Trip Report – Travel Tips and a Guide to Koh Samui
Our trip from Hong Kong continued onto Koh Samui with a quick 3 ½ hour flight. No reprieve with the humid weather, we had just landed on a tropical Island after all!
We spent 10 days on Koh Samui and our #1 reason for holidaying there was to witness my eldest son’s wedding, held on a beach on the western side of the Island at Faraway Villas.
You know what’s in store the moment you arrive in Koh Samui from the quaint differences you spy at the airport. No air-bridges in sight, open sided trolley cars take their place and collect you on the tarmac, once you disembark your plane.
Transported to the open-air (read NO air-con) immigration department where you will only wait longer than 10 minutes to be processed if another plane has landed just before yours.
Ditto for the baggage collection area, open air, however, very quick as our luggage was available after clearing immigration.
No customs department per se if you have anything to declare, then a short walk to the forex exchange booth and transport areas.
TRAVEL TIP! No need to go with any of the organized “Limousine” companies that will badger you for a trip to your hotel. If you walk outside the terminal there are taxi’s available at a ½ the price!
Koh Samui Highlights
You will be spoilt for choice on Koh Samui from cheap and cheerful to five stars. Every country appears to be represented from local Thai dishes to Italian, Japanese, Korean with well know chains or junk food also present, unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your outlook.
I tend to feel a certain innocence of a remote holiday destination is lost once the chains invade. Sure the locals like it, especially in Asia, as they almost worship our Western ways of life and living…if only they realized!
A gorgeous little village fronting the water at the top of the Island, filled with eateries, day spa’s, handcrafted souvenirs and market stalls.
Best time to visit is Friday evenings 5-10pm where the streets come alive with food stalls and even a few cocktail stalls too!
Budget Car Rentals are at the airport, where you will collect your car unless you elect to have them deliver to you at your accommodation. An additional fee will apply for this service.
For a very small charge per day (AUD$25) we hired a car, well it turned out to be what I call a ute, perhaps you’d call it a truck? Two bucket seats with a bench seat in the cab too, (albeit a little squishy in the leg room department!) and a fibreglass canopy on the back.
Koh Samui is fairly small, if you drove continuously around the island, non-stop, it would take between 1-1 ½ hours, depending on traffic and your speed of course!
Hiring a car gives you the freedom to explore and although we only planned to hire the car one day, we extended another day to re-visit places we missed and those we liked. Highly recommend car hire!
Motorbikes are available everywhere for hire for around TBT100-150/day. Suitable if you have no fear about driving in the madness of Asian traffic, getting hot, sticky and sunburned to boot!
Definitely a cheap mode of transport and while I am always up for an adventure, memories of bruises in the shape of handlebars on my thighs still haunt me from my childhood 😀 Yea I know I should get over it and give it go…next time…maybe!
Taxi’s don’t have a meter so you will have to negotiate a price BEFORE you get into the taxi. You can either hire typical taxi aka a car OR a communal ute (or truck) with seats either side and roof.
If you travel in the truck type of taxi (we did many times) there is a button on the roof you can press to tell the driver you have arrived where you need to be. It’s completely safe way to travel, even solo as I did on a few occasions.
Shopping – Markets
Typically Asian markets carry most things that would be on your shopping list. Clothing, shoes, belts, jewellery, cd’s, DVDs…you get my drift.
If you are interested in what we purchased you can read about it in a separate post.
Market hours are from 10 am for some of the stalls through to 11 pm.
Asian workers have an incredible work ethic with one worker explaining to me she works 7 days per week 10am-11pm. She doesn’t want to share those hours with any other person because she likes her work and yes because she needs the money.
She likes that she could start at 10 am so she could enjoy her coffee before starting work each day!
My son and his bride-to-be chose Faraway Villa as their wedding venue. They had visited Samui two years previously on a holiday and fallen in love with the island, her people and culture. They particularly like the western side of the island as the beaches were beautiful with the promise of a sunset over the water.
Mother nature had other intentions for the day, clouds formed and the sun disappeared behind them! The wind also reminded us that even the best-laid plans can disappear out the window with 20+ knot winds. The dining tables had to remain indoors rather than overlooking the beach and ocean as planned. The festivities continued regardless and the evening was a complete success with my son and his new bride thrilled with the venue for their special day.
Have you traveled to Koh Samui or another part of Thailand? Where would you highly recommend for a visit?