One of the nice things you can do on Koh Samui Island is going around by motorbike or rental car, as the island is big enough to show you a different face every time. The south and southwest offers marvelous sandy beaches with no one there but coconut tree and perhaps a small food stall selling curries and Pad Thai noodles.
In the center of the island you’ll find a jungle full of waterfalls and elephant trails, as well as some Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) camps and academies.
This time I decided to go south by motorbike, starting in Chaweng Beach. Driving a motorbike in Thailand is a challenge in itself, given the left traffic and the absolute non-existence of traffic rules. The only way to get through is to adapt and drive very defensively. If you come to a crossroads, watch out if the others will stop, even if you have the right of way.
I love riding motorbike instead of a car, even if it is more risky. Being in the warm open air with nothing but the wind gives me a sense of freedom. People are extremely friendly, and when I need directions I simply stop and ask someone along the way or another motorbike rider passing by. On my way to Samui Airport I asked a Thai girl riding behind me on her motorbike for directions to the Airport, and she simply said ‘follow me’ and accompanied me until we reached the Airport. It makes me feel good to be among such friendly and natural people, and I always miss that attitude when returning into the western world.
Leaving Chaweng to the south, I pass by Lamai Beach which is another crowded beach town, but not as much as Chaweng. The beach also doesn’t seem as nice as in Chaweng. I followed a recommendation and had a delicious lunch at the natural Samui Spa Resort’s restaurant, which serves organic food cooked thai style. The resort itself is a lush tropical garden but the beach is not that nice here. It’s still good for the nice food they serve here – and it’s cheap!
Going farther south, you find Hat Yai, the big rock, a good place to have a drink on the petite beach nestled between the rocks. There’s a reggae bar there with very relaxed atmosphere and a stunning view of the rocks.
When moving on, I decide for the coastal road and come into more quiet areas with lots of small hotels and untouched beaches. On one of the beaches, I don’t really remember its name, I stop at a small hut selling food and had the probably best chicken red curry I’ve eaten so far in Thailand. The beach seems unreal and as beautiful as anyone would imagine a dream beach to be. I am the only guest apart from a young english couple having lunch there too. Very relaxing.
On my way back I like to cross the island. You can turn on one of the back roads in Lamai, and go towards the mountains. There is an actual road right across the island, going quite high on a mountain with amazing views, and then back down on the other side, right to Mae Nam Beach. In Mae Nam, I like to have a drink on one of the beach side bars, or continue east to the fabulous W Hotel, which offers some of the most breathtaking views (and Mojitos) on the island.
One thing to keep in mind in Samui is: Be careful when driving. Some people are drunk, some just reckless, but I see people over and over get hit by someone and hurt badly. Assume there are no traffic laws – and watch out for stray dogs everywhere! They can jump out of the high grass very quickly, and can cause some pretty bad crashes.