811. Koh Samui Part 1 | First Days on the Island

Gulf of Thailand
I still have a few more Bangkok posts lined up but I thought I'd start on Koh Samui now (will alternate between the two places) since we've now been here for almost 2 weeks! Koh Samui is definitely a very different and much more relaxed/slower pace of life than in Bangkok. It is the epitome of "island-living" here; way more than it felt in Azores and Canary islands in the first months of our trip.

Usually it's a very popular vacation spot for both tourists and mainland Thais, but of course now it's super quiet due to COVID. There are pros and cons to this. It's nice having a quieter atmosphere and beaches mostly just to ourselves. But unfortunately many shops are closed and some areas are like a ghost town. Some excursions (like to other islands) are a bit more difficult to arrange or have been cancelled for the time being. It's still enjoyable and liveable though.

Arriving on the island! The water is soooo blue and beautiful.

Gulf of Thailand Koh Samui beach Koh Samui fisherman's village Koh Samui coco tamsFisherman's Village is a popular area of the area, with many beach bars, nightlife, beach shows etc

Koh Samui beach Koh Samui beach Koh Samui beach house watermelon shake koh samui
This restaurant is one of the ones closest to us and have delicious food, so we've been going every day at least 1 or 2 times. We are usually the only customers there though (because of COVID, not because they are bad lol). I always get a watermelon shake with each meal.

Chao Reau restaurant ginger tabby cat Koh Samui beach Koh Samui beach Koh Samui beachThese kids were catching fish with their bare hands

Koh Samui beachTheir stash

Koh Samui beach sunset Bophut beach Four Seasons Koh Samui
This is the Four Seasons resort here on the island. We are not staying here but on our first day using our rented motorbike, we ran out of gas. Luckily we were fairly close to the Four Seasons hotel so went to ask them for help. We wanted them to help us call a taxi to bring us to a station to purchase gas then bring it back. They were so nice and the hotel driver agreed to go buy a bottle for us. He didn't want to accept anything from us other than the cost of the gas.

Koh Samui pause villaHere is the house we rented. It's quite a lot of space for us (2 floors, 3 bedrooms)

Coco Tams Koh Samui
This restaurant/beach bar is a very popular spot on the island, named Coco Tam's. Apparently they are the only place that's still always busy even during COVID. I really love their beach set-up. They occupy a large area of the beach and have lined it with tons of tables and beanbag chairs. The actual restaurant is designed very beautiful and beachy as well. We got here just before sunset and stayed a few hours to enjoy the evening beach show as well. I was glad they still had it during this time as I thought it was cancelled.

Coco Tams Koh Samui Coco TamsWe ordered a HUGE cocktail to share

Coco Tams shishaAlso some shisha

Coco Tams beach show Coco Tams beach show koh samui
I didn't get many good photos from the beach show as I mainly took videos (I will post them on my social media soon). It was really cool and impressive to watch.

Coco Tams



810. Bangkok Part 16 | Golden Mount Temple/Wat Saket and Wat Paknam

Wat Paknam
We visited a few lesser-known (by tourists) temples in Bangkok including these two - Wat Paknam and Golden Mount Temple. Well I just assume they are lesser-known as I haven't heard or seen them mentioned much in Bangkok travel videos or online travel guides. I'd say the most popular attractions in the city are of course Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. If you have a bit of extra time I'd personally recommend visiting Maeklong Railway Market and also Damnoen Floating Market that I recently posted about. These two temples that I'm posting about now I would recommend only if you have extra time.

I thought this giant golden buddha would be really cool to see, as I love things in large scale. It's one of the largest buddhas in the country and fairly new. As you can see it's still under contruction but near completion. Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived so we didn't walk outside around the complex that much. There was a large indoor/covered area though with many different rooms. There was also an outdoor garden where people could feed fish.

Wat Paknam Wat Paknam leftbanked despacito Wat Paknam Golden Mount Temple Bangkok Golden Mount Temple is located atop a mountain with beautiful views over the city.

Golden Mount Temple Golden Mount Temple Bangkok temples view Golden Mount Temple Bangkok Golden Mount Temple View of Bangkok View of Bangkok Golden Mount Temple Bangkok Golden Mount Temple Vultures of Sraket Temple
Starting in the 1820s, there was widespread Cholera in Bangkok which resulted in more than 30,000 deaths. The dead bodies had to be brought to this temple, Wat Saket, to be buried or cremated. Due to the sheer volume of dead bodies not being disposed of in time, vultures began coming to devour them. The disease continued until 1881. Hundreds would be dying each day with more and more dead bodies piling up. The temple became full of vultures who came as their main feeding ground. It must have been a pretty gruesome scene.



810. Bangkok Part 15 | Iconsiam

Iconsiam bear
From now on I must finish all the blog posts of the city while I'm still there, otherwise I get way too behind like I am now! I have been so busy lately though. I have 6 more Bangkok posts left after this one. Now we've been in Koh Samui for a week already. I'm thinking I should start alternating the posts..

So here is the second part of Iconsiam (first part here). It is my favourite mall I've ever visited. In my first post it was the first few floors and outdoor area so this post will be the upper floors and also the movie theatre (where we went twice on back to back nights!). The mall is huge.

Iconsiam I forgot the name of this store but from here there's an entrance to the outdoor terrace:

Iconsiam Bangkok mall Iconsiam terrace view Bangkok viewWe stayed at the State Tower (with the golden dome at the top) so we were super close to the mall - just had to cross the river!

Iconsiam Apple store Iconsiam Bangkok Iconsiam Bangkok Iconsiam Bangkok Iconsiam Bangkok Iconsiam Bangkok Iconsiam StarbucksAt the very top is a huge (and luxurious looking) Starbucks.

Iconsiam Starbucks Iconsiam Starbucks drinks
They have a lot of unique drinks here (including alcoholic cocktails) and also these ones exclusive to Iconsiam. We ordered these two - the Lychee Earl Grey and Peach Mojito. They were actually soooo good. We had them on the outdoor terrace which felt more like a chic lounge than a Starbucks.

Iconsiam Starbucks Iconsiam Starbucks Iconsiam washroomsI looove the washrooms in this mall. Each one is designed differently and all so beautiful

Icon Cineconic
During our last nights in Bangkok, we decided to check out the movie theatre since we haven't experienced one in such a long time (since before COVID). The theatre is also inside the mall by the way..and it's huge! It seemed quite new and very clean.

Icon Cineconic Icon Cineconic Icon Cineconic NobodyThe first movie we saw was Nobody. It was really really good. It's like John Wick with a family (a lot of similarities). So we watched this a couple weeks go/in April 2021 but I believe the original movie release date was supposed to be August 2020. It got pushed back due to COVID. I wonder how everything is scheduled now in the movie world, because most cities don't have movie theatres open yet. For example with this one, I wonder when this theatre started playing it and when they will stop it..and if this movie is also playing in other cities around the world now (those with theatres open). It was interesting that we also got movie previews for movies that were supposed to come out last year (but in the previews it still said "coming soon" or "coming June 2020").

Icon CineconicI also loved the popcorn here!

Icon Cineconic Icon Cineconic Mortal Kombat Icon Cineconic
The night after, we went back to watch Mortal Kombat in 4DX. I've never watched a movie in 4DX before. It was pretty cool. The chairs shook a lot (felt like turbulence on the plane) and sometimes they release wind, smoke, lightning, scents into the air. It was a fun experience which made up for the movie being not as interesting.

I really enjoyed the movie nights. It was actually fun to go to the theatres after not doing so for such a long time. It made me realize how much I missed doing certain things that were only possible in pre-covid times.

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