Travel Tips

Koh Samui – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Sitting in Koh Samui airport (where they have complimentary drinks and snacks – first time we have seen this at an airport anywhere in the world!), we’re on our way to Kuala Lumpur. While everything is fresh in our minds, it feels like the right time to write a post about our experience of Koh Samui.

The Good:

Let’s start with the unbelievable natural beauty. The views from anywhere are spectacular, be it looking inland at the dense and lush rainforest to staring out at the sea and various other islands, Koh Samui has scenes that deserve more than the old breathtaking cliché. That doesn’t come close. They will stay with you forever. The people are warm and inviting. The customer service in the majority of places we visited (I think public transport aside) was outstanding. People seemed genuinely happy to see us, to talk to us and welcome us to their beautiful island. The food! I could eat Thai food forever. We had many conversations over this trip about how rice tasted so fantastic here. Noodles ditto, and pad thai was delightful. Everything was a little different in each restaurant, one green Thai curry in fisherman’s village knocked my socks off, whereas another in Bohput was sweet and mild. All was delicious.

The Bad:

As mentioned, travel was not easy and it wasn’t really cheap either. Hiring a moped (which we tried for a day) was cheap but unwise. We don’t have experience riding mopeds and it wasn’t a stress free journey. It was too hot to cycle anywhere. Buses charged based on the current mood of the driver and we struggled to get fair prices. Taxis were the same. Eventually we hired a car for two days and this is when we saw the most amazing parts of the island. It wasn’t cheap to hire a car but, both being experienced drivers, it was safer, and did work out cheaper than getting buses. Plus air con! We would recommend this method above and beyond anything else.

The Ugly:

In short, monkey shows, Buffalo fighting, riding elephants and having photographs taken with chained up tigers…we do not condone any of it. If you are tempted by any of the entertainment or events that involve animals please do some research first. Usually tigers do not like people touching them, elephants are not used to people riding them. They learned these things through various taming methods that caused them stress and pain. We went to visit a waterfall and were horrified to see that the waterfall lay in the grounds of somewhere that had all of these things happening. There was a large queue of tourists waiting to ride elephants, and just round the corner was an elephant with her feet chained up, displaying the repetitive movements of distress. I say again, please research before you take part in these types of activities.

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