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Let me preface this post by saying this is going to be a long post and loaded with pictures.
The hubs and I holidayed in Koh Samui, Thailand, for six days and spent his birthday there. We had initially planned on riding to Koh Samui (on one motorcycle) but a week before the trip, my condition relapsed and I was unable to wear shoes (yet again). We ended up flying to Koh Samui instead.
Out of the six days, we had a total of two days to ourselves while our friends joined us for four, with two friends (R and SS) riding in from Singapore and another flying (B) in via Bangkok Airways. We were happy campers, the lot of us.
We stayed at the Varinda Garden Resort, and it was pretty low season (possibly due to impending political unrest in Bangkok) and the place was quiet. Most days, we even had the pool all to ourselves. Varinda is located along Lamai beach, which is slightly quieter than Chaweng (where the major tourism beat is) and I loved that we were scooting around on automatic scooters/ kapchais (South East Asian slang for scooters stemming from the Honda Cub) to get around the island.
The first night the hubs and I enjoyed some alone time in a Grand Deluxe Hill Side located fairly close to the restaurant and pool. The Grand Deluxe Hill Side room is big for the price we paid (US53) and comes with a shower and a tub, a private balcony, and a small kitchenette.
The following day, when our three friends joined us, the whole jingbang moved into the 2-Bedroom Family Suite which included one shower area with one bath tub, two rooms, a living area, a balcony and a pantry.
Overall, I think the resort was a lovely place to stay – nice eclectic furnishings painted in bright colours – a hodge-podge of Mexican and Mediterranean styles. What I loved most was that the entire property was populated with lovely quotable quotes painted against pieces of hardwood and accentuated with strategically-placed figurines of animals and the likes. Pity I never got a photograph of them.
Frankly, I thought the service we recevied at Varinda was phenomenal. After booking the resort, we requested for an additional bed and upon check-in, I noticed that everything was set up as we had requested. What impressed me more was that housekeeping staff knew the room was shared amongst five adults and each time they changed the towels, they always remembered to replace five towels instead of four – for both bath towels and beach towels!
Our two friends, R and SS, who had agreed to ride into Koh Samui from Singapore with us, decided to carry on with the road trip and rode to meet us there. The two iron road warriors looked both relieved and elated (on their iron chariots, no less) to have arrived safely in Koh Samui after two days of riding from Singapore.
It was a small welcome party with just the hubs and I going to receive the two bikers at the pier, then leading them through the island to the resort. Here are some pictures taken enroute to the resort from the pier.
Watch their ride into the resort here!
I don’t think we ever stopped eating in Koh Samui. To save on real estate on my blog, here are quick compilations of various meals we had over the six days. Each time we sat (or squatted or stood) to eat was a lovely experience. The people were warm and friendly, and the food was tasty. Somehow, my nagging suspicions are that Koh Samui food pales in comparison to taste standards in Bangkok or even Chiang Mai. The food I’ve had in other parts of Thailand have been far more spectacular and memorable than the overall epicurean experience I’ve had in Koh Samui.
The first collage is of our dinner at the resort’s restaurant (on our first night ). On the night the boys arrived, we dined at Sa Being Lae Restaurant in Koh Samui, a relatively well-known (read: touristy) restaurant which now operates a total of two outlets on the island. This restaurant is worth a try but definitely not worthy of seconds, if you ask me. I found the Tom Yum soup wanting because it was just loaded with salt or *shudders* MSG.
Everyone goes for the Mango Sticky Rice when in Thailand and we were no different. As much as we know how the dessert leaps straight for one’s arteries, we were happy to indulge and share. After all, we were all on holiday.
We celebrated the hub’s birthday at a Thai restuarant (didn’t get the name) in Chaweng and the poor fellar who took our order couldn’t seem to understand we were requesting for the Lemon Squid dish, giving us the Lemon Sauce Fish instead. And funnily enough, the fish turned out to be the best of the lot that night.
We wandered around and discovered a night market in Chaweng where vendors peddled local food, snacks, toys, clothes, and what-not, chancing upon some confectionery items like doughnuts, cake pops and other sweet treats along with savoury snacks which we happily tabao-ed (tabao is Mandarin for takeaway) back to the resort.
The hubs and I enjoyed a pregnant pause recollecting memories and cutting his birthday cake at a small French bakery (La Fabrique Samui) in Lamai. While they had a small selection of cakes available, we decided to go with a trio: Tiramisu, Creme Brulee and Choco Crunch – of which, the only worthy mention was the Choco Crunch which tasted like a burst of crispy chocolate bits with every bite. I loved it!
Other worthy food mentions on this trip would be the barbecue chicken we spotted enroute to the Big Buddha, and the fresh coconut ice cream topped with pineapple, a local favourite too. I also enjoyed a pizza and Mexican Empanadas at the Seaside Restaurant along Mae Nam Beach. While the food was excellent, the service was spotty and rather unpleasant.
We didn’t get to try the Go Kart, Bungee Jump or Elephant Trekking because I wasn’t well enough to do all those active tasks. Instead, the boys were happy to oblige me with firing up a storm at the shooting range, chilling by the many beaches of Koh Samui, visiting the Tiger Zoo and the Big Buddha Temple, watching a Supercross Race, and enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of the Koh Samui’s Night Market. The hubs and I also released a lantern into the night sky and enjoyed each other’s company on the back of a motorcycle.
Amongst the 9mm Glock 19 and 17, I got to fire a .357 Magnum and was quite taken aback by how difficult it is to fire a revolver. I was also lucky enough to experience firing a shot gun which fed my hunger for destruction, temporarily.
Then came the granddaddy of all revolvers, the Magnum .44 revolver that gave me quite a rude shock with its powerful recoil. Good thing I had a firm grip on the weapon or it would’ve hit me in the face, for sure. Here’s a video of me firing the .44 Magnum. Check out my reaction to the recoil.
At the Samui Tiger Zoo, we took pictures with an adult tiger and watched others perform tricks (behind the safety of a cage and from a safe distance). Within the same premises, there was also an aquarium where we got to see sea creatures in their ‘habitat’ and watch sea lions perform a rather entertaining routine.
R and I were teasing the tiger by running around, check out the video for more.
On the hubby’s birthday, we were fortunate to be in Samui and discover a supercross race for Malaysian and Thai riders taking place. Naturally, we were all so excited about watching a live race on a supercross track, we were up bright and early to ride out and locate the motorcross track.
After riding around for almost an hour, we finally located the track and were warmly welcomed by the roaring of mighty four-strokers! Since I can’t ride offroad now, I happily inhaled the race 2T and for that moment, lived vicariously through one of the racers. Here’s a short snippet of one of the races on race day!
Not to be mistaken for a motocross track, this supercross track is a smaller space and features more jumps created close together, making it a lot more challenging than a regular motorcross track.
As a group, we didn’t include visiting the temple as part of the itinerary when in Koh Samui but somehow, fate would have it that we did. So here I am at the foot of The Big Buddha. I experienced a composing serenity whilst at the temple.
Needless to say, we spent many languid moments laying around on the beaches of Koh Samui. Whilst we managed to visit all the beaches, I only photographed three.
Here’s a video of the hubs and I releasing a red heart-shaped lantern into the night sky when we visited the night market. Although it is quite a touristy thing to do, we relished in the romantic moment and were happy. Once again, thanks for reading!