There are plenty of tours available for the island, but Peace resort had the most reasonable price and included a lovely picnic – which we had at the foot of a waterfall, read on to find out more on that!
You rock up at reception, book a time – morning or afternoon- and turn up for your slot – easy peasy, right?!
We booked an afternoon slot so chilled by the pool ’til our time rolled round, got dressed into Temple appropriate clothing and hopped in the car, with Ding our lovely guide.
Our first stop was Big Buddha Temple, known locally as Wat Phra Yai. It is sat proudly overlooking Bo Phut & on the hot day that it was, the refreshing breeze blew your hair & swept past the wind charms lining the gutters, chiming as it went.
Definitely a beautiful and serene spot to forget life’s woes and appreciate all the beauty surrounding you.
At the base of the temple it’s a mini village with shops all around, a good spot to pick something up for gifts if you aren’t into the craziness of the night market or chaweng market! – But remember you aren’t supposed to buy anything with Buddah on it, even though it’s offered it is offensive when not used for worship, no matter how beautiful they are!
We wizzed around the corner to explore another stunning temple, this time in the Chinese design. One of the most colourful temples on Koh Samui, each of the three sections jut out into the centre of the lake and are surrounded by beautiful carpe & you may even spot a turtle is you’re lucky!
Wat Plai Laem central figure depicts Guanyin the goddess of mercy & compassion.
The Thai way with religion is very accepting of all and shows this by honouring other deities near the laughing Buddha statue to Guanyins far right (you’re left if you’re looking at her head on). I like that quality of acceptance, I like it a lot!
The building that really caught my eye, is the smallest of them all, sitting in the centre so intricately designed and colourfully decorated it feels like you’ve walked into a celebration & joyful occasion, you can’t help but smile.
It’s called the ubosot, the main prayer room, within are beautiful murals depicting the life of Buddha.
For good luck you can stroke the gongs either side of Buddhas footprint.
We took in the beautiful scenery as we wove our way around the island to the aplty named View point. This is where our trio of views begin. The first looking back onto chaweng beach which looks surprisingly calm, but I suppose it was the middle of the day.
Chaweng is the place for nightlife on Koh Samui, the strip is full of bars, restaurants and clubs whilst during the day it is lined somewhat chaotically with stalls of every variety you can imagine. Our guide told us everything you buy here will be fake – they even have this is an authentic fake signs which made us chuckle!
The second view is a little more of a local gem, right next to The Cliff restaurant just on the road side, but you’d never know it was there if you hadn’t been told/got someone to take you. Scramble up some rocks and you’ll get the most stunning view of a little bay. Wouldn’t this be a perfect spot to perch and enjoy a picnic, watching the world below?! But we got a pretty sweet spot a few stops along for our picnic…
Ding was rather keen to show us this last view with lots of tourists and quite renowned – Hin ya and Hin ta rocks, translating to grandmother & grandfather rock.
They invoke giggles to locals, travellers & tourists alike, as they awkwardly pose with these naturally genital shaped rock formations.
Legend has it that the grandmother & grandfather were traveling from their province to a neighbouring province by boat to find a girl to wed to their son as he came of age. Unfortunately a storm hit, they were cast off the boat and became rocks to prove their intentions to the girls family.
As we drove out from here you get a feel for true Samui life with small fisherman villages lined with nets & buffalo grazing in nearby fields.
We drove past fields spotting the buffalo amongst the long grass and Ding turned into another ornate temple.
This is where we found the monk, who is perfectly preserved in a box, he’s been there for over 30 years and it doesn’t seem particularly airtight, which causes even more awe around him. Just how does that even work?! It’s quite amazing.
To be honest I was quite shocked at seeing a dead man in a box, but Buddhist Thais are far more accepting of death as the natural order of things and it is viewed as an opportunity to be reborn, one step closer to nirvana. This is quite obvious that there quite at peace with the idea, after finding out there are other mummy monks on Koh Samui and throughout Thailand.
After we’d read all we could and still couldn’t quite believe our eyes at the bespectacled monk we hopped back in with Ding and ascended into the jungle. This is my favourite part! The waterfall, as I told you before we were not keen on riding elephants here (or anywhere else), but the natural wonder of the waterfall itself was certainly worth the trip alone.
We got stuck into our picnic at the foot of the waterfall with not another soul insight getting the waterfall all to ourselves, which I was really suprised at giving the number of people at most other stops along the way. Once we’d polished off our fruit & sandwiches we clambered up the rocks for a closer look at the waters tumbling down. Before scrambling our way back through the rocks to the path.
We whizzed through jungle, small villages and large complexes nestled in the trees before getting to Nathon as the night market was beginning to take shape. We passed up and down the food, delicious smells wafting through the air.
This is where the boats leave for Angthong National Marine Park – another not to miss experience! & decided to work our way a little inland to explore the local shops and covered markets. Before returning to Ding to zip us home along the coast back to the cosiness of Peace Resort to freshen up & head into the village for dinner at Krua.
It’s an absolute unmissable experience and Ding gave us as much or as little time as we liked at each place. It was a great way to make your way round the island, given local tidbits of information from your guide & be transported back to the traditional island life on your way.
I’d say this was the perfect balance of keeping busy & exploring, whilst doing it at your own relaxed pace, what holidays are all about right?