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15 June 2012

Koh Samui & Surat Thani – The Urbanite’s Travel Diary (Part 2)

AirAsia Social Media team

By AirAsia Social Media team

If you’ve been hiding under a rock the past week, then you would’ve missed this Urbanite’s awesome journey to Koh Samui! Nevertheless, it’s never too late to read up @ Urbanite1

My party continues to Surat Thani, the gateway to Koh Samui. The world knows Koh Samui, but Ralph Waldo Emerson got it right the first time when he said that “do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. I’m prepared to blaze the trail! You’ll be surprised what amazing offerings the city of Surat Thani gives to the unsuspecting tourist (such as myself and many others). Read on and be amazed…

Checking in to the hotel, food is STILL on my mind (like I mentioned, I am Malaysian!). If you’re ever in Surat Thani, make sure you head towards the street food or local restaurants, as you’ll be in for a yummy treat! Snack on delicious Thai Fish Cake – brown and round, it may not look special but one bite into it will have you begging for more. I know because I begged…really hard! One of the street food I particularly enjoyed was the meat bun (pao) filled with a generous portion of pork and oh, the pleasant little surprise of salted egg yolk within! I ate 3 on the spot, and brought 5 more back to my hotel room *sheepish grin*. I also particularly enjoyed the crispy pancakes with coconut and radish toppings. My appetite rests satiated for the night.

Still pining for the open seas since my Koh Samui adventure, I hopped onto the boat ride touring around Cheow Larn Lake. It WAS SPECTACULAR! I was sitting in the long-tailed boat, cruising on top of the beautiful waters through thick lush green rainforest that stood tall and mighty against the test of time. The highlight of the day would be to admire the astounding beauty of Limestone Mountains, the “Guilin” of Southern Thailand. Standing magnificently with its clear reflection on the calm surface of the lake, I closed my eyes to savour the moment (and memory) where God’s perfect work of art lies right in front of my eyes. Nearby I also got to catch a glimpse at the floating village on the Ratchaprapha Dam. What a sight!

I was eager to see more of Surat Thani, and as we rowed away from the natural beauty of Cheow Larn Lake into Chaiya district, I double checked my camera batteries to not miss a single moment of what lies ahead. The road to the Wat Phra Borom That in Chaiya is definitely scenic. One of the highlights of Surat Thani is definitely to pay the Srivijaya-styled ancient temple a visit, located in one of the oldest cities of Thailand. The reconstructed pagoda is one of the most important Buddhist Temples of Surat Thani, and is definitely one of the most beautiful ones!

Next, I headed to Suan Mokkhapalaram Wat, or better known as Suan Mok. Literally meaning “a forest of the untying to sorrow”, the magnificent Wat is located at the foot of Phutta Thong Hill. I felt a state of complete serenity as I entered the Buddhist temple, with its beautiful relics and statues located all over the 60-hectare vicinity, complete with a lily pad pond to add to the ambiance. I find myself lost in time as I wandered from relic to beautiful relic admiring each one’s uniqueness and beauty.

To close the wonderful day, I decided to drop by Surat Thani’s main landmark – the Lak Mueang. Lak Mueangs are city pillars found in most cities of Thailand, believed to house the city spirit deity. The white and booming City Pillar shrine of Surat Thani is a picture perfect landmark that is held in high esteem by the local folks, as seen by the many colourful offerings placed at the shrine.

Staring out at the night view from my hotel in Surat Thani, I reflected back on my incredible days in Koh Samui and Surat Thani. Hopping on an AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur, I came here searching for a party, but in the end, found myself on a ride of a lifetime. From the exciting happenings and fun at Koh Samui, to a self-reflective discovery in Surat Thani, I find myself heavy-hearted to bid goodbye to this wonderful destination. Perhaps one day, I’ll pay Surat Thani a much-deserved second visit…or maybe more.