I guess I have been taking you to travel around Samui for about 10 times, I was here last time in March 2011. And I am telling you that there is always something new going on here, Samui has been more and more civilized.
Actually I have no plan to come back to Samui like this soon. But guess what! I get a complementary room night voucher from THE SEA, Koh Samui. I got it by attending the activity on Facebook fan page of THE SEA. So this is why I come back here once again. After making the hotel reservation, I start to arrange the flight. This time I decide to take a flight because the bus takes too long to get there. There have been many choices for you to take to get to Koh Samui recently for example taking a direct flight to Koh Samui or taking a flight to Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat and then take a ferry to Koh Samui. However, since Samui Airport is a private airport built and owned by Bangkok Airways and Bangkok Airways is the only airline to fly in so the flight ticket is quite expensive comparing with flying to Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat and take a ferry. There are 2 airlines that fly to Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat including Air Asia and Nok Air. I have compared the price and find that Air Asia is the cheapest one and I book it like 3-4 months in advance. It is about 3,000 Baht (100 USD) for the round-trip flight tickets plus the ferry.
And now it is time to go to Koh Samui, I take the earliest flight at 06.50 AM (Don Mueang - Nakhon Si Thammarat). The sun rise not long before the flight taking off, and I can't help but take photos even I have an aisle seat.
I woke up around 02.30 AM this morning to come from Lopburi to Don Mueang International Airport that's why I fall asleep during the flight. I am awake when there is an announcement that the flight is preparing to land "please lift up the windows shades and adjust your seat to be in an upright position...". Once the flight is landed there is another announcement saying that "We have arrivedNakhon Si Thammarat 15 minutes earlier than the schedule.. Thank you for flying with us and we hope...". Therefore, it is about an hour from Don Mueang International Airport to Nakhon Si Thammarat.
There are staff from Raja ferry at the terminal calling people who are going to Koh Samui and Ko Pha Ngan to go with them. I buy a ticket then get a sticker to put on my T-shirt before going to wait on the bus outside the Airport Passenger Terminal.
I am on the bus to Donsak's pier to take the ferry. I have noticed that there are only 4 Thai people including me on the bus. Before the bus departs, the staff come to ask if anyone need a transfer from Lipa Noi pier, Koh Samui to the resort. And if yes, they can buy the van ticket now at 200 THB (7 USD) for all destinations. However, I don't buy a van ticket because I plan to rent a motorbike at Nathon. I did some research and learned that I can walk to the main street to get the mini-bus to Nathon by myself.
The bus depart at 08.30 AM and it is about one hour and a half to get to Donsak's pier.
I have bought a package so I have to check-in to get the ferry ticket at the passenger building. There is also a restaurant inside, if you are hungry while waiting for the ferry you can get some food here. However, I have brought some bread along with me so no need.
So let's walk around the pier and see what do they have here!
If you haven't bought a package in advance, you can purchase the tickets to Koh Samui here. It is 150 THB (5USD) per person or 470 THB for one person with a car. The ferries run every hour from 06.30 AM to 08.30 PM.
I take the ferry at 11.00 AM and this is how the lower floor of the ferry looks like.
The upper floor of the ferry is divided into 2 zones. This zone is opened so you can enjoy the sea breeze.
And this zone is called VIP zone with air conditioner. However, this VIP part is opened for everyone, no need to pay for anything.
This is the sofa I choose to take in VIP zone because it is more comfortable. And there is a smoking area right behind me.
There is a small convenient store at the back of the ferry with all food, snacks, and drinks.
The emergency equipments are placed on the top floor of the ferry including fire hoses, life vests, inflatable boats. However, I am not sure if the inflatable boats can be used for real because they don't look like ones.
These are the sticker I get from the ferry staff at the airport and the ferry ticket in pink color.
The ferry is delayed for 20 minutes and it takes about one hour and a half to get to Lipa Noi pier, Koh Samui.
