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Thai secrets - shhh don't tell anyone
Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Hadrin Full-Moon parties, c'mon you might as well be down on Brighton Beach for all the real Thailand you're going to get there. As you're taking the bus from Bangkok to Ban Phe - a pleasant 3 hour drive from Bangkok's Ekamai bus terminal - you'll notice that 99% of the dreaded dread heads and pierced gap-year silly boogers all stay on the bus. That's because they don't know about Koh Samed. And hallelujah to that!
As you walk down the pier to take your ferry to Samed and catch a glimpse of where you're going, and who is not going there, you'll know that you are in for a real Thai treat. Samed is a small, exquisitely undisturbed paradise. Yes there are bars there, there's even an outdoor club or two if you need, a PADI dive school and boat tours. But best of all are the Beach Huts metres from the ocean; the fresh crab and squid sizzling in the open-air driftwood-built restaurants, and the most stunning sunsets seen from the rocky west side of the island.
You can rent a scooter - which is an adventure in itself as the roads aren't really roads. They're more like pock-marked Swiss cheeses made of sand.
Don't worry, there will be taxis waiting for you at the pier if your suspension isn't up to it.