The Islands of the Gulf of Thailand

Trip Start Jan 04, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, January 31, 2005

We left Chiang Mai shortly after the trek, and headed straight for the airport to fly to Bangkok, where we had a 6 hour wait for the next flight to Koh Samui. We thought of doing the proper traveller thing and getting buses and trains, but there were no seats available, and we wanted to get to the beach after our hard few days trekking. I finally managed to get to sleep (kept awake by the hard floors in the airport, and the dodgy people who wandered around looking for stuff to steal) about 5 minutes before Phil woke me up to tell me the Man U v Chelsea match was on in the bar, so off we went.

A brief flight later we landed on Koh Samui, an airport made from bamboo apparently. Then about 7:30 we were lying on a beach in our first resort, catching the morning rays. Samui is more of a holiday resort so was full of holiday makers only going for 2 weeks. Also a lot more commercial than I had hoped, but it was still good fun, we had a couple of quiet nights and then decided to move on to Koh Phangang for the remainder of Andy, Fi and Phil's stay.

After some advice from a bloke in the internet cafe we decided to head for the Thong Nai Pan beaches in the north east of the island, this turned out to be the only bit of good advice he gave. Two beaches joined into a large bay and were the nicest beaches I have ever seen. We spent a coupe of days and nights enjoying the nice surroundings before we got a little bored and decided to head for an area with a little more nightlife. Another reason we had to leave was because the area didn't have any cash machines and the resorts didn't take credit card, so we had to leave as we ran out of money. We had heard of the half moon party the following night in a place called Ban Tai, halfway along the south west coast of the island, so went picked a place out of the Lonely Planet called Mac's Bay resort. The resort is very relaxed and catered for all sorts, there are a few people here who are regulars every year, and spend about 3 months in the same beach bungalow.

The half moon party was good fun and we all got glow in the dark tattoos to show off. We didn't make it until sunrise though, as we'd had a hard day sunbathing, so got back about 5am maybe.

After a few days with more sunbathing and popping into the main town (Had Rin) Andy, Fi and Phil left to go their separate ways (Andy and Fi to Borneo for a week, and Phil to Australia), and I was left on my own. We had met a couple of canadian girls who were staying in the next bungalow, but I didn't really know anyone else on the resort. The first night on my own was a little miserable and I decide that I would have to make a proper effort the following night to go and meet some people. So the next day I went into Had Rin in the daytime and had a wander round. Then I went in again in the night time with the intention of going into each bar, and buying one drink and sitting with strangers. This seemed to work a treat, I met a couple of swedish girls, an English Lady called Wendy (who I've bumped into at every party I've been to since), an eastern eurpoean bloke, and a couple of Australian blokes. Although I didn't arrange to meet any of them again, I had a good night and ran into the 2 canadian girls later, who introduced me to a couple more people from our resort.

Over the next few days I made some more friends on the resort, and included a few pictures of them as that has been a big part of my time here.

Aside from the usual sunbathing and sleeping, I have managed a few day trips etc. A group from Mac Bay did the reggae boat trip around the island, which included stopping at a waterfall for a dip, then stopping at Bottle Beach (replaces Thong Nai Pan as the nicest beach I have ever seen), which is somewhere I'm going to go and visit with Mary (my sister) when she comes here. Following a swim in the warm sea we have a spot of lunch, then back on the boat for a bit more touring. After another half hour we stopped off for some snorkelling, the tour guide tried to make us all paranoid by telling us about sharks and red jelly fish etc. We got back to our resort and went for a sleep before going for an all you can eat buffet at a swedish restaurant called Anahata, which may have been the nicest food I have ever eaten.

Another night out involved going to the Super Muay Thai boxing, a group of about 10 went from Mac Bay. The sport is more brutal than I imagined, out of the 7 fights we saw, only 2 made it past the 1st round, and there were 3 knock outs. A good night was had by all, although most of the girls couldn't bear to look sometimes.

We also managed to take in a Thai festival which was going on in Thong Sala, we all jumped on mopeds (I had decided not to go on one before, as I'd seen so many people with scrapes and heard so many horror stories), but a bit of peer pressure later I was holding onto Tero's (crazy Fin) moped and off we went. We stayed at the festival for some food and had a look around, then Chai (cousin of Mac, from Mac Bay) suggested we go and play pool, and he took us to an English bar. Imagine my delight when I find they are showing 2 games of football live, it's safe to say we stayed for a while.

I've been here 2 weeks now and although I don't really want to leave I feel as though I should. Plus I've got to renew my visa. So tomorrow I head off from Koh Samui (bamboo) airport to Bangkok, then south to Hat Yai so I can nip across the border to Malaysia. I've heard good things about Hat Yai, but bad things about the border, so I'll update this again in a few more days and let you know how it went.
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