Trip Report: Thailand (part 7) Mae Koh National Park Boat Trip and Chaweng Beach

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Introduction
United Airlines 747 First Class Chicago (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt (FRA)
Thai Airways A380 First Class Frankfurt (FRA) to Bangkok (BKK)
Thai Airways 737 Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Koh Samui (USM)
Conrad Koh Samui
Mae Koh National Park Boat trip and Chaweng Beach
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Koh Samui (USM) to Phuket (HKT)
Naka Island a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
James Bond Island and Little Island Boat trip
Phi Phi Island Boat trip
Patong Beach and Bangla Road
Air Asia Economy Class Phuket (HKT) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Four Seasons Chiang Mai
ELE (Elephant Life Experience) Elephant Camp
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai (CNX) to Bangkok (BKK)
St. Regis Bangkok
Dinner at Vertigo at Banyan Tree Rooftop
Chatuchak Weekend Market and Wat Pho Temple
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Hong Kong (HKG)
American Airlines First Class Hong Kong (HKG) to Dallas (DFW)
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Boat Trip to Mae Koh National Park

In researching things to do while in Koh Samui my wife decided she wanted to take a visit to the national park.  The Mae Koh National Park is a series of Islands in which many can be seen from our hotel (Conrad Koh Samui). We ended up booking our tour directly through the hotel.  There is a representative from a tour company (please forgive me I forget the name) which set up shop right in the Conrad Koh Samui and was actually hanging out by the concierge desk.  He explained the different options and explained that he recommends the VIP option which was about $50-60 extra person but gets you on a speed boat with a maximum of 12 other people. The non VIP options are boats with 30+plus people.  The total was around $120 per person for an all day boat tour with snorkeling and swimming and lunch and stops at various locations around the national park.

We were told to arrive in the lobby on the day of our excursion around 7:45am.  However the driver was extremely late picking us up. The boat company representative met is in the lobby and apologized that the driver was late. He offered us towels and a few bottles of water.  After about a 30 minute wait the driver showed.  We were the only one in his van.  We took about a 40 minute ride around to the north side of the island where our boat awaited. We were the last to arrive and there were 10 other people (5 couples) waiting for us. We all quickly boarded and off we went!

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On our boat

While on board the crew explained the rules and details of what our day would entail. The staff was amazing. They were very nice and everyone had there role. There was one main tour guide who spoke english and was the main guide. While the other workers had other responsibilities around the boat.

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Heading out on the boat

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Some of the crew from our boat

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Kayakers from a different boat

Our first stop was about 30 minutes out on our speed boat at a small island to snorkel.  I bought a GoPro water proof camera for this trip so I took some long video clips but no pictures (sorry).  The water was very clear and coral was colorful (not as nice as Molokini off of Maui).  We snorkeled around for about 30 minutes.  We followed the guide in the water and he showed us some of the more interesting fish and areas and advised us to stay away from the sea snakes and black sea urchins!

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My wife on the back of the boat

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Other boats on the water

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Wife and I after snorkel

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Lots of islands and rock formations

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Landscape

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Small beach

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Interesting layering of the rocks

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Interesting layering of the rocks

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More rocky islands

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One of the larger tour boats with many people

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Arriving at the National Park Island

Ater snorkeling we stopped at Mae Koh to climb to the top of the island and see the beautiful lagoon.  There were several other boats congregated here allowing visitors to get off and explore.  We followed our guide up the steep steps.  There were several sets of stairs that eventually get you to the top after about 15 minutes. From the top of the island there is an observatory type deck in which you can see out onto the ocean in one direction and behind you is a large enclosed lagoon.

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Mae Koh National Park signage

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Mae Koh Island

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Wife and I on Mae Koh Island

DSC07909 Heading up some steep step

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Views from Mae Koh Island

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The lagoon on Koh Mae Island

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Wife and I with lagoon in the background

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Wife and I from the top of Koh Mae Island

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The lagoon and its amazing color water

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Panorama from the top of the island

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Are these steps or a ladder?!

