Things To Do in Koh Samui
I’m sure there are many more fun things to do in Koh Samui than I discovered, like seeing the beaches, but I only stayed there because I had no other option the first time I was in Thailand and disliked it so much I didn’t even bother checking it out more when I went back for another 2 months a couple of years later.
This isn’t just me either, I’ve not met many people who like Koh Samui. It’s know for there just being a lot of people there on resort/package holidays.
I ended up having to stay there the fist time I went to Thailand as we looked to book our accommodation in Ko Phangan so late for New Year’s Eve that the only accommodation left in Ko Phangan was one of the most disgusting looking hostels I’ve ever seen right in the center of Haad Rin, where the full moon parties happen, at a really expensive price.
And believe me for me to say a hostel is disgusting it must be really fucking horrible. I’m not at all fancy, I’ll happily sleep most places. But that place just looked like such a shit tip and for something stupid like £20 ($30) a night each (I was traveling with a friend a the time) that I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
For £40 ($60) a night between two people you can get something that is actively towards the luxury end in a lot of South East Asia. I wasn’t about to drop that on the shittest hostel I’d ever seen even if it was right next to the part that was the sole reason we were going to that location.
So I made a bad decision and we stayed in a nice resort in Koh Samui instead (it was the cheapest of all the nice resorts we could find but all they had were nice resorts there).
And it was an error. Not because of the resort. The resort was beautiful.
But because we hadn’t gone there to enjoy the nice fancy resort but to go out and get shitfaced till the early hours of the morning (hey, we’re English it was New Year’s that’s what we genetically have to do) on a beach a hour and half boat ride and 45 minute tuk-tuk journey away.
And those are NOT smooth journeys. But first Koh Samui.
Everything is really spread out in Koh Samui so it’s hard to get a feel for the place and it makes it expensive if you ever want to do anything as you have to get taxis everywhere. Don’t get me wrong. Our resort was lovely and great to chill out in but as a backpacker the location wasn’t the right fit for me.
Going to Party for the Night from Koh Samui in Koh Phangan
We got the boat over to Koh Phangan mid afternoon-ish as we didn’t want to risk waiting till the last one and it being full since it was New Year’s Eve. Even that was a trail in itself.
When you get any Lomprayah ferry what usually happens is you walk up and either show your existing registration or buy a ticket and then once you’ve done so they shove you into another queue from there. In that other queue they will give you a colored sticker. The color of this sticker denotes where you’re going. Look out for other people around you with the same colored sticker. Just to make sure you haven’t missed an announcement or anything. Ya know, if all the people with the same color sticker as you start moving, move too. AND FAST. Especially in this instance.
I’m am 99.9.% certain the only reason Lomprayah is still running that route is because they pretty much have a monopoly on all of the routes between the islands around there.
But what that also means is that they don’t need to give you good service and they make full use of that fact.
They don’t give a flying fuck.
They know you don’t have another choice.
So they wildly oversell tickets for each ferry journey at peak times, especially if it’s something like New Year’s Eve. And then the shit show starts.
If you have any sense you walk very quickly, you don’t run though so as to not alert others to your urgency, just properly power walk it though.
You know, something nonchalant that looks a bit like this
And you know what all of that would be fine, if you got your walk on and weren’t in too much of a hurry to get your next location as then even if you get bumped to the next boat, whatevs.
But the problem with the Koh Samui to Koh Phangan party is actually what the sea is like.
It was rough as when we went across. I’m a natural water baby so that’s not a problem for me in general ever but it was so bumpy that within minutes of us leaving people were throwing up over the side of the boat. And these were middle of the day sober people. And this started within minutes of us leaving. The boat ride is an hour and a half.
Now whilst I trust my stomach with rocky seas and with alcohol too, I’m not a puker I am English after all I can handle my booze ;-), I don’t necessarily trust it with the combination of the two and a 45 minute tuk-tuk ride each side too.
And our plan when we decided to do this had always been to get the first boat back in the morning because the last boat back that night was before midnight which kind of defeats the point of a New Year’s party. And it had said online that the first boat back was at about 5.30am which is the type of time of night I can accidentally stay out till easy enough anyway so I wasn’t too worried about that.
Until we did that journey.
As soon as I witnessed the ferry ride and then the long as bumpy tuk-tuk ride the other side I realised I would not be drinking that much that evening. I was too paranoid to.
It’s one thing throwing up from sea sickness but doing so from a combination of that and alcohol consumption, I just didn’t want to be that person!
I never want to be that person.
I also have this weird little mental issue where if I’m out on a normal night out I want to stay out till all hours. I will be one of the last to leave and go home. But if you tell me I have to be out till a certain time and “have fun” I suddenly feel trapped and can’t do it. It’s as if that knowledge just suddenly saps all the joy out of that situation for me instantly.
It doesn’t matter how much sense it makes that we all have to stay till a certain time, like on this occasion with the boats or in the past when I was in Montpellier and all the big clubs were out of town so if you went one of your friends would be the designated driver and you had to wait until everyone wanted to to go home.
I don’t know why but I love a night out and a good party but as soon as a situation is in the slightest bit like that where I feel like I couldn’t leave at anytime I want to and go home I instantly can’t enjoy it.
Please tell me I’m not the only one?!?
Well anyway even if I’m the only weirdo among us that ruined it for me. Even though I was fully on board with the plan, my friend and I decided that was the best decision between us, but once in the reality of it I just couldn’t relax. And I really should have known that would happen because I know myself.
So we had a fun night, We drew loads of stupid things on ourselves in UV paint and got to see the craziness of Koh Phangan for New Year’s Eve but it definitely wasn’t either of our best nights out ever. And as a result we were dead on our feet but only about 4am and actually it turned out the first ferry didn’t go back to Koh Samui until 7am.
We clearly weren’t the only ones who had had this genius plan either as when we got to the ferry port there were loads of other people already asleep on the waiting room floor and chairs too.
On the plus side though, being in a fancy hotel (once we finally made it back to Koh Samui) meant we were able to spend the rest of the day in bed, watching TV and ordering room service when hungry!
Which actually I might say is the best way to spend New Year’s Day ever.
Seriously, if you want to have a big night out on New Year’s Eve there is no better place to wake up the next morning than in a hotel where getting food to your person is even easier than ordering takeout (fuck I should never be rich I’d get so fat!).
Where To Stay in Koh Samui
I can’t comment on backpacker hostels in Koh Samui as I didn’t go to any. The resort we stayed at was nice though so if you’re looking for a bit of luxury whilst there you could do worse than staying at Sea Valley Hotel and Spa. The price is not backpacker budget friendly. Although I did just now search it on Booking.com to check the current price and how expensive it really was. This is 6 years after I stayed mind, on a random weekend in November it would cost you £46 for the night ($60 USD) that’s actually incredible for that it is. That’s the rate through booking.com not direct though as usually you get better deals on booking.com and it says it’s about half the usual price on their site.
Honestly that’s incredible for what the place was like and that cost between two people really isn’t that much. If you’ve been traveling around for a while maybe treat yourselves and take a little stop off in Koh Samui to enjoy the fancy resort for a few days. And there are great spas in Koh Samui too.
How Long To Stay in Koh Samui
Personally I’d just skip the island however if you do want to include it in a trip it’s quick and easy to get to and from there to the other islands so you could easily visit it for just a night or two, or longer if you decide you like it and want to stay.
Moving On: How to Get from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan