A bit of luxury on Koh Samui Island, Thailand
We departed Krabi Province on December 3 and after a 2 1/2 van ride and a very bumpy 90 min ferry, we arrived on the island of Koh Samui, located in the Gulf of Thailand. After another 20 min cab ride to our hotel we were ready to settle in and explore the grounds. Kirikayan Resort impressed us immediately: twice the size of our NYC apartment, 3 balconies, tile and wood throughout, and a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the jungle and mountains. This bit of luxury cost us $78 per night, which is a little less than the average we paid to rent a room in someone's house in New Zealand and Australia. We knew that Asia was the perfect place to splurge.
After a day of lounging, we rented a scooter and visited some cool temples. First we explored a smaller Wat Phra Ya with a golden Buddha perched atop a hill overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Next we headed to large and modern Wat Plai Leam temple comlpex, with both Chinese and Thai influences, home to a huge and pudgy Laughing Buddha and the 18-armed Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. In the evening, we visited the Fisherman's Village, a street closed to traffic with many shops restaurants, and a bit of outdoor entertainment. Despite the intermittent rain, the vibe was upbeat and a few souvenirs were purchased.
The next evening, we went to our hotel's sister location in the town of Chaweng (the most touristy part of the island) and enjoyed a delicious Thai buffet dinner right on the beach under a sunset and eventual moonlight. We chatted with some travelers from Germany and England while sipping our drinks. There was also live singing provided by Apple (yes, real name), the manager of our hotel. Work all day and sing at night. Needless to say, she leads a busy life, but seems to enjoy it.
Sunday was an important day for us. We headed into the town of Chaweng early to watch UFC 181 at The Islander bar. Edyta was almost as keen on us watching this fight card as I was, mostly because Brendan 'Big Brown' Schaub was fighting. We've both become huge fans of Big Brown after religiously listening to the weekly Fighter and the Kid podcast. Nothing like watching cage fighting in a open air bar at 10 am.
After the card, we rode south towards the Namuang Waterfalls, two falls that sat side by side in the jungle. These 8 story waterfalls were both beautiful and refreshing to dip our feet into. Within the same park, we were able to see local handlers give elephants a bath. It was quite impressive to see these pachyderms up close. However, seeing these animals in an enclosed place with basket marks on their backs further confirmed our belief that we should not ride them (riding elephants is a big touristy attraction in Thailand but after finding out how animals are tamed we decided we did not want to support it - click here for more info). From here, we headed to Wat Khunaram to see Luomg Pordaeng, a monk whose glass encased body hasn't decomposed since his death in 1973. It is said that he predicted the exact date of his own death and wished to be displayed (should his body not decompose) to remind people of their mortality. After 40+ years his body seems to be relatively well kept...as far as dead bodies go. To end the night on a less morbid note we visited Lamai beach and watched the sunset at Rock Bar, a super chill, slightly hidden bar located amongst the rocks and trees with laid back music (imagine listening to Bob Marley in a treehouse bar). One of the rocks in the area is the famous and phallic Grandfather Rock. There is also a grandmother rock, or rather crevasse, nearby but we were not able to locate it. We were content enough with beer, smoothies and another beautiful sunset.
When we weren't busy sightseeing, we took full advantage of our pool, small outdoor gym, and our spacious apartment. We also fit in a few Thai massages (very affordable at around $8-10 per hour), body scrubs and pedicures. During a typical thai massage, the masseuse not only worked out the knots in our muscles with the use of oil and even Tiger Balm, but also provided a relaxing full body stretch at the end of each session. Stress levels were at an all time low...not that they've been really high for the past few months to begin with.
As our Thailand visit came to an end, we grew a little sad as we had grown to love the relaxing beaches, delicious food, and the welcoming hospitality provided by the locals. Thank you Thailand for a wonderful and memorable stay!
Next stop, Cambodia.
Our journey to the island of Koh Samui through land and sea.
Our bedroom was very spacious.
Bathroom located between the bedroom and the living room.
Dining area as seen from the kitchen. Living room area with couches was behind the wall and door I am standing in.
Peering out one of the three balconies.
View from the bedroom balcony. Our hotel was located in the northern part of the island, far from touristy beaches and souvenir shops.
Hotel Pool. We had a view at it from two balconies. We loved swimming there and looking at the palm trees. Open air dining area where we had breakfast every day. There was lots of greenery on hotel premises. It felt very secluded.
Edyta loved these droplets and gave them a photoshoot. The hotel surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake. A very nice touch.
Beach dinner at sister hotel in Chaweng. Couldn't have asked for a better dinner setting. We even wore our fanciest backpacker outfits.
Arriving at the Big Buddha Temple (aka Wat Phra Yai).
The 12 meter tall sitting Big Buddha was built in 1972. Visitors must take off their shoes to go up the hill. Proper clothing is also required. Small Buddhas.
Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy and Compassion at Wat Plai Leam. Her 18 arms symbolize her ability to reach out and provide help across the world.
Wat Plai Leam grounds with Laughing Buddha on the left.
Buddha inside one of the temples in Wat Plai Leam.
The walls of this temple very colourful and detailed.
Alone with my thought.
At one of the spas we got a massage.
The streets of Chaweng, Koh Samui's main town.
Walking into The Islander to watch UFC 181. We've taken similar pics at famous landmarks during our travels that have been retweeted by Big Brown himself.
Elephant bath - what an impressive animal.
An elephant an his trainer.
The body of monk Luong Pordaeng, whose body has not decomposed in 40+ years. Phallic Grandfather rock. Rainbow falling into the Gulf of Thailand. Edyta enjoying mango smoothie during sunset. One of the cooler bars I've ever been to. Sunsets in Thailand were beautiful. Wow! OMG!
For more photos of Koh Samui and Thailand visit our Gallery page.
Great post Vlad!emprable place to celebrate a birthday !
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