DAY 2Jun 01 2019
After sorting out logistics like sim card and transfer, I met up kenny and had first Thai food and beer.
DAY 3Jun 02 2019
Early morning flight to samui
On arrival, greeted by small dark green snake coiled on the lobby floor.
Upgraded to residence with two bedrooms, living room, private pool, pool kitchen and lounge, and small beach.
Relax in hammock, lunch in hotel restaurant and lounged by pool until sunset.
Dinner in main town Chang Wen.
DAY 4Jun 03 2019
Breakfast and then to airport to pick up chee chee.
Lunch in hotel. Then, lounge by the pool.
Had a go at paddle boarding while chee chee went on the kayak.
Cheng wen for seafood dinner including lobster, fish, shrimp...
DAY 5Jun 04 2019
After breakfast we had a road trip around the island .
Paradise Park with amazing views ,exotic birds and not so exotic live stock.
Secret buddha garden with various stone statues and structures dotted down a stream and waterfall. Two ladies having a phitoshoot by the waterfall in their bikinis : one super skinny and the other rotund. Kenny's not so subtle snapping of photos.
Muang ha (?) waterfall. Take a pickup up rocky dirt track to get to the start of the hike. Can sit up top on the roof if want,but declined.
Walking across a rope bridge and structure to then follow the path up the hill to the first part of the waterfall. Quite pretty.
Contunued up the path, which became more difficult, to get to the main waterfall. Once we neared the top, there were thunderclaps, so we thought we should hot foot it back down before it rained. Kenny was already waiting at the bottom, as he did not join us.
Just as we reached the bottom, the rain started to fall and fall. There were three young german men (18 or 20 years?) that joined the ride back. Two of them climbed on to the top and the more timid one sat in the back with us.
We continued to drive round the island to a bay with a rock formation which is supposed to be quite fallic. It takes quite a bit of imagination, though! In any case, it was a nice view to take photos and gave some time for the rain to properly pass.
We then reached Lamai beach to have lunch in a beach side restaurant, raised up looking over the bay. After lunch, we went down to the sand and lounged on the seats. The group next to us seemed like a fraternity or something (mainly Asian with one Indian guy) and were quite many, obnoxious and bossy. Great for people watching! They were having goes on the jet skis and water rocket boats. Again, fun to watch.
We decided we had had enough and jumped back in the car to head to the hotel.
After all the driving, I did not fancy going far for dinner, but chee chee and Kenny wanted to go to the old town that we had passed. When we reached there it was like a deserted town and a bit sketchy near the pier market. I decided to drive on.
We came back to a night market we had passed. While itt was nice to look around, Kenny did not trust the hygiene of the food and I didn't either. Chee chee bought a bag of chicken, which I tasted, but it wasn't dinner.
We made our way further back to a hotel restaurant, which was nice and safe.
As had become our ritual, we had beers in the living room of the hotel before bed.
DAY 6Jun 05 2019
We awoke to heavy rainfall this morning. The day did not look promising for a day of relaxing. However, this was what we all wanted to do.
After breakfast and a morning ritual of sun screen, the weather had some what faired up, so we went back to the beach area and sat under the cabana looking out to sea.
Chee Chee and I took out the paddleboard and canoe again. This time, we went the other way pass the river mouth and towards the other headland. We went quite far, then decided to stop and just float. I held on to chee chee's kayak with my foot and laid back to just take in the tranquility and atmosphere.
Around us there were fish briefly jumping out of the water to eat insects resting on the top. An orangey brown jelly fish like creature floated passed us. There were also sea birds stopping down to catch the fish.
We headed back towards the hotel and went a little further you extend our session and journey before returning to Kenny at tge cabana.
Kenny and Chee wanted to go shopping to buy souvenirs. I would have been interested to join them, however, their plan was to visit a large supermarket to buy Thai pastes and snacks primarily. I was not so interested.
While Chee and Kenny went shopping, I relaxed by the pool in the residence. As the sun started to drop, I went down to the beach by the residence, navigated my way through sandy patches to then sit down in the sea. With the waves rocking me on and off the rock I was lent against and the sun dropping, a moment of calm reflection came over me. I felt a part of nature.
I needed to pee and recalled a number of people saying how liberating it is to pee in the sea. Having never tried this before, I thought I would give it a go. So, while still sat next to the rock, I released the bottom of my shorts a little to let my penis hang out. Given how clear the water was, I was concerned that the neighbours may see, but trusted they couldn't or weren't even looking. Not being in the usual environment for peeing and not being used to the sensation of having water all around when trying to, it did not flow easy. I just sat there hanging out for a while, with the flow of the sea washing over my exposed penis. Eventually, I forced the pee to come out. It was a strange but indeed liberating experience washing the urine flow as a small jet under the water. It was then diluted and washed away by the sea.