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My wife in front of the lagoon

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What a stud!

After checking out the island for a bit it was back onto the boat to a floating city and a stop for lunch.  Lunch was set up as a buffet and our group all sat together at a table set up for 12.  The food was good and there was enough for most people to have seconds.

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Time for lunch with our guide explaining the dishes

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One of the workers at the restaurant for lunch-Had to get a shot of his hair

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Restaurant signage

After lunch there was one more stop to a small quiet island so we could have some beach time to lay out of swim around for a bit.  They brought out more beers and drinks for us while on the beach. We hung out for about 45 minutes to an hour.  They provided mats for us to lay out on the sand so we didnt have to dirty up our towels.

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A unique skinny island by itself

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Trying to take a creative picture

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One of many consumed Singha’s on our trip!

 

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Panorama of the beach

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Shot from the boat leaving the beach

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My wife taking in the views on the way back

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One of our guests getting dropped off at the Four Seasons Koh Samui

We got back to the hotel around 5:30pm.  We enjoyed our trip.  The guides/boat crew were great, the other guests on the boat were also very nice and every one got along.  We would both take part in this trip again and if your looking for something to do in Koh Samui you should go for it.

Chaweng Beach

Lets start off by saying we loved Chaweng.  Its hard to pinpoint why however! Is it the cheap beer? Cheap beach massage? Is it the amazing beach? Away from the beach the area is a little grimy, touristy, and dirty but we liked it. You will experience some unforgettable smells while walking the streets here!!!!  We took a free shuttle from the Conrad hotel and walked around for a while looking for some swim gear. There are a lot of decent shops and a lot of shops where you can buy knockoff goods if thats your thing (think “crocodile” instead of “lacoste”).   We walked the beach for a while and after debating far to long which place to get a massage we decided on a random place that was 50THB (about $1.50) higher than some of the others and got a massage. An hour long massage! I asked for a back and shoulder massage and my wife got some sort of oil massage.

The masseuses worked us out!! My masseuse was pressing on my back so hard LOL!! But she did crack my back and I felt better after the hour.  We paid about $10 per person for our hour long massages!!! Amazing!   We then walked over to a bar on the beach and grabbed a few beers before catching our free shuttle back to our hotel.    We knew that before we left Koh Samui we wanted to stop back in Chaweng for another massage.

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Chaweng Beach

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Chaweng Beach

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Chaweng Beach

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Chaweng Beach

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WTF? LOL

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Cannot get over the amount of wires

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Street scene in Chaweng

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One of the hundreds of stores on the street

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Lots of wires

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Little guy playing with Tic Tac’s on the ground! (don’t eat them little fella!)

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Junky open lot in Chaweng

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This way to the beach!

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Having some drinks on the beach

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A few more beers on the beach

Later in our trip we did stop back to Chaweng beach and got another massage on the beach but this time we tried a different place. Many of the places are busy so we found it best to just grab a place that had open tables for massage and they would soon book up after we laid down.  We got another hour long massage for the same price.  We then walked down the beach and grabbed some beach chairs that were complimentary as long as you bought something (a beer).  We ended up grabbing a few beers and splitting a pizza.

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View from our beach chairs

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Relaxation on Chaweng Beach

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Sharing a pizza on the beach

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One of the better restaurants on Chaweng Beach

I picked up a few t-shirts on our stop to Chaweng.  A Chang beer t-shirt and Singha t-shirt.  My wife found some cheap clothing items too.  It is very easy to bargain with the store operators on Chaweng but at the same time I felt kind of bad since these people don’t make a lot of money to begin with!!

If we ever come back to Koh Samui we will try to stay at a hotel a little closer to Chaweng since its a nice place to stop at for a dinner out or if you want to go our for a late night they have several night time beach parties!

-pointspinnacle


 

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