We woke up again at silly o’clock in Tokyo in order to catch the 5:20am train from Shinjuku Station to Narita Airport (to make things better it was chucking it down with rain as we made the early morning walk to the station), where we would take a six hour flight to Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, transferring across to Bangkok’s other airport BKK in a shuttle, in order to then catch another flight to the island of Koh Samui!
After an 18-hour journey consisting of an early morning Tokyo train journey, an international along with a domestic flight, a trans-city shuttle bus and a taxi transfer to our Koh Samui lodging all in one long day, we felt like we were ready for a few days chill out time. Good thing we were in the right place to do that!
Koh Samui is a small island in the south of Thailand, just east of the coast and around an 45 minutes flight from Bangkok. It’s a very popular place, and to some extent quite overcrowded, for tourists, backpackers and the like (more so in Chaweng Beach), as it’s a base for people heading over to the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan, home to the original and world-famous Full Moon Party on Hadrin Beach. The party was the reason we were here too as we had timed it just right, but we had a few days to check out Koh Samui too. After spending the previous week in Japan doing a lot of temple hopping and sight seeing, we decided that the time spent on the islands were mainly going to be for rest and relaxation. And with Thai Massage parlours making up every other shop in Chaweng, relaxation came pretty easily, and fairly cheap too!
Koh Samui, along with the other islands in the south, is very much known for it’s natural beauty, and a good place to check this out for ourselves was over at Ang Thong National Marine Park, a few hours boat ride from the main island. This Marine Park is essentially a collection of forty or so small tropical islands, and we spent pretty much the whole day discovering some of it, whether it was kayak through and around the small islands, snorkelling in one of the many coves, hiking up a mountain and getting great views from the top, or just simply sitting on a quiet beach and watching the waves. The scenery was fabulous, and it was nice to spend some time out in the waters.
As we decided against doing much sightseeing during this week, we spent a lot of it wondering around Chaweng, getting a Thai Massage from the many places that were available, and just generally chilling out. And of course, there were more than a few bars to hang out in.
One thing that caught my attention was a place that offered a slight twist to mini-golf, in that the holes were bigger (a lot bigger!), and instead of a golf ball and club, you had to kick a football into the hole from the starting tee – Foot-Golf..genius! So on an afternoon where we weren’t anticipating for it to be so boiling hot, we headed off to Samui Foot-Golf. The place definitely had a good feel to it, with memorabilia and posters donning the walls. The course itself had a different theme to each hole, creating small obstacles along the way. As to who won, don’t let the winner’s picture below fool you! It was definitely something new and fun to do.
After all the chilling out and activities in the day, there were a ton of options for eating, and being in Thailand, we had all the spicy Thai stir-fry (Pad Thai!) and creamy curries you could think of. Fresh, local Thai-food was so tasty, and so cheap. It was a bit of a shock especially after coming from Japan. But one place that was recommended to us really stood out. It was a bit fancier than the local street food, but it sounded so good that we had to check it out. The strangely titled Club 69 Restaurant was one of our favourites we came across in Thailand. The restaurant takes traditional Thai-food, and creates fusion dishes that take the food to the next level. Not to mention the crazy decor that it has going on. Food wise, it’s a one man show, with the owner and chef Vivien making everything, and the end result is just immense. Who ever thought a green curry pie (yep, you read that right) topped with mango would be so good? And that was just one of the dishes. If anyone ever visits this island, we’d recommend going to this place, as it’s too good to miss!
With our calorie intake increasing by the day, our time in Koh Samui was coming an end. We were to head up to the north of Thailand after leaving the islands. But I’ll let you know all about that after the next post. First up, I need to tell you about the place which we were here for in the first place. In between our stay in Koh Samui, we took a ferry across to an island nearby, and returned two days later. On one of those days away there, we just happened to stumble upon one of the biggest parties in the world. And even though it stages it once every month, it’s still going pretty strong. Let me tell you all about the Full Moon Party, in Koh Phangan!