Around the World 1977 - Thailand
Hat Lamai Cottages, Ko Samui
From Chiangmai I took a terrifying overnight highway bus to Bangkok and then got an overnight train to Surat Thani where I got the ferry for Ko Samui. On the ferry I sat next to an old woman who wore a bright white and nicely starched blouse. She was using a bamboo mortar and steel pestle to mash a mix of betel nut, lime paste and pepper leaves. By the time we got to Samui the betel nut juice had dribbled down her chin and all over that nice clean blouse.
Of course, Lamai Beach doesn't look much like this anymore. We stayed here one night and then went to the end of the road which was at Ao Thong Ta Khian.
Back in 1977 the only visitors to Samui were backpacker's. Following is everything Tony Wheeler had to say about Samui in the 1977 edition of 'Southeast Asia on a Shoestring':
"Ko Samui - A beautiful and so far un-touched island off the east coast. Nice by itself or a base to reach other nearby islands. To get there get to Surat Thani and then take a boat from Band Don (a 5B bus ride from Surat Thani) every day at midnight and returning at 23.00 -- the six-hour trip costs 15B deck or 25b cabin class. Or you can do it in half the time for the same fare on the 12:30 speedboat service, it returns from Ko Samui at 07.30."
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Photographs and text copyright Michael Newman and William Garsden: 2018.