PC386 Ko Samui
Mon - Left Khanom for Ko Samui
Khanom was OK, but maybe a bit too quiet so I left Trairatana and took a Sawg taew to the ferry. The first thing I saw when I arrived was a Tesco supermarket - showing I am back in the international modern world. I chose Bho Phut as a place to stay as it has a Japanese Backpacker Hostel called Papa Joes. The bus was 3 times the price of mainland buses. I walked around town which was like a Mediterranean tourist fishing village .. Expensive western style bars & coffee shops etc.

Tues - Idiot Boy
Hey you know what ? I met some who looks exactly like me , I am afraid people will mistake me for him, which is a pity cos I am sensible & rational whereas I have named him "Idiot Boy".

Last week I had hired a moto in Khanom. It was a liberating experience I went along 10 Km of beaches & up the mountain. And it was only 200B + 60B in benzin. Here the bikes are only 150B. Cautiously I chose one which was already quite scratched. So I set off with an idea to go upto the highlands connect with a road cutting across the island and come back along the coast.

There was a minor incident at the gas station cos even though their big signs say 30B/ litre they insisted it was 40B so he even though the readout read 45B they wanted 60B. Foreigner pricing I guess anyway it's only the price of a coffee around here.

Then I swung off the main road and into the back villages towards the mountain Stopped to eat durian for breakfast 20B. Then further up the road which was paved, but then became good earth road. After the road ended in a quarry I backtracked to a track leading up the mountain.

After 5Km the track got a bit rough. I of course putting my sensible negative thinking hat on I reasoned the road could get worse so it was better to turn back. That's when " Idiot Boy" suddenly turned up.

He reasoned differently he thought that since he was already more than half way up the mountain it wouldn't be far before he reached the cross island road marked as asphalt on the map so easy running. Incidenally the track we were on was marked as asphalt on the same map. Also the presence or more huts indicated we must be near the top as it would be sensible to service them from that good road.

So don't get us mixed up, whereas I did something sensible like park the bike and continued on foot or went 20Km the other way round I can't remember which , it was him " Idiot Boy" you would have seen struggling on as the road got worse then a bit better then even worse..

.. His story : well I was almost to the top when the path got so steep I had to get off & push the heavy bike up. That's when I met a local coming down who indicated that the road was little further up and helped me get the bike past the difficult section. The road did get a lot better.. A couple of houses.. wow must be at the road soon .. then narrower then ended up narrow narrow and steep just past a picnic table & viewpoint. I was already tired and sweating from having to get off and push the bike up so many steep sections.

What to do ? Maybe I missed a turning I should turn the bike around. In attempting to manhandle it I cracked the mirror and the brake lever snapped off. Great ! OK so now I was on a dirt track on top of a mountain with a bike with 50% brakes.

I sat down to figure "that's another fine mess you got me into Stanley !" One of those moments of well of course the shop are going to charge me hundreds for the repairs, but a least I am still alive & uninjured apsrt from a couple of scratches. "I've got my health so I am not taking any more risks. I could imagine me flying of the cliff as I drove the bike down the steep track with sharp bends.
My bike at the top of the hill
My bike at the top of the hill
view at the top of the hill
View at the top of the hill

I sat down sweating & drank the last of my water. I could hear traffic somewhere near. Sure enough 10 minutes walk up the path there was the top road ..good and flat, but unasphalted. A little further was house under construction. The workers confirmed I was in the middle of the island, but suggested the it's better to go back to my starting point rather than cross the other way.

I turned the bike around to come down the same way, but after a while the path was too steep. Nearby I found some orchard workers & for 100B got them to push the bike to the main road. Just past a house they waved me off saying just go straight down. I knew it wasn't going to be that easy.

It was OK for 2 minutes, but just then the path went from 20 to 45 risky if the brakes worked, but with only the back brake the bike was always sliding sideways. So I set the bike down to think. Maybe someone would stop to help. I guess those guys are accustomed to 45 slopes on a motorbike.

Well one thing I needed water so I set off back to the house. After a while a truck passed and gave me a ride. The workers gave me the last of their water..not much.

Then something happens that always happens when you are in a bad situation It got worse ! Where was my helmet ?

