I usually hate this type of organized tours where the tour guide pushes you around like a monkey, but I wanted to visit Buddha’s Magic Garden which is rather remote so a half day excursion of Island Safari seemed like the way to do it. Hah.
1. Viewing point
What the…. Totally useless. Luckily only a five-minute stop.
2. The Mummified Monk
A dead monk with sunglasses and grey skin. Yay. The Kunaram Temple in which it was placed was more interesting.
3. Elephant trekking
I did not really want to do this because I didn’t see the fun, but once you’re there and you have the opportunity you think you ‘have to’. It was an awkward experience. We paid 300 THB extra to get our picture taken (it was horrible, but that is not the camera man’s fault I guess). At one point, the elephant rider got off the elephant and asked if we wanted to get our photos taken with our own camera. That was the best part, but we still looked like idiots. Then the rider got back on and asked me to take a picture of him. I wondered what the point was, but tried to meet his wish. Then he said ‘No…!! I want money, for me.” We just looked at each other and decided not to give him anything. We already paid for the trekking and the useless Polaroid!
4. Elephant + monkey + crocodile show
Brilliant. The elephants are very amusing and they have personalities. The part of the tour I thought I would dislike the most turned out the be the part I most appreciated. Here also they tried (and managed) to get money from the visitors if the visitors wanted to climb the elephant, or even pose next to it. 200 THB please. They got a lot of money, at one point I thought that was the show.
The monkey show was boring, with a poor tied up monkey fetching coconuts.
The crocodile show was lengthy, and not very entertaining. I enjoyed watching the three men interact, but the crocodiles were not necessary for my part.
5. Namuang Waterfalls
There are quite spectacular waterfalls in Norway so for me this was not the biggest experience of my life, while I do appreciate natural surroundings when they are beautiful like this. You could choose to take a bath in the cold waterfall at the bottom, but it was quite small. When the six people occupying it left and there was room for our group we were already leaving. There was enough time for two beers (most expensive beer in Koh Samui at 60 THB) and an ice cream, so that was a plus. I wish I had arrived drunk to begin with.
6. Lunch at some private property
Bland Thai food. A woman asked us if we wanted juice or beer. We said beer, to which she said OK + you have to pay for the beer, please. OK. 60 THB again so she was playing shop with us.
Then the tour guide asked us if we wanted to see one more temple and we didn’t know what to say, so we ended up not going. Why would you ask us at the end of the day? Later I realized I did want to see the temple; Wai Plai Laem, but oh well. The bad news happened when we then realized we weren’t going to Buddha’s Magic Garden. The guide said this wasn’t on the program. We showed him the program and he ran to his car and showed us another program (which did not include it). He said our program was two years old. Long story short, he wasn’t happy about the fact that we wanted to go back to the travel agent because she misinformed us, but we did and she gave us 400 THB back which she claimed was her commission.
My rating: ♥♥