Sunday, February 3, 2013

Koh Samui

We decided to explore Koh Samui as a whole today, so had a car and driver at our disposal. It really is a good way to get a feel for where you are visiting as local knowledge counts for a lot. Daeng our driver, is nicknamed "Red" and he certainly knew a lot about Samui generally, and is obviously a devote Buddhist.
He explained some of the basics to us without ramming his beliefs down our throat. Under his guidance we visited a number of shrines and temples, including Wat Plei Laem,
the Big Buddha,
Wat Khunaram to see the mummified Monk,
and Wat Chaweng overlooking the lake.
We also learnt the significance of striking the bells in the temple. Using a bamboo rod, you strike a specific point that is thickened for this specific purpose. If you strike the wrong part of the bell damage can occur. In the old days, different ring sequences would advice the village to come to a meeting, or alternately to come quickly to assist with putting out a fire. Now though, the bells are mainly rung for luck. In between we visited Namuang Waterfall Number 1, lots of markets here and there (in addition to those at each temple) and Nathon. The ferry across to the mainland departs from Nathon, so while it is an important place as far as access to the harbour goes, there are less tourists in evidence.
We also saw the Fisherman's Village area. Not quite what I visualised, rather another restaurant and shopping district. We have decided to return there for dinner this evening so will have a chance to look around further. The Happy Elephant is the restaurant recommended by Red. Nice coincidence. 3.2.2013

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