Koh Samui: Let me off the Island!

Our plan was to use the week for sun, surf, and other watery explorations of Thailand which we are now doing. Our adventurous spirit was divided and apprehensive about coming to Koh Samui, the country’s second largest island and a most popular touristy destination in the Gulf of Thailand. Although we free-range explore we don’t do it without researching beforehand. Academically we knew what to expect but somehow the lure of an island experience overrode our better judgement and we capitulated.

So here we are—at the moment we miss “Thailand”—because, after two two trips (2020 and now 2023) and about 4,000 kilometres of really connecting with Thailand by bicycle we feel qualified to say that this, Koh Samui, is not the Thailand we have come to know and love.

We booked our first night and landed at a hotel that turned out to have a small beach that was pretty, but had some rocks that made the beach rather unswimmable, at least for the wave bouncing escapades that we hoped for.

There’s a saying—a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. We should have stayed put but we set out for “greener pastures” the following morning. We looked for a TukTuk that would take us 30km to our new even more expensive beach resort on the other side of the island. We’ve grown accustomed to 50-100bhat fares and experienced reality shock to discover it’s not happening for any less than 800bhats (about $32). Ok, whatever—just get us to our new retreat so we can leap into the waves, goshdarnit!

Our new fancypants hotel has no beach. It’s on the beach, and we can look at the lovely blue water but there’s a big retaining wall where our mind, body and spirit anticipated a sandy beach. Beach loungers overlook it, but we ain’t swimming in that beach. The hotel booking is non-refundable (and three times what better judgement would have prevented us from paying) It feels like a cruel joke, really.

Determined to make the best of the situation in our own ways, Deana chose an excursion to visit an elephant sanctuary and Randy & I decided to do whatever it takes to make that beach experience happen. It took an hour of walking the shoreline to find the three essentials—shade, seating, and waves. We finally found some beach loungers for rent—$16. ($15.40 more than we paid for the day in Prachuap Khirikan) But—there were waves! Big white-capped rollers! That’s what want, oh yeahhhhhh! We handed over the extortion money then planted our bums happily. Nevermind the red flags protruding from the sand everywhere warning people not to go into the water because the seas are too dangerous. At this point we refuse to accept any more disappointment. Big splashy waves, and sweet salty fun—we finally found a tiny drop of heaven and we are not going to just look at it. We bounced, leaped, twisted and cavorted in those big rolly waves all afternoon—defiantly and gleefully.

We are here, we can say we’ve seen it—now let us off the island!

Posted in Thailand 2023, Uncategorized.


  1. I totally understand. I visited the White temple in Chang Rai. It was packed with tourists!! Immediately I wanted to leave , get off of the beaten path and simply enjoy the wonderful Thai people away from it all .
    Thankfully our home will be many miles from the circus.

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