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A slice of paradise (on a budget)

Koh Samui - Chaweng Beach
Saturday, May 18, 2013

We have been to Koh Samui twice before and absolutely love the beautiful island. In the past we have chosen to stay in the quieter Lamai Beach area but have heard so much about the main beach area Chaweng we decided to split our time between the two. 4 nights in Chaweng and 4 nights in Lamai beach.

Chaweng Beach is situated in the North East of the island near the airport and is the biggest tourist draw on the island. There are some pretty swanky hotels right on the beach that are perfect for relaxing on a two week holiday but as we are on a budget we opted to stay in a Guesthouse less than five minutes' walk from the beach which was more than adequate for our needs.

Chaweng Beach itself was noticeably busier than Lamai although it was still quiet due to the time of year. The beach itself was absolutely gorgeous with soft white sand trailing off into the distance in both directions and a turquoise blue sea with clearer water than comes out of most taps in Thailand. A true slice of paradise. We love it here already, we are looking forward to a few days of swimming, reading and enjoying the sun.

Day 1 - Chaweng Beach

The first day that we arrived we were both absolutely shattered from the journey, having had next to no sleep on the train the night before. We decided to have a mini exploration of the local area and grabbed an early dinner before collapsing into bed.

We decided to spend the next morning sorting through all of the blogs that are ready to be posted on the website, no more Travelpod! This will make life so much easier and will only take a matter of minutes rather than hours. Woo Woo :-)

In the afternoon we went to the beach and spent some time chilling out and enjoying the sea and the tranquillity of the beach. Well that is until you hear the booming 'we will, we will, rock you.... tomorrow night at 9pm the best fighters from all over the world come to Koh Samui for the biggest fight....' on repeat blearing out from the long tail boat as it works its way up and down the beach advertising Thai boxing. They never miss a trick with advertising, it made us smile once, even twice as it came back in the opposite direction but by the third and fourth we wanted to throw something at the blessed boat.

Anyway forgetting the interruptions we were both having a great time until Ross got stung by a jellyfish! It's starting to feel like he's allergic to the beach, first he injures himself on the horse ride in Hua Hin which is taking an age to heal and now he gets stung by a jellyfish. After a quick Google search worryingly we did find out that box-jellyfish, the deadly type no less have been spotted in and around Koh Samui after emigrating from Australia. By the time we had found this out we had already eaten well into the 'danger zone' apparently they can kill you with a bad sting in a matter of minutes so we decided not to worry as after all it was only a small sting compared to some we saw on the internet.

That evening after a busy day we spent the evening sampling some beer at the many bars in town and ended up having a really chilled out evening, it was so chilled out that we were left scratching our heads and wondering how it had crept around to 3am! We could use the excuse that we were celebrating because Ross didn't have life threatening injuries from the jellyfish sting but we don't think anybody would believe that.

Day 2 - Chaweng Beach

The next day when we managed to prise ourselves out of bed we decided to brave going to the beach again, we found a shaded spot and set up our stuff ready to chill out and enjoy the beach. The sun was shining and the sky was blue and with white fluffy clouds. It was the best cure for the day after the night before apart from a massage but Ross daren't have a massage until his leg heals. We also managed to stay for longer than yesterday too as Ross didn't acquire any more injuries. :-)

Day 3 - Big Game Fishing & Hospital

Sonya inspired by the TV series 'Extreme fishing by Robson Green' has wanted to go deep sea fishing at the first opportunity on the trip. So we got up bright and early to go Big Game Fishing!

The two guides told us that whatever we caught would be our lunch so we all got stuck in trying our best to catch something but in the end the two guides caught the most (no surprises there then) but a few people on the boat were lucky and managed to catch some too. We both had a great time attempting to catch fish but most of the time we ended up just losing our bait to the crafty little blighters instead. Sonya did manage to catch something.... a rock fish, it was an impressive feat to catch and land a rock although it was not the strangest thing that was caught on the day. Oh no, there was a clear winner there. Unbelievably somebody caught an old beer bottle; he managed to hook a mussel which had attached itself to the side of the bottle. How he managed to hook the mussel and land the bottle is still a mystery and undoubtedly harder than catching a real fish.

