The last time we were in Samui in 2008 the airport in Bangkok had just reopened after government protests had shut it down. For the most part we just relaxed on the beach with our 18 month old daughter. So this year after a military coup and lifting of curfew, we flew directly to Samui from Hong Kong and decided to see a little more of the island with our now 7 year old daughter. We returned to stay at Montien House, a lovely hotel with a pool right on the beach with small cottages that fit our budget.
Day 1_Cloudy with sunny periods
After checking in to our little cottage the night before, a so so dinner at the hotel and introducing ourselves to the cat who shared our porch, we skyped with my parents during our buffet breakfast. After a walk along a beach and a dip into the ocean, we had lunch at Coconut Willy with draft beer and the best pad Thai we had in Samui (THB790). After lunch we decided to head to Coco Splash Water Park in Lamai. I was getting pestered by taxi drivers on the street so hopped on a songtheow without confirming the price and ended up paying the "family" price of THB400. Family ticket to the water park was THB1650 and our daughter loved it. She tried all the slides except the two tallest ones, enjoyed the go carts and bungee trampoline but had some difficulty with the tree top walk. More children in the afternoon so more fun and more difficult to get her to leave the park. After several "one more"s we walked along the street where they were setting up for the...uh walking street. We loved the THB60 mojitos and the various snacks including grilled fish, satay and BBQ shish kebab. Songtheow back to Chaweng was THB200. Tried to wake up the wife at 4 in the morning to watch the world cup but got growled at so watched by myself. I should have gone to a bar but the fridge was already stocked with beer.
Picked up by truck at 11:30am for the hour long drive up hill on our nicknamed "Durian Mountain" to Paradise Park Farm, basically a petting zoo with a nice view of the coast. My daughter loved feeding all the different animals but I'm not sure if pigeons come naturally in all those different colours. I'm pretty sure they don't hand paint them. The park is not that big so unless you go for a swim, 2 or 3 hours is more than enough so we asked the farm to bring us back to our hotel early. Got a BBQ seafood platter including a small lobster (THB2,100 with drinks) from Tumzab, one of the restaurants on the main street next to a cabaret show. My daughter was quite fascinated with the costumes but I thought that she was too young to see the show. Yummy banana pancakes from a street stall for dessert.
Day 3_Sunny then heavy rain
The day started off with a couple hours of bright sunshine but that didn't last long. My wife and daughter wanted to try fishing so we went with Mr. Tu for a fishing trip. We ordered all tours from the same agent so got a bit of a discount from the advertised price. When we got to the pier the clouds started coming in and by the time we got out in the water it started raining. At one point it was raining so hard we had to stop the boat. The rain was on and off so during the off periods we tried to fish but didn't catch anything. A couple of guys more experienced at fishing did manage to catch some bait sized fish so we hooked a few on my daughter's line, and much to everyone's amusement, made her think that she caught some fish. Back to the hotel for a rest before walking down to the other end of Chaweng to Ninja Crepes which was really busy so we had to wait for our table. Because of all the rave review on TA I ordered too much because I wanted to try everything. Had some very nice curries but I would especially recommend the spicy clams cooked in basin. Cost of dinner with beer THB940.
Day 4 Partially Cloudy
This day we just chilled out, going for a walk along the beach and playing in the pool while my wife got an oil massage (THB300). Simple Thai lunch at Khaosan Restaurant (THB730). Later in the afternoon we went for another walk along the beach and I started to feel unwell. By the time we got back to the hotel I ran to the toilet and lost my lunch. I don't think it was the food because my wife and daughter ate the exact same things as I did except for the watermelon shake and I don't think it was that. Was a bit nauseous the next morning but was fine by mid-day.
Day 5 Sunny
8:45am pick up in jeep for our 4x4 tour (THB3,200). We visited the grandfather (which indeed looks like a penis) and grandmother rock (to me just looked like a large crack in the rock), the 500 year old tree and the mummified monk. There are various versions of these tours with and without elephant rides depending how you feel about that sort of thing. We enjoyed the elephant ride but I could have skipped the animal shows. My wife and daughter rode on top of the jeep for the ride uphill to the Namuang Waterfall. It was too bumpy for my wife so I took her place for the ride to the Magic Garden. Good fun driving on the dirt roads and dodging low branches from the durian trees. Nice view from on top the mountain before back to the hotel for a rest. BBQ seafood dinner (THB1,500) on the beach just before heavy rain hit.
Day 6 Partially Cloudy
Swam in the pool again while the wife had another massage. Shopping in the market and a really inexpensive lunch at Green Bird (THB270). We took a songtheow (THB200) to Fisherman's Village in Bohput. We found the shops had a better selection of goods and by now we had a better idea what the price should be so we bought most of our souvenirs here. Ate snacks and drinks along the walking street and even found the same Mojito Lady from Lamai Walking Street so of course had to order a few rounds. Watched street performers doing a muay tai demonstration and traditional Thai dance (different performers) before the songtheow ride back (THB250)
Day 7 Overcast
Slight hangover in the morning. Forecast for showers later in the day so couldn't really go snorkelling as originally intended. My daughter did not want to stay at the hotel so we went down to the Aquarium and Tiger Zoo. The aquarium was not bad but we felt the whole setting was too commercialized with the constant requests for additional fees for photo taking with the animals. The sea lion show was interrupted by torrential rains which drove the trainers into hiding for 10 minutes until the rain let up. For our last dinner in Samui, I decided to blow the budget for a lovely traditional Thai dance show dinner at Poppies. Ordered a delicious meal of soft shell crabs, Thai seafood salad, chicken satay, seared white tuna, and a huge Phuket lobster cooked in tamarind sauce with a bottle of chardonnay to wash it down (THB6000). After ordering all this food I realize I left the credit card in the hotel safe so rushed back to our hotel then back to Poppies by songtheow (THB50 / 60). Back to the hotel to pack up for our flight in the morning back to Hong Kong. Not counting hotel, flight and our last meal we spent about US$1,100. We had a wonderful time and hope to return again some day.