I then got out of the sea to sit by the pool. It was not much longer that Kenny and Chee arrived back. After relaxing for a while we got ready to go and have final dinner with chee chee.
DAY 8Jun 07 2019
It was Kenny's last day and he just wanted to relax at the hotel. However, this morning was very rainy and stormy. The rain was actually very refreshing in such warm temperatures. It was nice just to lay in the rain and let the big raindrops wash over you, so I did. The flowers in the residence garden were also very nice to take photos of in the rain.
We went out of the hotel for lunch. Then, by the time we came back the weather was not great, but wasn't raining. So, Kenny decided to go to the beach to relax. I went too and again enjoyed the paddleboard. I tried to get Kenny to join, but he was not keen. He did go for a stroll in the sea.
I the evening, we went back to the seafood restaurant and pretty much had the same meal as with chee chee.
After buying a magnet each, we went back to the hotel for our night time beer. I was going to convince Kenny to drink it outside or in the sea, but I knew he would be concerned by the insects, so did not bother.
DAY 9Jun 08 2019
Dropped Kenny off at the airport. Now, I am travelling alone.
I did not know what I was able to have the confidence to do in my own, but I thought that I might like to go to a remote island to spend a night. Yesterday, I packed my bag on the basis that I would stay overnight. However, having set off in the car, I feel very alone
First step, drive to the Thong Krut pier in the south and then see if there is a tour to one of the islands to spend the day. Success.
Second step, speak with tour agents and boat taxis to try and get a good value trip. I don't try to haggle anymore. Mostly, this will be due to my now non-confrontational nature. However, my story of it being ethical not to haggle still stands too. Success.
Third step, call the car hire company and the bungalow owner to make arrangements. While sat on the beach, I called both of them. Success.
Fourth step, ask the boat taxi to take me to the island across the way. He did not ask for an extra charge and was fine to do so. Success.
Took the taxi boat to Ko Mad Sum. This is a tiny private island to the south of Koh Samui. There is a high end resort at the southern end and a small beach bar at the northern.
Crossing the sea in the typical Thai longboat is a Thai experience I have had before and will always treasure. The small boat bobbing up and down the waves with the captain adjusting the speed depending on each wave. It was just me in the boat as I was too late for other tours.
Arriving to Koh Mad Sum, the boat kills the engine and drifts to the shore after dropping an anchor to the rear and front. I place my bags and valuables to the side of the boat while I descend the two to three small stairs into the sea. Collecting the bags, I stroll out of the sea toward the small beach bar to have a refreshing coconut. Delicious and with a cute engraving.
After settling into the island fora few moments, I walk away from the bar to the middle of the beach that has no tourists at all.
After placing my belongings under a tree and using its shade to put on sun screen, I saunter out with blanket in hand to lay down on the sand.
This was what I was looking for: no people and just the sound of nature and waves. OK.. I will put up with the sound of the wind and of distant tailboats.
After meditating and relaxing for a while, I waded into the shallow waters with snorkel and mask to see if I could see anything. Alas, no. It is all bleached and lifeless.
Looking across to Koh Tan and enjoying the solitude, I thought that I should sort the logistics to stay a night on the island. After a couple of calls and conversations, all was arranged.
After coming out of the sea, I did not want to lay straight back in the sun. So, I walked back to the bar.
Looking across to Ko Tan, I could see heavy rain was coming. The clouds were dark and the island slowly disappearing into the mist of the deluge. The wind started to pick up. I knew it was time to retreat to the cover of the bar. I did in plenty of time. The wind got stronger and the bar staff pulled down tarpaulins at the front, ready for the rain which was imminent..
A couple of showers later, I spoke with the captain to go to Ko Tan. As we were departing a large tour group arrived of young backpackers. Just in time to avoid paradise being lost.
[journey across to Koh Tan ]
[sensation of being left by the boat and checking in to my room ]
[description of the room ]
[walk along beach and slight venture in to jungle ]
[old woman with machete ]
[enjoying the swing ]
[something in the jungle ]
[100s of bats at dusk ]
[beer on the swing and lights out]
[frog on the bed and wrap myself up]
[a not so comfortable night sleep but very natural ]
DAY 10Jun 09 2019
Awoken this morning by the rooster. It wasn't even sunrise, but it must have been close.
I dropped off back to sleep, dozing as I had been doing all night. A short sleep, then awakening either with a sensation of something crawling on me or because I was too hot.
