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Koh Samui

November 9 ~ 11

We were travelling to Koh Samui.   The overnight train from Hua Hin arrived in the early morning in Surat Thani where we were greeted by a mass of touts selling rides to the ferry.  We followed a couple who seemed to know what they were doing.  Our ride to the dock was made in a bus that would be the equivalent of a Tijuana taxi on steroids.   What a junker!  But we made it. 


Some of the boats at dockside didn’t look much better than the bus.  There were a couple which had more promise so we had hope.


The trip across to Koh Samui took two and a half hours.  Thankfully we paid a bit more and got a seat in the air-conditioned cabin with its airline seats (with tray tables removed). 
At the front of the cabin was a tv playing a DVD movie about Howard Hughes.  The sound level fluctuated from non-existent to just audible; the cabin noise, on the other hand, went from audible to loud.  The movie did take away from the boring scene of water passing by, except during the long spells between DVDs. 
We were greeted on the wharf by a dozen or so people selling rides and hotel rooms.  They quickly went on to others when we told them we had both.  

A taxi to Natural Wings Resort and Spa would be 300 Baht but the resort’s email said they had complimentary pick up from the ferry.  Now we just needed a phone.
A very nice lady who sat at a desk near the dock let us use her phone book to get the number.  She then asked us if we had a phone. 

“No,” we answered.  “Do we need a calling card to use the pay phone?”  

Without hesitating she pulled out her cell phone, made the call, talked a whole lot in Thai, hung up and said, “They will be here in 30 minutes.”  We gathered through the conversation that they had told her to tell us to take a taxi and pay 300 Baht, but she had stuck up for us (with our email copy in front of her with their free pick up offer clearly stated).   We offered her money to pay for the call, but she kindly declined.
We had found Natural Wings Resort on the internet and afterwards met someone at Walnut Grove Travel who had stayed there.  We had requested an ocean view room but after a short hike up a steep flight of stairs, the “ocean view” peeked at us through the tree tops.  We asked if they might have a “villa” (cottage) available by the pool.  They did and we were much happier. 
Quickly it became evident that staff outnumbered guests by about 21 to 6.  The next three days were a blissful blur of steam baths, massages, pedicures and paddles in the pool.  A vacation from our vacation. 
One day we hired the resort’s car and driver to take us on a half day trip around the island.  900 Baht ($22.50 US) for 5 hours (including car, driver & gas).  He took us to Wat Phra Yai with its huge Buddha statue (scaffold for maintenance), view points, temples and one of many waterfalls.
At the base of Na Muang waterfall a mother bathed her four year old boy and was happy to have us take pictures of her beautiful son. 
Another baby caught our attention ... an
elephant who took an immediate shine to Terry even though he had no bananas to entice her. 


November 12

We said our goodbyes to the staff of  Natural Wings Resort .  They had made our stay most relaxing and pampered. 

Their driver took us to the airport, which looks more like another Koh Samui resort than an airport.

Our flight to Phuket would allow us to see the islands from the air, if the clouds didn't get in the way.

click here to continue November 12 and to Phuket ... 

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