In the Water
The Andaman Sea, that is.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
FINALLY - This vacation is beginning to feel like a VACATION! After an exhaustive 2 weeks of hiking through Thailand and Cambodia, we have finally arrived on the island of Ko Samui in the south of Thailand. Marking the final leg of our trip, these final days are dedicated to sitting on the beach, working on our tans, watching the waves roll in, and most important, RELAXING!
We arrived, via ferry, from Surat Thani, in the mid-afternoon. It occurred to us on the ferry that we could no longer put off our decision and needed to decide on what beach we were going to stay at. After more reading, we decided that Bo Phut Beach would be our island destination. Sally decided that she wanted to stay at "The Lodge" but when she called was told that the only nights they had rooms available was the 18th and 19th. The Lodge directed us to the Smile Hotel (located just across the street). At first, we questioned going there but decided to check it out.
Smile Hotel is quite lovely. Our bungalow overlooks one of the hotel's beautiful swimming pools and is but a short walk
to the beach (i.e. across the street and through the hotel restuarant). The view was beautiful. However, we were set on finding a hotel that would give us a view. After renting our bungalow at the Smile Hotel for the next two nights, we headed over to check out The Lodge. It was perfect and decided that it was worth moving to for our final two days on the beach. With hotel reservations made, we were ready to sit back and enjoy our last few days in Thailand. After an evening of exploration, we found Bo Phut Beach to be quite quaint with a long stretch of beautiful beach, spotted with coconut and palms trees, a pelethora of beachside restaurants, cute little boutiques, and pubs galore! After such a long day of travel we decided to take in a little dinner followed by a quick dip in the pool before heading to bed.
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
Talk about a lazy day on the beach! We took advantage of our leisurely schedule and slept in! We ate breakfast at the hotel's restaurant, over-looking the beach and decided to make that our priority for the day - Lounging on the
3rd Match of the Night
We got to sit ringside for these fights!
Beach! The water was beautiful, transforming in color from a perfect seaform green to a gorgeous aqua blue. Warm and refreshing, we couldn't get enough! We finally rolled ourselves off our lounge chairs and headed down the street for happy hour at the Mosquito. Our bartender, a tiny and most attractive young Thai lady, was not only cheerful and perky, but also made one hell of a drink! In the matter of a couple of hours, our bartender had expertly poured us white russians, mai thais, pina coladas, sidecars, singapore slings, and whatever else we might have ordered. Feeling good, we decided to head over to the Frog and Gecko for some dinner and their weekly pub quiz. As "Team Portlandia" we did our best to represent but sadly, the Sports Bag catagory left us in fouth place (out of eight teams, that's not so bad). We learned a lot that night about cricket terminology, soccer stadiums, rugby stars, and even a little about American boxing (we shall never forget the name, "Rocky Marciano"). The whooping score of 1 point in this catagory was embarressing, to say the least! Luckily, we were able to save a little face with our
knowledge of geography, nature & science, and culture vulture. We had the opportunity to redeem ourselves with "What Year" but was one year off....argh, the pain of it all! After a great night of pub quizing, a delicious burger washed down with a few red bull and vodkas, we headed back to rest for another exhausting day of lounging by the beach!
Thursday, September 18th, 2008
After some breakfast and a quick swim, we checked out of our room at the Smile House and walked across the street to the Lodge. It was well worth the move! The Lodge is a small hotel, three stories high, with 10 guest rooms, each with a picture perfect view of the beach! After dropping off our bags, we changed into our swim suits and headed out the back door and right onto the beach. After a few more hours of swimming and lounging in the sun, Sally decided she NEEDED a Thai massage. Yes, NEEDED! Opting for the deep Thai massage, Sally returned an hour later smelling of Tiger balm and floating on air! Finding ourselves a bit sunburnt, we decided to head back in. Making our way back to the Mosquito
for happy hour, we found our favorite little bartender and had her pour us a number of Mad Hatters and Bloody Mary's!
