We needed a holiday! Yes, I’m sure a lot of you will baulk at that statement but the months of traveling and volunteering were taking their toll. Traveling is exhausting and I’m sure some of you have uttered the words “I need another holiday just to recover!” when you have returned from your travels or holidays. So the Thai islands seemed to be the perfect opportunity for a little R&R.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to best time of year to visit the islands. The islands to Thailand’s west were in rainy season so we decided to venture to Ko Samui on the east side as the weather would be slightly more holiday-esque although it still would be quiet season. Getting the 2nd class a/c sleeper train from Bangkok to the closest station was a pleasant journey. The sleeper beds were comfy albeit a little small for Rob’s gangly frame but we got a decent night’s sleep and no one stole our bags. Result.
From the station it was a short bus, boat and songthaew (a truck with two rows of seats in the back) to our accommodation. And because this was our “holiday” we had found a great place where we basically got our own apartment…OMG…we had a sofa!! Yes, a sofa can bring so much joy. One of the little things that you miss when traveling is being able to sit somewhere comfortable so having a sofa in our own air conditioned room was joyous! Oh yes, we could get comfy here.
But we didn’t come so-far just for the so-fa (sorry); we had big plans whilst in Ko Samui. There were waterfalls to see, temples to visit, an island to moped around, lots of beaches, other islands for day trips…but first, the Choeng Mon Beach which our hotel offered a free shuttle bus to. This was a great little beach with happy hours bars, bean bags and a strip of restaurants behind the promenade. Oh yes, we could definitely get comfy here.
The day past at a relaxed pace and in the evening we strolled the restaurants near the hotel. It was here that we found a sunset bar with it’s own private beach, music, bean bags and chilled out vibes. Enjoying a few cocktails and beers whilst the sun goes down, well there’s nothing wrong with that. Oh yes, we could definitely, certainly get comfy here.
After a few drinks and a good feed it was back to our luxury (and well priced!) apartment like room for Netflix on the sofa and a clean bed. No dorm room for us here. Oh yes, we could definitely, certainly, absolutely get comfy here.
And get comfy we did. Our plans to do proper travel around the islands and see sights went out the window along with our guidebook and we fell into the above blissful routine. It was nice not to have to think about things or study a map for our few days of relaxation in Ko Samui.
Therefore, on Ko Samui the only place we really explored was the famous Thailand state of mind of “Kom Phi” (sorry again!).
When the time came to leave the island behind we felt fully recharged and ready to get back in the backpackers mindset. We fetched the guidebook back from outside and planned out our next stop. Onwards to Chiang Mai which was well connected by air to Ko Samui so we spent a long day traveling to our next destination where once we arrived we looked at each other and uttered the oh so humourous words “we need another holiday just to recover!”.
Ok, so I wouldn’t class ourselves as proper “travellers” in Ko Samui but here are some tips anyway.
Getting there and away: We got the sleeper train from Bangkok as we wanted to do at least one sleeper train journey whilst in Thailand. We booked this the day before at Bangkok’s main station and a ticket including the 2nd class a/c sleeper, bus and ferry was about 1,063 Baht each (~£25, $32). Once you get to Ko Samui you have to arrange your own transport. You can book onto a shuttle at the ferry port on the mainland (someone will come around and ask if you need it) but you are not guaranteed a lift if not many people are going to your area. We haggled with the songthaew drivers at the port. On the way out to Chiang Mai we got a flight as it was only a bit more to fly than get the train and a lot quicker. The prices on Thai Airways included check in baggage and food at the airport so were a great deal (3180 Baht each ~£73, $96).
Stay: We stayed at the Samui Honey Suites and because it was low season managed to get a great price on Hotels.com. The rooms were huge with a lounge area and kitchenette and compared to what we have been used to were luxury.
Drink: The sunset bar we went to was Samui Sunset Garden which has great views and is really chilled.
Eat: We loved Shambala Restaurant which had awesome food for a great price.
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