A short, Grab, taxi transfer from Pralan pier on the north coast took us to Green Space resort in Koh Samui. This is a small family run resort containing a swimming pool and several good sized bungalows nestled amongst very green gardens. On arrival the pool was a murky green colour due to it recently being completely emptied (to fix grouting) and refilled with fresh water – apparently due to a chemical reaction once the chlorine etc was added. The resort was recently taken over by a family from Kazakhstan. They’ve had it less than a month and are busy with a lot of maintenance work. They were very friendly and gave Jessica the opportunity to do a painting in acrylic to be displayed in a guest room later.
The owners also made fresh filtered coffee regularly and this was offered on occasion. Nick is the only coffee drinker (although the kids are getting a taste for sweet iced coffee) and said it was the best he’d had since leaving the UK!
We spent some of our downtime catching up on schoolwork, blog and journals. Our room here had a full kitchen, and we enjoyed the chance to do our own cooking, although finding ingredients and western luxuries like cereal at a reasonable price is not easy. The 7-11 and Familymart stores are next to useless in this regard. A more local family-run store was our main source for eggs, bread, cereal, beer and even flour – allowing us to make Roti bread (and pancakes). Elliot loves his pancakes and is mastering the art of making them!
We ended up staying 2 nights longer than we had booked.
The local beach was Boom Bay about 300m from the resort and was a really nice beach for swimming once you walked away from the coral reef and could get to deeper waters. The sand here was very soft. It is a west facing beach and the sunsets here were amazing with distant islands breaking the horizon.
Whilst on the island, we took the chance to go and see Angthong National Marine Park by speedboat. On reflection, given that we enjoy taking photos, the slower boat option might have been a better choice, but speeding along at almost 50 knots was a unique experience. We just had to make sure we were using high shutter speeds as we sped by the incredible scenery!
We snorkelled at Koh Wao, although the visibility wasn’t great partly due to the large number of people here on similar trips. There were some fish and the corals were impressive. The experience wasn’t great for Elliot who had a leaky face mask. At one point with Nick helping him sort it out (trying to get it to seal), they both got carried away by a strong current and needed a little assistance swimming back to the boat. No warning of strong currents or any snorkelling advice (including about NOT standing on corals and general respect for the marine flora and fauna) was given – this is one area where these trips need to improve – it’s a marine consevation area after all!
The next island stop, Ko Wua Ta Lap, is the Marine park headquarters and our tour guides gave us a choice between kayaking and hiking up to the famous view point. The kids both wanted to go kayaking, so we all did that (an 8 year old boy complaining all the way up, and probably down, a steep climb doesn’t make for an enjoyable or relaxing time). So, virgin sea-kayakers, we paddled around a nearby island, Ko Phi, briefly stopping at a small beach to visit a family of wild, curoius pigs. We’re not geologists, but on our way around the island there were some cool folds in the rock and overhangs which we kayaked under, partly for the shade they offerred. The kids didn’t really get the hang of paddling (Elliot maybe a little, towards the end), so it was down to us to do most of the work! The adventure was enjoyed by all though.
After some lunch at a huge food buffet area, and a quick dip in the sea, we set off for our next island, Talay Nai, where we traversed some very steep steps to get fabulous views of the neighbouring islands and of the Emerald Lake. At the lower platform just above the Emerald Lake we had the place to ourselves and spent quite a while observing the marine wildlife in the lake – a small Monitor lizard (they can swim so we’re counting them as marine), a Bluespotted Ray, and a lot of fish, one or two of which were very colourful – possibly an Emporer Angelfish.
Late one afternoon we headed out to the Northeast of the island to see Big Buddha and nearby sculptures including a mermaid.
Then walked to Wat Plai Laem – another temple complex (with free entry). There are three temples here each accessed by a walkway and surrounded by water containing a lot of fish and turtles. Once again Elliot took control of the camera and enjoyed wandering around taking photographs. We wandered amongst a Chinese style temple, an 18 armed statue, a Thai buddha and a buddha footprint.
We left Koh Samui for Phuket on a 9.30am ferry. This was very convenient as the bus we boarded at the bus station came onto the ferry (we boarded as foot passengers) and continued on to Phuket without us having to haul luggage about. We finally arrived at the bus station in Phuket at about 5pm. A taxi transfer to our hotel was a further 45 minutes, so we were glad to have finally arrived and settle in.