Date of Trip: June 2005
If I disappear off the face of the earth, I’ll eventually be found in a hammock, with a beer, in Koh Samui.
I visit Koh Samui as often as I can to see my kids. My daughter works as a dive slave, and soon, as graphic designer. Rather than bunk with either of them, I’ve stayed in seven or eight different places over the past couple of years, but the newly opened Bann Bophut (The House or Inn) in the Bophut beach village has blown me away, and for $50/night in the low-season, has them all licked.
Be aware that nude sunbathing, or even going shirtless in the streets; displays of anger; pointing with your feet; and patting peoples’ heads are all offensive to Thai’s, but tolerance is a Thai attribute, so their true feelings will probably not register with the perp.
Hire a Honda Dream motorbike for $5/day to get around the island. To circumnavigate the Samui can take as little as an hour on the concrete ring road or as long as 2 days, depending on what takes your fancy en route. BUT be aware that Samui has Thailand’s highest motorcycle accident rate, and you need to keep your wits about you to remain unscathed. Most injuries are self-inflicted, with the notorious Samui Tattoo, a burn scar on the right calf from a hot exhaust pipe, dominating. A Suzuki jeep, at only $15 to $20/day, is probably the safest bet for most.
Baan Bophut Baan Bophut is brand-new and right on the beach. With only 10 sea-facing rooms, it’s small, which means that you get individualised service. Nothing, it seems, is too much trouble in pursuit of their stated objective to have 50% repeat business in 3 years. My profession keeps me in hotel rooms, literally, for half of each month. But the beds are the comfiest of king-sizes I have found anywhere, the linen is changed daily, they let me choose my pillow type, and I don’t recall having a better night’s sleep. The views across to Koh Pha Ngan are stunning, as is the small infinity edge pool within hailing distance of the cocktail bar or a timely snack.
On top of everything I’ve just said, there’s free WiFi, Skype, a DVD library, and an award-winning British chef (formerly head sous chef for Harvey Nics, Oxo Tower, London) and his brilliant Thai brigade. This gem of a hotel is soon to be discovered, big time.
I love Bophut for its quaint Chinese shop houses, many of them tastefully converted into some superb bars and restaurants; its absence of girly bars and tat; and especially, the fantastic young people running Baan Bophut for making me chill and feel special.