Once I arrive, I go to look for a mini-bus right away but there is none. There is not even a motorbike taxi. While I am looking for a mini-bus, there is a van stopping by and the driver asks me where I want to go and do I want to go with him. He firmly confirms that it is very difficult to get a mini-bus here and if I really want to get one I need to walk pretty far. He offers me to go with him with only 200 THB (7USD). I still think that it is too expensive so I refuse to go with him and keep walking.
I make sure once again with local people on the way I walk pass by and get confirmed that it is totally far to go and get a mini-bus. Therefore, I decide to call my friend who lives here to pick me up even I don't feel right. He is so kind to come to pick me up and drop me off at Nathon. Actually, if you are lucky enough you can take the bus Surat Thani - Samui to Nathon. This bus normally comes with the ferry but unfortunately there is none on my ferry.
My friend drops me off at Nathon. I then go to rent a motorcycle which will be used in this whole trip in Koh Samui. It is way cheaper to rent a motorcycle than taking the mini-bus to go around. It is only 150 THB (5USD) per day and with only 100-THB petroleum I can go around the island easily.
To compare this with taking a mini-bus and pay 50-80 THB per time, it is way better. I stop by Nathon pier to get the map before riding to the hotel, "THE SEA".
THE SEA is located in Bang Bo between Nathon and Mae Nam. It is about 10 minutes from Nathon which I think it is a good location with a calm and not too quiet surrounding. There is also a convenient store nearby.
It is not only the name THE SEA literally mean the sea but also it is an abbreviation of Smooth, Excellence, and Attentive. THE SEA used to be just a room for rent but it has turned into be a full-service hotel. Guestrooms are all fully-equipped with everything you need when you are on vacation so you can pack light and will be able to stay here for like a month.
There is a limited parking space with maximum only 10 cars, luckily that I only have the motorcycle so that is not a problem.
When you entry the hotel, there will be a lobby where you do the check-in. There is also a lounge where you can relax while waiting to be checked in. The lobby is in white and beige color tone, it look very clean and spacious.
My voucher is for 1-Bedroom Suite Sea View with breakfast and Thai set dinner on the beach. I have plenty of time to kill before the dinner, therefore; I ask the staff kindly to show me each type of rooms in the hotel.
Here are they!
2-Bedroom Suite Sea View.
Once I enter this room, I can't help but wow! This room is huge with separate living area, dining table, and what impresses me the most would be the bathtub right in front of me.
There is a big sofa in the living area where you can lie down while watching a big-screen LCD TV which comes with the DVD player.
There is also a relaxing area in the balcony. After opening the sliding glass door, you can view the sea clearly. I personally like this corner very much because it is very relaxing, surfing the internet while breathing in the fresh sea breeze. Oh! I forget to tell you that there is a complementary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel as well.
This is the view from the balcony. The hotel offers very refreshing atmosphere with greenery surroundings. You can spot the betel palm and frangipani from here.
This is how the room looks like from the balcony, the bedroom is behind that wooden sliding door.
The bedroom is in the middle of the room. If you come with friends and want some privacy you can keep the bedroom door closed but if you want to enjoy the spacious area you can keep the door opened.
The sliding door can be opened from both sides.
The beautiful sea view can be seen right from the bedroom.
There are lamp, telephone, alarm clock, radio, and closet in the bedroom.
4 big soft pillows per person are provided.
There is a sign "THE SEA save the mother earth" on a shell-shaped ceramic, this ceramic is in different shapes in each room.
And here is the bathroom right next to the bedroom.
The bathroom is divided into wet and dry area by a huge glass wall. There are telephone, scales, hairdryer, hand soap, essential oil, drinking water, beach towels, slippers, toiletries VARA (the product from the spa in the hotel), toilet with hose spray, and a shower with two shower heads.
Let's move on and have a look in the kitchen!
There is everything you need in the kitchen like food bowl, water glass, kettle, coffee machine, oven, refrigerator, electric stove, etc.
Once you slide this door, there is also a washing and dryer machine which the detergent can be asked from the reception. And there is another bedroom next to the kitchen.
There are a working desk and bed bench in this bedroom. However, the sea view can not be seen from here.
