Thursday, August 16, 2007

Koh Samui Trip Day 2: Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan

A Snorkeling Retreat to Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan
Saturday 11th Aug, 2007
Breakfast in Varinda Resort
Probably Kooi Sim & myself are too excited about the snorkeling trip as our alarm clocks rang together an hour before the supposed wake-up time, 6:00am. Without knowing about it, we prepared ourselves for breakfast until the initially doubtful Sing King confidently pointed out it was just 5:20am. Oh no.... Thailand is at GMT+7 and I had forgotten to synchronize my handphone clock to local time....

Around 6:15am, Kooi Sim & I headed towards the cafeteria where the resort staffs were busy setting up to serve breakfast... I ordered Set B (Ham, Bacons, scrambled eggs, toasts, butter and jam. The ala carte breakfast also comes with fruit juices and a cup of hot coffee or tea. In fact, the owner told me that if we are still hungry, we can ask for food or drink refill. It leaves me good impression .... Around 6:40am, the ladies joined us and majority of us ordered Set B except Agnes who wanted to try something different - Thai Style Rice Soup and the next day she ordered Set B.

To our surprise, Karen from marketing department appeared in the cafeteria together with her boyfriend and parent. In fact, the boyfriend is Sing King's university friend. It could not be even more coincidental that they were also going on the same snorkeling trip as us and supposed to travel in the same van. Small world after all....

Around 7am the pick-up van arrived and we were transferred to Bhoput Beach Ferry Terminal which is at the northern beach of Koh Samui. The journey was a short but bumpy ride. Being on the co-driver seat, I had the luxury of up-close view of how Samui locals busy about their chores in the morning. However, it was rather scary as the driver vroomed through sharp curves without slowing down in speed. In rare occasion, morning joggers could be seen along the main road behind Lamai Beach triggering my interest to do the same ... Did I run this trip? Of course and with "weight" lifting also... haha... tell you more in my day 3 blog...

Bhoput Beach Ferry Terminal
At the ferry terminal, we were surprised by the amount of passengers waiting there. Look like we were not those few early birds. At the registration counter, we came to realize that we didn't bring our official trip receipt and were quite nervous in the first place. Luckily, the company has our purchase record and we were granted green light. Thank God for that. To categorize the passenger, a light green ribbon was tied on our hand and a purple sticker with handwritten number "12" was placed on our chest. Soon, we boarded on one of the Lomprayah High Speed Catamarans and were revived by sea breeze along the ride at the left side of the boat that shields us from direct sun shine.

Without knowing where Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan is about, Lomprayah Catamaran first headed towards the huge island north of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan. This is the island popular for its crazy full moon party where white sandy beach glows under the moon light transforming itself as the open-air dance floor.

Left: Koh Tao, Koh Nang Yuan from Koh Samui
Detail of Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan

After making a quick stop at Koh Pha Ngan, the catamaran continued her way northwest-ward and the ride took approximately 2 hours to reach Koh Nang Yuan. When it is just about to reach Koh Nang Yuan, we saw something very special over the blue sky: a long arrow white cloud. it a arrow from cupid? The arrow was like pepper and salt to the long 2-hour ride. As the catamaran swayed passed Koh Tao, the smaller Koh Nang Yuan, two isles connected by a stretch of white beach with blue-greenish sea on both sides of the beach, elegantly reveals herself. Simply heaven!!!

The catamaran parked at Koh Nang Yuan and those with green ribbon were transferred to smaller boat that headed towards Mango Bay of Koh Tao. It is in Mango Bay we have splendid snorkeling moment despite it is rather short, 1hr 30min. The boat parked at the left side of the bay behind the line of yellow floater marking the protection zone for corals.

Tip: The boat has very small toilet, so it is better to put on the swim wear before the trip.

It was my second snorkeling trip after Pulau Payar trip. The sea was calm that day and perfectly conducive avenue for snorkeling. Yes, coral here is very much better than that in Pulau Payar. However, Pulau Payah has much better variety of fish. According to others that have been to Pulau Redang, our island gem back home is way much better. Alright, next year, I would like to go Pulau Redang for snorkeling trip. Perhaps, I should even consider getting diving license.

Corals closer to the rocks area outside the protection zone are much nicer. Among the unique corals are a huge white "Ling Zhi" coral that spans approximately 4-5 feet, green-leafy bonsai-like coral and white cocoon-like coral. More common ones are white multi-spoke coral. Haha.. I am not coral expert so I cannot correctly name them. I wonder someone who studies microbiology can help me? :p

Personally, I feel that coral reef here lacks the variety and colour. Well, I enjoyed more of swimming freely without safety jacket but not for long though because it is rather tiring... haha...

Inspired by those dare-devils that dived from the top of the boat, I tried diving from the boat instead and it was really bad idea. I almost lost my goggles because of straps are not tight enough. Struggling to readjust my goggles, salty sea water was sipped in accidentally causing my throat to feel thirsty. Yeah, I must admit that I am not really good in avoiding myself from drinking sea water and I don't know why. Probably because of drinking sea water will make me wiser..... haha. But, I am not all wise also... haha... Luckily, fresh waters were provided to quench my thirst. Towards the end of the snorkeling, being too exhausted trying to keep myself afloat, I finally gave in and grabbed myself a safety jacket and reentered the water.

