The Rambling Writer Visits Thailand, part 9: Around Koh Samui

Join Thor and me as we continue our quest Seeking Clarity in tropic realms with great snorkeling. Koh Samui didn’t fit the bill, but was a fascinating destination.

NOTE: “And now for something completely different.” Thor and I made our first trip to Asia — the beautiful country of Thailand.  We were lucky to squeak through the pandemic flight closures in January/February of 2020 as we returned from our three-week trip. Since more travel has now become a distant prospect, we hope you’ll take a virtual vacation with us in the following weeks. (This blog series started on June 13 with Bangkok.)

The island of Koh Samui had been recommended as a tropic paradise — and fifty years ago, it was apparently just that for hippie travelers seeking beautiful beaches and thrifty accommodations. Thor and I have been exploring winter destinations where we could spend time warming our arthritic bones, snorkeling, and tickling our travel urges. Thailand is indeed breathtakingly beautiful, with gorgeous temples and incredibly sweet people, but most of the islands have just been loved to death with rampant over-development of tourism. Way too many people for us! But we enjoyed checking out the attractions, and did score a terrific condo rental for a very reasonable price. View from our private deck; on the distant far right is Wat Plai Laem, a temple complex we will visit in next week’s blog post.

As I discussed earlier, the Thais are devout Buddhists, their religion incorporating elements of Hinduism and Chinese art/beliefs. Everywhere are shrines where people “make merit” by leaving offerings. This rather elaborate shrine graced the entrance to our condo.

Because our Book View Cafe website server at this point may not handle many photos, I’m posting my complete blog entries on my own author website at, where you can finish this episode and enjoy all the accompanying photos. Please continue reading by clicking on the link below, then you can return here (use “go back” arrow above) to comment, ask questions, or join a conversation. We love your responses!



You will find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Café is available in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection. It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Chanticleer Global Thriller Grand Prize and the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction. Sara has recently returned from another research trip in Greece and is back at work on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect. Sign up for her quarterly email newsletter at




The Rambling Writer Visits Thailand, part 9: Around Koh Samui — 6 Comments

  1. That was such an interesting trip. Koh Samui was not my favorite place (too crowded) but a good meal and a massage on the beach is pretty awesome.

    • Yes, we sampled massages at all of our destinations, and that one on Koh Samui was the best. I think it cost only about ten dollars for an hour treatment?

  2. Lovely sights, though I suspect way too hot for me. (I don’t want to travel anywhere hotter than it is here already.) Those shirts are lovely–I could use something like it this time of year, as summer boils and swelters on.

    • Yes, pretty hot there. They have wonderful cool, lightweight cotton and also rayon (which I learned is actually a natural fiber). The catch is that the loose weaves don’t protect from sunburn, so I’d mostly wear mine for still-muggy evenings. My tropic-weight, sunblocking hiking shirt is my go-to, but it’s wearing out….

  3. The bustle and overlapping culture is fascinating, but I greatly admire Thor’s nerve–I don’t think I could bring myself to drive with so many distractions and so many on mopeds or scooters with no helmets.

    Like Sherwood, I think the heat would be a challenge, but even more for me, the humidity. And smoke–with all those shrines and vehicles, were you constantly aware of the air quality? I was surprised reading recently that a combination of candles lit for home use and shrines, plus fires for cooking and heating, is a huge part of indoor pollution worldwide.

    • Kathi, thanks for following our rambles! Yes, it was fascinating but rather exhausting to be in such crowds, as we are used to a lot of space/wilderness. Maybe that’s why the jungle was so refreshing. After the one island of driving a rental car, that was the last that we would ever consider driving in Thailand again. The accident and death rate is very high there, too. I am sensitive to smoke and chemicals, too, and wasn’t terribly bothered on this trip. But we were mostly near different coasts.