06 April 2009

Koh Samui 13-17Mar 09: Day 2 Part II

Chaweng streets, Chaweng Beach

We decided to go on foot to explore the streets of Chaweng. Not quite a good idea as Sareeraya is located at the northern part of Chaweng and some distance away from the main shopping district, especially in the sweltering Samui heat. It is advisable to rent a scooter or motorbike, a popular mode of transport for tourists in Samui.
As we strolled along the streets, noticed shops are by far similar - banks/money changers, optical shops, clinics, bookstores, clothing/bags/accessories, tailors, eateries, spas/massage salons, hotels/resorts, dive centres. Not exactly a shopping paradise, but sufficient for tourists' needs.
We also checked out a few dive shops, considering whether to dive the next day. Most shops offer 1/2 day dive trip either to Koh Tao (2-2.5hrs by speedboat) or Sail Rock (renowned dive site between Koh Phangna and Koh Tao (1.5-2hrs by speedboat).
Samui is dotted with numerous massage salons/spas offering massages from as affordable as 200 baht (for small scale shops) to a few thousand baht (for the high end brands).

We came across this spa, Baan Leelawadee Allure Massage & Spa which looks quite established and decided to pop in. There, we met a Singapore couple who gave thumbs-up for the massage service. We went for a 1-hour 'Back, Neck, Shoulder Massage' which costs 400 baht. A foot massage costs only 250 baht, whereas traditional thai massage 300 baht.
All guests will be given a foot scrub first.

The establishment is actually quite big, with at least 20-30 seatings for foot massage on level 1 and more seatings and rooms at level 2 for massages and scrubs.

This is the area for our Back, Neck, Shoulder Massage. The therapists massaged our back, neck and shoulder with massage oil, and most interestingly, Tiger Balm! The sensation was warm and soothing, then icy cool. It felt really good! For 1 hr, our tight muscles were kneaded by the skilful therapists and even though it was a Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage, thai massage was also applied to the full body. All for 400 baht!
After the massage, we relaxed for a bit at the lounge area with some bael fruit tea.
For lunch, we dropped by this thai eatery (also recommended by the Singapore couple) call Will Wait, interesting name.
Lime and mint soda. I am very into soda water + anything now. Have been concocting my own ribena soda every now and then at home :)
This lime and mint soda was perfect thirst quencher in this heat.

Tom Yum Goong. Interesting clear-soup version, with lots of mushroom and spring onion. Even though the soup looked clear, it was quite spicy and sour.
Pad Thai. This version was actually quite light, not as sweet and heavy as the Singapore version.

Stir-fried vegetables, just like home-cook.
Sweet and sour pork, a little different from what we expected, but nonetheless sweet and tangy.
The meal was home-style thai dishes and actually quite light, as compared to the thai food we have in Singapore.
After lunch, we decided to explore The Library, a designer hotel; thereafter turn back to Sareeraya through the beach.
I think The Library must be the most interesting designer concept resort in Samui. Very clean-cut infrastructure with cool 'human statues, reading at different postures' placed around the resort.

The most stunning and striking feature must be the pool with very bold red-tiled concept, creating a strong contrast with the surroundings and against the blue backdrop of the sky and ocean.
Complementing the pool is the bold red sun decks and shades. Really brillant.
One of my favourite figurine, reading and lazing by the beach.
The Chaweng beach was bustling with activities, whether people playing with beach tennis, kayaking, jet-skiing, swimming or simply sunbathing (some ladies even dared topless).

Many hawkers peddling their wares on the beach with merchandise like sundresses, scarves, accessories or food like grilled chicken, sticky glutinous rice with mango or grilled banana with chocolate! One difference I noticed between hawkers at Samui and Phuket, those at Phuket tend to be more persistent, whereas here at Samui, more laid-back.

After what seemed like a very long walk along the beach under the afternoon sun (I think we were nuts - no sun screen at all!), we were really glad to reach Sareeraya finally.
Took a nice cold shower, and it was still early, we decided to rent a scooter to explore round the island.
Automatic scooter rented at a shop just next to the resort, 250 baht for 24 hrs. (If rent 48hrs, rate could be cheaper at 200 baht/day). As we weren't sure of our plans, decided to rent 24 hrs only.
Me trying out the scooter. I think I'm ok to ride on my own, but won't dare to take a passenger, especially not hubby!

The scooters are powered by gasoline (91), so we could see gasoline sold by the litre everywhere. Selling price is between 20 to 30 baht depending on location, most places selling at 25 baht. We haggered with this stall and got the gasoline at 25 baht instead of 30 baht :p
Self-service kiosks are available as well, but these would be slightly more expensive at 40 baht per litre.

We rode on the scooter, cruising at a comfortable 40-50km/h around the island, enjoying the breeze and scenery. Apart from Chaweng which is very commercialised, and probably Bo Phut and Lamai, the rest of the island is very much village-style. Route around the island probably 75km and we took something like 3 to 3.5 hrs, without stopping much, except for Bophut where we dropped by a dive centre - Bophut Diving School to check out the diving trips offered.
There we met Sean, a very charming dive instructor and owner of the dive school. There was a planned dive trip to Sail Rock the very next day. Transfer from our resort at 7.30am, depart from Bophut at around 8.30am and arriving back to Samui in the afternoon, around 3pm. We were so tempted but needed to consider between Sail Rock or Koh Tao (that would be another diving school; different schools offer different itinerary each day) or not dive at all. If we so decided to dive, we could call him before 8pm.
We headed back to Chaweng area, shopped around a bit, and settled at a Mexican Restaurant called Coyote for dinner.
Grilled rack of ribs to share. The meat was tender and succulent.
Appetizer sampler with honey-baked wings, satay, nachos and mushroom and cheese quesadillas.
Dips to go along with the sampler. The meal was actually not bad.
After dinner, we headed back to the resort to research on Koh Tao and Sail Rock to decide which place to go. Along the way, saw several parts of Chaweng without power. Apparently, power shortage happens occasionally in Samui, and for prolonged period sometimes. Most hotel establishments should have their own back-up power generator. But, I think Sareeraya experienced power shortage for a few hours into the night as there was no air-con for a couple of hours.
Anyways, after much consideration, we decided to go for Sail Rock! Was a little hesitant as we haven't dived for a year but just couldn't resist the temptation. So called the diving school, confirmed and raring to go!

1 comment:

  1. I must say Koh Samui is one of the most popular Thai destinations for tourists, with a variety of beautiful sandy beaches to choose from for sightseeing and relaxation. Traveling there is easy. Tourists may choose to fly directly to the island or travel by land and then take a boat from Surat Thani, where many different types of boat offer ferry services. Four or five days should be spent unwinding on this island.