A sign with seahorse-shaped ceramic.
There is also another bathroom in this bedroom.
Everything in this bathroom is as same as the previous one with all toiletries and everything.
I like the design of the bottle holders, it is very unique and like. a signature of the hotel.
All bathtub are with Jacuzzi.
You are able to enjoy the sea view while dipping in this bathtub next to the balcony. And the spa products are set by the bathtub but these are not complementary.
And now let's go to have a look at the "Presidential 3 Bedroom Pool Villa Garden".
There are 2 entrance to get into the villa.
After entering the villa, there is a long corridor leading to the living area with bamboo tree along the corridor. This goes well with the concept of Pool Villa Garden.
This is the room at the end of the corridor. There is a cooking space with microwave, refrigerator, coffee machine, and kettles.
There are also the oven, electric stove, sink, etc.
Next to the cooking space is a dining table and the living room. You can also go out and enjoy the resting area outdoor from here.
The room from another angle, it is huge with enormous sofa..very comfortable.
One of the bedrooms is behind the cooking space.
This bedroom is not that big and the bathroom outside next to the cooking space.
The bathroom is also small.
This is another bedroom located on the way to the living area earlier.
It is a little bit bigger than the previous one and it is decorated with the mirrors so the room looks even more spacious.
The bathroom is next to the bed with the glass wall and the space inside is pretty big.
This bathroom is also divided into wet area, dry area and the jacuzzi with toiletries as same as other bathrooms.
This is the view from the bathroom through the glass wall. However, you can close the curtains if you need some privacy.
And there is a relaxing area with the garden view as well. You can also go out from here to the pool and another part of the villa.
The pool with daybeds outside.
And let's go to the main bedroom over there!
Walking up the stair, you will find a balcony with a sofa bed.
There is a bedroom right next to the balcony. The room is huge with a working desk.
The ambiance of this Garden room is very calm, quiet, and refreshing with the garden.
And this is the bathroom.
If you are standing in front of the sink, there is a toilet on the right behind you and the shower room is on the left.
The windows next to the Jacuzzi can be opened to view the outside scenery while you are in the tub.
And now let's take a look at Presidential 3 Bedroom Pool Villa Sea View! There are 3 buildings in this villa, 2 of them are the bedrooms and the other one is a living room with kitchen. There is also a private swimming pool in this villa.
There are two entrances.
The first building is one and a half-story building. There are a living area with TV and a dining table.
Microwave and refrigerator are also provided.
After walking up the stair, there is a relaxing area where the garden view can be seen.
This is the bedroom with the working desk attached to the bed.
You can enjoy the garden view from the bathroom as well.
There is no wall on the opposite side of the bathtub but the fence so it is kind of opened. However, you don't have to be worried that someone can see you from the other side of the fence because it is very well-designed so this bathroom can't be seen from there.
This is how the bathtub looks like without a wall but the fence. The bathtub is like right in the middle of the garden.
The hotel has arranged a nice area where you can sit down and chill right in the garden as well.
This is the living room with TV in the second villa.
You can see the kitchen and dining table further in from here.
The kitchen is fully-equipped with all cooking items as same as other kitchen in the hotel.
And the main bedroom is in this third villa.
This villa is a 2-storey-villa with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom on each floor. There is also a private swimming pool here.
The lower floor.
You can just open the door next to your bed on the lower floor then you will be able to access to the pool directly.
There is a little cooking area with the microwave and refrigerator in the bedroom on the upper floor.
Walking a bit further into the room then it will be a bedroom and living area.
Huge bed indeed.
And the bathroom is like this with the Jacuzzi.
And now let's move on to see what else is offered here!
VARA Spa is located in front part of the hotel. The spa offers variety of the treatments such as Traditional Thai massage, Aromatherapy massage, facial treatment and so on. It is opened from 10.00 AM to 08.00 PM.
You can get spa consultation is this reception area.
This is the products used in the Spa.
There are 6 Essential Oils which are Coconut, Anti Cellulite, Asian Spice, Body and Mint, Signature, and Pacify.