At about 05:30, I woke myself to look out of the window to see the dawn. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I tried to make out a new shape outside of my window. It was a large buffalo laying down. It must have seen me, as it stood up and stared at me for nearly half an hour. In fairness, I must have been staring back too. However, I was amazed at being so close to this animal and its large twisting horns. I was glad to have the protection of the wall and window, but not really sure what would have happened if a horn came through the glass.
The longer we stared, the more settled we became with each others company. He took a few steps back and forth, shifting his weight. I shifted around trying to get the perfect angle and light for a photo but to no avail. This is an image for my memory not MB.
Finally, he sat back down in the sand on the beach.
I contemplated going outside to enjoy the dawn, but was a little disturbed about removing the barrier between me and the buffalo immediately outside. So, I too settled back down to rest.
Scared to leave the bungalow. First by a big buffalo and second by a much smaller large bee like bug.
Decided to slide on my flip flops and take an amble along the beach. Lots of crabs of various sizes were out in the dawn light. As I walked along, I felt my feet keep sinking more than they should in the sand. I realised that actually I was crushing holes that the crabs had made.
As I continued to walk along taking photos, there was hardly anybody around. Just a lady in the field shaking fallen coconuts for water and a man sat on a bench.
Once I reached the end of the beach, I decided to take the dirt track and carry on walking to see something of the jungle. Many times I thought about turning around on my walk as I was alone and nobody knew I was out walking. I could be there for hours if I got hurt, bitten or otherwise injured.
The first part was familiar as I had walked there the night before. This time, though, as I walked along birds were scaring out of the trees. I tried to see if they were the ones with the bright blue feathers I saw last night, but I couldn't see.
I reached the junction and had to decide whether to go left, right or turn around. I decided to go right trying to take a photo in my mind of the junction so I would not miss it on the return. I thought I could hear monkeys in the trees in the middle of the forest, but it could have just been birdsong.
I had only walked a few hundred metres when I heard a huge squwark of a hog. Having seen how nervous a jungle guide in Borneo was of hogs, I too thought I should be cautious. After freezing for a moment, I turned around to go back. Then, as I turned to see if it was there, I thought: 'just go past it and see what happens '. It was fine, although I was conscious that I was now up wind.
I reached the next junction and had to decide left or right. Left signposted a beach and a bay view. To the right, was the west bay and lagoon. I thought the bay view sounded good given that the sun was still rising and it signposted it 1KM away.
Walking along listening to the chorus of bird sounds, I always remained alert to what was lurking in the forest. I came to the next sign to bat view which pointed off the paved road up a hill. Realising the bay view was a mistake, I didn't fancy looking at some sleeping bats even if they were only 500m further. So, i continued along the same path. I reached a very shaded and dark part of the forest. Although it was scary, I paused for a moment to take in the bird sounds and assess the road ahead. I decided to turn round. I passed the sign for bat view and impulsively took it.
Walking up the hill past a hut the trees got more dense and dark. I continued up until a clearing of the trees. In this clearing I could hear machinery (like a generator) and found comfort that I was moving closer to civilisation. As I the noise got louder by each footstep forward it also changed from sounding like a generator to sounding like a swarm of bees. I could only assume I was moving closer to a nest or hive. I immediately turned round and went back to the road.
I returned to the junction and decided to take the right towards the lagoon. It said it was about 3 km away, but I thought it wouldn't take long. I continued along the paved road listening to the sounds of birds and insects.
I must have been almost there, when I started to feel pain in my foot from the rubbing of the flip flop strap. It didn't hurt that much , but in hindsight it should have been a warning sign. I saw a sign post to the mangrove and decided to continue.
As I neared a four way junction, I could go left up a hill, right back towards my beach but by a different direction or straight on. The mud from the left turn seemed to have slid down and really did not look appealing neither did turning back. So, i continued toward what I thought was the lagoon. I could not tell as the sign had fallen down, and I couldn't easily lift it back up.
A few further metres and I could see the sea. A beautiful lagoon with huts and bungalows carefully dotted. There was also a walkway round the mangrove. By this time, my foot was throbbing and walking additional KMs did not seem attractive. After taking a few photos, I decided to head back.
I knew how far the route was I came and that it was long and hilly. I did not know the route signposted to my beach. I took it on the off chance that it was shorter even if unknown.
Walking through the red mud, my flip flops slid into it and left a beautiful copper tint. My feet by this time were almost unbearable to walk on. I thought about turning back to the known long route, but still decided to continue realising this was going to hurt. A few steps further and I had to take my flip flips off.
Walking bare foot I stood on some large stones and wondered each time if I had stood on glass. I was also mindful that there were lots of and and insects crawling around. I never realised how difficult it is to walk distances bare foot. My feet are not used to this mechanical action and sensation.
