From Malaysia to Thailand
We arrived in Satun, Thailand after taking the ferry from Langkawi in Malaysia. We had no problems getting our stamps, just remember you need to apply for a visa before entering by boat or land if you want to stay more than the 15 days that are normally issued on arrival. We struggled to find transport north, but eventually the ten of us squeezed into a minivan and made our way towards the boat to take us to Koh Samui, arriving just in time to catch the last ferry from Donsak to the island at 6:30pm.
We had arrived during Songkran, the traditional New Year celebration that lasts for three days from 13th to the 15th of April each year. It’s basically a country-wide water fight and it is so much fun! Pouring water onto others is meant to signify washing away their sins and sometimes paint, coloured powders or fragrant herbs are added. As we drove towards the ferry our van was filled with water as families and trucks full of people poured buckets and sprayed water guns through the windows, it was an amazing thing to experience, if you visit Thailand try to visit during Songkran!
After the relaxed vibes of Indonesia and Malaysia, arriving into the popular tourist destination of Koh Samui was a big shock. We found the locals rude, which is understandable when they have to deal with drunk backpackers and old sex tourists from Europe and American. Transport around the island was unbelievably expensive and so were the hotels, but we luckily found a place called Suan Tale Hotel right next to the beach for 250฿, which is around £5. There are endless choices for food and drink along the main road, you can spend your evenings drinking cocktails and watching the fire dancers on the beach.
A day on Koh Samui
A good and convenient way to see the island is to book yourself onto a tour bus because taxis can be very pricey, no matter how many people you have in your group. We visited a huge and very shiny temple complex, a big gold Buddha statue, the mummified monk with his RayBans, and the famous Grandfather Rock and Grandmother Rock.
After your tour, they take you to a very expensive resort for lunch, but instead of chowing down on overpriced noodles I explored the area and met some very friendly elephants and their keeper. He let me hose down one of the elephants, a very happy looking male called Shaun who was 25, very young in elephant years!
*update to add some important information*
Shaun was actually probably a very unhappy elephant. Any elephant that is held in captivity has been mistreated, abused and forced to endure a life of pain to please tourists. I didn’t know any better back then but now I do. PLEASE avoid any tourist attractions that are using animals for your entertainment, including elephant rides and tiger temples. Please.
Leaving Koh Samui
We booked the ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Tao for 330฿ (£6) per person and this included a sweaty minivan ride to the ferry terminal from our hotel. It was a big boat that was crammed full of about 250 people with luggage piled high above our hands and most people sitting on the floor as there aren’t enough seats for everyone, it was hilarious.
You can view the full album here.