like an episode of Fear Factor where fear was definitely a factor for us. I genuinely thought that my rabies vaccine was going to come into action here, but thankfully we survived, often due to going to dinner at 5pm and being home by 6pm before sunset.
As promised we finally did some tours from here, first up was the Amazing Dolphin Tour. We had initially planned on going over to the mainland to a town called Khanom, it is a bit off of the tourist trail and is where Thais go for holidays and weekends
The next day we decided to head over the chewing for a bit of shopping and for a good pizza, we had our shopping list and were working our way down the street and down our list when suddenly all the shops started to put their rails away and close their shutters, we looked a bit confused and a stall holder told us that the police were coming. Thankfully the raid was over in less than an hour and after a sit down and a beer we were back shopping and safely bought our fake Havaianas flip flops.
As by this time we have been in Samui for over a month it is only right that we did the island tour, surprisingly there is not a huge amount to see on Samui but the round island tour is a quick and easy way to see it all. First up was Wat Leam Suwanaram, which is a Buddhist temple which is over 100 years old and houses the Chinese lady Monk ‘Jow Mae Kuan Im’. Whilst we still have a small amount of temple fatigue from our time in China, Thai temples are so full of bling and cool characters it was great to see. We were also lucky to see some of the Buddhist monks blessing a couple who had just got married. Onwards to Big Buddha, this is possibly one of the most famous landmarks in Samui
Next up is the coconut farm and the monkey show, selling coconuts has long been a main income for local people and they learnt that they can train the monkeys to go up the trees and pick the ripe coconuts. It is absolutely amazing, the monkey gets the coconut between its foot and hand and just spins it loose, so cool and the monkeys are super cute. Onwards to the Mummified Monk, really, that is what it is! At the Khunnaram temple the body of Loung Pordaeng sits in the same meditation position that he died in 40 years ago when he had predicted the date of his death. I particularly like the fact that they have treated him to a pair of fake Raybans! The final stop on the tour was the Namuang waterfall, the problem with waterfalls in Thailand is that it very much depends on how much rain there has been as to how good the waterfall is, thankfully knowing this the area around the waterfall has become a bit of an adventure playground, there are huge elephants giving rides trundling up and down the roads that you are walking on, there are pick-up trucks taking you to the entrance of the waterfall and there are all sorts of Indiana Jones style bridges to get across to find the waterfall
After a busy few days touring we felt that we needed a drink or 3 so we headed into Fisherman’s Village for the weekly walking street market, the road is pedestrianized and the shops spill out into the street and various shopping, food and drink stalls set up in the road making it a bit like a festival. With mojito’s at just £1 each we were in heaven and we ate and shopped our way through the mayhem. The food was amazing, it is astounding how the Thai’s can make food on a stick 100 times more appetising than the Chinese, I had corn on the cob on a stick followed by a cheese powder coated twisted fried potato on a stick with a banana, peanut butter and chocolate pancake for dessert, (and several large mojito’s) heaven!
As with most other hotels I had managed to lure a cat to our room with my new found animal magnetism (cat biscuits), this lovely ginger girl cat was so sweet and would cry at our door to come in and then would fall asleep leaning on my pillow on the bed. Even Tim warmed to her until we found her having a little walk around the room to have a pee in the wardrobe! Just as well we are off to Malaysia, sorry next tenants, oops!
Next stop Penang Island, Malaysia.