It’s been a while since I’ve posted Part 1 of my Koh Samui trip. Here’s part two, in which we have casual dinners and a magical jungle safari tour! So settle in, it’s going to be a bit of a long (but hopefully good) one.
There are a plethora of restaurants in Koh Samui’s main street, Chaweng Beach Road, making deciding where to eat more difficult than it should be.
Copacabana caught our eye with their abundance of produce displayed enticingly out in front of the restaurant and their ridiculously cheap meal deals (found out later that they’re not the only ones with such an arrangement, but it was the first one we noticed). We ended up getting the “seafood for four persons” deal (2270 Baht, roughly AUD$70), which consisted of 2 lobsters, a snapper, 4 tiger prawns, 2 calamaris, 2 blue crabs, 2 oysters, and the optional plate of clams and mussels, and the “meat for two persons” (1170 Baht, AUD$36). The meat deal offered 2 fillet steaks, 2 spare ribs, 2 pork steaks, 2 chicken legs, and 2 mixed kebab skewers. All meal deals included salad, potato, and corn.
This meant our smorgasbord dinner was about $17 each! I still can’t get over how cheap things are here.
Highlights of this dinner were the chips, potatoes, and seafood produce. While the ribs were decent, the chicken and steaks were a bit on the dry side though edible at least.
The oysters, however, were a different story. B commented that the oysters she had tasted a little funny… perhaps a little off. She felt sick later that night and was in poor shape for the next day or two. We mostly stuck to cooked food after that!
We thought we’d check out the night life on the beach (totally chill with a DJ on a high platform spinning out mellow trance tracks) and quickly got suckered in to lighting a floating lantern (for 60 Baht).
It was all going according to plan until R let it go. A sneaky breeze came up and deviated the lantern’s course towards and down on to people. It came quite close to this person who had to bolt out of their reclining chair!
Thankfully, another breeze pushed it out to sea before it touched down (it was weird that it was going down, not up! Not hot enough yet, I guess?).
With the Hen getting better, we thought we could chance it and go on a tour – a full day, magical jungle safari tour, no less!
Our tour guide, Dang, was also our driver (in a super old school jeep) and after picking everyone up, we headed to our first destination.
The Grandfather / Grandmother rocks (there was a Father and Son rock too) are located on the east side of the island and were… well… let’s say I was a bit surprised. I thought perhaps they looked like old people or something, but no… it’s actually rocks that kind of look like genitalia (definitely did not think I’d ever use that word on here).
Mildly interesting, if a bit awkward looking at nether regiony stuff with your friends (we’ve always been a bit sheltered growing up, though sometimes I feel we still are).
Our next stop was to check out the working monkeys (pig-tailed macaques), but before any of that happened, we were treated to some crazy driving (weaving in and out of the coconut trees, making figure 8’s at high speed), which made me wonder just how safe we were with Dang at the wheel, and to morning tea that was coconut juice in a huge-ass coconut.
They had three monkeys on the property, the tiny one you see here is 6 months old and still in training. To train a monkey to pick and throw down the right coconut costs them around 30,000 Baht (~ AUD$1,000) – surprisingly, quite a bit of money! They work for roughly 3-5 years and has specific hours on how long they can work for (sorry, a bit fuzzy on the details so I’m not sure how long that is. Maybe 5 hours a day?).
The crazy looking one in the top right would take violent and unpredictable flying leaps from its stump towards our multi-lingual tour guide (he spoke fluent English and German! So impressed), only to be stopped by its short leash and a firm yank from its handler.
The crazy monkey was a bit “defective”, as Dang put it, because it kept picking the green, unripe coconuts, but watching it work was pretty amazing.
I’ll be honest, I felt a bit sorry for the little one and hoped it doesn’t turn out as mad as the other one seemed to be.
We were travelling in the back of the jeep, which had been converted to include side seats, and was surprised when Dang indicated that we could ride up top if we wanted to.
If you go on this tour, this is a must-do!!! Riding up top was so much fun and scary at the same time (all you have are the bars at your feet and sides to hold on to, no seat belts), especially since your driver would most probably drive at (what felt like) ridiculous speeds and do crazy stunts like trying to drive up a steep clay embankment. Just make sure you hold on tight and brace with your feet – you’ll be right!
After an exhilarating ride, where my eyes were being forced opened by force of the wind pulling at my fake eyelashes (note: sunglasses are a must when sitting up top or you’ll lose more than a few fake lashes on the trip haha), we were at the elephant park.
But first, we were taken to the tiger hut, where you paid to take a photo with a tiger. A very cross looking tiger. I wanted to take a photo with it, but its cranky mood changed my mind and I ended up being dodgy through the hedge.
