Well I really can't complain too much about life in Thailand. Of course there are some places that are purely magical and then other places just want to send you running. I decided to spend a few more days hanging out with my buddies from Koh Phagnan and followed them to the touristic and larger island of Koh Samui. I hadn't originally planned to go there and upon arrival I realized that I had been right not to have those plans. Although it was nice not to have to say bye to everyone we were all split up since we booked accommodations in different places. I was staying with my Korean/Indian friend Esther in a very nice hotel in Chaweng. Chaweng is the hub of Koh Samui tourism where all the beaches are lined with large expensive resorts. It is impossible to walk the streets without being harassed to buy to buy a suit, get a massage, purchase souvenirs, or eat at somebody's restaurant. On top of that the taxis drive around honking at everyone constantly looking to see if someone needs a ride which is something I will never get used to. There were some good points to Samui however, Esther and I spent an afternoon taking a scooter up to a nearby waterfall where you could swim in the cool, refreshing spring water. This was a welcome change from the tepid ocean water I had been swimming in though many people thought it was too cold. I found this entertaining since it was quite warm compared to the Canadian lake water that I am used to.
Following two nights in Koh Samui I boarded a ferry and bus to Krabi town on the west coast of Thailand. This town is considered to be a jumping-off point to access the west coast beaches and islands. Although it is not a particularly exciting town I feel comfortable staying here and the cost of living is much lower than on the islands.The most exciting I witnessed was a cat trying quite unsuccessfully to hunt a scorpion. Also every place here seems to be some combination of guesthouse/restaurant/travel agent/bar/karaoke/massage place/gas station. I have been lucky enough to find a nice guest house to stay in with a very friendly and informative owner. For about $6 a night I get my own private room and bathroom and there is a very good WiFi connection throughout the building. In addition the place offers meager kitchen facilities which is a first for me, and free coffee and tea. I will probably end up sleeping about 8 nights here by the end of my time in Thailand since I'm commuting from here to go rock climbing in nearby Ao Nang. During this time I have also inserted a four night stay in Koh Lanta. Koh Lanta is definitely my favourite island to date. It was very quiet and relaxing and much less touristic than other places I had visited. Because it is low season there is hardly anyone about. The one downside I have to pay for low season fares are unpredictable storms which seem to be worsening as we approach the end of the rainy season and the winds shift directions. I still managed to get a sunburn, go scuba diving, and drove a scooter around the island with my Swiss friend Angela where we discovered the most beautiful private beach I have encountered to date. I also made a Canadian friend, Chuck, who I expect to see again in Indonesia. Soon I will be saying goodbye to Thailand and boarding a bus to cross the border into Malaysia. My first stop will most likely be an island of Langkawi which is reported to have the cheapest beer in the whole country. Shouldn't be too difficult a transition from life in Southern Thailand!