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Koh Samui and Thailand Stories

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Samui in 1983 - A Traveller's Secret

Text by Mitchell

I first went to Koh Samui in 1983. It was one of those traveller's secrets. Somebody in India told me, on discovering that Thailand was to be my next destination, that I had to go to Koh Samui – 'Absolute paradise' it was described as. In those days the only way to get to Koh Samui was by boat and a rudimentary one at that – more like a fishing boat than a ferry. As we approached the dock, I could hardly keep myself from jumping up and down with sheer joy. What lay before me was indeed paradise. A sort of taxi – a pick up truck with metal benches – took me to Chaweng Beach – I got off at that beach only because I liked the name. I walked about 500 meters through the tall palms and suddenly I was confronted with one of the most beautiful beaches I had ever seen.

I had been travelling for years and believe me I had seen a lot of beautiful beaches. It was long, white and deserted – only a few bamboo or wooden tiny huts dotted the beachfront here and there. I found out that most were owned by the only restaurant on the beach – The Arabian – run by a family of Thai hippie types. 30 baht a night – a bed and nothing else but slap bang on the beach. Needless to say I ended up spending a few weeks just swimming, sunbathing and dating Danish girls. I had flights to Australia so I reluctantly had to leave. "Ill be back" I said to myself.

In 1984 I was back – Things had changes a little but not too much – There were a few more restaurants and a few more huts but the place still remained a traveller's secret. In 1986 I returned once more and found that the secret was out – There were restaurants now all along the beach – each with its own set of huts to rent. It was difficult to get a hut as the beach was now full of pseudo travellers – students and Canadian backpackers. It was still a beautiful place to be though and I found a hut in a resort that was run by an immensely popular Scottish guy called Howard – he'd made a load of money selling time share apartments in Tenerife and had gone into business with a local family. It was just one big party – Every night there was a party at the Arabian which EVERYBODY on the beach went to – it always ended with 'No woman no cry' by Bob Marley. The time leading up to the party was spent drinking the local Whiskey and watching videos at the other restaurants.

Howard's resort was one big family and had a lot of 'long stayers' – Loads of Swedish girls made it all the more interesting though Howard used to get the best ones and we had to take what he didn't get. In 1988 I returned once more – Both the restaurants and the bungalows (they were not huts anymore) were more sophisticated than before but Lucky’s remained true to itself and was once again a hub of hedonistic enjoyment – I spent 8 months there this time – travelling every month to Penang to renew my visa. I wrote a book – HARD TO SWALLOW – available on Amazon.com – and had a very very good time. However I went home thanks to getting Malaria – Howard played a big part in saving my life and got me up to Bangkok. I went back once more at Christmas 1989 – There was an Airport, Go-Go girl discos, huge hotel complexes on the beach and it was getting very expensive. I had a good time again but realized that it was to be my last trip to that wonderful Island.

Howard had disappeared off the face of the earth – His brother was there looking for him and there were rumors, but nothing could be proved. To this day I don't know what happened to Howard – I'd love to meet him again. Looking at the websites for Koh Samui now, I can't see any motive to return – It may still be beautiful for the jet skiing, scuba diving, disco dancing, middle class holiday maker but it's not for me. I could relate a few more adventures I had on the island but most were magic mushroom induced so maybe I'll leave it for another day.


Notice! Howard is not the resort owners real name. /Kohsamui.org

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