Ko Samui, Thailand
Party island Ko Samui has long been the locale of choice for paradise-seeking voyagers of all stripes. Its turquoise waters and sun-bleached, sandy bays are lined with multiple bungalows and resorts, a plethora of restaurants to satisfy hungry epicureans, and thumping nightlife providing a soundtrack to the temperate, starry nights.
It was once an 'untouched' backpackers' mecca with its picture-postcard beauty although it is now so well developed in some places that you can always party it up after a day of exploring the island's natural beauty, snorkelling in the lagoon or buying the many fake items that are widely available.
Ko Samui is not everyone's cup of tea; some revel in its coastal buzz while others cringe at the Khao-San-by-the-beach bustle. But even as the most popular beaches attract the sorts of crowds most people come here to escape, the large island somehow manages to maintain its relaxed atmosphere. Pockets of calm can still be found by those willing to look.
13 Aug 2000 - Ko Samui, ThailandThis was near the end of the holiday and so far we had all avoided becoming ill. One thing to watch our for is the ice. Ice cubes are normally fine as these are produced in sterile conditions in a factory. However, chipped ice is a different matter. Chipped ice is produced by setting to a huge block of ice with a pick. These blocks though are often dragged along the ground in the street first hence consuming chipped ice is not advisable.
On one night we were having such a good time that Hywel and I started on the cocktails. These were full of chipped ice but did we care? Not at this point. I became ill with a dose of the squits as did Hywel but Hywel suffered far worse than I.
With the night coming to an end we headed back to the hotel (minus Adam...). Hywel and myself hadn't enough so resorted to wandering the hotel complex and found Adam with an Australian lady he had been in deep conversation with earlier. We left them alone and then encountered a couple of western females! Hywel attempted a little chat and then after getting the brush off decided to show off like a 17 year old if on holiday with his mates in Majorca. He jumped into the pool with his clothes on, made a noise and then got back out again.
At this point the night was definitely over and we went back to our room area. Full of mischief, we went to Adam's room that he was sharing with Chamberlain and Jint and just to ruin any possible under the sheets activity Adam might have been planning, a dripping wet Hywle lay on Adam's bed and then threw sand over it. Bitter, bitter boy.
The next day saw us a little fragile. While waiting for breakfast I suddenly felt hot and nauseous. That only meant one thing so I had to return to the chalet to eject matter from both ends of my body. At one point I didn't think I was going to make it back and I was constantly scanning where I could duck into if my insides lost control. Hywel had the squits for days and began to worry when I told him that self prescribed penicillin would make no difference as it wouldn't kill the little animal that had taken residence in his digestive system.
Ko Samui - Eating to excess
After returning from Ko Pha-Ngan we upped our eating and for me this was one of the great joys of this place. Despite a tourist mark up, prices were still very low and we could feast on all the best seafood. Greed grabbed me and I often had meals of steamed whole Red Snapper, squid and prawns as thick as your wrist all in one sitting
Ko Samui - Jint and Hywel
I always knew that there was something about these two former housemates. Here I surprised them just as they were about to engage in some gender bending behaviour. Altenatively, they could be trying to talk to each other in a loud club. Obviously the latter theory is just preposterous.
This is probably the only picture I have of Jint in which he is smiling.
Ko Samui - Adam taking 'care' of Jint
Jint's not looking so happy now. Good old Adam is there to help him along, "Go on Jint. Drink just a bit more."
Ko Samui - Jint's in trouble
And don't I know it?
His 15 minutes of being merry has turned into 'I've had too much'.
Ko Samui - Hywel surrounded by filth
Eurgh! Dirty, filthy whores.
Ko Samui - Generous Jint
Another first for Jint. An earlier photo caught him smiling. Now he is being the most generous I have ever known him.
Ko Samui - Beware the chipped ice
Hywel looks rather happy with himself here. In his right hand is a coktail full of chipped ice. Remember, ignore the perils of chipped ice at your peril. Alcohol made us forget and we both paid the price.
Ko Samui - Leaving Ko Samui
About to leave Ko Samui and return to the hell that is Bangkok.
6 Aug 2000 - Ko Samui, ThailandUpon arriving in Ko Samui we knew that we had to go on to Ko Pha-Ngan so made a trip to the part of the island from which the boat departs. From here we decided an overnight stay would give us a break after the travelling and give us another night out. Adam already knew which hotel we would stay at so this was quickly arranged. So with the evening drawing in we went straight out for a bite to eat and some drinks.
We thought that we had managed to escape the prostitutes but as a group of men we were the honey that attracted the bee. When walking down one street we went past a bar that was full of women. In more usual circumstances the reaction might be, "Great lets, go in there" but not this time. As we walked past there was a loud chorus of greetings enticing us in but the claws of the devil were avoided yet again.
We went to a bar and asked for whiskey and coke while noting though western prices. Outrage could do nothing about this blatant tourist scamming so we had to accept the fleece. Whiskey and coke it was but it certainly wasn't what we were expecting. Rather than a measure of whiskey topped up with the coke the barman gave us a litre bottle of whiskey and litre and a half of cola - hoorah! Needless to say it was a boozy night. At the end of it we went for a street curry. I had two helpings of fish curry. Nice sauce but watch out for the bones. I'll stick to beef and chicken next time.
When we got back to our hotel we found a chick boy waiting for the key to his room. He gruffly asked for his key in a deep voice then turned to reveal a pock marked, acne ridden male face...but with breasts and wearing a dress! Staring by all was compulsory.
The next day we had to wait a few hours for the boat to Ko Pha-Ngan so we went for walk around and to take in the sites. Though before this I went for a selfish green chicken curry breakfast for only 30p from another street restaurant. I went alone because Chamberlain took ages to get up and I was too hungry to wait. I filled my face and let the boys wait for me while I went to the chemist. Boy were they hungry when I got back! We sought out where our boat was going to depart and then went for early lunch, my second meal of the morning. Crabs and rice - I was in heaven.
As mentioned. one of the great peculiarities at our location were the chick boys! Some of them have the breasts and clothes but have forgotten to pay any attention to their faces. Basically what you have is male face plonked on top of a butch female torso like the one in our hotel. No fear of making a mistake there. The other types of chick boy are those that have made an effort to look like women. This place was full of them! One day while on the beach I spied a chick boy in the surf. A topless chick boy with a great pair of breasts! Unfortunately the chick boy was in water up to the waist so I couldn't see if the tackle had been turned inside out.
Ko Samui - Leaving Ko Samui for Ko Pha-Ngan
The next step in our trip is Ko Pha-Nhan and in this photo we are leaving Ko Samui.
Ko Samui - Before the ferry departure
Whilst we waited for the ferry and the next part of the adventure we spent some time just walking around the town and took in the unspectacular but new sights. I have my famous Sweden t-shirt which is now part of my travels!