It wasn't back at the bike..nor at the house .. "It must be in the truck", so I set off down the up & down sidetrack it had taken . 2Km later I found it at the end of the road in a durian orchard. The people were kind I gulped down water and they gave me lunch. There were about 20 some Thai, some Burmese... They were packing durians & shooting at monkeys at birds which might steal fruit in the trees. So much for nature.
owner of Durian Orchard
owner of Durian Orchard in The Ko Samui hills
One suggested he could help with the bike for 2000B which is probably about the same price a helicopter would cost. Anyway the owner insisted I take an enormous durian. So now I had to walk back carrying it to the bike 2Km in the hot sun.

Back at the bike I waited for someone to pass to help me. And thinking.... If the bike was in neutral I could push it ,but then it would be impossible to stop. I could have it in first gear it would be too dangerous to sit on it, but I could walk next to it. The problem with that is that, then it's too easy to accidentally touch the throttle & it would fly off. So I tried in first with the engine off. Just rolling it along the gutter to keep it slow. It worked in a fashion, but the engne would start itself so I had to keep stopping every so often so it was slow progress.

Well I made it 100m, then another 100m to a flat section then drove. Then another steep manhandle section. Occasionally I got a bit of help. The durian trucks would pass some offering a ride. It went on and on like this for hours.

Eventually I got down to a section where they were concreting the track. But after 100m it became 45 with sharp bends so I put the bike down to rest.

Then coming up was a guy on a 3 wheel load bike. He actually stopped and got on my bike motioned for me to get on and drove down the steep slope and around the bends. I had to shut my eyes, but he was obviously experienced.

Afte 300m ..Wow now the road was now concrete and there were houses.. UNBELIEVABLE I'd made it down !

I stopped for a cold drink, then again for another and again for another. Incredible 3.30pm I was back on the main road the hills way above me. It was surreal like a memory from a bad dream. Well at least I had seen some good views and got to visit a Durian orchard and meet the workers.

The guy at the moto shop charged me 150B for the repairs, which took him 10 minutes. So not so bad. .. Very lucky indeed

Anyway that was "Idiot Boy"'s story not mine

Actually I remember I have met "Idiot Boy" before: he was the one who thought he had time to get down from the train to get water in Portugal and saw the train leave without him.

At night when I lie down I noticed a pain like stitch inside at the bottom left of my ribcage. Doesn't hurt when I am standing up so I guess I have cracked a rib or pulled a lower muscle.

Tues - Tourist Circus land
After getting the bike repaired I went off to explore the popular tourist area -
Hat Chaweng Like Torre Molinoes a tourist tourist area, only 100s shops and 100s of hotels hiding the beach from sight.
Went up the coast to Hat Lamai this was like a junior version of Hat Chaweng Supposed to be alternative, but crowded with resorts and pricey restaurants and bars. Their were 2 backpacker places, but I guess most go to Kho Pha Ngannow.
So I realised Bo Phut where I stayed is more like a older couple place like Puerto de la Cruz, but still a quite touristy. Here is a bophuy beach video On the way back I went back through Hat Chaweng to Big Budda Beach .. It was built up all the way aswell

Meeting old men
The hostel is owned by a Thai/Japanese couple. He disagreed about my generalisations abput Japan. "Kind : well everywhere you go people give you food and won't let you pay", but for him a Thai guy married to a Japanese he had to pay. I guess I was a white, dynamic entertaining English teacher so people did react different. Who you are forms part of the impression you get back of a culture. This is why I usually meet old men. It's appropriate for them as older males to invite me, whereas if they were younger or female it wouldn't be. They are the most likely to speak to me. Whereas I don't invite other people to me.

Wed - Walking Day

Since I have given up on scooters I walked 2 Km to a Hypermarket. lunch then onto Tescos. At the back I noticed a sign saying viewpoint restaurant. It was a long way way up I was just about to give up when a guy with a scooter came past I thought I was going to get robbed, but he took me all the way up and wouldn't take money. Nice view.

view down to Hat Chaweng and the lake
view down to Hat Chaweng and the lake
view down to Hat Chaweng and the lake
view down to Hat Chaweng and the lake

walked back. later lot of rain.

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