Our First Thai Island Experience

Typical tropical paradise postcard we all gaze and dream at

It was a day in our travels we’ve been anticipating for many years. To finally set foot onto a small island in thailand and enjoy the carefree beach life. To stay in a small beach bungalow for mere dollars a day. To frolic in the sand and float in the calm ocean. To bask in the sun and have to apply sunscreen so many times in one day it gets hard to count. To stare at the pristine beauty of white sand, palm trees, and crystal blue water. Yes, I have been REALLY looking forward to this portion of our travels.

Our decision to go Koh Samui as our first island experience was a logistics one. We had about 10 days left with our entry stamps in Thailand before we needed to do a visa run. After much research we decided flying to Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia was the easiest for us to obtain our actual tourist Visas, so spending time on a island with an international airport was key.


Looks like paradise is covered in rain!

Much like any first time experience, my first thai island experience was not at all how I envisioned it. Our travel to the island included all forms of transportation. Land, Sea and Air. We flew from Bangkok to Surat Thani, took a mini bus to the Don Sak ferry, then took the ferry over to the island. We’ve heard many a story about the ferries of Thailand, from bad to good. Our ride was quite pleasant. We opted to sit outside right at the front of the boat. Drank some beers and just chatted about life. Samui came into sight and it appeared half the island was covered in rain clouds. Soon enough we had to vacate from our outside seats as it started to downpour on us. However, it passed and we arrived to the island under a hot glowing sun.

This would not fly back in Canada.
To get to our accommodation we hopped into a songthaew. A pickup truck with seats in the back. They drive along set roads and you just hail one down, tell them where you want to go and ask the price. Then they’ll either stop or you just press the buzzer when you want to. Other passengers get picked up along the way. Ingenious! But something that would never fly back home!
Our beautiful bungalow!

Our chosen accommodation for Samui was a tricky one. All of our searching for that perfect beach bungalow came up dismal. It didn’t seem to exist on the island, or if it did the place was way too overpriced, or looked like a heap of garbage. So instead we found a place called Tropical Garden Lounge, Mae Nom beach on hostelbookers.com with a decent rate. It had a pool with swim up bar, was only 8 min walk to the beach and free wifi! We figured we’d go here, then search the island with our own eyes for that beach bungalow.

The great pool with swim up bar! (please excuse the wrong white balance!)

Much to our surprise, Tropical Garden Lounge was a treat. The bungalow was amazing with a huge comfy bed, the pool was divine and a swim up bar where you can play Jenga with the bartender. It’s an unbeatable way to spend your afternoons, especially when he lets you plug in your own music to listen to!

Not quite paradise

But we still wanted to stay right on a beach, so we mustered up the energy to walk down to the beach and check out what sort of options there were. The walk seemed longer than 8 minutes, something we have found often in Thailand. The walking times are always far off! We had to cut through a fancy complex of ‘Buy to own” beachfront bungalows with private pools before we set foot onto the beach itself.

The beach was picturesque in terms of the water and palm trees, but the sand did not make my feet happy. Infact, the further we walked down the beach the more and more the sand made me want to cry! To the point it wasn’t even sand anymore, but just sharp pieces of broken up coral, making it impossible to walk on. We soon decided this beach was not for us and didn’t even bother to look at the cheaper beach bungalows available.

This is where I wanted to cry since the sand hurt my feet so much!

We still ended up extending our stay at Tropical Garden Lounge longer then we expected as it really was a great little place. However time came that we felt we should see the rest of the island and check out the other beaches to see if they were any better. We read some good reviews about Lamai beach having good budget options on a nice beach so that is where we are heading.

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