Thursday, August 12, 2010

Koh Samui, Lover's Island

Before we started our journey by Car to Koh Samui, I did some research about the places of interest and the route to get there. Most of the information I got from friends weren't that accurate. They told me to get myself a GPS, as it is easily available now a days. I had no idea how Kok Samui would look like and what people would do over there. I presume it's another tourist attraction in Thailand and Night life over there should be really hot ! What I mean is people go for discos, pubs and clubbing. But actually I was totally wrong. Koh Samui is not as wild as any other tourist places in Thailand which I have been.

I had my documentation ready a few days before I get there, like car insurance and entry permit. And I got myself a Thai Highway map. A little old fashion but I think that is more practical for me. At least I get to learn the route and know the direction where I am going first instead of just relying on the instruction given by a GPS machine. We'll be driving about 500 kilometers from Sungai Kolok to the Koh Samui jetty in Surat Thani. Together with my twin sons, we took the coaster road from Sungai Golok to Narathiwat, bypassing the Narathiwat town, than to Patani, Songkla, Nakhon Si Thammarat and straight to the harbour in Surat Thani. The ferry charges for a private car is 450 Baht including the driver. A passenger cost 120 baht for the ferry service. The distance from the harbor to Koh Samui takes about one and half hour and is available hourly. There is a separate ferry that goes to Phangan Island. Phangan Island is famous for it's full moon party. And this will be my first time driving the longest distance in Thailand after Hadyai.

We left the house at about 6.30 am and reached Sungai Kolok around 7.30 am, which is already bright by then. Thailand is an hour behind Malaysia, so we are still 6.30 am again at Sungai Kolok. It was still early, so the road is a little quiet except many road blocks by the armies and the police all along the way until we reached Nakhon Si Thamarat. We had noodles for lunch at Nakhon. A bowl of noodles with some fish balls there cost only 25 baht. Since it was our first time driving there, we stopped a few times for photography and refreshment along the way after we past Narathiwat, Patani and Songkla. Southern Thailand is still consider an unrest place and it's political situation is still uncertain. Many bombing and attacks by the terrorist were reported now and then. Even two days before our journey, there were news report the bombing near Yala town by the terrorist.

Koh Samui is a small Island. You can't get loss traveling around the island. Driving around the whole island is about 100 kilometers. Most of the activities is around half of the coast. Nathon ( Main Town), Bor Phut (Big Buddha), Chaweng Beach (Chaweng View Point) and Lamai Beach (Hin Ta – Hin Yai Rock), and the other half of the coast or the island is mostly fisherman's village. If you don't have your own car, the best mode of transportation or to move around the Island is to hire a Motorbike. Thai Tourism Authority or TAT promotes a few attraction there but I think Kok Samus is beautiful just the way it is. Those tourist attraction just come along the way as activities while you are there. There are a lot of foreigners who invested in properties especially in hotel business . And there are even more who stayed there on long term basics to enjoy it's way of life. As I said earlier, Koh Samui is not as wild as other part of Thailand. It's best suitable for newly weds and couples who enjoy beautiful scenery and slow pace of life. There are some big malls and hyper markets there such as The Big C, Macro and Tesco which offer a lot of imported food and goods to cater for these foreigners.

We stayed at Ananta Lamai Beach Resort which is owned by a French man who settled there with his Thai wife. Our standard room cost 900 Baht. If you intent to stay there, you may contact them at:

Ananta Lamai Beach Resort

Eddie & Pim Lancry

Mobile No: 083-3947852

125/10 Moo 3, Hin Ta-Hin Yai

Koh Samui, Surathani 84310.

e-Mail: eddy.lancry@hotmail.fr

web site: www.anantasamui.com

If you intend to stay there for a short period, I suggest you plan for a 3 days trip to complete the entire island. We stayed there for three days but I intent to make a come back with the whole family again very soon.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Still.. Nakhon Pathom

Even though we stayed 3 nights in Nakhon Pathom, we only get to tour the place for 2 days as our our flight on the last day was at about 9.30 am. We covered quite a lot of places during the two days with the guide of my cousin. Thanks to him a lot for the free meals, accommodation and transport.
Other interesting places we visited in Nakhon Pathom includes:

The Wax Museum which houses many famous politicians and monks.
Phra Pathom Chedi - Towering over the low-rises of central Nakhom Pathom, at 120 meters, this massive brick stupa is the largest in the world. It also makes a respectable claim to being Thailand's oldest Buddhist temple, dating back to the 6th century AD, although the present structure is mostly the handiwork of King Mongkut (1853) and his successors. There is no entry into thestupa itself, which is said to house a relic of the Buddha, but you can circumambulate the stupa in the inner courtyard and admire the giant golden Buddha on the southern side (always packed with worshippers). Also take some time to look around the many smaller temple halls around the chedi. .
Thonburi Market Sanamluang - the second largest market in Thailand after the one in Bangkok, which is also called Chatuchat. Over here you can get almost everything you need or want, from clothing, vegetables, meat to flowers and pets. You name it, they have it. It's a very large market and you only need to pick those that interest you and skip the rest if you only have a day there. As for us, we have half a day so we skipped most of them.

The Ancient Street - as the name goes, they sell mostly antiques and local fruits . It's is an old town of Nakhon Pathom and the road is very narrow. It's is also famous for Thai dishes. So, you can expect lots of old restaurants there. No wonder a lot of local tourist visit there.

And before our return I took a few photos of the new Suvarmabumi International Airport. This is the same airport which was attacked by the Yellow Shirt protesters in Bangkok recently.
Last but not least is our final destination for our trip, the Narathiwat Airport before we hired a van back to Sungei Kolok for our home sweet home. For more photos, kindly visit my Face Book at http://www.facebook.com/kbguy
Coming next is.... Kok Samui.