Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
40Trip End May 25, 2013
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Penang had been an interesting one night stopover as James had us on one of his budget drives again, suggesting a nice leisurely walk from Penang airport to our hotel for the night rather than a £3 taxi or cheaper still a 30p bus ticket each! Unfortunately, the walk was anything but leisurely as we soon found ourselves walking up a dual carriageway slip lane, baggage in tow!! We should have learnt by now that pavements are a premium in this part of the world!!
Our hotel for the night though was really nice and new and more than comfortable for a one night stopover
Anyway, back to Ko Samui. The first thing that struck us was the airport. It was amazing as each arrival/ departure gate was just an open aired straw hut! It was a very cool way to arrive in our first Thai island.
Our first nights accommodation was in a hotel in a small town on the coast called Bangrak. It was very good for only £13 for the night and had more than enough in the way of "in-room" facilities. We had booked a different hotel for our second, third and fourth nights which was good as Bangrak was a little on the quiet side.
For dinner on our first evening, we decided to head into the next, much nicer resort along called Bophut Town which is where we thought our next hotel would be. We headed to a little area called Fisherman's Village. I was in my element here as the place was just lovely, it had lots of little market stalls selling sunglasses, hats, clothes, hand bags, jewellery, etc. I could have shopped all night! However, James was hungry.....
On our second day we checked out of our hotel and headed to our resort for the next three nights. We quickly realised that our next resort was only 50 metres down the road from the first one, and not in Bophut Town as we'd thought!! Aghhhhhh! Tripadvisor maps were becoming the bane of our lives! However, our disappointment of being unable to map read was soon forgotten as we checked into a beautiful hotel called the Samui Pier Resort. It was far too upmarket for us backpackers and way out of budget but it was very nice. We even had a fridge in our room and could see the sea from our veranda!
The resort had its own pool and a small semi-private piece of beach too which was lovely. They even had sun loungers, with cushions which I got to lay on for 2 days in glorious sunshine. Whoo hoo!
We had three lovely nights at Samui Pier and I even made a random new Facebook friend - the female Thai owner of the restaurant opposite our resort where we ate breakfast and lunch every day for 3 days running! My third new Facebook friend of the trip so far!
James had to go one better though and, during two trips to 7-11, he got "chatted up" by the female shop attendant (who looked about 12!)
If we're honest, our expectations of Ko Samui had not been that high in terms of the Thai Islands. Other than Phuket, we learned that it is the only other island in Thailand with an International airport and, whilst that doesn't sound like a bad thing necessarily, it does attract a lot of 2 week western tourists. Without wanting to sound like snobs here, being "seasoned travellers" (hardly!!), we're really after seeing the more chilled, relaxed and isolated parts of the islands, not the bits which we can easily fly to on another holiday. Whilst we had enjoyed our 4 nights in Ko Samui, we had seen the first bit of the sleazy side of Thailand in some of the bars (not dodgy bars either!!!), which wasn't pleasant to watch. I'm sure it'll be much worse in Bangkok when we get there in a couple of weeks! It had felt a little bit "Brits abroad" compared to say Langkawi or some of the other places we have been to so far, and we were in one of the quieter stretches of Ko Samui's coast too!
Our expectations of Ko Phangan are similar to Ko Samui but I think our Thai islands after that, particularly Ko Lanta, will be much more like what we imagined when we added Thailand and its islands into our trip. Time will tell!
Anyway, next stop for us is Ko Phangan where we'll be for 4 nights. We'll speak to you there!
Lots of love,
James and Amy xx