Over the past few weeks we’ve been making our way to different locations on the island. We traded in the central party beach location (Chaweng beach) for two more “remote” locations in lovely luxury resort hotels. We debated staying at the Chaweng Garden Beach Resort (review to follow) for another week, but we found two luxury hotels (on TripAdvisor Code was rated #4 and has moved up to 3, and Lanna was #7 and has changed to 9 of all hotels on Samui) for less per night than we were paying for our Chaweng location. Sure, we aren’t right on the beach anymore, but there are always beaches nearby.
At first I wasn’t crazy about staying in the most touristy spot on Koh Samui (Chaweng), but the hotel was very nice (it had a real shower even!), and it offered an interesting balance of being on the beach, but it’s also near amenities and the night life as well. Our room (114) was quite large, and it had an extra day bed, so I think it was one up from the basic room – maybe a triple size? The rooms were kept very clean, but they could use some upgrading and maybe some paint (one wall was pretty filthy, and the ceiling above the bed had a footprint on it LOL). Since we’ve moved on from there and have seen some of the other areas, I am now better able to appreciate what a great location that hotel has, and I realize that I do miss being able to walk to the grocery store/mall, or to the beach.
Our first week off the beach was at Lanna hotel (review to follow) near Bo Phut beach. The hotel is smaller, more like a boutique hotel (I think there are a total of 76 rooms) and everything is very white and modern. The service is wonderful, and they will do anything to help you, all you need to do is ask. The rooms are available to be long term apartment rentals, so they had a fridge, microwave stove, pots and pans, cutlery, etc., everything you could need or want. As a side note, be careful not to break anything – Steve accidentally dropped a bowl and we got charged 250 baht ($8-9 CAD) for it! But the amenities were nice, and they provided robes, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and they had a lovely beach bag for taking your towels and stuff down to the pool. It was nice extras like those that made it feel more comfortable.
The main street near Lanna (Bangrak beach area) was about a 10 minute walk on the road, which at times made me feel a bit nervous (the streets are more like a North American backlane alley). Lanna has a tuk tuk and a van shuttle, and they would happily take us to the 7-Eleven on the tuk tuk anytime we asked. Or, the van makes a few scheduled trips a day to Chaweng beach and to another beach as well I think. They were very accommodating; all we needed to do was to ask.
On the main street we found a fantastic place to eat called Coffee Cup – the prices are great, and the food is so fresh and tasty! Pang, the owner, is super sweet and I’m hoping we get the chance to go back before we leave the island so that she can teach me how to make her delish peanut sauce – best chicken satay ever!
I didn’t think that I would miss the beach because I’m not much of a swim-in-the-ocean kind of girl, but these past couple of weeks I really do miss planting my feet in the powdery sand, and walking up and down the beach in the morning with the waves lapping at my ankles.
I also miss the squirrels and birds. Every morning while having breakfast at the Chaweng hotel, I would watch the squirrels chase each other through the trees, and I’d listen to the birds calling each other and sneaking food from unattended plates. There were still birds at Lanna, and lots of praying mantis, but it’s different, more quiet, which is why we moved in the first place… I think. And at least there is always an infinity pool somewhere! LOL
We are currently at Code, which is a sister resort to Lanna, and the place is beautiful and is similar to Lanna. Everything is white with frosted glass, and is clean and modern looking. Each room has a sink, fridge, microwave, dishes, etc. too.
Our room here is bigger, and we are on the top floor (penthouse). This hotel is even smaller, and I think there are only 35 rooms in total? It’s up on a steep hill, and every room has an ocean view – our view from the top floor is fantastic! Just being able to sit on our balcony (on our lovely white canopied couch) and to look out at the ocean feels great. There was no balcony off our room at Lanna, and the view was just overlooking the pool. Here we overlook the gorgeous infinity pool, as well as the ocean. It’s stunning and very peaceful.
