We spent another few days on Kho Phangan after new year’s, hiring mopeds to seek secluded beach coves and jungle-covered waterfalls, and eating at a tremendous restaurant a short walk down the road from Phangan Cabana Resort (about which Carmella, in her inimitable manner, declared she would “Trip Advise the fuck out of this place”).
I’d heard cautionary tales of Koh Phangan, of raucous parties and corrupt police, overpopulated beaches and drunks at every turn, but I had enjoyed the place immensely, so it was with optimism and excitement that we packed and left for our next destination – the neighbouring island of Koh Samui.
We had done pitifully little research before we embarked just after Christmas, so were blissfully unaware of the unthinkable horrors that this island held in store for us.
Grumpy old toad
I appear, again, to be describing only the very worst things that occur, but I can assure you, writing now on our way from Krabi to the Trang islands, that things really do pick up handsomely. But, in an effort to be balanced, I must describe the antithesis of subsequent beautiful, calm and awe-inspiring environs, with this, my account of Koh Samui.
Reminiscent, as Swarana noted, of Benidorm, Koh Samui is an enormous beach resort, teeming with sunburnt western folk – their thighs rubbing together as they waddle out of the sea and flop their cascading meat-folds over sheltered beds on the beach, to be bent out of shape by local women offering Thai massages. The town we were staying in, Lamai, was a tourist trap of tat and tour operators, punctuated with an Irish pub, an Australian sports bar and some kind of dingy dance club.
I’m not one for this type of holiday, sunbathing shit-faced and the like, but we were here with friends and the beach was pleasant enough; the water was on the cusp of warm, and there was Thai food to be had, albeit of varying quality.
Wretched hive of scum and villainy
But what I could not abide in Lamai were the drags of bars between our hotel (BT Mansion) and the beach. This wretched cesspit of gaudy alcoholism was essentially an open-walled brothel, frequented by the dregs of farang society – fat, crusty and invariably balding scumbags from England, France, Germany, the United States and Russia, a veritable G8 of cunts – all glorying in the fake, desperate attention from the (in-everything-but-name) prostitutes within.
If hell exists in our observable universe, it is surely daubed in neon and dripping with guilt. The place feels sticky with shame and, no doubt, buckets of ejaculate. The exploitation of these young women is abhorrent.
We found one small bar that faced this horrible place, took a drink and played a game of pool as we discussed the kind of people that make use of such a trade – and were presently treated to a young man receiving fellatio from a local girl at the bar of the establishment opposite. The girl proceeded to weep inconsolably when the contemptuous prick refused to pay.
It really is an awful, awful place.
Beacon of light
The island does boast an excellent Reggae bar, Rock Bar, so named not for its music taste but its proximity to underwhelming local attraction Hat Ta and Hat Yai, two rock formations that look a bit like a penis and even less like a vagina. The place really is clutching at straws for attractions. However, if you find yourself in Lamai, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bar, nor indeed a better Phad Thai.
Koh Samui was also where Swarana and I said our goodbyes to Jackie, Gary and Carmella, and continued on our own to Krabi town.
Oh, blessed Krabi.
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