From Koh Sichang to Koh Samui

Trip Start Jun 26, 2013
Trip End Jul 24, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Surat Thani,
Monday, July 8, 2013

Today was a fabulous day and it ended in a fabulous way...But again, I get ahead of myself.

We have been off the radar so to speak for a few days now, first on an island called Koh Sichang which is on the east side of the Gulf of Thailand and then on another at the south end of the Gulf called Koh Samui. As per my brother Don's suggestion, we chose accommodations on the sunset side of the island, though due to cloudy days, we will leave without actually seeing a sunset. That's okay, as we have had a great time and have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. This side of the island is quieter,with far fewer tourists. We love our little spot of Heaven.

Our place is called Lipa Lovely resort and it really lives up to its name. Our bungalow is a round building with the bed placed on a half wall towards the back of the circle, with the bathroom behind that. Windows are on all sides, looking out at palm trees, sandy white sand and the clear water of the Gulf.

Our days here on Koh Samui have been luxurious, though much of that luxury comes from simple pleasures like waking on our beach, bird watching, swimming in the warm clear water, sitting in lounge chairs reading and enjoying great food and wonderful company. We spent a morning hiking to a waterfall and then enjoyed lunch at a stream side cafe where we listened to a guy playing the guitar and harmonica and singing lovely Thai music. During lunch we watched a kingfisher ( type of bird) hunting and a great coucal walking among the trees.

The best meal, by far, and, actually the most amazing dining experience i've ever had was at a place called Zazen on the north side of the island. It was one we had read about as having both a wonderful setting And wonderful food. We were not disappointed!

The decor was spectacular from the moment we pulled in and drove (our rental car) through the tunnel of small trees that lined the narrow drive. At the end of that, trees were decorated with hundreds of hanging amber lights. The walkway to the restaurant was framed with candles on metal pillars, taking us the scenic way to our table beyond the small pond and entryway. In the restaurant were dozens of black lanterns lit with reddish candles that created a setting fit for a wedding....or a honeymoon dinner.

Dinner was amazing with the best part being dessert. (of course!) Joe ordered chocolate tubes that were filled with mascarpone and a dark chocolate ganache. This was accompanied with a hardened swirl of honey that rose four inches off the plate in an artistic edible work of art. And my dessert? Well I opted for the sampler plate featuring 12 mini scoops of homemade sorbet and ice cream. Mine came even more beautifully presented than Joe's, on a white square plate decorated with swirls of chocolate sauce with each tiny circle filled with a raspberry or lemon sauce. Wow! And the best part was it tasted as good as it looked! Not your ordinary ice cream!

Today we were picked up at our hotel and driven to a dock where we boarded a speed boat to a Thailand national park called Ang Thong. We spent the morning snorkeling--saw many colorful fish-- and then took a short hike to a platform overlooking a blue lagoon. This is the place where the movie The Beach was filmed. After lunch we went kayaking around one of the 40 islands that make up Ang Thong and then spent some time swimming in the warm waters near a sandy beach.

Amazingly, by 4:00 all of the people from all of the tour boats leave the island to return to Koh Samui, leaving us with only a handful of people. We will spend the night in a simple bungalow, a place where there is electricity only from 6 pm to 11 each night, generated by solar panels. We hiked to a magnificent cave that had terrific stalagmites and stalactites. We had it totally to ourselves! We explored thoroughly before hiking back to the beach.

Then we headed up another trail, this one to the top of the mountain where we would have a view of all of Ang Thong. The hike up was wickedly steep, especially at the end when we were walking on sharp rocks set on their sides. The way was lined with a thick cord of rope which I mocked on the way up, but which probably saved my life on the way down.

We climbed the rocky trail, stopping often to look for birds and catch our breath. At the top there was a small square platform with a rickety railing. My gosh, the view! It was fabulous! As we looked out, down at the tops of the trees far below,we were blessed to see an oriental pied hornbill fly into a tree where three crows were loudly calling. They are spectacular when they fly!

The set- the- sky-on- fire sunset that we were hoping for was not to be, and like every other night since we have been here, day faded to night with no fanfare. Even so, we sat on the platform, leaning on the wooden posts, enjoying the evening. Far in the distance we could see rows of fishing boats with their tiny twinkling lights. We sat and talked, content to slow down and enjoy the moment. It was wonderful having it all to ourselves.

In the last minutes of daylight, we headed out, wanting to get through the hard steep section before dark. Thankfully we made it just as the skies opened and flooded us with cool water. At first it felt good, cooling us in a delightful way. But instantly we realized what the rain would mean-- a trail slick as ice. The well worn rocks and dirt beside them became as slippery as a sheet of ice, making progress treacherous. The ropes were our saving grace. We gripped them tightly, making our way down the steep, now dark trail by the small light of our headlamps. We crawled along, aware that a wrong move could have terrible consequences. We were so thankful for those ropes!

45 minutes later, we reached the bottom, giving thanks when our feet finally touched grass. Whew! We breathed a giant sigh of relief. What an adventure!

After dinner at the restaurant and a few games of Farkle ( that Joe beat me at) we walked down to the beach. All was quiet and still. Hoping for the magic called bioluminescence, we shed our clothes and headed into the dark sea. It wasn't dark for long! With every step and every splash and every limb pulled slowly through the pitch black water, a trail of sparks followed. This is the most amazing phenomenon. Millions of tiny plankton glow when disturbed. When you swim through the black and create a trail of light everywhere it feels like magic, like something out of a fairy tale or movie...speaking of movies, have you seen The Life of Pi? Remember the part where the guy in the boat swims in the water and sees the trails of light? Sparks all around him? This is what it was like!!!! Pure magic. Spectacular. Amazing. Nature at its most incredible and awe- inspiring. A fabulous way to end a fabulous day.

...thank you, thank you, thank you, Don for suggesting these places. :-)
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Debsredmond on

Sounds and looks like you two are having quite an adventure! Take care, Deb & Steve

Steve Morris on

Great photos guys (as always). Continue to have fun.

Shell on

Wow...sounds like you're having a great time! So glad you're getting to experience Thailand, it is an amazing place!

Lisa on

Oooo! You got to experience the bioluminescense in the sea! How cool! That sounds so lovely! I also love your pictures of the things like the orb spider, the red bug and the snail. All the stuff I would want to look closely at! ;)

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