Underneath the palms of Koh Samui

Last modified 16.03.2022 | Published 28.05.19851980's, South and Southeast Asia, Thailand, Travelogue

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I came up from Malaysia and took a boat over to Koh Samui, this island paradise in  Thailand, for a few relaxing days.

This article is part of a diary based travelogue from a six month journey in 1985 to several countries in East and South East Asia: Japan, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand


Friday 24.5.1985, Haadyai – Koh Samui

In the railway station on the Thai side of the Malaysian border, a man approached me telling about a bus straight to the island of Koh Samui: All inclusive for 180 baht (less than 7 USD).

How much more expensive this was than my planned route including train, bus and boat, I do not know – but I joined him. The journey went smoothly even though I had yet a long bus ride, this time on a minibus (8 hours). The ferry took two hours.

Koh Samui has several beaches. I and two others from the minibus went to Chaweng. They had been there before. I got myself a bungalow.

  • CHAWENG GUEST HOUSE. Take a jeepney-like bus from the ferry for 15 baht. The bungalow (hut) has no toilet or shower. One light bulb and a wide bed. Fair enough. 30 baht.

The system on this island is apparently like this: Several cabins around one restaurant (the renter). My restaurant has a confused staff, slow service and a bit too small meals. The price for dinner here and elsewhere is about 25 baht (1 USD), plus or minus 10 baht.


Saturday 25.5.1985, Koh Samui

I had breakfast in my “local” restaurant and walked up north on the beach. Nice and pleasant all around. The beach is fine with ample swimming opportunities, and lined with palm trees. There are small cabins for rent everywhere. This is apparently a popular place as I saw very few empty cabins.

I returned just in time to get inside before one of the rainfalls of the day, particularly in the afternoon. This is supposed to be the dry season but from what I hear there has been quite a lot of rain recently. Last night it was splashing when I arrived. There were by the way plenty of tropical rainfalls in Kuala Lumpur as well.

I did however get time for a swim while the sun was still visible. The water is the warmest I have ever experienced. Lovely. In contrast to the Philippines one can here not only see topless girls, but one of them walked right into the sea completely nude. Later a man did the same.

In the evening I walked in the opposite direction to see the conditions there too. They turned out to be more or less the same, café service as well. Several restaurants show videos at nights. I dropped by one on my way back and saw a semi-good Western.


Sunday 26.5.1985, Koh Samui

Cloudy all day, but no showers. I basically did nothing. Video in the evening – Midnight Express – seen it before.

The mosquitos are annoying in the evenings and at night. My oil is not enough, so I bought some mosquito coil. I will see if it helps.


Monday 27.5.1985, Koh Samui

The coil helped.

This was to be a very active day. I rented a motorbike and explored Koh Samui. The price was 200 baht (7.5 USD) for the day. Petrol cost me 126 baht for seven litres. I think I drove around 130 km in total this day.

I went to other beaches, drove through small fishing villages, and through the jungle to the highest peak on the island. It offered a great view. There are palm trees everywhere. I bathed in a couple of waterfalls. I often drove in rough terrain to get where I wanted, fair enough going up but not so easy going down again.

The bike, a Suzuki 125 cc, allowed me to drive at more than 80 km/h. I only occasionally drove that fast. But the speed was high enough to produce some nasty consequences had I been unlucky – especially considering me driving in shorts and a T-shirt, and without a crash helmet. I was given none, and nobody else wore either. A driver’s license was not necessary.

There were lizards everywhere – on the roads, paths, restaurant ceilings and even some running across the TV screens during video shows. Fortunately there are none in my cabin. These are the only creeps I have seen inside rooms here in Asia. I have fortunately not encountered all the cockroaches one constantly hears of back home in Norway. (In retrospect: I was wrong on this point. I just never realised what all the creepy noises everywhere was. But now I know: Cockroaches.)

The weather was excellent at last. I think I will stay for another day, because I want to leave tomorrow. I now want to get a little tan, as the old one is fading.


Tuesday 28.5.1985, Koh Samui

Nice weather today as well. I was a bit sunburned. I went north on the beach a bit – huts and restaurants everywhere. Despite this there are comparatively few sea- and sunbathers. I find that quite alright.


Thailand visa, 1985

My 1985 Thailand visa stamp in my passport


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The introduction to this journey to East and South East Asia.

Previous chapter: Malaysia: A stopover en route north.

Next chapter: Bangkok: Where the bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free