Koh Samui

(2 Educators Ride) 2018

Koh Samui

(2 Educators Ride) 2018

If you had read the blog post about our Phuket 2017 where I traveled with a fellow educator to Phuket over a long weekend, this blog post will be something similar to that but with a different riding companion and to a different destination (Koh Samui). This time we will be travelling with Bashay Bhai on his CBR600. Take note that this is the first time that Bashir has travelled/rode out of the country and to Thailand no less and to make it more challenging, he is riding a Honda sportsbike, the CBR 600. This ride took place at the end of our examination period during our Physical Educator course days in the National Institute of Education (NIE) Singapore. We had a term break of a week and planned to do a short trip perhaps 5 days 5 nights up to Thailand.

Bashay Bhai

Our travelling companion for this trip. Bashir on his Honda CBR 600. A friend of mine, ex -colleague and now a classmate of mine during our course in NIE.

There were much worries that Bashay had in his mind being his first ever trip up north on his bike. He was constantly worrying that he would not be able to keep up or had no stamina to last the journey or even if his bike would break down along the way. I had done much to assure him that he needs to try it out at least once for him to know whether overland travels on a motorcycle would be his cup of tea. After much coaxing to give it a try and with support from another classmate who had volunteered to ride up with us (up to Kuala Lumpur) in case Bashir decide not to carry on...they both will make their way down. But beyond Kuala Lumpur, it does not make sense for Bashay to turn back as the distance would be similar to the border of Thailand. Not wanting to push Bashay so much, I had decided that we shall only travel from Singapore to Danok for the first day of riding (as long as we get to clear the border) and sleep on the border town of Danok. From there we would head to Ko Samui which is about 400km away on the next day and spend two nights in Samui before heading down for another night in Hatyai before heading back to Singapore. This plan was very suitable for a first timer who is heading into Thailand although not many afre willing to do it on their sportsbike, mainly due to the riding posture and lack of luggage space (which we had placed some onto my bike)

Join us as we share our daily blogs on our ride....keep on reading!

We were just in school that morning looking forward to the end of the last lesson for the day.

This is us goofing around during our gymnastic class. That is Rizal who volunteered to accompany Bashay up to Kuala Lumpur. Wished he could have joined us for the trip as well.

Bashay Bhai & Red Baron

Thats us on our trip up along the North South Highway of Malaysia. So we had made it this far beyond Kuala Lumpur and Bashay is good to face the challenge of heading up to The Land of Smiles on his Honda CBR 600. This was the only place that. we had stopped for a photo opportunity along the journey on the first day.

Sunset at Gunung Tempurung, Perak, Malaysia

Koh Samui

(2 Educators Ride) 2018

Day 1

Singapore - Danok


We scrambled for our bikes and put on our gears the moment the last lesson ended on that Friday. We had pre-packed all our gears and bike ready for the adventures ahead. So directly from school, the moment our last lesson ended, we head out to the Tuas checkpoint to cross into Malaysia. We are fortunate that NIE was just a few kilometers away from the western border of Singapore.

We arrived in Thailand just before the border close for the night. We crossed the Thai immigration at 11.45pm (Singapore Time) and made it into Danok. After travelling his first ever 800km distance on a bike, Bashay deserve a huge round of applause and a deserved dinner and rest. We grabbed some dinner at the nearby eatery and checked into a hotel. We did not book the hotel in advance as we do not know if we are able to make it in time. We had planned to sleep on the Malaysian side of the border in Changloon if we had missed the border crossing timing...so the plan was very fluid as I did not want to pressure Bashay to ride the distance if he was exhausted.

Koh Samui (2 Educators Ride) 2018

Day 2

Danok - Samui


Woke up early morning after a good rest for the night. It is rare that I will sleep at the border town just upon entry into Thailand. This is probably the first time. But it is definitely refreshing to wake up early in the morning and ready for the day's journey. Getting through the Thai immigration late last night was a breeze and it also meant that we get to avoid the crowds during the early morning hours. Sometimes there are always a positive to each kind of plan that you have tailored for your trip...most important is that safety should be the priority.