Sea salt from Dead Sea is used in the Scrub treatment.
Fresh Thai herbs used in Body Shape treatment. These fresh Thai herbs will be mixed and blended before it is used as a mask putting it all over your body. After that you will be covered by electric blanket. And this treatment helps you in anti-cellulite.
There is a corner where you can buy a VARA spa products and souvenirs too.
The treatment rooms are located both on the 1st and 2nd floor and there is another waiting area next to the spa reception.
This is the private treatment room for Aromatherapy massage.
The treatment room for Traditional Thai massage on the 2nd floor with low ceiling which is not that comfortable I think.
The treatment room for Foot massage on the 2nd floor.
Not only the spa that is offered by the hotel but also the fitness center with a view on the 3rd floor of the hotel's main building.
There is another corner at the lobby where you can sit down reading a book, borrow DVD movies, and get free postcards.
This is the tour information corner where you can get tour brochures, local map, and stuffs. It is next to the elevator.
Now let's take a look around the hotel!
The main swimming pool.
There is a villa next to the main pool and right in front of the beach.
The atmosphere by the beach.
This is my table for dinner.
I start my dinner with this Appetizer "Avocado Crab Meat Layers". The lower layer is filled with tomatoes and avocado topped by fresh crab meat dressing with honey and mustard sauce. The taste is a perfect mix of the sweetness from the fresh crab meat and tomatoes, and creamy flavor from the avocado. I don't eat tomatoes normally and decide not to eat at first. However, after I try and have the first bite it is super tasty and I can't taste the tomatoes at all.
This is my 2nd Appetizer "Ocean & Earth". Grilled King prawn topped by fresh fruits salad, including red and green apples, and dragon fruits. This menu is a bit spicy because of the salad dressing but it goes very well with the tasteful prawn.
And now the Chef proudly presents "New Zealand Salmon Bearnaise" for the main course. Grilled fermented New Zealand salmon sweet sauce is served with mashed potato. The smell from the grill is so good with the tasty fermented salmon, very delicious.
"Surf and Turf" is the second main course. This menu is originally from America. The dish consists of grilled prawn with wine sauce and grilled New Zealand steak with tamarind sauce. I think most of Thai people including me will prefer the tamarind sauce because it is spicy.
And the dinner is ended with Mango sticky rice as a dessert. However, the sticky rice is kind of strange for me not sure if locals like to eat it this way which is not creamy and too sticky. Mango is also not that sweet maybe because it is not its season but the coconut milk sauce is so sweet which I like and it is so creamy and smells great.
It is a pity that today it is too windy. I heard that it is always like this right before and after the full moon. This means that candle and torch prepared by the hotel can't be lit up during my dinner. However, even without them the atmosphere and ambiance are still so good for my dinner.
My dinner today is so perfect, every single dish is well-prepared and delicious. The atmosphere by the beach is just right for a special dinner with the wave sound and sea breeze. While having dinner, I am also able to stargaze and view the full moon. I wish I could stop the time and enjoy this perfect evening but I can't. So I try to enjoy this memorable time as much as I can.
Anyway let's go and have a look through my room that I stay tonight which is "1 Bedroom Suite Sea View".
The kitchen in my room is not that big with fewer kitchen tools.
My room is including one bedroom, one bathroom, one living room with TV, dining table, and a balcony.
And this is how the room looks like from the balcony.
The bedroom is spacious with a sofa where the sea view can be seen, however; I don't think it is comfortable to have the sofa at the end of the bed like this. Tall people like me can't spread the legs straight right so this is not comfortable.
There are too many pillows in bed.
A sign with a snail-shaped ceramic.
The bathroom is separated from the bedroom next to the kitchen. It is pretty big bathroom with a Jacuzzi.
The sea view can be seen from this Jacuzzi.
You can see through the bathroom from the balcony as well.
There is no welcome fruit here but welcome local snack, the famous Kalamare (sticky candy) of Koh Samui.
So I guess I got to take a rest now to get ready for tomorrow program.
