gilliang logo                     Thailand - Pranburi
                     and Koh Samui

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We stayed in Pranburi, a very small town, village really, about 30 minutes drive south of Hua Hin, on the east coast of the peninsular, on the Gulf of Thailand. After a rather disconcerting last half hour when we seemed to be going to the middle of nowhere, we arrived at our hotel, the Praseban, just 14 rooms, most of which were empty that weekend. It was lovely, restful and relaxing. Aside is a video of the hotel
We were right on the beach, which mostly seemed to be deserted, although there were other small hotels and private villas alongside us. To the left was a fishing village, to the right the hills of a National Park. Hotel guests did not use the beach to sunbathe, as the hotels provided the necessary shade, but later in the afternoon, most of the residents went for walks up or down the beach, where there was a surprising variety of things to be watched.

On our first full day, we woke up to rain! However, we were content to recover from the journey by just sitting around, reading mostly, on our balcony. I took the opportunity to get out the camera, and record the views, the colours were if anything better in the rain, as the bright sunlight can wash them out.

Koh Samui

A friend of Ian's has a villa on the island, and we rented it for two weeks. Now I have to say it looked idyllic, but it had some drawbacks. The only air conditioned bedroom, on the main living floor with the kitchen and dining area, was very noisy from the road 200 yards away, and the enormous and very romantic upper bedroom let in mosquitoes so coils and the mosquito net had to be used. There was also a virtually self contained flat on the ground floor with a quiet and pretty much mosquito free bedroom (though we had about 3 fans going all night) a large living room and a very basic bathroom.

A path led through the garden to the beach, and a couple of hundred yards away along the beach was a great restaurant.
The island capital was Nathon, where there were plenty of shops, including a supermarket half owned by Tesco's. I found an optician and had new glasses made, which I still love and were great value.

We hired a jeep, incredibly underpowered I might add, to get around, and a good trip is to the centre of the island, which is fairly high, so cooler. There is a fascinating wooded stream are with stone staues, carved by one old man during his lifetime.

Also reached from the road across the centre of the island, further south, is an elephant ride, which takes you by a roundabout route to a waterfall not far away. Great fun!
You can get boat trips to snorkelling islands, marine reservations, from both Nathon and a small beach on the north coast, which is the one we used. It's a longish boat trip on a large ferry, then you switch to smaller boats for the final leg to the snorkel area. All equipment is supplied, just bring a towel.
Koh Samui airport is an absolute delight. The two terminals have no walls and are thatched in island style. The airport passenger trucks are fun (no covered walkways and soulless corridors here.) It is the secondary hub of a boutique airline 'Bankok Airways' which I would recommend to anyone. Great service from the time you check in to arrival. Just check out the paint job on the planes!

2004 Gillian Gatland

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