Left: We took the right Catamaran
Posing on the upper deck with all sun-block applied

Creative works of Sing King. Simply awesome

Left: Bhoput Fish Village with long white beach
Right: Fellowship of the toes

Left: Enjoying sea breeze during the ride
Right: Missed cupid arrow from Koh Nang Yuan

At about 12:30pm, we got back to boat after 90-minute of snorkeling and sun burn. As the boat was on her way back to Koh Nang Yuan, we have a casual conversation with a German lady and knew that it was her 6th visit to Thailand. She was with her boy who was having 6 weeks of summer holiday now. Asked about whether she has been to Malaysia, she said no and politely explains that that Thailand gave her more peace of mind. I guess more need to be done in revamping Malaysia to be more appealing to western world.

Koh Nang Yuan is a private island under loan from Ministry of Finance. To preserve its cleanliness, plastic bottles and cans are prohibited to be brought inside the island. As soon as we arrived at Nang Yuan restaurant the buffet lunch had started. Guests were lining up getting food to fill the hungry stomach. We got ourselves a table for six under a tree having a great view of the long beach. Buffet food here is not refilled after it is finished, unluckily, for some of us that could not get enough to bite. A little bit of downside is the food served were mainly vegetables and stingy servings of tempura squids and fish fillet and fish balls in green curry. Salad suits me well as I am preparing myself for December run. Worst of all is that once the fresh water is finished, there is no refill. [Grumbling..... ]

As I was disappointed walking back to my seat without fresh water, I saw green young coconuts. I knew that it is going to cost a boom here, 80 Baht, but I got myself a young cocount anyway. It is my aim to have coconut drink by the beach. So, got to fulfill it right? Hehe.. As I sipped in my first mouth of chilled fresh coconut water, being very playful, I asserted "Heavenly". Pandan taste? Haha.. I don't really know... but I think there is.. hehe... Soon, I realized drinking coconut drink is contagious and Yen Ping can't resist the temptation and got herself one coconut ....:P

My coconut drink with perfect Nang Yuan beach view.

My salad lunch at Nang Yuan Restaurant

Next our table, it is the hut that rents diving equipment. Koh Nang Yuan has PADI course too. So, anybody want to get diving license? After we were done lunching, we strolled along the white beach and eventually climbed up the island hill on the left. The ascent to the peak took a approximately 10-minute and it was not challenging because proper staircase and route has been laid except at the peak. Bird-viewing Nang Yuan beach from the peak is simply breathtaking. However, care must be taken especially at the peak because it is dangerous as there is no fence at the observatory. My clock showed 2:15pm when I checked it at the peak. As much as we enjoy the view of Koh Nang Yuan and Koh Tao from the peak, we could not afford more time up at the peak because we have to gather back at the restaurant by 2:45pm.

Left: Serenity in sea
coral collecting is strictly prohibited here

Left: Sunbathing on catamaran
Right: Kayaking at 100Baht per hour is offered too.

Left: Notice board claiming ownership of Nang Yuan Island
Right: Boats cruising pass Koh Nang Yuan

There is walkway surrounding the isle of Koh Nang Yuan.

Views from Koh Nang Yuan Peak

Nice shot of Nang Yuan. Thanks YP.

As the catamaran approached the jetty, we out-walked other passengers that still waits in the restaurant. This guarantees us seats in the lower deck which is air-conditioned. As the catamaran left Koh Nang Yuan and headed back to Koh Samui, we were already too exhausted and most of us were taking nap...

At about 5:00pm, we reached Bhoput beach. As soon as we alighted from the catamaran, we were offered souvenir plate with our candid personal photo taken at the terminal when we boarded the catamaran in the morning. If I remembered it correctly, the souvenir plate is at 100Baht. I couldn't find mine so I gave it a pass. Sob sob..

Dinner at Lamai Road
We reached Varinda resort around 6pm and took a rest before went out to grab a bite at Lamai Beach. From yesterday, we already knew that we wanted to try hawker food at the centre of Lamai beach road. It is close to McDonald and just besides Family Mart. Yeah!!! I found a stall that sells authentic Pad Thai with seafood. In fact, I asked for more beansprout and spring onion hehe. I also got myself a cup of mango ice-blended shake for 20Baht. The shake is simply reviving after a hot scorching snorkeling trip.

Pad Thai with seafood (50Baht)

Fresh seafood for Pad Thai. Yummy...

Among other foods that we ordered are Tom Yum Seafood, fried chicken and Indian pancake (something like roti canai). However, the hotdog stall in front of 7 Eleven opposite the hawker stalls excites me. Thanks to Agnes for pointing it out... After enjoying my Pad Thai, I ordered Hot Dog with Thai sweet-spicy souce and continued to tempt my fellow friends. Haha.. however none of them found the hot dog as tasty as it was imagined except the sour-pork. Haha.. I think I falsely gave them high expectation as I kept on speaking about it since the first day. Haha.....

Cocktail drink by the beachside
Similarly the second night was spent on shopping along Lamai Beach Road and ended with a relaxing cocktail drinking session by the beachside. I ordered Pinacolada without knowing what I am going to get. I simply ordered it because it sounds nice. Haha..and it comes out good also. Sing King ordered Virgin Mary that was served in the same sexy glass a night before.


HuiHui said...

Koh Nang Yuan is very beautiful!

Elvin Ong said...

Haha.. indeed.
Can go with Niam. ;)

velverse said...

Thai sausage... thai sausage... gimme thai sausage.