A Travellerspoint blog

Koh Samui

sunny 28 °C
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March 1
First things first, here is a pic of the guy sleeping on my deck.
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So I got a ride to the Lomprayah terminal to catch the 9:30 am ferry to Koh Samui. The ferry was so crowded... People everywhere! The ferry ride was much better than the ride to Koh Tao, it took only 1.5 hours (compared to the 2.5 hours going). However, it did rain hard during the trip but the sun came out and we all dried in the sun.
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Goodbye Koh Tao
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Arrived at the hotel to this view of the pools and beach.
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I spent the afternoon walking around exploring, trying to find Fisherman's Village and pricing out scooter rentals. Fisherman's Village is a collection of narrow Chinese shops that have been transformed into some of the island's trendy hotels and eateries. I walked and walked but I couldn't find it. As for the scooter, I was able to get a good price for a day rental but I decided not to rent it because the traffic was scary!!! Instead, I booked a tour with "Happy Tour" for tomorrow.

Back at the hotel I relaxed by the pool. Then headed back and I found Fisherman's Village just in time for dinner.

March 2
I headed out on my "Happy Tour" with some great people. Our first stop was the Beautiful Lady Monk Temple (Wat Plai Laem). This extremely colorful, fairly new temple was completed in 2004. The Wat Plai Laem temple holds two giant, colorful statues. The first is the huge image of the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion who has 18 arms.
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On either side of this statue you will find a long shaped building with beautiful mural paintings telling stories from Buddhist mythology.
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Another very eye catching statue is that of the fat, laughing Chinese Buddha. In Chinese culture, a fat Buddha represents wealth and prosperity. This very impressive statue is 30 meters high and painted in expressive colors like red, white and gold.
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Next we head out to Big Buddah Temple (Wat Phra Yai). Wat Phra Yai is located on a small rocky island linked by a causeway and was erected in 1972. The modern Buddha stands 15m high.
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Steps to get up there
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Our next stop was a panoramic view point where you can see the sea in panorama view and is nicely built with a path toward the rocky sea shore offering a breathtaking sunrise and a panoramic ocean view over the whole Chaweng bay area.
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On to see the 'Grandfather Rock' and 'Grandmother Rock' also known as Hin Ta and Hin Yai. These formations look like the male and female genitalia-shaped rock. A local story tells of an old couple whose ship was wrecked in the bay. Their body's were washed ashore to create the rocks.
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Then a short visit to see monkeys that are trained to get coconuts.
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One of Koh Samui’s most remarkable temples is Wat Khunaram. This temple has become famous for the mummified monk that is kept on display here. On display in an upright glass casket and surrounded by flowers, candles, incense sticks and fruit offerings is the body of Koh Samui’s most famous monk, Loung Pordaeng. For many Westerners this might be an uncomfortable or even disturbing sight, for Thai people the body of the monk is there to be worshipped and death is seen as an opportunity to be reborn in a next and better life.

Loung Pordaeng was born in 1894 in Koh Samui. When he as around 20 years old, he ordained as a monk. Loung Pordaeng is said to have predicted his own death, he died in 2973 at the age of 79 while meditating. He instructed his followers that if his body would decay, he wanted to be cremated. If the body would not decompose however, he wanted his body to be kept in a glass casket in the temple to serve as an inspiration for future generations to follow the teachings of the Buddha. Loung Pordaeng wears a pair of RayBan sunglasses because he has no eyeballs.
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We stopped a Numuang Waterfall
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This was a baby elephant that was in a pen. Momma was chained up along with all the others. These elephants are used for riding... So sad.
Our last stop was Nathon Town. It's the capital of Koh Samui and is the island's main port.
I headed out to the night market after a swim at the pool.
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I'll be pool/beach side the next two days. I hope this post works I've been having technical difficulties.

Posted by Samchow58 17:14 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Snorkelling and Diving in Koh Tao

sunny 31 °C
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February 27
Got my bearings this morning.....headed out and realized that I either had to rent a scooter (too dangerous - dirt roads) or pay for a taxi to take me to all the nice beaches (way too much money).

I woke up to find this guy sleeping on my deck.... And he continues to so far.

I walked down Sairee Beach. A busy beach with lots going on all the time. Found my way into town, did some shopping and some eating!!! Yum, street food is the best!!! Here are a few sights....
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So I have booked a snorkelling trip around the island. It's the best way to see all the beautiful beaches.

February 28
Had breakfast and got picked up for my snorkelling cruise.
This was my view at breakfast.
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With snorkel and mask in hand, we headed out around the island.
Chalk Baan Kao Bay
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We stopped at Shark Bay to do some snorkelling. There hasn't been any grey sharks there for a few week. It wasn't too clear.
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Shark Island, not because of shark sightings but because it looks like a sharks fin.
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We stopped at Hin Wong Bay
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The waters around the north east part of the island was very rough. We had people leaning over feeding the fish! We stopped at Sairee Bay and had lunch because the water was very calm there.

