Sandwiched between Ko Phangan and Ko Tao, Ko Samui is the luxury capital here, with sprawling beach front accommodations, high end restaurants and spas, and its own airport for easy travel. Luckily there are still a few backpacker digs for those traveling on more modest budgets. While the Lonely Planet recommends Wave Backpackers as their top choice, the Embassy a few doors down offers better bang for your buck. At 500 baht a night (about $16 AU) for two, you can treat yourself to an air-con room, with private bathroom, couch and T.V! It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to sit in bed and watch the tube.
Hat Chewng is the main stretch of beach, and the main focal attraction. With 6km of white sand and clear blue waters, it’s easy to spend a day or two here working on your tan. If you’ve got a bit more time and about 200 baht to spare, renting a scooter is a great way to check out the many temples and other stretches of sand on this island. You can easily do a loop of the island in half a day, depending on how much time you spend detouring to the numerous waterfalls and wats (Thai temples). There is also a small zoo, aquarium, and dozens of places offering elephant trekking.
Once we got out of the busy stretches, Andrew and I switched places and I got my first scooter lessons. It’s surprisingly easy once you get some speed, with very little movement needed for turning. The words, “free as a bird” come to mind as a zip around the palm tree lined roads. Who knows, maybe they’ll even be a scooter in my future at home?