Our first full day on the ship was a most welcomed day at sea. We were still suffering from jet lag and were slightly dehydrated from the oppressive heat in Singapore. So it was a quiet relaxing day on the ship. We went to two lectures on upcoming port stops as well as a talk on temple etiquette since we would be visiting many temples in the coming days.
The next day was our first port stop at Ko Samui, Thailand. This was a tender port, meaning we had to take a small boat from ship to shore. When we opened our cabin curtains we could see seven small boats waiting to take passengers ashore. Several excursions were offered but we decided to just walk around the small town. Shore excursions on this cruise are an additional charge per person.
In no hurry to go ashore we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and then went downstairs to get a boat tender number. Sometimes if the seas are rough it can be very difficult getting on and off the boat as well as a rocky crossing. Today the water was calm and the twenty minute ride across the Gulf of Thailand to Ko Samui was very enjoyable.
Ko Samui is a 95 square mile island 440 miles south of Bangkok. Two million coconuts are shipped from here to Bangkok every month. It is Thailand’s third largest island. The island was developed back in the 1980’s by a backpacker crowd. Today it has a population of 62,000 and 1.5 million tourists per year visit the island.
We walked around taking in the sights and sounds of island life. Notice the scooter below with three riders and the elephant pants on display.
It is not unusual to see shoes lined up outside houses and stores. The Thai people believe that the feet are the dirtiest part of the body and therefore leave their shoes outside.
At one of the port talks it was suggested buying a pair of “elephant pants” which are made of a very comfortable lightweight fabric, making them very comfortable to wear in hot climates. They are called elephant pants because they have elephant images on them. We could go in any shop and say “elephant pants” and they knew exactly what we wanted. We settled on a nice pair for 180 Baht ($5.91 US)
The cruise ship had recommended several places to get an authentic Thai lunch. We went to Lucky’s where Bill had a huge plate of Chicken Pad Thai, a Tiger beer and I had a soft drink. Total bill was 155 Baht ($5.00 US)
Our last stop was to try and find some Coke and bottled water to take back to the ship. The ship provides iced tea, coffee and lemonade free of charge. But you have to pay an exorbitant price for soft drinks and bottled water. We found a little store where we saw bottles of Coke and Nestles bottled water still wrapped in the warehouse shipped plastic wrap. We bought twelve bottles of Coke and three bottles of Nestles water for 160 Baht ($5.26 US) which was about what we would pay for two Cokes on the ship!
The weather was just as hot and oppressive as it had been in Singapore. When we got to the pier some Holland America staff were waiting with cold face towels, cold lemonade and popsicles. Yes, it was that hot!
We were happy to see no line for the tender boat and we quickly made our way back to the ship.
Our air conditioned cabin never felt so good!