Good morning! Let's go for a breakfast at Cafe Leba!
Cafe Lebay is located across the lobby.
The restaurant is a bit small, however; the hotel has prepare outdoor for you as well so you can either have your breakfast indoor or outdoor.
This is the popular corner where most of the people have breakfast.
The food are freshly-made as you can see from the open kitchen.
A line buffet is full with variety of food.
This is my breakfast today.
Another part of buffet line with Ham, Hot Dog, soup, etc.
And more with bakery, salad, fresh fruits, etc.
Salad corner with limited choice of vegetable.
Drinks corner with fresh fruits juice and milk.
You are also able to order some eggs menu like omelet, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, etc.
Hot cocoa drink.
My today light breakfast.
Before going out, let's go and take a walk around the resort!
And now let's go around the island!
I ride the motorcycle toward Mae Nam area before going to Chaweng and Lamai. I stop by this Lad Koh Viewpoint first.
This Lad Koh Viewpoint is very popular among the tourists. You can view a beautiful blue ocean from here as well as Chaweng beach. There is a lot of ocean rocks here and today the wave is so strong hitting the rocks very loud.
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (Hin Yai & Hin Ta) at Lamai beach is one of the most popular tourist spots in Koh Samui. People who don't come here during their stay in Koh Samui is like they are not really in Samui at all, one said. There is no entrance fee, however; I pay 10 THB for the parking. It is not far from the parking area and there is a lot of souvenir shops both locals and from somewhere else products along the way. I would recommend you to buy the famous local sticky candy "Kalamare". It is only 130 THB per kilogram.
This is Grandfather Rock (Hin Ta), it has never changed even though I have been visiting here from time to time.
And this is Grandmother Rock (Hin Yai). The sea water is pretty high today so there is a rope dedicating no entry. Actually it is better to see Hin Yai from down there because it will look much more like that part of the women as its name.
There is also a viewpoint here that you can view Lamai beach with a 10-THB entrance fee. You have to walk up a bit to this viewpoint but the staircase is well-built so it is convenient.
Lamai beach from the viewpoint.
I take quite a lot of pictures from this viewpoint, the one above as an example.
Then I head to Khunaram temple.
Khunaram temple is a place where Luang Pho Daeng's dead body in meditating position is kept. Luang Pho Daeng was the most famous Thai Buddhist monk in Koh Samui. He died while meditating about 20 years ago and his body is not decomposed.
Let's go to another temple, Laem Sor temple!
Laem Sor pagoda is in the southern part of Koh Samui. The pagoda is decorated by the golden tiles with Buddha's relics inside.
Who would have known and believed that there is a huge fresh water resource in the far island in the gulf of Thailand. There are two huge waterfalls in Koh Samui named Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2.
I choose to come and see Na Muang 1 waterfall. It is not far from the main street to the falls and there is no entrance fee but 20-THB parking fee for the motorcycle. There is still a lot of water during this time in January and the falls drop down about 15-meter high. You are also able to swim in.
And the last stop of today is Nathon where I need to get some information how to go back to Lipa Noi pier to take a ferry tomorrow because I don't want to pay 200 THB for the van. I find out that I am able to take the bus Samui - Surat Thani to get there either at 07.30 AM or 09.30 AM. After I get the information then I go for a walk by Nathon pier and see this spectacular view.
I rest for a bit after getting back to the hotel before going out to walk around the hotel again at night.
This is the photo taken in front of the hotel.
The walk way to the beach.
In front of the Villa.
The walk way to the main swimming pool and the beach.
Shower area by the pool.
The main swimming pool.
The Villa next to the main pool.
Cafe Lebay is on the left hand-side in the photo above.
The stone arch.
Relaxing area in the lobby.
This place is a breakfast venue in the morning and turned into ad dining venue in the evening. I would say it is quite romantic at night.
There is a Saturday Beach BBQ Buffet by the beach every Saturday from 07.00 PM to 10.00 PM. Since it seems like it is going to rain, therefore; the venue has been changed to be indoor. It is a pity that I miss this occasion to be on the beach.
