Thailand is one of those rare places that looks just as good as the postcards would have you believe. Bright turquoise sea, colourful markets and those beautiful green forests – it’s basically like stepping into an HDR photo.
The three main islands on the Samui archipelago, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan, all have their own merits, so I suggest you don’t get picky. Enjoy all three in their own right.
This is the most famous of the eastern Thai islands. It’s a really fashionable destination, and not just for those of us on a shoestring budget – you could rock up to the Six Senses, or The Library, which TripAdvisor called ‘the trendiest hotel in Thailand’. If you’re lucky, you might catch the likes of Mick Jagger performing at the Secret Garden Sunday Sessions on Big Buddha Beach.
There are moments when you’re in the thick of your time away and you start taking experiences in your stride, as if it’s commonplace to wake up in an incredible eco hotel and then scramble up rocks to glimpse an incredible panorama, just days after you’ve sipped fresh coconut water from the source and ridden on the back of an elephant.
Flash forward a few more days and you’re haggling like a pro in the market, making a ferry crossing in a storm and… somehow making it through the trip with an ever-increasing inner ear infection brewing under the surface the whole time (more on that later). Then you come home and think, I really did all that? Little old me? Yup. Somehow, I did.
Whilst I’ve accumulated a daft amount of photos taken at sea or surrounded by greenery, the real colour of Thailand during my trip would have to be orange. Little orange glows took me from the monastery at the Big Buddha in Koh Samui to the Queen’s Cabaret in Koh Tao and the cookery class of Chef Tummy in Koh Pha Ngan.
That’s why I thought it would be more appropriate to base my photo essay not on the blues and greens that surrounded me, but on the orange that somehow flowed from a monk’s robes drying on a washing line to a ladyboy’s costume being worn proudly on stage.
After nine incredible days in Thailand, one of the first pieces of advice I’d give to any rock and metal fans hoping to visit is: do not pass up the chance to hit Samui Rock Cafe. Whilst Thailand is undoubtedly known for being a party destination, what nobody tells you is that the party is often limited to dance, house and dubstep music.
These are three genres I could normally withstand on a night out with a beer in my hand and new-found friends to dance with, but which left me climbing the walls after I’d heard one too many songs with no lyrics and a relentless ‘doof-doof-doof’ beat slamming into my ear drums. Sorry, but they just don’t come close to a bit of Baba O’Riley, All Right Now or Smoke on the Water.
Calavera (Span. feminine noun) = skull. A travel blog with a love of culture, dark tourism and the unconventional.