After a relaxing day by the pool yesterday we were ready for an early start with City Safari Tours. It was to be a huge day! Check out the itinerary below! Mr GG and I had considered doing some of these activities independently but once we found a tour which included everything it seemed far easier to just book one of the City Safari Tours.
The City Safari Tours Itinerary
- Elephant Trekking
- Elephant & Monkey Show
- Scenic Lookout
- Mama & Papa Rock
- Waterfall Hike
- Lunch at Nathon Town & Shopping
- Mummified Monk at Kunaran Temple
- Big Buddha of Koh Samui (Koh Fan)
Our pick up time was 9.00am so we rushed the children through breakfast and out to the waiting vehicle. The Safari Tours vehicle was a little more rustic than the brochure suggested. Although I couldn’t argue with the description of “fully air-conditioned”! The open air approach to travel was very typical of all the tour vehicles we had noticed on the streets. The kids were pretty excited about siting in the back of the 4WD and Brett was just happy to let someone else do the driving.
The elephant trekking was always going to be the highlight of the day for the children, and this was our first stop. The kids had the opportunity to feed the baby elephants and pat them while the previous group finished their trek. They really are beautiful creatures.
Watching the handlers leading these giants around I was more than a little nervous!! They are enormous!!! I wasn’t even sure how you are supposed to get onto the seat!
I needn’t have worried, we were led to a platform which was the approximate height of your average elephant. Then it was just a matter of stepping across and onto the gentle giant.
After jumping “on board” we were led to where the elephants are watered and wet down. I was impressed with the level of care that was shown to the animals. There seemed to be so much more attention and affection shown to these elephants compared with what we had seen previously other “sanctuaries”.
The trek lasted about 15 -30 minutes with plenty of photo opportunities along the way.
Elephant & Monkey Show
The Elephant and Monkey show commenced straight after our trek. Lachlan had fallen in love with one of the monkeys and after playing with it through the large enclosure a member of staff took him inside the enclosure. Lachlan was happy to be playing games with the monkey while the elephants performed. The monkey had taken a liking to a tennis ball Locky had with him and the two of them played happily together with it.
Meanwhile at the elephant show we were learning there was to be a lot of audience participation. One by one all of our group were singled out to “assist” in the show.
I was shown how a real Thai massage is supposed to feel. I was wishing I had of worn a longer dress, the elephants nose was wet! Eww! The men were even offered a “happy ending” in jest. I laughed because the trigger word was “nuts” LOL!
Locky joined the show just in time to be the goal keeper for a game of elephant soccer.
It was fun for all and plenty of laughs.
The monkey show was more a demonstration of how monkeys are trained to harvest the coconuts. It was clever but the highlight for Lachlan was his one on one time in the monkey enclosure.
Back on the tour vehicle we were all reaching for the esky of bottled water supplied for guests. Such a small thing but a great inclusion.
Winding our way along the coastline we saw so many picturesque beaches with gorgeous white sand and turquoise water. We stopped for a photo opportunity at one of the lookouts and Mr GG decided to make a mad dash for the water with the intention of taking a quick dip.
I am not sure that it was a sanctioned swimming stop but we had already been warned by the guide there might not be the usual swim opportunity at the waterfall due to low water levels.
Mama & Papa Rocks
By the time we arrived at Mama & Papa Rocks I think everyone was envious of the swim Mr GG had taken. It was a very hot day and the water had looked so inviting.
I hadn’t told Hubby or Jane what to expect at the rocks, but I had read that they are named because they resemble male and female genitalia.
Arriving at the rocks I was ready to pose for a few photos with the phallic formations, but then it was straight into the water for me!
It was like taking a swim in a bath! The water temperature was gorgeous. It wasn’t long before our whole group was enjoying floating around in the calm inlet.
We stayed as long as we could in the water, our guide was very patient with us. Our little group would have been happy to skip the rest of the tour and swim for the afternoon.
We had been pre warned that due to a lack of rain it would not be possible to swim at the waterfall. Still it was an easy walk down to the waterfall and a photo opportunity at the bottom. We were all pleased we had taken the opportunity to swim earlier.
Mummified Monk at Kunaran Temple
I really don’t know how I felt about the next stop on our itinerary. It is a tourist attraction that people flock to but I felt it was quite macabre, bizarre and disrespectful of the dead. I didn’t tell the children anything except that we were visiting a temple with a shrine and monks.
I had been very successful in making this attraction sound boring. By the time we were nearing the monk the children were asking stay in the vehicle. That was until they spotted a roti canai stand out the front of the temple! It was an easy distraction. The children were preoccupied ordering every topping available on their wafer thin roti, and were soon happily getting syrup all over their faces. It’s lucky my children are distracted by food!
One at a time Brett and I went to view the monk who died over 40 years ago (1973) whilst meditating. The monk is still in this meditating position but is enshrined in a glass case and on display. It was his wish that when he died, if his body did not decompose that he should be place on display in order to inspire the public to follow Buddhism. The monk is seen with dark glasses on, as the view into the eyes is not pretty!
I found this stop disturbing, and I was happy to be on the road again.
Big Buddha of Koh Samui (Koh Fan)
When had been intending to visit the Big Buddha on the previous day but it was definitely easier to do it with the City Safari Tours. Brett and I had gone looking for this attraction previously and come up empty handed.
As it turns out it was very close to where we had lunch the previous day.
When we arrived Brett, Jane and Anais climbed the stair to the Big Buddha while Locky and I wandered around the various shrines and monuments.
While I was off taking photos I noticed Lachlan was summoned by a monk up to the meditation area. Respectfully but reluctantly Locky did as he was told. He received a blessing from the monk and was splashed with holy water. The monk then motioned to the donation tree with 50 & 100 bhat notes. I obliged as I collected Lachlan off the meditation platform.
My little 8 year old then asked “mum was that a trick to get money from us?”
I said to him, “did we go there to buy a blessing”,
He said “no”.
I said “did we want a blessing.”
he said “no”.
I said “I feel like it was a trick, what about you?”
he said “Yep!”
He may not always be my thinker but I was very pleased that he worked this one out for himself. I was not upset by the “trick” because it was nice for Locky to engage in different religions and learn to respect other peoples beliefs.
Wat Plai Laem Temple
Temples and monuments are everywhere in Thailand. So many religions live side by side. Our final stop was Wat Plai Laem just down the road from the Big Buddha.
Our guide explained that both the Chinese and Thai religions have temples and monuments located at this site.
While we took time to photograph this amazing icon with 18 arms, our guide took the children over to the lake. He had bought fish food so the children could feed the fish. There must of been hundreds of fish thrashing around in the water vying for the food.
The temples were so serene and absolutely beautiful.
City Safari Tours has been the ideal way to pack a lot of sight seeing into one day. We returned to the resort tired and thankful someone else was doing the driving! I found his tour to be great value for money and the staff very friendly.
The tour cost was approximately 600 bhat per adult and 400 per child for the day.