koh samui, see breeze bungalow

Koh Samui – feet up ‘n’ f#ck em

Koh Samui – feet up ‘n’ f#ck em

The sleeper-train attendant pulled back my curtain and shook me gently awake: ‘…hey Mister – twenty minutes to Surat Thani.’

I opened a sleepy-eye and acknowledged him with a grunt and a shitty nod.

It was almost 2am and we (my wife and I, and our two children) had been on the go since 4.30am the previous day. We had departed my wife’s parent’s village at 6.00am in the back of a hired, pick-up truck to drive to Buriram City in order to catch the train to Bangkok (six hours away).

In Bangkok we changed trains at Bang Sue Junction. We were headed for Koh Samui in the South of Thailand, and the next part of our journey was a 10 hour+ 2nd Class Sleeper-train trip to Surat Thani, a Town on the main southern Thailand railway line. From Surat Thani we would head for Don Sak Pier (about 70km away) and catch the 5.00am ferry to Koh Samui.

The train trundled into Surat Thani station at 2am and we disembarked with a twenty-something French couple and their two-year-old son. The streets were dead except for a few sinister-looking sewer-rats out on the hunt for food, and a solitary taxi driver that had been waiting for the train to come in. We had originally intended on getting the bus to Don Sak Pier but at this time of the morning a taxi was our only option.

As my wife negotiated with the taxi driver, I got talking to the French couple. They were headed for Koh Samui too; they had travelled all the way from Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand and were booked on the bus to Don Sak but decided they didn’t want to wait 6 hours (for the 8.00am bus) and asked if they could have a taxi too. Our taxi driver wanted 1200 Baht; my wife proposed that we take two taxis for 2000 Baht. The driver told us to hold on whilst he phoned his friend and then a few minutes later another taxi turned up signalling that her efforts in bartering had been successful.

It was a fair old jaunt from Surat Thani to Don Sak Pier. As we battered along the highways, I was surprised at how modern and well kempt everything looked in the south. Coming from Buriram in Issan, being in the south felt almost like being in a different country. The road infrastructure in these parts was like Europe or America. Although, Thailand’s roads, in general, were good – that’s why Thailand had the second highest ‘road fatality rate’ in the world, because Thailand’s road infrastructure was excellent and lots of shit drivers were bombing down high-speed carriageways resulting in around 80 deaths a day.

Fortunately our drivers were good and we got to Don Sak safely and in plenty of time for the ferry.

The Ferry from Don Sak to Koh Samui was 130 Baht per person and took an hour and a half to make the crossing. My wife and kids were tired so they sat in the passenger lounge whilst I went outside and leant on the metal railing, waiting on the sun coming up. A school of flying fish followed the ferry, glistening and flashing in the moonlight each time they broke the surface of the water. The sunrise – obscured by Samui, was a bit of a letdown, but the scenery was typical of what you would see in a Thailand travel brochure: rugged limestone rocks covered in vegetation and jutting out of the sea like tiny islands; and then the outline of Koh Samui appeared in front of me out of the early-morning mist.
 for Koh Samui hotels see here

We took a minibus cab from the pier and headed for Lamai Beach. Chaweng Beach is the most popular destination on Samui but Lamai Beach is quieter and comes a close second. We booked into the Sea Breeze Bungalow resort at 500 Baht a bungalow (July –low season prices) and ordered some breakfast outside; it felt really cool to be here. I was a self-employed builder/joiner back home in Scotland and was usually up to my eyes in all sorts, buzzing around all over the pitch like a ‘blue-arsed fly’ most of the time. I knew it would be easy to relax on Koh Samui. I had enjoyed my time in Buriram. It had been tranquil and simple up there, but being on Koh Samui was like being on a proper holiday, and the stresses and strains of everyday life evaporated in an instant the moment I walked down the steps onto the white, sandy beach.

F#ck it, I thought, my phone and laptop were getting switched off for the duration of Samui and I was extricating myself from the information/telecommunication, supersonic-cybersonic-electronic-highway. And so I did. I turned off my phone and ate good food, internet-free. We hired motorbikes and toured the island. We rode up to the Samui Highlands and had lunch in a hilltop restaurant with a bus load of German and Scandinavian tourists. We visited ‘Hin Ta and Hin Yai’ – a natural rock formation on the coastline near Lamai known as Grandpa (Ta) and Grandma (Yai) that resemble the male and female genitalia. We rode down to Chaweng Beach and done a bit of shopping in a fancy mall that hadn’t been there on my last visit to Samui some years ago. We got blessed by a monk at the ‘Big Buddha’ Temple near the airport, and my daughter and I got tattoos. Most importantly, however, we lounged around on the beach a lot and swam in the tepid, turquoise sea.
 for Koh Samui hotels see here

I was loving it. We only had a little over a week left in Thailand and I wanted to spend as much time on Samui as I could before we had to head for Chonburi to see my wife’s Thai daughter (my step-daughter) and our wee grandson.

