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Monday, December 20, 2004


Koh Samui Described

Possibly the coolest thing about Samui is the airport. It is open air. The terminals are a collection of wall-less huts. I flew down with Bangkok Airways, still the best airline in the world: premium service with economy prices. (What other airline offers free coffee, muffins and internet access to economy passengers? Plus, they do online booking with as little as one hour's notice). In a fairer world the WTO would force the contemptible bureaucrats that operate Varig, Gulf and all the other pitiful archaeopteryxes that infest our skies to sell out to Bangkok Airways.

Samui itself is your basic tropical island, perhaps not quite as magnificent as Phuket, but it is pretty damn good. Most of the action is on the east of the island, concentrated in two beach towns called Chaweng and Lamai. ("Diluted" might be a better word, on second thought. These towns, more or less, consist of a single very long street with hotels and shops fronting the main drag or skulking down alleyways).

I made the mistake of booking an hotel up a hill on the rocky point that divides the two towns, which was so inconvenient that I have paid extra and switched to a very nice mini-resort in northern Chaweng. The site consists mostly of teak cabins (with power showers and air-con I might add: this isn't rural Laos), and it backs onto the beach. It has a bar and a beach chair/towel service. BTW on Samui you cannot get any of these things from public vendors (as in Rio) so it's a good thing I ended up where I did.

The only complaint I will make about this hotel is that they have forced me to buy a ticket for some dumb Christmas Eve dinner. It must be said that my plan of going out to Asia to escape festive schmaltz has developed not necessarily to advantage...

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