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Just about everybody has something to say about the roads in Koh Samui and gone are the days where you could enjoy a nice drive around the island and take in the views, in the north of the island anyway. These days, with an ever increasing amount of traffic on the island getting from Maneam to Lamai can take longer than it used to take to get around the entire island. It think it is fair to say that nobody came to Samui to spend time sitting in a traffic jam, but if you try to go anywhere between Maenam and Lamai, especially around 6pm that is exactly what you will find yourself doing.
However, there is an alternative, traffic free and very scenic alternative to the ring road rout of you are in Meanam and you want to go to Lamai, or visa versa. The mountain road between the two towns is very doable in a car or on a bike. The road has virtually no pot holes and compared to the other roads on the island it is in very good condition.
The road to Lamai from Maenam starts at Maenam soi 1. For those who that are not familiar with Maenam Soi 1 is close to the police station and opposite My Bar. The road starts off very straight and then snakes past a large resort before opening out into a really long stretch of open road where you can really get up some speed, but please note that joggers, motorbikes and cyclists all use this road so don’t let your acceleration foot run away with you, as tempting as it might be to get up some speed. Interestingly on this stretch of road on the right hand side a new mosque is under construction. Although the large advertisement for it on the side of the road currently bears little resemblance to what has been constructed so far.
After around seven kilometers the road starts to become quite steep but it’s not a four wheel drive incline and very quickly levels out at a very nice view point that is well worth stopping at if you have your camera. From here the road snakes around the mountains uninhabited terrain and the views are quite spectacular. Here the air is fresh and clean and it’s well worth stopping to take in the views and fill your lungs with mountain air.
Ten kilometers into your drive you will come to a T-junction. If you turn left the road takes you a further five kilometers and comes out very close to the Buddy Resort in Lamai, you also have the option of coming out at the corner temple in Lamai if you take a right just two kilometers from the T-junction by the huge Baan Suay Lamai Sign. If you turn right at the T-junction and then left next to a yellow sign two kilometers in you will come out beyond the corner temple on the road that leads to Hin Thai and Hin Yai avoiding all of the Lamai ring road traffic.
On a bike this journey only takes about half an hour and you can count on the fingers of one hand how much traffic you will encounter along the way. This rout is fantastic alternative than braving the chaos on the main roads and will take you through the heart of the island away from the maddening crowds. Even if you are not trying to avoid busy main roads to get from A to B this lovely little trip is fun to do just to get away from it all and enjoy un spoilt Samui. There is a fabulous little bar called Jungle Bar along the way, a great place to stop for a cold drink and if you want to really get in touch with nature just beyond that is the Tree Top Cable Ride Adventure Tour.
To find the right road to do this trip in reverse simply take the Pracharakpattana road just before Buddy’s heading into Lamai that has signs for Tamarind Springs and Seaview Paradise.