The Beach...with the Golden Gun?

Trip Start Mar 13, 2010
Trip End Feb 13, 2011

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Where I stayed
Green Villa

Flag of Thailand  , Nakhon Si Thammarat,
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So, ready to begin the first part of our trip to Koh Samui, we arrived at our the train station with plenty of time to spare and set about doing two things. First off, we lugged all of our luggage onto the train and got everything hooked into place and secure for the overnight journey. Secondly, with myself and Annie remembering all too well the 'delights' of Thai train food from previous journeys, Marissa and I went back into the train station to grab snacks and drinks. Eventually we were all set for the off – packed up with Dunkin' Donuts, crisps, baked goods and the sweetest 7up humanely imaginable – only to (un)surprisingly find the train running late for no real reason other than it just was.

Eventually, only running about an hour late, the train slowly chugged out of the station, crawling through the outskirts of Bangkok and began the long haul to Suratthani, where we would catch the bus to the pier, and then the ferry to Koh Samui itself. We managed to annoy the train staff by sitting (disgusting, I know) in our seats for almost half and hour before letting them put up our beds! The next morning we woke to find that, shock horror, the train was further delayed (by about 2 hours). When we arrived at Suratthani we found our bus transfer to the pier and after the most strangely routed journey – including being told we were on the wrong bus, but not to get off – we got to the ferry. The ferry was massively over-populated (surprise surprise) and there were no seats left inside...and it was raining heavily; fun! But we made it, fortunately the sea was pretty damn calm the entire way. And as soon as we hit land we jumped into a taxi to take us to our resort, Green Villa.

I think I would describe the overall trip as...interesting.

Anyhow, when we got there it was fantastic. We were a 2-3 minute walk from Lamai beach, which was almost deserted around our area and the sea was clear and warm. However, we were so tired from the travelling the first thing we did was take a siesta. We followed this by eating, having a few beers and then...going to bed. The next few days were taken up with swimming (both in the sea and pool), sunning on the beach, walks along the beach, eating, drinking, and general merriment and relaxation (hey, travelling the world is tough!). Anyhow, after we all felt we'd had enough rest and relaxing, we decided to book some trips to make the most of our time on Samui. We headed to the main stretch on Lamai, wondered round several of the travel agency-type places, and after some strong haggling (which, post-Africa and Asia you really get into) we walked out with sea fishing and a snorkelling/kayaking cruise trip to look forward to.

Before we had the chance to do our either of our booked trips, however, we realised that we had another big choice to make. On the 21st November there was the chance to attend either the Full Moon party on Koh Pha Ngan, or to go an watch the Thai festival of Loi Krathong on Koh Samui itself. Now, many people we have met on our travels have said that if we were anywhere near the islands for the Full Moon party we should definitely go...however, most of those people were the type of people I wouldn't take advice from regarding what type of water to drink so we decided to go Loi Krathong instead. It turned out to be a wise choice. We headed down to the beach at the northern end of Lamai late-ish on the night of the 21st not entirely sure about what to expect and the sight was a pretty awesome one. Even from a distance we could make out the impressively sized lanterns floating up into the pitch black sky, and the beach itself was invisible underneath a throng of people. There was a mini stage being used for a concert, impromptu bars set up on the beach and a general feeling of festive cheer. The only downside was that we had to leave early as we had an early morning the next day, going on our snorkelling trip to Ang Thong...

Unfortunately, especially as we got up at 6 in the am, it was hammering it down with rain the next morning and we found out (at 8am, when our resort reception opened) that the day had been cancelled! It wasn't all bad as we weren't all feeling great and it literally rained all day. So we chilled out in the bar all day; myself and Joe caught an early night as we were going fishing the next day.

The girls decided fishing probably wasn't their bag (wisely) and plumped for some massage therapy whilst we were away. The fishing was a great experience – I had never been sea fishing before and Joe had been only once previously – but our relative lack of experience didn't take away from the fun. We went out early in the morning and it was hot, really hot, sitting out in the sun waiting patiently (at first, anyhow) for the fish to come a-biting at our bait. A group of Russians sitting on the other side of the boat from us seemed to be getting all the luck to start with; they were reeling in fish after fish, and even hooking a Stingray – although the guy managed to lose it, simultaneously scaring off every other fish for about a mile around! Joe did admirably well, hooking 2 octopuses and 1 shell!

The afternoon came, and after lunch (not really touched due to the effects of the heat combined with the bobbing of the boat) fortune smiled on us. I managed to reel in a reasonably sized fish – well, ok, it was over a foot long and better than nothing – and we were getting plenty of bites for the best part of an hour. Then, nothing. The fish had all gone quiet; no bites, no nibbles, nothing. Joe and I sat drinking and chatting for the best part of 2 hours whilst willing our lines to jerk (or even twitch) down. Then, after some of our fellow fishermen had put their lines away, Joe got a tug on his line. At first we thought he'd actually got caught on the seabed – a problem we'd all had at some point in the day – but no, it was actually something on the end of his line. As he reeled his line in, a couple of guys came over to look, and then out popped the biggest fish of the day. About 2 foot long. It certainly beat his previous best – a tiny octopus in a shell – by some way! Even better, we got to take it home to have it for dinner with a nice Pad Thai...Mmmmmm.

The next day we had another early start, as we went on our speedboat cruise for snorkelling, kayaking and to see the Ang Thong National Marine Park - featured in classic films like 'The Beach' and 'The Man with the Golden Gun'. It was a fantastic day, glorious sunshine and calm seas - this made up for the fact that the trip had been cancelled first time round due to one of the several tropical downpours we experienced when on Samui. The snorkelling was brilliant; the water was super-clear and the fish were plenty. I only wish we'd had longer than the 45 minutes as it passed too quickly! The kayaking was also great fun; drifting along in the sunshine across a glass clear and still sea certainly beats several Monday mornings I've had before. But the best thing about the trip was the stunning views from wherever you looked out of the speedboat. The pictures we took can do it more justice than words ever will. It was simply fantastic.

In between more beach-time and relaxation, we went for a stroll down to the very southern end of Lamai beach to see one of the more, ahem, unusual sights that Samui has to offer...Again, I think it's best allowing the photos to speak for themselves, but the rock formations affectionately named Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandmother and Grandfather) are certainly...different. And very amusing, in a schoolboy type humour kinda way.

And then, all too soon for my liking, it was back to Bangkok for Marissa and Joe to catch their flight back to the good ole' snowy UK. And for us to spend a few extra days in Thailand before jetting to Australia.

However, we did have time for another typically Thai train journey on our way back. Some might think another ferry back to the mainland with no seats - this time filled with people from the recent full-moon party (never been so glad I haven't been to a party in my life to date, and doubt I ever will again!) - followed by a 2 hour bus trip covering the whopping distance of...50km would contain enough pain for one trip. Then imagine after that having to endure a 5 hour wait at Suratthani station whilst having to listen to a Comedian, whom you know is terrible, in spite of the fact that he is performing in Thai - a language you do not speak! Never mind, eh...
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shiiuga on

Late trains, that sounds very familiar. Is Thailand a part of Italy by any chance?

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