Friday, July 21, 2006

Koh Samui -Chaweng beach

A couple of days after the Full Moon Party, Carly and Charlotte moved over to Koh Samui from Koh Pha Ngan. We decided we would move to be with them, so the next day jumped in a taxi for Chaweng beach. We knew where they were staying (Central Bay Resort) so booked into the same place, ending up with a bungalow 2 doors down from them. We randomly bumped into them as soon as we arrived so didn't even need to send a text. I think they may think we were stalking them, which in a way we were.

In comparison to Bo Phut, Chaweng is much more built up, with a pretty grotty central area running parallel with the beach. The beach itself is longer, wider and perhaps prettier than at Bo Phut, but correspondingly more full of people, bars, sunloungers, hawkers and jet-skis. I think I preferred the relative quietness of Bo Phut during the day. On the day we arrived Carly and Charlotte had arranged to hire a car with some girls that they'd met so we left them to it, preferring to take a walk along the beach and eat ice cream.

The good thing about Chaweng in comparison to Bo Phut is that there are a couple of options for cheap eats. The night market is a good choice for food stalls, but we tended to stay on the main strip at either Crystal or Ninja restaurants. Ninja is ever so slightly cheaper, but Crystal is a bit nicer and bring you a plate of sliced fruit at the end of each meal. We'd been talking about lowering our food bill, so were quite happy to find these two. Our average dinner spend including drinks came down to about 175 Baht from maybe 350 Baht in Bo Phut (it's 70 Baht to a pound roughly). I realise we are only talking about a couple of quid a meal, which shows that we are now thinking in Baht. Note also that a beer in one of these places is about as expensive as the meal itself, if you're eating Thai food.

On an evening the whole character of the beach changes, lights that are wrapped round trees are turned on along with pretty lanterns. At the very Northern end of the beach the bars cluster together 3 sunloungers, put fully down to form a raised platform. On this goes a low table with a candle and triangular Thai cushions. It's all lit by the candles, lanterns and strings of fairy lights everywhere and really is quite pretty. The soundtrack is provided by DJs at each of the bars. A lot of the people from the daytime must disappear into the ex-pat and hostess bars on the main strip, leaving the beach to be just busy enough to have a nice atmosphere. The fact that the bars all have a long happy 'hour' is a further draw. We ended up there 3 nights in a row because it was so nice. The night before we left Samui we resolved to have only something to eat and 1 or 2 beers. It was the beach party night at one of the bars, which basically means the (House) music is turned up and the other bars don't have any music. The beers kept flowing past the end of happy hour, especially when we met a trio of Kiwi lads and started chatting to them.

On the way home from the beach party we adopted a couple of dogs for the walk back to our bungalow. They adopted us too, to the point of snarling and barking at someone else walking past. Eventually some other dogs piqued their interest and they ran off with them instead. We were at our place by then and wondering what to do with them so it wasn't unwelcome.

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