A motor bike passed me and I just politely wave, not looking phased by the pain or trying to look strange carrying my shoes.
A few steps more and a few rough stones more, mixed among some relieving smooth concrete, I stopped myself dead. In front of me was the brightest green snake I had ever seen slithering its way across the road. I slowly took some pieces backwards away from the snake. I quickly put my flip clips back on trying to give myself whatever protection I could. I did not dare to pass. What if it got spoked and turned to strike? What if I ran and it decided to chase? I have seen the documentary of the snake chasing prey, they are fast!
While standing there for a little longer to see what the snake did, a lady rode pass on a motorbike and nonchalantly smiled and waved. I have a polite nod and smiled like I was not in pain nor scared of the snake.
I briskly walked past the snake and snapped a photo.
As I came round the bend, I saw my original nemesis but this time two of them. There were two hogs stood by the road side. I knew I must be getting closer to the beaxh, but contemplated turning around. I did not want to be chased by these two!
I slowly approached them and realised that their snouts were not buried in the undergrowth as is usual but were pointing defiantly upwards. As I got closer and closer their gaze, while thankfully turned away, did not change. I was now within metres of them and getting more and more nervous to then realise they were statues. I am glad I was alone as otherwise it would have been embarrassing.
A few more painful steps and I could see the sign to the beach hospital, thankfully close to my bungalow.
After a photo shoot for one in the swing, I had a relax in the sunshine. The wind was beginning to pick up. Metres away, I heard a loud thud on the floor - a coconut had fallen from the tree and rolled toward the sea. It was at this point that the stat of coconuts falling from trees being a significant killer. Defiantly I remained where I sat. Then, thud, a further coconut fell metres in front of the swing where I had just left. The crashes kept happening like bombs in the jungle and on the beach. The cloud was starting to come over and I thought more would be a good time to head back to Belmond on time for lunch.
I went back to my room and packed my bags. I asked the lovely Thai lady who had hosted me if she could help arrange a taxi boat. There was an absolute language barrier as she went over to my room to check the fan was working. She always had a beaming smile on her warm friendly face - a quality to eminate.
She called the owner who spoke English to check what I wanted. I explained I was ready to leave and he said he would call a boat. A few moments later he called back and said that I would have to wait as there was a storm coming. He didn't know how long other than to say 'later'. I knew from my time on koh madsum that it is possible to see storms coming toward which wouldn't be seen on Koh Tean, however, the weather looked stable and I could still see boats coming to the island. I thought it was perhaps a ploy to prolong until lunch so that I would buy lunch there.
I waited for a while and lo behold a big storm came over. After what seemed like ages it passed. I then waited about 30-45mins before seeing a boat appear around the headland. I was going to leave.
After a further awkward language exchange with the hostess including Google translate, I had paid and was being whisked to the pier in a golf buggy. The boat driver asked me to wait and he disappeared to some houses in the jungle. When he returned he was holding a young girl's hand. She must have been about five or six years old. He was carrying what looked like a blue school satchel. Shortly behind them was a boy about ten years old. Both of them were coming in my boat.
The girl was lifted on to the boat and the boy climbed up without steps. I managed to do the same. The girl sat near the driver and the boy up front. He helped guide the boat out of the pier. I sat on the middle and placed my bag on the floor.
As we passed the headland, the sea became incredibly choppy. The boat rocked and bounced on the waves with water gushing over the side in to my face and on to my bags on the floor. At some points the driver needed to twist the boat to stop it tipping. Some of the waves were so big that I had to lean to stop myself falling out.
After some careful navigating by the driver, I was at the other side absolutely soaked and as though I had been for a swim in my clothes. I nervously went to check on the car. The previous night I had wondered whether the space I parked on was safe. Would the area flood? Would the car have sunk in the ground? Was the space used at night? Was it safe or could it have been stolen? I was relieved to see that it was so there, but then I realised it was parked under a coconut tree. A hazard I never would have thought of, but a falling coconut would leave a large debt or smashed windscreen. Thankfully, neither had occurred.
[back to Belmond... Room service lunch ]
[relax by the private pool or to the beach ? ]
DAY 11Jun 10 2019
A nice comfy night sleep in a huge bed with plentiful pillows.
I didn't wake too late as I expected from the forecasts that there would only be sun in the morning and that it would be stormy in the afternoon. With the same token, I packed a beach bag ready to go to the beach straight after breakfast.
At breakfast, I bumped into Wanna (HR for the hotel). She asked whether the noise from the ceremony next door by the fishing village kept me awake on Saturday night. I just politely said no, but did not mention that I was pretty far away and that there were other things keeping me awake such as creepy crawlies and the preoccupation of waking up in time for the sunrise.
