After a lazy Saturday, we were ready for an adventure on Sunday, so, thanks to our accommodating hotel manager, who rented us his friend’s red Toyota Yaris, we set off to explore the island of Koh Samui. As usual, I sat myself in the passenger seat and then attempted to navigate using a map that essentially had no street names on it, which made for a lot of u-turns over the course of the day. John, thankfully, took on the role of driver. Thailand is the third country we’ve visited together where we’ve rented a car to drive on the left. When we were in England and Ireland, John had to drive on the “wrong” side of the road and manage a stick shift all at once, but this time we had the good fortune to rent an automatic, which was definitely helpful for the quick stops and sudden accelerations needed to maneuver around the scooters constantly zipping by us on both sides.
We drove through a couple of ho-hum beach towns, stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break (my first encounter with a squat toilet!), and enjoyed the view at a lookout point between Chaweng and Lamai beaches. But after traversing about half of the island, we were looking for a place to stop and relax for a bit. Thanks to a great tip from the Wheatley-Martins (attorneys at law!), we decided to check out Five Islands restaurant. We got there a little early for lunch, but late enough for a cocktail (we are on vacation, after all), so we decided to order a couple of Mai Tais and enjoy the view for a bit before we ordered some food.
We couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic place to stop–it was quiet and peaceful, with a great breeze and a spectacular view. And once it came time to eat, we splurged a little on our budget and ordered squid with red chile sauce, crispy fried whole bass, and stir-fried morning glory. Yum!
After we finished eating, we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to leave so soon, so we moved over to the adjacent chaises and stretched out for a little while longer, until a storm started to roll in.
We made a dash for the car and hopped back in to continue our circuit of the island. By this point, the unfamiliar traffic patterns were starting to fray my nerves a little bit. John seemed totally cool and confident, but I, usually a pretty relaxed passenger (always thankful to be riding rather than driving!), couldn’t stop myself from wincing and asking him to please back off from the scooters a little bit. John also maneuvered us down the narrowest one-lane road I hope we ever drive on. We have a video of it, but we’ve had some technical difficulties uploading it. Hopefully we’ll have that posted sometime soon.
By the time we made it back around the island to where we started, I was so tense and stressed out that I couldn’t wait to get out of the car. As the Wheatley-Martins said, the driving on Koh Samui was a little more exciting than it needed to be, but it definitely made for a great day and a fun adventure!