So early morning departure from the hotel and we are off to Koh Samui. Samui is an island off the eastern coast of Thailand roughly about 400km from the southern borders of Thailand, a suitable distance to travel for a first timer who is just dipping his toes into overlanding on motorcycle, a good distance to push and yet enjoy the ride. But there was this disclaimer that I had with Bashay, as per all my other rides, I do not ride from point A to point B. There are always detours to be taken and off the beaten path places to be explored. I love to go places that are not on the tourist map yet filled with local charms.

First up the usual coffee stop cum breakfast each time we enter Thailand. This time our owner friend of this joint was not around. We sat down for a simple meal and coffee to start the day. Route 41Cafe in Phattalung is about 100km from the Sadao boundary post along Route 41 highway of Thailand. A great and cozy place to stop befopre continuing your trip.

Our detour for this ride takes us into the province of Nakhon SI Thammarat. We are here to visit a beautiful, calm and refreshing village of Kiriwong (Baan Kiriwong) that is located at the foothills of Mt Luang (Khao Luang). This village is supposed to have the freshest air in the whole of Thailand. And when we were there, we understood why when we get the see the surrounding wioth our eyes. As this village is situated within the Khao Luang forest, it is simply untouched and filled with nature. The water that flows from the mountains were clear, clean and refreshing. The air smells fresh with beautiful flora and fauna lining up the way into the village.

Ban Kiriwong

Said to be the village with the purest air and the best atmosphere in Thailand. The village is surrounded by part of Khao Luang Mountain, which is abundant with ancient fern forests, rare orchids, and many other plants. The highest peak is 1,835 meters above the sea level, making it the highest mountain of the South. Khao Luang Mountain is also the origin of many rivers and one of which flows through the Kiriwong village.

Stopped at a Road Block

Thai highway police are always so friendly. Was stopped at a roadblock in the vicinity of Don Sak enroute to the ferry pier of Samui. We were definitely way above the legal speed limit therefore we were sure to be slapped with a Thai baht 500 fine for speeding.

Conversation at the police roadblock

P1: You go there (in broken English)

Red Baron rode the bike to the side of road.

P1: You go where?

RB: Samui

P1: Wait here my boss want to speak u.

Along came senior police officer.

SP: Ducati speeding.....no problem.

I want take picture your bike.

Picture session and off we go. hahahahahhaha

Arrived at Don Sak pier, bought our tickets for the 4pm ferry across to the island of Samui. Take note that there are two ferry operators running the route from Donsak to Samui and most of the ferry are on 2 hourly intervals with the last ferry leaving Donsak at 10pm. After settling all the paperwork and tickets to cross, we took some time to take a rest as we wait for the arrival of the ferry that will be taking us across.

Sunset over Don Sak

On the 4pm ferry to cross over to the island of Samui. We were fortunate to catch the beautiful sunset over the horizon while transiting the waters. As we had arrived in Samui at the start of the night, we headed over to our hotel that we had booked while we were on the ferry. The ferry journey is a 2 hour journey across the straits.

Koh Samui (2 Educators Ride) 2018

Day 3


After riding around 1 hour last night from the pier to Chaweng Beach in Samui, we went around the little beach town in search of our hotel. It was bustling with people at night that it made it hard to keep a lookout for our hotel. We chose a middle costing small establishment in the heart of Chaweng shopping district yet it is by the beach.

So Day 3, I had planned to bring Bashay to explore the island of Samui, visiting places that I had been to before this and enjoyed. I would like to share the beauty of these places with Bashay. We rode around on our bikes (although some prefer to rent small mopeds on the island) so that we may have the chance to take photo with our ride. It was a rainy start to the day but we persevered and played around in the rain for a bit. Rainy weather and overcast skies for the morning.

Headed down to the Lad Koh Viewpoint that was on our way to the southern side of the island. Beautiful view of the sea with waves crashing on the rocks.

Tar Nim Garden

Our next stop take us to the magic garden of Tar Nim. The Secret Garden, otherwise known as the Magic Garden or Secret Buddha Garden can be found in the hills of Koh Samui and was built by a local Samui fruit farmer, Nim Thongsuk, starting it in 1976 when he was 77 years old.

