Our 4×4 rental looks like a Matchbox Toy
Rather then signing up for various tours to see the sights of Koh Samui, we decided to rent our own means of transportation and do it ourselves. The main rental choices available are 4×4’s or scooters. We decided to go with the 4×4 since “home” was located at the top of an hard to reach mountain. Plus it was pretty inexpensive, only 750 baht for 24 hours. Though you have to watch out because some of the jeeps have the 4×4 mode disabled, so you can’t go offroad. The Jungle Club staff recommended us a good shop and dropped us off, making sure we had the 4×4 to get back up to the top of the mountain.
So, with a map of the island and an ipod plugged into our Altec Lansing portable speaker, we were off for a days adventure! A day filled of temple exploring, waterfalls, shopping, and relaxing it up at an awesome reggae bar.
If you visit Koh Samui the chances of you seeing the Big Buddha is pretty high. Labeled as a “Top Tourist Attraction” on the island, a statement that can make many a traveller groan. But in all honesty, it’s pretty impressive! I’ve read there are far better “Big Buddha’s” in Thailand, but this is our first sighting of one and we quite enjoyed it. It’s big, it’s a Buddha, and it’s shiny. What creature of this planet isn’t attracted to shiny things? We’ve been told by locals the best time to visit is during sunset as there’s a great view up there and I’m sure the Buddha glows beautifully.
Awesome on so many levels!
One of the many stalls you can’t avoid walking by to get to the Big Buddha is this local artist that creates models out of scrap metal. You can find yourself an Alien, Predator, Transformer, Star Wars, and other equally wickedly awesome things in all poses and sizes. It’s really some amazing artwork! I’m unsure if it’s imitations or his own work, but we’ve actually spoted these in various places across Thailand. None the less, they are all awesome and we always stop to check them out and take photos. We’d love to take home a life size Alien to place in a future backyard of ours but there is no way one will fit in our backpack. STEVE, if your reading this you should start combining your awesome welding skills with your creative skills and make cool stuff like this!
WTF is this thing??
You can’t miss the huge demon looking water lady with the very lopsided boobs, makes for an interesting picture!
Goddess Shiva at Wat Nuan Naram
Just around the corner from Big Buddha is Wat Nuan Naram. This is a lesser known Wat on Samui which means there is virtually no tourists piling out of mini busses and gettng in the way of your perfect shot. Similar to the style of Big Buddha you can find a huge Goddess Shiva and a Fat Buddha floating in the middle of what seems to be a giant pond. You can also feed the very large fish and possibly catch school children praying inside on of the beautiful buildings.
Yay! This waterfall sucks!
After enjoying the paradise of Erawan waterfalls in Kanchanaburi, we were pretty excited to see another Thai waterfall and off ff to Namuang waterfall we went. There are two levels to the waterfall, one you can drive to, and another you have to hike to for 30 minutes. Both options are free unless of course you go with a tour. We followed the signs on the main road and then found ourselves in a elephant camp parking lot. Seconds after getting out of our Matchbox Toy we were asked if we wanted to go on an elephant ride or need a pickup truck ride to the falls as the walk is 30 minutes up from where we are. Confused by this we state we were told you can drive yourself to these falls but they tell us no and point to the road saying they won’t allow anyone up there. Honestly, the road did look really bad, just a dirt road with boulders and potholes. So we told them no thank you we will just walk and that is when we were then asked to pay for parking. We refused as you do not have to pay. It’s not private property. We even called the park officials and they confirmed this. Once we were out of sight and far up the bad dirt road we came to a perfectly paved road that lead us right to the waterfalls! Low and behold, this elephant camp is tricking tourists. They must of removed the road sign so instead of making your last turn to the waterfall you head straight into their camp. If it’s the dry season we suggest to not bother going to this waterfall. It really sucks with no where to jump in and take a swim. If it’s the wet season, or you still decide to go, make sure to follow this tip: After you turn off the main road, take your first RIGHT and follow that all the way to the falls. If you head straight you will have to deal with the elephant camp.
Nice sunglasses dude!
Since we didn’t bother to spend the extra money to see the mummy exhibit at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, we thought we should check out this mummified monk for free. Renowned for his mediation practice, this monk happened to foresee his own death in 1973. After death his body remained under-composed and as requested in his final written instruction was placed upright in a see-through casket as a symbol for future generations to aspire to follow Buddha’s teachings to be saved from suffering.
It’s a bird!
While walking towards Grandmother and Grandfather rock we spotted a local glass blower and thought how a hand blown elephant would be perfect decoration to represent Thailand on our Christmas tree and we’ve been collecting an item from each country. While we were there he started to make a parrot right in front of our eyes. This instantly made us think about our friends, the Ashmeads and thought to ourselves “Why not?” Christmas was around the corner and we know they would love to receive a beautiful parrot in the mail. So we picked one out and the glass blower told us we could also have the one he just made for free, it would just have no colour. How could we refuse? He told us it still needed to cool down, but he could come deliver it to us at a nearby reggae bar. If you find yourself walking around the shops infront of Grandmother and Grandfather rock, stop in to this guys shop for something handmade and local rather then made in China. He will even package it up for shipping and takes custom orders.
The Rock Reggae Bar
Are we ever happy the glass blower told us about The Rock reggae bar as it quickly became our favourite hang out place on Koh Samui. Nicely hidden away with it’s own private beach. This is a gem of a find if you like somewhere chill to hang out, even the locals love it here. If your in Koh Samui here’s how to get to the Reggae Bar. Take the road towards Grandmother and Grandfather rock, you will probably spot their sign as well. Don’t stop at Rocky Bar! This is not it! But just another Thai business trying to trick tourists and steal the others business. Drive all the way to the end of the road instead where you will find a parking lot that charges 20 baht. If you don’t want to pay then park on the main road and walk in. Walk past the shops and turn right before the rocks down a dark path towards a warm glow of lanterns and reggae music. You found it! Great food, staff, atmosphere, and cozy little places to space out in. Some nights you can expect live djs and if you stay late enough your chances of watching a good fire show on their private beach is pretty high. Highly Recommended!
Spinning flames of death?
We wrapped up the evening with an awesome fireshow put on by the bar staff and a random French guy. It was pretty impressive and these guys went super fast. With the end of the fireshow we wrapped it up to climb up to the top of the mountain in our matchbox toy. We have a video of it but it’s too big to upload onto youtube right now, we’ll post it soon. Scott did an awesome job driving up the mountain!
Here are some more of our favourite shots from the day:
Driving up to the Big Buddha
Can’t express enough how awesome these are!
My walking vagstick! LOL!