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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 5: Koh Samui - Singapore

We were surprised when the hotel told us that they would give us a complimentary airport transfer. I really didn't see it coming hehehe... No wonder they have such a positive review in tripadvisor.

Koh Samui Airport
So here we were again, but now at the departure terminal. After clearing the immigration, we had to pass by all these shops before reaching the boarding gate.

The layout is like a factory outlet in US.

There are some restaurants like Swensens and shops like Jim Thompson, Harnn & Thann.

The waiting area was hot, small and fully packed. But to make up for it, the airport served complimentary snacks and drinks to all the passengers. With such a hot weather and no air-con I think we all need it. :D

And that's it, our last trip for the year. Hopefully next year we will do better. :P

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 4: Koh Samui snorkeling

The tour van picked up us at 8am from the hotel and heading to the southern of Koh Samui. Along the way, we picked up more people and finally we reached the pier at around 9. When we arrived, the tour boss told us that the rest of the group would go for a fishing trip.  That meant we were the only one going for snorkeling and so it was going to be a private tour. Yay!!

We took a motorised long tail boat out to the sea. The sea was calm, the sky were blue, and there was hardly any waves at all. It was a perfect day to have a snorkeling trip. Halfway to the island, the boatman stopped the boat and told us to jump down from here. Daughter was so excited to know that she was going to swim and couldn't wait to go down. In my mind I was thinking that she must have thought this was just a very big swimming pool hehehe... But first, I asked hubby to go down and checked the situation. After he signaled that it was ok, all of us went down and swim for a while. She was so happy and excited, no fear at all. I don't think I have this kind of courage when I was young. :P The Koh Samui trip was really an adventure for her. First it was the trekking and now this. Next time she could tell her friends that she has swum in an open sea at the age of two. :P

Long tail boat
Her first trip to the sea

The nearby islands

The boatman threw some bread to entice the fish

After letting her swim for a while, we took turn to snorkel. The variety of fishes was pretty good, hubby even spotted a stingray but I didn't see any. :(( We snorkeled for about 20 minutes here and then continued our journey to the island.

Coral Island
It was a different story here, at first look there wasn't any fish at all. After painstakingly looking around, we spotted only one kind of fish. It was a long silver fish, no wonder we couldn't see any. When we stood still, they would come and swim around us. But anyway, it was still a disappointment.

Hardly any fish but the water was crystal clear.

There were many other boats came and go while we we were there.

In the afternoon, the boatman prepared the lunch for us. It was just too much for the three of us.

A simple lunch: rice, stir fried vegetables, curry chicken, fried chicken and assorted fruits.

Playing swings

After lunch and relaxing for a while, we asked him to go back to the first snorkeling site and we snorkeled one more time before heading back to the main island. This was the good thing of going on private tour, we could go whenever we like. :D

Overall this snorkeling trip wasn't good at all. Actually there is another more famous snorkeling site, but it requires 1.5 hour boat ride. With a kid in tow, it isn't an option for us. But anyway, so far the best snorkeling site for us was at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park near Kota Kinabalu.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 3: Koh Samui massage and sightseeings

There were tons of massage parlours in Koh Samui. Every time I saw one, I was tempted to go in and check it out hehehe...There were so many that I could easily spot ten establishments within 1 km. They all came in different sizes. There were small ones operated by the local, the big no frill ones operated by companies,  and lastly the luxury ones operated by hotels.

So after my hubby agreed to babysit the kid for a while, I went to get my massage in this place called My Friend Holiday Traditional Thai Massage. This is a no frill massage center, something like the Health Land Spa in Bangkok. They have a few branches in Koh Samui, one of them is about 400 m from our hotel.

Kid was having a good time in the pool...
While I also had a good time here :)
They also provide foot massage service.

The massage was lovely. Oh... how I love Thai massage especially the cracking. Initially I told my masseuse that I only wanted an hour, but after I was sure that she's quite skillful, I extended for another hour. This hesitation was because I did one before in Krabi and it sucks big time. It was like how my daughter did for me, just anyhow press hehehe....

Total damage for a 2-hour massage was a mere 400 THB (SGD 15). If I have all the time myself, I would just go everyday. :P

After I came back for massage, we went for sightseeings to a Buddhist Pagoda up the hill. From here we could see the city, the airport runway, the nearby islands, and the Chaweng Lake.

Kao Hoa Jook Pagoda 

The Buddhist Pagoda

"Hear no evil, talk no evil, see no evil".

The airport runway

The nearby islands

Chaweng Lake

On our way home, we dropped by a local market and bought some mangoes. The seller actually had sticky rice to go with the mangoes but I dare not try. Saw too many flies around in the market, didn't want to take any risk hehehe...

Local market

Many kinds of fruit

Agreed, very sweet.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 2: Koh Samui sightseeings

We woke up pretty early, so we decided to check out the beach first before heading for breakfast. It was such a nice day for a walk.


The breakfast area is located at the main restaurant next to the beach. Needless to say, the best seats are outdoors with ocean view.