The only way to get there is through the jungle, rivers and mountains by 4×4. The roads leading through the hills is impressive but stick to the main road, it can be interesting turning the car around on a very steep hill with curves in it and a drop down at one side of a couple of 100 meters. We rode our bikes up the mountain to visit this beautiful garden.

From the hills of Samui, we head down to one of their beautiful waterfall the Na Muang Waterfall.

Namuang Waterfall or Namtok Na Muang, or ‘Purple Waterfalls’ are so named because of the striking purple shade of their rock faces.

So far throughout the morning ride, Bashay did not have any trouble getting to the places or even riding through some offroad to get to these places on his sportsbike. So there is no need to worry...any bikes are able to get the job done as long as the mind is willing. Of course some bikes makes all the more easier and more enjoyable...hahahaha.

Headed out for lunch at the Malay Fisherman Village in Samui. For those who do not know that Samui used to be under the Langkasuka Empire that stretches from Northern Malaysia Penisula up to Samui and Ranong. Therefore there are still remnants of the Malay speaking indegenious locals born and bred in Samui present on this island. Most of them have settled in this village and have continued with their trade from the old time, fishing. Therefore this village has a substantial amount of seafood produce and they do cater to the island demands for their catches.

Koh Samui Central Mosque

Typical Marketing Day

This is a drive through market where mostly moped/scooters would drive through in here and purchase the seafood catch of the fisherman. Happy enough that we were able to experience riding through a wet market.

So shall we fill the panniers ??

Dark skies came over Samui in the afternoon, we headed back to our hotel to take a respite from the stormy weather. Managed to reach back to the hotel before the storm came. It was really a heavy downpour that afternoon in Chaweng, Samui. This must be the remnants from the North East monsoon that culminate to its peak towards the end of March.

Dark skies and a storm force us to spend the aftyernoon in the comfort of our room. It rained into the night.

Koh Samui (2 Educators Ride) 2018

Day 4


We continued day 4 going around the island hopping around from the point of interest on the Island. For today we shall be spending time visiting a few interesting places around the south of the island.

Headed out after breakfast and first stop was the Guan Yu Shrine. Thank god the weather this morning was good. Slightly overcast but its nice cool weather on Samui.

Guan Yu shrine

Historians are unsure of exactly when Guan Yu was born, but he died in the year 219 CE after serving under the warlord, Liu Bei, during the late Eastern Han Dynasty. He played a crucial role in a civil war that led to the demise of the Han and the beginning of the Three Kingdoms period. His heroics here sensationalised in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a great work of ancient Chinese literature.

Guan Yu now represents loyalty, righteousness, bravery and honesty.

Next we headed down gto the beachfront and found this small yet unique temple, Wat Ratchamammaram, a budhist temple with some Cambodian architecture to the design of the roof and pillars. Did not stop for long after taking a stroll along the beach.

The intricately decorated roof bargeboard or lamyong includes elements of the feathered garuda and the serpentine nāga.

Karma, from the Sanskrit karman, or ‘action, effect, fate’, comes from one’s actions and intentions. Therefore, making merit (puñña), or doing good mindfully, contributes to good karma in the Thai world-view. Honouring others (especially the Buddha) and offering service (especially to the temple) are a great way to make merit.

From here it is just a corner away from the Grandparents Rocks of Samui, the famous Hin Ta and Hin Yai rocks. heir names are Grandfather Rock and Grandmother Rock they are just simple granite rock formations. The reason why they are so famous is simple as they resemble male and female genitalia. You can guess why these rocks have caused so much stir. It can be simply put down to human’s fascination with all things naughty and taboo. Their names in Thai are Hin Ta and Hin Yai and of course, there is a story which accompanies these to rocks.

The legend of the Grandparents Rocks Explained

It’s a sad tale of an elderly couple’s adventure and untimely demise. And just why Hin Ta and Hin Yai have become synonymous with Koh Samui. The story starts in the nearby city of Nakhorn Si Thammarat on the mainland.

