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Sat Mar 19 2016: Tha-island Hopping Part I

Clear blue skies, golden sandy beaches within walking distance and friends to share it with. These warm island winds have a way of washing away all thoughts and concerns about yesterdays and tomorrows. Every morning we congregate over the bountiful and delicious breakfast at the luxury hotel where we're staying.

"What do you want to do today?" Shrugs all round. We take the path of least resistance: Hang out at the beach. Hang out at the pool. So easy and relaxing.

Every evening we head down to the Lamai Beach to our favorite seafood place that we found the first night. A nightly ritual develops, involving devouring copious amounts of crab and red snapper to the soundtrack of the dark waters of the sea lapping at the coast beside us. It's so idyllic here, but compared to Chiang Mai, the prices are outrageous! Every evening, I rankle at how much we're being charged to catch a tuk tuk into town and back to the hotel. Over double what we're used to paying in the north!

Sick of haggling with the tuk tuk drivers so...

For the price of a couple of tuk tuk rides, we rent scooters instead! We're mobile again!

Just like we're taking a vacation from our vacation from our vacation, we're now leaving behind a string of bikes every time we pick up and take off, scoring smaller and smaller wheels every new place we land. I feel very recursive, like a Mandelbrot drawing zooming in on itself.

Armed with our 125cc scoots, we set off to discover the island during the days

Through city streets and jungle roads, we roam around all of Koh Samui

Stop to visit some touristy stuff. Like the Secret Buddha Garden.

We dive into the middle of Koh Samui. Our lawnmower-engined scoots complaining loudly as we climb broken dirt roads, overtaking Jeeps and Land Rovers to reach the peaks of the hills. Neda and I race Anton and Mel's scooter but we're hopelessly outmatched on the steep hill climbs as their scooter has a better engine. Either that or I ate too much at breakfast...

At the top of one of the hills, we find the Secret Buddha Gardens. So touristy!!!

A durian farmer named Khun Nim started decorating his land with all sorts of stone statues back in 1976

The large property now contains hundreds of stone tigers, dragons, musicians, warriors, etc. It's a nice place to go for a little hike, there's a stream, some stone houses you can go exploring inside.

But so touristy though!!!

Anton being a tourist

"Does it move or do something?"
"Dunno. Maybe you have to put a coin in somewhere..."

Back on the ring road around Koh Samui

We did a whole loop around the circumference of the island. It's less than 60 kms around, but because we were puttering around on scooters and stopping to poke around all the sights it took us most of the afternoon. Despite the breeze, every once in a while, we would duck into an air-conditioned shopping mall to cool off from the searing sun overhead.

Most of the scenery here has a typical island feel to it - it reminds me a lot of Hawaii. And then the larger cities like Chaweng Beach are very developed, just like Waikiki Beach.

Mel checks her GPS on one of our stops

Neda offered me a chance to ride. Check out our geeky brain buckets!

Most of the scooter riders on the island are farangs (Actually it seems like most of the population here are farangs), and they all ride without helmets. We feel very geeky with our beanies on...

That evening at dinner, Anton announces, "I don't want to go back to work! We're just going to hang out with you guys a little bit more!"

555! That's awesome! Our travel bug is like an infectious disease and we've just contaminated two more people! But having seen the entire island of Koh Samui, where else can we go now?

We abandon our scooters and head to the docks...

(To be continued)

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