Friday, April 25, 2008

A Thai holiday

Even the Thais like a touch of island paradise every now and then.

Clare and I, along with some friends of ours, decided to venture to Koh Samet for one of Thailand's squillion long weekends. Koh Samet is situated just off the south-eastern coastline 5.5hrs bus ride below Bangkok.

Thankfully, the island isn't (yet) bursting at the seams with English backpackers and seedy European pedophiles. It's where Thais (albeit relatively rich Thais) go for a family holiday.

The island is supposed to be protected by National and Marine Parks restrictions, however the lure of the tourist dollar seems to be Phi-Phi-ing the tourist spots on the island - accelerating development on the island at the expense of some of the island's natural areas.

But who am I to complain? I'm not Thai, and I'm the one that's paying with 'the tourist dollar'. I just hope the mistakes of the islands in the Andaman Sea aren't repeated in the Gulf of Thailand.

Koh Samet's coastline is beautiful, marine live still abundant, and has enough holiday amenities to keep you comfortable. (But no Pay TV Super 14 Rugby in the bars, as I emotionally found out...)

But by far the coolest thing about Koh Samet was the fresh seafood at prices that would make patrons at seaside RSL's back home choke on their battered fleck 'n chips.

Open-plan beachside bbq's greet you with an eye-popping array of seafood, including oysters, prawns, scallops, whole fish and lobster....usually accompanied by a simple chilli and lime sauce. From memory, I think I paid AUD$9 for two beers, a dozen scallops and a dozen large prawns!

After handpicking your dinner, you simply pull up a mat and low-sitting table on the beach (similar to the middle-eastern style), sink beers, eat and enjoy candlelight conversation.

Whilst the visibility was a little hazy, the snorkeling was still pretty good during the day. I was twice able to check out some excellent coral shelves, which boasted more fluro than a Sydney music festival. The sea life was also fantastic, with fish darting in and out of the coral corners. A great, quiet antidote to the intensity of Bangkok.

Clare and I charted a speed boat to get to the island - it was totally James Bond.

They even serve Koori noodle with tofu on Koh Samet. Ouch!


Mum said...

One couldn't get away with this in Aust. BUT what was it? and did you try it?

Mum said...

Both you and Clare have a certain sheen to your foreheads - is that a 'sheen' I see to the water as well?

Belly said...

We think it was fried aubergine, but we didn't dare try it in case we upset some tribal leader back home.

Not sure what you mean by the water sheen, but it is quite hot.