Friday, September 19th, 2008
We now had our routine down - wake up early, head out to the beach, scope out the perfect location for our lounge chairs, order a couple of cappacinos, lay out, cool off with a quick swim, and REPEAT to our heart's delight! Today however, we changed up our schedule a bit. Mid-afternoon we decided to head out to Magic Alambic, a local rum distillery. Getting there was an adventure all on its own. After being quoted nearly $30 for a taxi to take us to the distillery, we decided to seek out alternative transportation. We walked out to the main road to see what our options might be. Sadly, tuk tuks are not readily available on the island. Instead, we searched for a "songthaew" or otherwise known as a pick-up with benches in the back. The songthaew was headed to Chewang Beach, which was half way to our destination (or so we thought). At Chewang Beach, we were very lucky to run into a songthaew who lived close to the distillery. He
agreed to take us straight to the distillery for $10. Once we were there, we made arrangements for him to pick us back up (in a mess of english/thai we learned he had a 4 month old son that he wanted to visit during lunch) in an hour and a half. The rum distillery is a privately-owned family-run business. A French couple began the agricultural rum distillery about 15 years ago and uses only natural ingredients from the island and mainland, such as sugar cane, coconuts, pineapple, etc. The woman we met at the cabana was very friendly and served up samples of the various rums made. After working on our buzz, we purchased some bottles (since they do not ship to the US) and headed out to Chewang Beach for Sally's birthday dinner and Muay Thai Boxing.
Chewang Beach, sadly, is a little disappointing. Over-run by tourism, the beach (Ko Samui's most popular) is barely accesible, let alone visible for that matter. The two roads paralleling the beach are non-stop traffic and the exhaust of mopeds and trucks gives you the feeling you're back on Khao San Road. Not to improve the situation, American fast-food giants moved in
Sign at Blue Corner
Singha (pronounced 'sing') was the sponsor of the Muay Thai fights at Chewang Stadium.
while vendors line the streets with cheap goods at inflated prices. So we found dinner with a restaurant that claimed a view of the lake since there were none that overlooked a beach (the 5-star resorts can be thanked for that.) The restaurant aptly named "The Lake" overlooked another road (also in a traffic-jam) which overlooked the lake. Hungry, we settled, and had steak, baked potatoes, chips (french fries,) cappucinos, and fried bananas a la mode (no cake.) The dinner was not disappointing! Although the restaurant couldn't live up to its view, it did with its dinner.
After dinner, we proceeded along the polluted and noisy road to find our stadium for the boxing matches. We arrived at Chewang Beach Stadium
only to find out the fights weren't until the next night. We both swore we saw signs posted for this particular evening but the lady at the stadium could offer us no direction. Disappointed we headed back out to the main road. Luckily, Sally saw another sign advertising this evening's fight. A few taxi drivers were standing there and we managed to find out that the Chewang (no "Beach") Stadium was hosting this evening's fight and that it
Bo Phut Beach
A small yet almost unknown beach amongst the tourists keeping the beach secluded from the melee of Chewang and Lamai Beaches.
was right down the road. We finally stumbled upon the stadium and were pleased to see that we were still in time to see the first fight. We opted to pay the 1,000 baht (about $30) to sit ringside and agreed later that it was money well spent! The fights were great. As usual, the first was the lightest weight-class at 90lbs. Though exciting, there just seemed something wrong about watching 12 year olds kick the sh*t out of one another. Either way, the boys put on a great fight! The main event for the night was even more exciting with, who we believe to be the underdog, just as he was getting beat on, came back and knocked the 'favorite-to-win' out cold! We happened to be sitting next to the locals and a multitude of bookies. The frenzy that accompanied the knock out led us to suspect that whomever bet on the underdog, won BIG! The last fight of the night was a special fight with a Brit fighting against a local Thai favorite. It was not a spectacular fight with the Brit finally calling the fight during the second round. Overall, the evening was a blast and anyone
who gets the chance to check out a Muay Thai fight should! (NOTE: The fight at Chewang is geared to foreigners. For a less-foreigner focus, check out the fights in Bangkok, though beware, it will cost you more).
Saturday, September 20th, 2008
Happy Birthday to Sally! We started our day like every other day on the beach, lounging in the sun, swimming in crystal clear water, and enjoying all that mother nature had so kindly blessed to Ko Samui! Sadly, today would be our last day. Stretching out the day for as long as possible, we finally made our way back to the room to get ready and pack our bags. We had a few hours to kill before catching our flight to Bangkok and hit up the local English pub for some lunch. It must have been a sign that it was our time to leave, for within an hour of sitting there a HUGE storm blew in, turning the beautiful blue skies to grey, and dropping buckets of rain. It was clearly a sign that it was time to leave and as such, we did.
Thanks everyone for reading our blog. We hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed living it! See you all very soon ~ Sally & Curtis
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