Because of the venue, there is not many people coming for the dinner and I guess the restaurant prepare less food too.
I have been traveling around the island the whole day and I am very tired now. It is time for me to go to bed and tonight I stay at 2 Bedroom Suite Sea View. Let's have a quick look then!
The corridor to the main bedroom and we can see the black color door on the left hand-side where there is another bedroom.
The room plan is similar to 2 Bedroom Suite Sea View, the one I saw on the very first day.
But there is only one entrance to get into the bedroom.
The bathroom is pretty big but without the Jacuzzi because it is outside.
The Jacuzzi with a view.
Another bedroom but it doesn't look comfortable without the window like this.
Toiletries are provided as same as other bathroom.
The free postcards provided at the lobby.
I wake up with the rain today. Actually it has been raining here the whole trip but it lasts not long like only 5 minutes which is good for me. However, it seems like it is going to rain a lot today.
The view from my room, which Ko Pha Ngan can be seen from far away. Now I am done with packing, let's go for the breakfast!
There is more variety of food for today's breakfast.
Fresh fruits corner.
The food throughout my 3-day stay has been well-taken care of by Khun Tum.
Concept of the THE SEA is Sleep, Eat, and Play and I can confirm that I have been getting all these three things very well. I have had wonderful stay in different room types, I have had superb meals, and I have done many activities here. Actually, there is a lot more activities to do here, going to buy ingredient from the local market for cooking class as an example.
As I have mentioned earlier that this place used to be a room for rent but it has turned into a hotel, therefore; every rooms offers a home-feeling atmosphere with electric stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, washing and dryer machine, and so on. This can't be found in many hotels. The hotel also sees the importance of the guestrooms, they are all well-decorated and designed with the bathroom as huge as the bedroom. Moreover, the hotel is located in a calm and peaceful location with nice clean beach and not far from the town.
However, there is a few thing I I think the hotel could have it done better. Firstly, the hotel should offer more parking space since it is limited. Secondly, some of the bedroom has a sofa right at the end of the bed which is not good for tall people. Lastly, the slippers are not comfortable.
Last but not least, i want to thank you THE SEA and Khun Yongyuth who takes a very good care of me. Not to forget to mention, Khun Otto, Khun Tum and all the staff who offer exceptional service during my whole stay.
Luckily that the rain stops right after my breakfast. Then I go to drop off my motorcycle and walk to Nathon pier to get the bus to Lipa Noi pier right away.
The view nearby Nathon pier, I take this photo while waiting for the bus.
This is the bus Samui-Surat Thani I recommend you to take in case there is not any other transportation to Lipa Noi pier. You can contact the driver directly and it is only 60 THB per person.
It is about 20 minutes from Nathon pier to Lipa Noi pier. It is only 7-kilometer far but it is not easy to drive through that is why it takes more time. One you arrive to Lipa Noi pier you can check in at Air Asia counter. You will get a color sticker with ferry and bus tickets.
The stickers used to divide Air Asia passenger, the yellow one is for Surat Thani airport and the blue one is for Nakhon Si Thammarat airport. I am going to take the flight from Surat Thani airport this time. And don't forget to keep this white receipt carefully because you will need to present it when you get on to the bus.
There is a ferry from Samui to Donsak pier from 05.00 AM to 06.00 PM one in every hour. I take the one at 11.00 AM and while waiting to board I just walk around the pier.
The ferry is painted by a huge cute squid.
This ferry looks more modern than the one I took before.
Donsak pier's view from the ferry.
It is about one hour and a half to get to Donsak pier. And once I arrive there are staff of Raja Ferry waiting to take care of Air Asia passengers. Passengers are divided by color stickers to get on to the right bus. My bus depart at 01.00 PM and I highly recommend you to buy some snacks or food to eat on the bus or eat at the restaurant at the pier if you have time because the bus will go directly to the airport with no stop. I did not buy anything so I eat something at the airport which is quite expensive.
I fly back with Air Asia at 04.05 PM and it takes around 1 hour to get to Bangkok.