And then Joy and Bao showed up…

Joy was my wife’s cousin who lived on Koh Phi Phi, and Bao was her boyfriend. Joy and Bao were (fairly) financially well-off for Thai standards. Joy was a traditonal Thai-masseuse who owned two Thai massage places on Tonsai West Beach on Koh Phi Phi; Bao had two longtail boats that he used for sightseeing tours and snorkelling around Phi Phi for backpackers and tourists.

It was my birthday when they turned up and that evening we went to a delicious, seafood, beachside restaurant to celebrate my birthday. I was glad Joy and Bao had turned up; it had made my day more of an occasion. We ate our meal and then a birthday cake was brought out by the staff and everyone sung to me ‘Happy Birthday to you…’.

I don’t drink but as the others sat around chatting over a beer or two I heard it mentioned that we should go to Koh Phi Phi for a couple of days. My immediate reaction was that I didn’t want to go to Koh Phi Phi. Koh Samui was good for me – I needed to relax and had done enough travelling about Thailand. Koh Phi Phi for a couple of days? If we went to Koh Phi Phi that would be more travelling, added to the fact that if we went to Koh Phi Phi, we’d be further away from Chonburi and ultimately that would mean even more travelling again.

But the others were ‘pissed up’ (drunk) and full of ideas. before I could say ‘geez a f#ckin’ brek fur f#ck sake’. The plans had been made and we were leaving for Phi Phi first thing in the morning. I didn’t feel so bad when I found out that Joy and Bao had a fancy, MG car – it would still be a fair bit of travelling (12 hours in total – ferries and road) but at least we didn’t have to go on public transport, I suppose…

Read my Koh Phi Phi post here

Read more stories like this here

 for Koh Samui hotels see here

‘Have you ever thought about starting up your own blog? see my blog post here


Only Raising Dust On The Road
The first Part of my book/novel (novella – approx. 25,000 words in Part 1) is available for download at Amazon in Kindle format.

only raising dust on the road, part 1 - buckfast, lager & Fags
only raising dust on the road, part 1 – buckfast, lager & Fags

Only Raising Dust On The Road
By Raymond Carroll
A novel set in Thailand

Part 1 – ‘Buckfast, Lager, & Fags’

‘Only Raising Dust On The Road’ is a novel set in Thailand. The book has been serialised into 4 novella length books.

Part 1 – Buckfast, Lager & Fags (approx. 26,000 words), follows a group of friends from around the globe as they embark on a money-making enterprise to Thailand.

Micky, is a heavy-drinking, drug-using Scotsman who has been hired by his friend ‘Slim’ to manage a bar on a tropical island on Thailand’s eastern gulf coast. Slim’s business partners: Sanjit – a South African-born Indian, and Connie – a white, Afrikaner Durbanite and Sanjit’s girlfriend, have recruited Winston (Sanjit’s South African Indian – ‘hood-rat’ – cousin) to be bartender. Can the mismatched motley-crew make this venture work? Nothing in Thailand is ever as it seems and dangers abound along the way.

The story is told from a multiple character first person point of view and takes place in the late 1990’s.

‘Only Raising Dust On The Road’ is a work of fiction.

Lots of profanity throughout. 18+

Part 2 – ‘Same-Same But Different’ on sale at Amazon

Buy Part 1 of Only Raising Dust On The Road on Kindle and paperback at Amazon

‘In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.’

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Copyright © 2017 Raymond Carroll


34 thoughts on “Koh Samui – feet up ‘n’ f#ck em”

  1. WOW! what an adventure! haha I loved my time in Thailand! I wish I went down south thought. Ko Samui sounds AHmazing and looks so beautiful on the internet. haha I’m jealous of your great time. Look forward to reading more of your adventures. Cheers mate!

  2. As usual, I enjoy your style of writing. They way you described your public transport and sleeper trains reminds me of those experiences I had with my family when I was younger. Sorry you got forced going to Koh Phi Phi, but it’s not a bad place to get cajoled into. 🙂

  3. Hey Raymond! I love your descriptions of the waters and the beaches in Koh Samui. Every time I read one of your posts, I want to travel there! Also, as Sarah said, sometimes drunk travel ideas are the best ideas; spontaneity keeps things interesting. I never would have made my first solo trip if I hadn’t booked that flight on the spur of the moment (wine may have been involved, but fortunately the decision turned out to be a great one).