We went to a total of 4 fishing sites and on the very last one Ross managed to hook the biggest fish of the day. Suddenly the air was charged with excitement and the guide shouted 'fish on, fish on' Ross looked over and got a glimpse of what he had hooked but in all the excitement to reel the fish in his line got caught with someone else's and the fish got away. Loud profanities could be heard from Ross who was more than a little annoyed, 8 hours of fishing and it got away in the last few minutes of fishing. As Robson Green says 'you ain't caught it, if you didn't land it'

Thanks for the reminder Robson!

The whole day was good fun from start to finish even though we didn't catch any fish :-) It was great value for money and included transport, unlimited soft drinks, free snacks, fruit and a slap up lunch that was served with a nice glass of wine all for 1100B (approx. £25)

Sonya was not put off by not catching anything and we will be going deep sea fishing again and you never know if Sonya watches her rod a bit more carefully she might even catch something.


So what seemed like a bargain 400B horse ride ended up with an expensive trip to the hospital.

5 days on and the wound on Ross's leg was not getting any better so we decided to get it checked out. We started off at the Bangkok Hospital (in Koh Samui) which we soon found out was a private hospital with UK prices to match! They wanted 4000B (approx. £80) just for the doctor's appointment before treatment. When the receptionist couldn't give us an estimate for the treatment we were already heading for the door. In fairness though she was still good enough to recommend a local clinic which would be 'significantly cheaper'

After a marathon walk, exactly what Ross's leg didn't need we found the clinic. The receptionist's directions were clear but not entirely accurate it was opposite Makro not next to it which was a totally different type of clinic offering a wide range of services including 'Botox' and 'Filling' services to name a few.

As we walked through the door of the so called 'Trauma Clinic' we were approached by the receptionist wearing a figure hugging nurses uniform complete with 6 inch white high heels. The outfit would have looked more appropriate in a dodgy movie and if we hadn't just walked for half an hour to get there we would have probably left right then..

But we continued and were quoted 1000B for the doctor's consultation so went through to the clinic. After a quick consultation the hardest bit was trying to explain how it happened. The conversation went something like this:

Ross '.... riding a horse'
Doctor 'Horse?'
Sonya '.... horse riding'
Doctor and nurse '.... exchange in Thai .... '
Sonya Breaking into a game of charades started to simulate riding, something that didn't make the final cut for Gangman style music video.
Doctor and nurse '.... exchange in Thai .... followed by laughter. '

Not sure if they were laughing at Sonya but we think they understood as the doctor repeated 'horse.... horse'

Was this an English lesson or a doctor's consultation? In fairness after this the doctors English was pretty good. However then came the bad news both legs had become infected and the infection was spreading up and down both legs. It's a good job we decided to seek medical advice as we both thought the redness was sun burn!

The doctor recommended an injection followed by a course of medication. Ross agreed before he saw the needle which would have been more at home in a veterinary surgery. The doctor obviously saw Ross expression and said 'no worry we give you big dose'

This was nearly as comforting as what the anaesthetist said just before Ross was recently being put to sleep at one of his many hospital visits in the UK 'this is the same thing Michael Jackson took, but don't worry I'm a professional'

Something you just don't need to say. It's not appropriate at any time let alone when you are putting a patient to sleep.

After the cattle size injection we were handed a stupid array of medication to take.... 17 tablets a day, and the worst bit.... no alcohol for 8 days!

It was a plain stupid decision not to go back to the hotel to get the half chaps, turning a cheap 30 minute horse ride into a nearly 5000B saga which is going to last nearly 2 weeks :-(

So tomorrow we are back on the road for the shortest trip so far in our big adventure. We are taking a Baht bus down the coast to Lamai Beach for another few days in paradise before heading onto Phuket.

Hotel Review

We stayed at Sunny Guesthouse in a double private. A slightly strange setup Sunny Guesthouse is the sister Guesthouse of the next door Penzy Guesthouse and share a single reception. When booking we could find little info on Sunny but quite a bit on Penzy which has good reviews. Our room was nice with the most comfortable bed we have stayed in for a while and it came with a proper duvet! Might not sound like a luxury but a lot of budget hotels in South East Asia only seem to provide a sheet and it was a pleasant change to have proper bedding. The Guesthouse is less 5 minutes walk from the beach but a good 20 minute walk to the nightlife area. Incidentally which doesn't live up to its billing. Samui is known for beaches if you want nightlife go to Pattaya, Bangkok or Phuket. Very helpful staff who went out of their way to sort out a hospital appointment for us and they arranged a fishing tour offering a bigger discount than local agents. We would recommend Sunny/Penzy Guesthouses to other travellers.


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