Where to stay in Thailand is a $64 000 question. There are so many beautiful beaches and so much accommodation to choose from. We initially thought we would spend about 2 weeks at Choeng Mon Beach Hotel & Spa on Koh Samui (this hotel came highly recommended by friends Terry and Faye who have been going there for many years) and then move on to Lamai for our last 2 weeks on the island before flying out to Phuket.
While in New Zealand, Peter visited a doctor who took one look at some nasty growths on his forehead and recommended an immediate aggressive treatment that would be fairly unpleasant for about 4 to 6 weeks. We decided to extend our stay at Choeng Mon Beach Hotel & Spa to 4 weeks to allow Peter to get over the worst of the treatment in one place.
Our flight into Koh Samui was not without incident. We boarded our flight to Koh Samui in Bangkok and, for no apparent reason, sat at the terminal for about an hour waiting for clearance to take off. About 30 minutes after our scheduled departure time we were told the delay was due to traffic congestion and about 30 minutes later we were told the delay was due to a bomb threat. None of the planes around us had moved and we surmised that the bomb threat had been in the airport building and we would be able to take off once the threat had been cleared. It turned out that the bomb threat was on our plane and our flight would only leave about 6 hours later.
We gathered from subsequent events and newspaper articles that a Swiss gentleman on our plane was unable to get his luggage into the overhead locker and told the flight attendant that unless she got the bag into the overhead locked it would explode. The flight attendant relayed this information to the pilot who relayed it to the tower and the authorities decided to initiate the ‘bomb on plane’ procedure. We were told to disembark and taken by bus to a remote location where they searched us and all our luggage. The plane was towed to a secure area and searched. The threat turned out to be an empty one but the last we heard the Swiss gentleman was facing a 5 year jail sentence, a TB200 000 fine and a hefty bill from the airport.
The hotel is on Cheong Mon beach, a beautiful half moon bay about 15 minutes north of the main town Chaweng. The hotel is old but clean and right on the beach so it suited us perfectly.
Even though Thailand is a third world country, it is never-the-less an amazing country. The Thais are friendly people who go out of their way to make you feel welcome in their country. Most Thais are not, by western standards, wealthy but they have a wonderful lifestyle and are generous people. No village in Thailand would be complete with numerous tailor shops….
…and mobile restaurants.
Getting around Thailand is fairly easy and Koh Samui is no exception. The options range from the latest air-conditioned sedans, to Songthaews or the principal mode of transport, the scooter. There are literally thousands of these scooters in Thailand and it is not uncommon to see three or even four people on a scooter. When the most popular form of transport on an island is one of these…
…then there is no need for expensive service stations and they tend to look like this.
Because of statistics like this and incidents like this, we prefer not to use the most popular form of transport in Thailand and use the Songthaews – a small LDV with bench seating at the back – to get around. They travel up and down the main road at regular intervals and are a reliable and cheap form of transport.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it is good to sit back, put your feet up, open your favourite cold beverage, and remember that, if you get your priorities right, life is good!