The breakfast area

The outdoor seats

The ocean view

I love the breakfast here, especially the hot dishes and desserts. The menu changed daily and everything was so tasty.  The breakfast had so much variety such as bread, cereal, all kind of eggs, bacon, ham, sausages, salads, baked pasta, curry dishes, roti prata, sambal prawns, porridge, fried noodles, rice, cakes, muffins, puddings, fruits and many more.

Sumptuous breakfast

In the afternoon we rented a motorbike again and heading to the southern of Koh Samui. Our destination was the Grandfather and Grandmother rock.

Grandmother rock, in case you're not sure what to look at, it's the hole in between hehehehe...

Grandfather rock.. this should be quite obvious.

Compare the size of the rock with the kayak boat that passing through.
Nearby the rocks, there are many shops selling souvenirs and snacks. I bought this traditional Thai sweets that was pretty addictive.

I found out from Google that it is called "Kalamae".

Not far from the rocks, probably about ten minutes ride, we spotted this cool red temple. Have you seen one like this?

After another twenty minutes ride, we reached the waterfall.

Na Muang Waterfall
We were crazy to bring a toddler to the waterfall as it requires some trekking to reach up there. Furthermore, it rained earlier so it was quite dangerous to climb up the rocks. And the worst part is the waterfall wasn't worth going at all.

First, we had to ride this 4WD to go up the hill. This is the only enjoyable part hehehe...

For comparison, she was only as tall as the wheels. :P


The trekking started.

A wobbly path.

And this was what we saw. Such a disappointment.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 1: Singapore - Koh Samui (Thailand)

We didn't really plan to go for a trip but our helper wanted to go back home for two weeks, so I thought why not we go for a trip as well, just the three of us. So far we always travelled with our helper hehehe.. so this time around let's see whether we could survive without her. And then I also realized that our Krisflyer mileage is going to expire next year, so it was a good reason to utilize it before it's too late.

My first choice was Perth, but the airport tax and surcharge for SQ was as much as the price of a budget airline ticket. In this case we might as well take the budget airline and keep the mileage. After frantically searching for a destination to go, I chanced upon Koh Samui, which doesn't have any budget airlines flying there. Now, that's a good reason to use the mileage. :)

Our flight was at 8 am in the morning and we purposely woke up much earlier in order to try the JetQuay lounge, complimentary from the credit card hehehe... From the time we entered the main gate, I could feel the sense of exclusiveness. Our cab wasn't allowed to proceed until the security guard cross checked our names with his list. Wow.. not everyone can enter, not even the drop off point. :P

The lounge itself was alright, more or less like the Krisflyer lounge except that they have an outdoor area for smoking. Food was quite a disappointment, it didn't have as many varieties as in the Krisflyer lounge.

Sitting area


Not much variety of food


Nice chair :)

Outdoor sitting area

Smoking area

Comparing the two, I still think the Krisflyer has the best lounge. (Read my posts of Krisflyer lounge here) but JetQuay has one privilege that Krisflyer doesn't have. When it was time to board the plane, a staff member came and brought us to their own immigration counter. After we cleared the immigration, he would then escorted us to the boarding gate in a buggy ride. And not only that, they timed it so perfectly that we reached there just a few minutes before the gate was closed. Nice..... it really made us feel like a VIP hahaha...

Koh Samui Airport
The airport has a resort like feeling, it also uses natural air circulation which means no aircon. :)

Shuttle to the arrival terminal

Arrival terminal

An airport or a resort?

Clock tower, behind it are the shops that leads to departure terminal
From the airport we took an airport van to our hotel. I didn't know that it was so near, only took us less than ten minutes to reach there.

Nora Beach Resort & Spa
This hotel had a glowing review in tripadvisor, and from all the reviews I read, none was negative. So the next thing I did was to search for the cheapest rate in all the travel websites. And surprise surprise, the cheapest was from Zuji, which from my impression was never ever give a good deal. In the hotel website itself, they were selling at SGD 150 per night for a superior room. Zuji were selling at SGD 100, plus another 10% rebate from Mastercard promotion, I only paid SGD 90 per night. Cool. :)

And that's not all, they upgraded us to Garden Villa. Can't believe our luck :P

Flowers at the lobby

Path to villas and the swimming pool

Lovely flowers surrounding the resort

The swimming pool right next to the beach



The superior rooms where we were supposed to stay, but...

This is what we got. Yay!!
The bedroom
The most exciting part of the villa is the see through bathroom overloooking the garden.And you've got to love the spacious bath tub. :)

The standing shower comes with a glass ceiling.

Nice balcony but beware of mosquitoes!!

In the afternoon we rented a motorbike from a shop in front of our hotel. It only cost about THB 200 per day compared to THB 1000 for a car rental. Riding a motorbike was so much fun, our daughter was so excited that her eyes lighted up whenever we told her we were going for a ride.

Riding a motorbike

Passing by a scary handicraft shop. These aliens are made from motorbike spare parts.

The Big Buddha

Koh Samui most famous landmark: The Big Buddha

Wat Plai Laem

The Laughing Buddha

Guan Yin
Wat Plai Laem