Wanna proudly said that she had participated and won in the kayak competition but that she was feeling it still today. About ten people from the hotel had participated in various games. The ceremony is supposed to be related to bringing good luck for the fishing, but it seemed more like a sports day or fete.
I quickly ate muesli and fruit for breakfast, then went to bag a bed on the beach. The bed was straight in the sun and near the activity centre. I declined the umbrella.
I laid there relaxing, contemplating and rejuvenating my mental state. Which was very successful. A couple of times I considered having a go on the paddleboard, but others had just taken it. The guy at the activity centre had said it was not a good day for it as it was low tide and shallow with strong waves further out. The people I saw soon fell off and returned not long after.
I moved into the shade realising my skin and lotion was drying out. I then decided to have a go on the paddleboard. I initially put on my UV t shirt, but then took it off half way through to get good photos.
The sea was difficult. I managed to stand up, but soon fell off after being hit sideways by a wave. I continued to pale the power of the wind and waves on my knees. The bumping and direction of navigation through the waves reminded me of the boat yesterday. Albeit, the waves were in fact much smaller.
A couple grabbed the other paddleboard and a kayak. A muy confidence built in the protected part of the beach and a little bit of showing off, I was able to stand up. I even successfully ventured to the outer waves and really tested my skills and balance. I did not fall off.
I had had enough and decided to return the board and just go back into the sea for a little swim. Upon leaving the water I saw a few people gathering. I decided to take a look. As I approached, I could see a snake slithering in the sea. Was it a sea snake? Yikes! The snake then slithered toward the shore and eventually in to the land. By this point, the guy from the activity came over and grabbed the snake.
He walked across the beach swinging it round and round. When he spotted, it curled up to try and bite his face. He kept on spinning it. Guests thought this was cruel, but I think I could understand why. Another guy from the activity centre played with the snake a little and held it for guests to take photos. It was then packaged in a snorkel bag to be released back into the jungle. It was in fact a land snake.
I saw that my skin had already begun to turn red,so decided to lunch in the shade and return to the residence. By this time, the burn had started to come out and by evening time it was painful.
I spent the afternoon Lounging around the residence. Mainly in the hammock covered up by towels to protect from the sun. I woke at some point to see a member of staff collecting towels. He must have thought I was quite strange.
Later in the afternoon the wind picked up. I enjoyed watching it from the pool in the residence, with some trepidation as leaves and branches were falling from the trees.
After dinner at a beach side restaurant, I returned to the hotel to pack. I had become a little obsessed with the idea of having a beer at the private beach of the residence. In particular, while it is nighttime and while sat in the sea. So much so that I had been constantly checking the tide times.
I put on beach wear, opened a beer and headed down to take a look. I thought that I would just stand by the steps down to the beach, but then took off my slippers and walked down. The sea was quite choppy with the waves coming in having no where to go to get back out, so waves were opposing each other. It was about three hours short of high tide, so the sea was not deep enough to sit in without going over the coral.
I stood on a large rock, drinking my beer, while waves crashed against it. I decided to sit on the rock and dangle my feet. Bigger waves would hit the rock, soak my legs and splash up to give a refreshing splash of water to my body and face. Occasionally, waves would catch me by surprise after hitting rocks to the side.
After finishing my beer and sitting for a while watching the dark night sky, I went back up to the pool level. The pool also looked so inviting, so I stripped down to my trunks and stepped in. It was so warm even though it was about midnight. Caught in a moment of liberty, I took off the trunks and experience swimming in the pool au natural - even more liberating and a unique experience.
It was starting to get late, so I showered and retired to bed. I was a bit disappointed that I had not properly gotten in to the sea. High tide was at 04:30 and I said to myself that if I woke up naturally, I would go to take a look.
DAY 12Jun 11 2019
I woke at about 05:30 and took a look out of the window to see the level of the sea. It was higher than the night before, but not the highest it could have been. I ummed and arred, then decided to out on swimming trunks to go and take a look.
Stood at the top of the stairs, I was reaching the decision not to go lower and to just return to bed. Though, something inside me just said 'do it'. I took off my vest top and descended. I sat for a while in the sea enjoying the morning light. The water was balmy with currents and waves in all directions pushing me around. I lay down on the water for a bit too. At one point, I opened my trunks to let myself hang out in the waves. The sensation and the mix of morning made me hard.
After spending about 45mins or more (I wasn't tracking time), I got out and returned to bed.
Waking up now, it seemed dreamlike and doubtful that it happened. However, I have a small cut from where I stood on a sharp rock.