After a 10 hour journey on the night bus we finally boarded the ferry direct to Koh Samui, the nation’s second biggest island that lies in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus. The closer I get to the shore, the more I realize why many Western people decided to make this island their own home. I finally see right in front of my eyes what I’ve been looking forward to for months and months: white beaches, crystal clear water, tropical forests, the perfect mix that makes this island a magical place.
For around £6 per day we found accomodation in a little, super colorful bungalow on the beach, you know, one of those places you have the ocean right outside your porch. A unique feeling. However, one of the best aspects of the city is, in my opinion, the fact that humans have been able to settle down in this land leaving to Mother Nature what belongs to it, without exploit or ruin this place, a place that does not need the human hand to make it better. Despite being crowded in pretty much every month of the year, on the island reign peace and calm. This total quiet is the soundtrack of your good readings, the relaxing walks, the refreshing beers on the beach. A quiet that may only be interrupted by a sudden tropical storm, by a stray dog looking for affection (really common on these islands) or, in the worst case scenario, by a farmer taking his buffalo for a swim in the ocean (yes, it really happened but don’t worry, isn’t too common).
Lamai, a little town in the South-Eastern coast of the island, is probably the best part to be in, and in any case you can easily reach the opposite coast with a moped in about half an hour. Beside the cute fishes swimming around your toes, the long strech of white sand and the shade of the many coconut palms, Lamai is a particularly multicultural hub which accepted the arrivals of the Westerns who, always on their tiptoes, started to land, open businesses and integrate with the Thai culture.
It is the people, their way of being, their simple living that make Koh Samui a paradise, because even if poverty characterizes the majority of the island, you can’t take away their smiles, because even living with nothing, they’re able to make life a wonderful thing and fill your heart with joy. Another important lesson that we all should learn.
I had one of the best moments in Koh Samui just sitting on the sidewalk outside 7eleven, at sunset, eating some noodles and simply observing the world, the life going by, watching the people around me, smiling, waving at them to see their reactions. The kids, innocent and scared by my being so different from them, were looking at me fearful and curious at the same time, and then waving back from their mums’ arms. The adults, instead, astonished probably by my being so friendly and far from the stereotype of the Western on holiday, were pointing at me from across the road and from the trunk of their vehicles, whispering to each other, looking at me and approaching me to talk, asking about me and my travel, were offering me cigarettes and wanted to take pictures with me, as if I was from another planet.
Koh Samui has gently offered me a wonderful experience and a special treatment, it has taught me what is the true price of life, it made me realize about the futility that surrounds our society under many aspects, it opened my eyes about what it truly means to be happy and more than content with only the necessities. So thank you very much Koh Samui, kapunka!