We loved Samui. We stayed on Chaweng beach at the Iyara (see separate reports) and once you get over the crazy electrics (see pic) it really is a great place. Our hotel was located right on the beach and the road which runs parallel with the beach has the most activity going on.
Samui Airport is the cutest ever, just some nice wood huts and flowery trams! We flew from Bangkok and even though the flight was less then an hour we managed to get drinks and a meal which is a refreshing change for a short haul flight.
This was by far the best beach we saw, pure white sand and clear sea, most hotels were right on the beach and all had massage salas outside. Lovely.
Fake bags, surf shorts, fake watches, woodcraft was the flavour of the day. Shop owners very pushy and you do get sick of them trying to get you into their shops. This aside the shopping in Samui for watches and bags was much better than Phuket where everything is kept in back rooms (see Phuket report). In Samui everything in on display apart from the over eager shop assistants, it’s much less stressful to shop in Samui. We bought shorts, belts and shoes in Samui but in hindsight wish I had bought bags and watches there rather than Phuket.
We ate at a couple of restaurants but discovered that the night market and stalls on the beach and in the street were much better both in value for money and in actual food quality. Don’t be put off by the lack of hygiene, we ate everything and were not ill once.
e.g. Pad Thai at our hotel was 200 baht. At a Thai local restaurant it was 100 baht, at the night market it was 20 baht and by far the best.
A must is to get a pineapple from the man on the beach and a pancake from the guy that comes out at night.
From what we saw there were 2 main drinking areas, one off the beach road which we which ran in a U shape, the Green Mango and Sweet Soul Café were both great for people just looking for great music and drinks, mainly straight with a few gay western couples, not to many guys with Thai escorts. The Green Mango corner attracts the lady boys making both the Green Mango and Sweet Soul Café great places to people watch. Further round the bend you find the bars with the female Thai hostess, we spent several hours in these bars just people watching.
In the centre of Chaweng around the lake there is another area which comes alive at night, we nick named this Dusk Til Dawn after the film and it was a real eye opener. Girls heckling and each bar playing different music it is all a bit overwhelming. We had read a things about the Reggae Bar so went to have a look but was deserted and so far out that even if it had been great I would not have gone again.
If you like western music and a good drink head for the Green Mango corner, if you want something quieter and more refined most restaurants on the beach road serve drinks and are much quieter and have a more up market, older clientele.
Note for Guys looking for Thai escorts – from what we saw it looks pretty simple and plenty of girls to chose from.
We went to Cristobles Ladyboy Show which was great. It was quite slap stick and light hearted. It was free to get in and the drinks where cheap, costumes were fantastic and a lot of thought has obviously been put in.
We had numerous massages both on the beach and in salons, all were great though not for the faint hearted as the foot massage can be brutal!!
We went on Mr Ungs Magical Safari which was a disaster as part of the trip takes you to a safari park where to be blunt they abuse the animals. I have written a separate report please do not encourage this by booking this trip. The rest of the trip was great but as this park formed most of it I would have to say please don’t do it.
We went to the boxing which cost around 800 baht each for the cheap seats. Was worth a look but I would say when it starts at 9pm don’t go until about 10 as its al build up and kids to start off with. We had a English guy fighting the night we went and it was really good.
After Samui we went to Phuket – please see separate report.