After lunch, we headed over to Koh Nang Yuan. Koh Nang Yuan is made up of three islands connected by a sand bar. The scenery is stunning. There is a fee to visit the island and no cans or pastics are allowed on the island. I found it too crowded....
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February 29
Koh Tao is where there is the highest number of Padi open water certifications completed in the world after Cairns in Australia! People from all over the world come here to take cheap diving lessons as the Island has very easy dive sites with gentle currents and shallow coral reefs.
I headed out to Big Blue Diving this morning at 6 am. Got my gear and headed out on the boat.
This was the sunrise this morning
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I dove at 2 sites; Chumpon Pinnacle is widely considered Koh Tao's premier dive site. I saw so many neat fish... Grouper, Queenfish, Golden Trevally, Clown fish in anenomes, Christmas tree anenomes (they hide in their tubes when you brush into them). I didn't get too many pictures because my GoPro stopped working.
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The second sit was called Hin Pee Wee. I saw trigger fish; pipe fish, giant clams.

I spent the rest of the day on the beach, relaxing....
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Posted by Samchow58 06:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Travel Day to Koh Tao

rain 25 °C
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My flight to Koa Samui left at 12:50 pm. Met a wonder couple from Germany, chatted the whole two hour flight with them. Once I landed, I made my way to the ferry terminal. Got my tickets and waited for the 5 pm Lomprayah ferry, it's a fast ferry. It was a great sunny evening out so I sat out on the deck.... Only problem was that once the ferry got out to open water everyone outside on deck got sprayed with sea water. There were people on the sitting on the side and in the back that got soaking wet. Spray was coming over the top of the boat and it was rough! It took an hour to get to Koh Phangan where some passengers got off and new ones joined us for Koh Tao. Off we went...... For another 1.5 hours, rough waters and all of us getting wet. There were people getting seasick inside the cabins (that is why I chose to sit outside).

We arrived in the dark and was greeted with taxi drivers and major confusion. I had prearranged to have a driver from the hotel to pick me up. As my luck would have it.... He was nowhere in sight. I called the hotel and they agreed to send a driver. I'm alone at the dock waiting..... He arrives and gets out of the truck holding a sign with my name, smiling. It was a very long day but I made it!

At lease I got to see this.
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Here are the pictures from the Elephant Sandtuary....most of you have seen them posted but some don't have Facebook.
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Posted by Samchow58 17:25 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Elephants, Mud, and Fun... Oh No!

overcast 23 °C
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February 25
Today was one of the best ever!!!! I spent the day at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. They are located approximately 60 km from the city of Chiang Mai and is an ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project.
This vehicle took us up the long bumpy, dirt road. We sat at in the back of the truck for 3 hours. I was the one by the tailgate and no seatbelts!!!
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Rice fields along the way up
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This is the toilet.... You'd use it if you had to!
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Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is home to almost twenty formerly mistreated elephants, who are now free to enjoy their lives. It was explained to us that Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants. They can reach 6.4m in length, stand as tall as 3m at the shoulder, and weigh 5 tonnes. Both male and female African elephants have tusks, while only the Asian male has a small tusk.

We had to carry bags and bags of bananas to the sanctuary, climbing on wooden slats for ladders. We were each given a small ball of warm rice, we wrapped it around a small piece of tamarind and rolled it in unhusked rice.
Crushing the unhusked rice.
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They called it their vitamins.
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This is what I saw coming towards me
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They love their bananas and sugar cane. We couldn't feed them fast enough... Their trunks were everywhere!
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The gestation period of elephants is approximately 2 years. Here is a pregnant elephant... She won't give birth until next year. Here I thought 9 months was long!!!
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The baby elephants are loads of fun. They hug and kiss you with their trunks. They are literally "sucking face" when they kiss you. You can feel and hear the suction... Then loads of wetness on your cheek.
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After lunch, everyone headed to the mud pit. I was hesitant about going in. Once I saw it I decide I would be a watcher instead of a doer.
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This is as close as I got to the muddy elephants. Funny thing is as they walked by me, they shook and I landed up getting pretty muddy.
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They then walked to the river to rinse off. Everyone was given a bowl and a brush. Elephants love to be brushed...
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The Sanctuary took lots of pics, I'm still waiting for them to be posted on FB. I'm off to catch a flight to Koh Samui, then a ferry to Koh Tao. My beach time begins.

Posted by Samchow58 20:07 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Cooking schools to Temples!!

sunny 36 °C
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February 24
Baan Thai Cooking Schooll picked me up at 9:00 am. We stopped at the Somphet Market and our guide went over all the spices, vegetables, and meats and fish that are sold there.
The twirly thing above the meat is used to keep the flies away.
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The noodle isle
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Across the way, you'll find a clothing section
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The vegetables department
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And finally the grocery department
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At the cooking school, we were put in different groups as to what we want to learn to cook. At each station, we found our food portioned out. I cooked Pad thai
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Papaya salad
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Tom you soup
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Then we ate!

Get back to the hotel around 1 pm. I got changed in my capris and grabbed my sweater. I headed out to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. It is one of the north's most sacred temples. The temple was built in 1383 and is reached by a strenuous 306- step staircase.
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The climb is intended as an act of meditation. The first floor tells the history of the temple. On the 2nd floor is a beautiful golden chedi that is topped by a five-tiered umbrella in honour of the city's independence from Myanmar.
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I took a Songtaew (Red taxi) up and down from the temple.
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Took a stroll to the flower market around dinner time.
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Still full from the day's food so I wasn't planning on eat until...... I saw all the street food. Yum!! Thai curry puffs, pork satay........ I'm stuffed.
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Tomorrow I am visiting the elephants and the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.

Posted by Samchow58 06:16 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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