[Warning: During our time on the Koh Samui archipelago Jess (as mentioned) got very into the most complicated inner working of the various ferry companies. It has to be admitted that the over all ferry experience was rather annoying, it is however possible though that a large part of this particular blog post contains slightly more ferry based information than you’re actually likely to need unless you plan, for example, on doing some form of doctorate or post graduate masters entitled “Ferry’s of the Gulf of Thailand, with specific reference to the Koh Samui Archipelago . In which case I’m sure you’ll find this very useful .. If on the other hand you want to know what Koh Tao is like you might have to ask Sam when we get back…]
Jess’ dedication to researching the best ferry options for our next journey was once again tested by the even more complicated ferry situation on Koh Samui… Jess blames this on the fact that because the Island is mainly full of lazy package tourists who get shipped by their hotel direct to one of the ferries no one actually needs to know what time and where the ferry leaves from… apart, apparently, from us.
Jess had managed to work out we had three ferry options to Koh Tao, run by different companies, with different prices and types of boat, but there seemed to be no way of finding out which port these ferries went from on the internet. We decided we would try and make the Songserm 11:15 am one as not only was this the cheapest but if there was a problem with this then we had enough time to cycle to one of the other ferries that left later that day… After speaking to a lady in a random shop, we worked out it would be about a 20km cycle to the port.
On arrival at the port there appeared to be a number of piers… the first one we went to was only for ferries back to the mainland so we were directed to the other one, which housed a company called the Lompayah Catermaran (not the one we had been looking for).
Jess was a little confused at first as she recognised this company was the one that provides the express Catermaran service and most expensive service to Ko Tao, and had thought this ferry left from a different port. Immediately we arrived here we were greeted by a pushy woman who asked us where we wanted to go… She then said the ferry would be 2200bh. When Jess enquired why it was so expensive when the tickets were 600 bt, we were informed we would have to pay this for each of our bikes too… Jess was fuming!
We obviously expect to pay a little extra for the bikes but considering some of the passengers getting this ferry weigh more than the combined weight of one of us + bike, (and they aren’t getting charged for being fat!!) this seemed a little unreasonable! We refused to pay this, enquired about the other ferry companies and where they were located (they feigned ignorance). The bikes prices then miraculously went down to 200bt each! It then turned out that their ‘express service’ took the same time as the non express service because we would have to wait for 45 minutes in Koh Phangan to change boat… well we weren’t having any of that!
Luckily some Scandinavian girls were also there attempting to enquire about prices at the same time, so we spoke with them and found out that the other ferry company (Songserm) was over the other side of the car park (and not signposted at all) and that that cost 400bt (although did also involve changing boats(, not that this was mentioned until we got to the stop and were told angrily that we had to get off here))… so we went there and got charged 100bt for our bikes, which we happily paid. BINGO! (Amazing how the happy the saving of two pounds can make you…)
Having survived a crammed ferry ride with what seemed to be the entire population of Clapham Common on an August weekend afternoon (think wife beaters, brightly coloured ray-bans) we headed off to towards a beach on the South side of the island.
Jess who only the day before had been raving about her new hill technique (slaloming across the hill rather than tackling the gradient directly) managed to loose so much momentum doing this that she fell off going up a monster of a hill (the first fall of the trip!!), ending up with the bike more or less on top of her. No harm done though!
After a bit of searching around we eventually found some suitable accommodation that wasn’t either overpriced or had rats in it (the man showing Sam round the second collection of shacks we visited was very proud of the fact that the second room he showed Sam didn’t have any rats) and went to watch the sunset by the beach with a glass of wine in hand!