A bonus of staying at Lanna and at Code is that they both have very nicely equipped gyms. Before moving from the beach, Steve and I agreed that we would make use of the gym every day. At Lanna we missed a day, or two, but we went and sweat it out. I was really proud of us, especially since the gym at Lanna is surrounded by windows, like being in a greenhouse, and before the air conditioning kicks in, it’s about a million degrees in there! But, we went and worked out hard, and it felt good. Sometimes we got an extra workout later in the pool, too, and we went for daily walks to town as well.
At Code, things have been a bit different. The gym is gorgeous here as well, but we haven’t quite gone for official workouts. Walking up and down the stairs to and from our room should count as a workout in this heat I think!
Code has a tuk tuk which takes guests to the 7-Eleven at the bottom of the hill, but there is a set schedule every two hours. We haven’t walked to the main street yet because the hill seems pretty steep, and why walk when you can tuk tuk? Plus, there doesn’t seem to be as much on the main street around here either. The van at Code is available to take guests where they need at request, and for a fee. We are planning a trip to the Fisherman’s Village night market, and sadly I think it’s going to cost us about 600 baht ($21 CAD) and I’m not sure if that’s the return price or just for one way!? We could rent a moped for 24 hours for only 300 baht – if I can just work up enough courage for that!
Code also provides guests with a cell phone programmed with the reception, the restaurant, and the spa numbers on quick dial. Since the rooms don’t have traditional phones, this is how we can reach any service whenever we need something.
The other day Steve rented a moped/motorcycle, and it was a tremendous comfort for me that he had it with him. The front reception took care the bike rental, and told him to call if he needed directions, or if he got into any trouble at all. Now that is pretty awesome service!
From the day we arrived, and every day since, the service at Code has been exceptional. The day we arrived (by free shuttle transfer from Lanna) Code was doing a practice run for Christmas dinner. At check in they were so sweet and welcoming, and they invited us to join in and have some food and drinks and celebrate with them. It was such an amazing treat to have turkey and dressing and all the fixings, while listening to Christmas music, and watching the kids joyfully playing and running about. It was a nice gift to be able to feel a little bit of Christmas spirit so far away from our family and friends.
That night we also got to meet a bunch of super fun Brits, who have connections in one way or another to the hotel. We drank wine, and laughed, and got a bit too loud, so the party moved down to a bar on the beach. It was an absolute hoot, and ironically, the bar was (is) next door to the White Pearl-the same place where we had our first night on the island! And it got weirder… the delightful owners of the beach bar used to own the White Pearl before they sold it to Sean! How weird, and what a small world it is eh?
Anyhow, it was great to be able to understand the language (yahoo English and with adorable British accents!) and to interact with a fun group of people. Everyone was just so nice, and I finally felt like we were ‘home’.
The next day wasn’t quite as wonderful. I woke with a bit of a red wine hangover, and then discovered a bit of an issue with our room (ants … everywhere). The reception handled the issue flawlessly, and they did everything to help make us feel better.
On that note, I have to give a special shout-out to Georgina who has gone above and beyond to make sure our stay here is fabulous. We see her everyday, and as busy as she is, she always takes the time to chat with us and see how we are doing, and she seems to really care that we are happy. Georgina, you rock!
We only have a couple more days left at Code (maybe?) and then I’m not sure where to next. I am happy to say that I’m not super freaked out that we don’t have our next few weeks planned out. I have come to realize that there is always going to be a place to stay, and things will unfold as they should.
We’ve been talking about taking a cruise around Australia and New Zealand for Christmas and New Years. I like the idea of having these major holidays taken care of since we are seeing things getting more expensive as the holidays draw closer. Plus, the lazy part of me would love to unpack and be settled while still traveling about and seeing new and interesting things.
Shortly after I wrote the above, we decided we would book said cruises, and of course after sleeping on it, they are now all sold out!! GACK! So back to the drawing board, which may now be a different cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong, stopping along Malaysia, Myanmar, a couple of stops in Thailand (Phuket, Bangkok and Koh Samui LOL), Cambodia, and Vietnam, before arriving in China. I’m hoping that we might get to meet up with cousin Elizabeth in Hong Kong if she’s willing and able to meet us!
And there you have it…our island life so far in Koh Samui Thailand. I feel like we have so much still to talk about, so hopefully I can get more posts finished soon! Thanks for reading!