"One morning the couple were discussing their son coming of age they decided that it was about time he was married.

They searched high and low for a suitable wife for him. Unfortunately, no suitors could be found.

So the elderly couple knew someone in the province of Prachuap Kiri Khan and who had a beautiful daughter.

The journey would take days and be fraught with danger. They decided to use their small wooden boat to make the trip.

Even from the outset of the journey, they found trouble, their small boat was surrounded by sharks and if that was not enough the wind picked up and the seas started to swell.

Their small vessel was tossed around like a small toy, both of them got terribly seasick. They lost their food and water overboard, neither of them could swim.

What could they do as they were totally at lost at sea and even their oars, to steer their little boat, were lost?

In the distance, they saw an Island, and how they tried to make it. The seas and the wind had a different fate for them.

They slapped and cursed the water trying as they may get nearer to the island, but alas it was no good.

Becoming very weak without food and water, they just could not make it to the island, and they became desperate.

Just as they were about to give up, a huge wave washed them both out of the boat and into the sea.

Unable to swim and too weak with days of nothing to eat, they soon began to tire and slowly slipped between the waves, hand in hand cursing their fate.

Ironically, their bodies washed ashore and instantly turned into rocks on the beach.

To this day they are still where washed up, and the rocks stand there as testament of the couples proof of their pure intentions.

No one knows what became of their son, some say, he joined a monastery, others say his cries of sorrow can be heard on dark lonely nights, who knows.

That’s the story about Grandfather Rock and Grandmother Rock is a sad tale of woe. "

Again we headed back for our hotel in the late afternoon to seek the comfort from the pouring rain in the late afternoon. Went out for dinner at night at the night market then we went for a thai massage before calling it a night.

Koh Samui (2 Educators Ride) 2018

Day 5

Samui - Hatyai


Took the late morning ferry out of Samui and headed towards Hatyai. Along the way we took a stop in the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat to check out some historical sites remnants within the old city.

Fort of Sridramasokarad

We stop by the old city wall remnants of the olf fortress in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

According to the legend of Nakhon Si Thammarat, the city wall was built during the reign of Phra Chao Sithamma Sokarat when founding the city on Had Saai Kaew. He constructed the rampart surrounded by a ditch. It is assumed that the wall and many parts of the city have been renovated several times. Still, the old line of the city wall was well-preserved. In King Narai Maharat's era, French engineers and architects visited Thailand. Therefore, Thai city wall during that time was built in Chateau style, including the City Wall of Nakhon Si Thammarat nowadays. Subsequently, during the reign of King Rama II, which Phraya Nakhon Si Thammarat (Pat) ruled the city, the wall was given a renovation again.When Chao Phraya Yommarat (Pan Sukhoom) was appointed as Phraya Sukhoom Vinai (Samuha Tesa Piban) or the regent of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

He pulled down the dilapidated wall (the sema stones still clearly seen though), and used those bricks to build roads along the inner city wall.The Fine Arts Department of Thailand has renovated some parts of the northern wall. The sema stones and the old fort line still remain, and are easily seen. However, other parts of the wall had tumbled down, only the brick ruins are left. The City Wall of Nakhon Si Thammarat is the emblem of the ancientness, fortitude, prosperity, and the long history of the province.

Travelled along the coastal road from Naklhon Si Thammarat into Hatyai.

We arrived in Hatyai in the late evening due to our slow ride along the coastal road of Nakhon Si Thammarat and then into Songkhla before arriving in Hatyai. As usual in Hatyai, we enjoyed the local cuisines as we search around for food and did a little bit of shopping at the night market.

Koh Samui (2 Educators Ride) 2018

Day 6

Hatyai - Singapore


An early morning breakfast to fill our stomach before we head back to Singapore. Rode back to Singapore all the way home. This has to be the longest stretch that Bashay had to ride for the entire journey. We ride it fast but made sure there are regular rest stops so that Bashay can stretch his legs and take a rest. Thank goodness the traffic was good. In total we covered about 2450km distance for the whole trip. It was a short but great trip riding with a buddy.