The elephant show filled me with mixed emotions. On one hand, it was pretty amazing to see the tricks they do (one of them was giving a back “massage” to an audience volunteer), but on the other, I don’t know… I felt a bit sad for them and hoped they were at least being treated right.
This is probably one of the reasons why we all opted out of the elephant trek and ended up kicking our heels back, eating ice cream, while we waited for those who took that option to finish.
At least there were cute otters to coo over. Gah, why are they so cute!?
Our next stop was at the waterfalls, imaginatively called Waterfall 1 and 2. I’m sure they’re called something else in Thai, but perhaps the name was too difficult for foreigners that they thought Waterfall 1 would suffice? I don’t know, but Waterfall 1 had nothing on Waterfall 2. So pretty!
We all got two tickets each to go on the waterslides nearby, but none of the other girls wanted to go, so R and I ended up going quite a few times. Too much fun. The waterslide we favoured of the two started of quite slow (R kept getting stuck at the top), but we’d gathered enough speed near the end to feel like we were being spat out into the pool. I once skipped twice across the pool before sinking!! Haha. We didn’t try the supposedly faster one because who knew how fast that one would spit us out!
Our way up to the mountain top was the 4×4 part of the tour; it still remains the highlight of the entire trip for me. It was fantastic fun because our driver was clearly insane, driving up more steep embankments (the Italians were up top that time), and when it started to rain – full-on torrential style – he would deliberately aim for muddy, water-filled pot holes at inadvisable speeds. We were lifted off our seats from the sheer force of the bumps, sometimes falling into the center, and muddy water would threaten to slosh in, but we were getting wet from the rain anyway through the open sides, so it was no biggie really on top of everything else that was happening.
I don’t think I’ve ever been pumped up with so much adrenalin before. Ever! Not even when I went sky diving! Gods, it was an amazing experience.
Lunch was a simple affair and with some hot tea, it was so very welcoming, as the temperature was a lot cooler up here and most of us were already quite chilled from the rain. We fussed over the Hen, plying her with our towels and trying to warm her up, hoping that this wouldn’t make her sicker (it didn’t, thank goodness).
The rain left abruptly as it came, which was great as the tour must go on!
The pace slowed to a more serene pace at the Buddha’s magic garden. It was pretty interesting with some creepy (and some phallic) statues thrown in.
Next up was the mummified monk, Luang Pho Daeng. He died while mediating, but his body somehow never decomposed and remains in this mummified state. Fascinating, but slightly creepy at the same time.
While M got a prayer bracelet from a monk, P and R decided to grab a banana-nutella pancake/crepe.
It’s always amazing to watch these stall owners at work – no movement was wasted and their deftness was mesmerising.
We were supposed to stop by the rubber plantation, where we would see how rubber is harvested, but it was still too wet from the earlier downpour to go.
A bit disappointing, but ending the tour at the giant Buddha was quite nice and relaxing.
We finished the day off with some Thai at, I think, One Bar and Restaurant.
The prawn spring rolls served with sweet plum sauce (135 Baht) were crunchy fried goodness, but the glass noodle Salad (150 Baht) was just a tad too spicy for me to enjoy (despite us ordering the mildest of the mild).
Somtum Crab (180 Baht) was served with a spicy green papaya salad that was definitely too spicy for me (I tried and the burn stayed for what seemed like forever) and so I looked on a bit forlornly.
Thank goodness we ordered the chicken pad see ew – always a safe and definitely non-spicy dish for me to fall back on when all other dishes burns. It’s interesting that the rice noodles they use is really quite thin compared to the ones used in Australia. It was also a bit sweeter than what we were used to, which made me think that the pad see ew I’ve come to know and love isn’t as authentic as I had originally believed.
We adored the stir fried morning glory in oyster sauce (80 Baht) – it’s such a simple veggie dish, but hits the sweet-and-slightly-salty goodness spot on the head.
The stir fried chicken with cashew nuts (170 Baht) had a bit of a kick to it, but it wasn’t too bad; if anything the chicken was a tad on the dry side.
When we ordered the fried rice with pineapple and prawns (200 Baht) we didn’t really expect much – just a jazzed up fried rice. We were completely astounded when we saw it come out in a hollowed-out pineapple. I can’t speak for the girls, but it was my first time having pineapple fried rice. It wasn’t to be my last, as it’s now part of my staple Thai order.
So here ends Part 2. In the final part of this series, we go exploring, visit the night markets, and go on a kayaking tour (complete with a difficult-grade mountain walk in flipflops)!
166/38 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach Road, Bophut
Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320, Thailand
Ph: +66 (0)8 – 339 583 59