    I had no idea that Thailand had the second highest road fatality rate in the world. Makes me wonder what country is in first place!

    1. Hi Julianne, glad you liked the post. And yes, I agree, it is good to be spontaneous, and alcohol can certainly keep things interesting (sometimes, a bit too interesting, which is why I don’t drink anymore). By the way, War-torn Libya was in first place in 2014 – 2015. Thanks for commenting. Safe travels…

  4. That was quite an adventure! I always enjoy reading your stories and posts and this is no different! Koh Samui is one part of Thailand that I’ve always wanted to visit. Nice to read about your stories there.

  5. Yikes, I had no idea that Thailand had such a high road fatality rate! The roads in SE Asia are generally pretty wild, but I can’t believe it’s even higher than Vietnam’s! It sounds like you had a crazy long day + of travel time. Hope your trip down there was worth it, though.

  6. Oh how I would love to see Thailand! I’ve heard so much about Koh Samui and it sounds incredible. Your train adventure sounds like a trip we took from Beijing to X’ian so I’d definitely want to stay put a little longer too!

  7. What a great story! It sounds like you had an epic adventure and enjoyed many different forms of transportation! I’m glad you shut your cell phone off and “went dark”. I think it makes you really appreciate your surroundings more!

    1. Thanks, Lynne, the whole Thailand trip was excellent. And I’m glad I “went dark”, as you say, and switched off the electronics for a while. Thanks for commenting. Good luck and take care…

  8. Hehe such fun to read. These kind of very personal travel stories are the best… Great to see that you anyway had such good time in Thailand. The country is truly fascinating, pity that I missed Koh Samui, I heard already that even though it should be quite “touristi” its still one of the most beautiful places in Thailand…

  9. Wonderful read. Since you mentioned you went in July, I am intrigued how you found the weather at that time? Was it too humid or raining too much? It’s good that you found a taxi driver at the wee hours. Mostly in Asia even the city lanes get totally deserted by the night

    1. It was hot and humid in Bangkok and the northeast but not so much down South with sea breezes – still hot though, but I like hot more than cold, so suits me. Thanks for commenting, Neha. Take care!

  10. I don’t think you could ask for a better birthday than on the beach in Thailand. Very jealous.
    I really like the roughness to your writing style. You sound like someone actually telling me about your trip. No flowery “trying to be a writer” bullshit. It’s really refreshing!

  11. I took this train too! This is such a great part of Thailand. I must confess though that I haven’t been to Koh Samui and only to Koh Phangan and Koh Phi Phi, but I actually loved them! They’re not just about the partying :). Loved your way of writing this post.

    1. Thanks, Sonja – glad you liked it. Sleeper-train travel in Thailand is the best! I’ve never been to Koh Phangan but will probably make it one day. Thanks for commenting. Good luck and safe travels!

  12. Hmmm tales of the long distance trains in Thailand and just in time for my long distant train journey. I’m heading to Koh Samui from Prachuap Khiri Khan so it is not quite as far as you but still a fair way. Its nice to know how much we can get a taxi for rather than hanging around.
    It will be my second time to Koh Samui, the first being quite a few years ago. And the reason I am going there seems to be the same reason as you! to put my “feet up and fck em”. 🙂

  13. To be honest, when I started reading this I didn’t expect a post like this. I am glad you wrote your journey to Koh Samui down though and I think with your unique writing style you should not just be a blogger, but also put your writing into a book. I know I would read it and would enjoy it a lot! And well done for being able to travel with your kids! I haven’t got any and maybe that’s why it seems so difficult, but I have the utmost respect for you.

    1. Thanks, Kreete – I’m glad you enjoyed my post, and thanks also for the kind words. If you want to read more of my writing then I have a serialised novel that can be purchased on Amazon. The book is called ‘Only Raising Dust On The Road.’ Part 1 (of 4) is called Buckfast, Lager & Fags. I also have a a collection of short stories available for purchase on Amazon. It’s called Thailand Travel Tales – it’s a collection of posts from this blog that I made into a short book. Anyway, thanks for commenting and good luck on your travels!

  14. That’s one heck of a journey so I’m so glad you got to relax a little on Kih Samui. I’ve been to Koh Phi Phi three times and always get nightly massages while I’m there so I have probably visited on of Joy’s establishments. Off to read your Koh Phi Phi post now 😀

    1. Thanks, Allison – hope you enjoy the Phi Phi one too; the massage huts (x 2) are in Tonsai West Beach – Bao boat is anchored close by (number 7). Good people to know – tell them you know me if you ever do go back. Good luck and safe travels!

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