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Published: August 4th 2013
Ahhh Thailand, there’s this ‘smell’ as you step off the plane in Thailand … it’s not a good smell or a bad smell it’s just… Thailand! I love it! It’s heat, spices, pollution, a foreign country, holidays, all combined in one. We’ve been to this charming South East Asian country a dozen plus times now, to various places and for varying lengths of time, in fact I’d been in Bangkok for a night just a few weeks earlier on our way TO New Zealand. Every time it feels like coming home. I guess it’s just the familiarity of it all and that we’ve loved every trip we’ve ever had there.
It’s the gorgeous, friendly Thai people, the amazing weather, the huge range of things to do-see-experience from the very north of the country to the south and all those stunning islands; it’s so cheap you can live like kings; the culture of Thai people, and also the very apparent Buddhism religion. We love travelling to countries where the main religion is Buddhism – the people just seem genuinely nice! I know some people put Thailand in the ‘oh that’s so touristy’ category, but we’ve travelled to over 80 countries around
the world and feel we have some experience to be able to say we still love Thailand. There’s just something about it that grabs us.
We’d been home for 2-3 weeks (Martin 2 and Bunny 3 – Bunny enjoys being freelance) ;-) and had booked a short 6 nights in Thailand on the way back to recuperate from what we knew would be a very busy time in NZ (first time home in 4 years = a lot to do, a wedding, and so many people to catch up with!)
First up, it was a night in Bangkok as the flights usually dictate out of NZ. Back to Baiyoke Sky, the hotel we’ve stayed at since about 2005. As always, it was a smooth exit from the airport, into a taxi and to our hotel. Interestingly, since our last time there, Baiyoke Sky now seems to have a huge number of Japanese tourists – their sales manager must be really pushing the hotel in Japan! We dumped bags, changed and were in a taxi to Khao San Road and surrounding areas in no time. (Although having to go through about 5 taxi drivers before finding one who didn’t
want to charge 5 times the price and would actually put the meter on – seems other tourists must be getting worse at bargaining and not requesting the meter!). Bunny had been by herself a few weeks before (and ended up hanging out with a couple of Swedish backpackers as you do) but it was good for Martin to get back there and it’s just a great place for people watching. After strolling the well-worn strip and checking out this iconic street, we headed over one street and had dinner in Soi Rambuttri. First Thai meal under our belts, we were back to our hotel as we had an early flight out to Koh Samui the next morning.
We were happy to see that Koh Samui airport, though it has grown somewhat since we first started going, still has some of its thatched roof buildings and is still largely open air. It just ensures you feel like you just landed on a tropical island! After Martin left his passport on the plane (Amateur!) the staff kindly retrieved it for us and before long we had bags in hand and were on our way. We were trying a new resort
this time around, and jumped in a minibus to take us there. The 4 star resort was bungalow style which we do ultimately prefer, at the quieter southern end of Chaweng Beach. It was a really nice resort, lovely rooms, spa and the famed Thai customer service. We liked the location in terms of being closer to central Chaweng, we could walk rather than taking one of the local motorbike taxis or jeeps as we did when we stayed in Chaweng Noi. However, sadly Chaweng Beach is now heavily eroded, a lot of the resorts along the beach have put up concrete walls and when the sea is at high tide; they have next to no beach left in front of their resort. For this reason, we did go back to see Chaweng Noi where we usually stay on Koh Samui to check out the beach there and it’s still lovely and nowhere near as eroded so the beach there is definitely nicer.
We had a great 3 nights on Koh Samui, just enjoying the weather, strolls down the beach, around town, cocktails and singha in the bars, and eating fab Thai food! We enjoyed the walking street in
Chaweng – lots of great local food at ridiculously cheap prices! Also can’t forget our nightly pancakes from the pancake street vendors – we even had our ‘regular pancake stalls’ very quickly established! We hired a scooter one day for the princely sum of £3 for 24 hours ;-) (the gas cost more than the bike) and went for a drive to Lamai Beach and beyond. We really just hung out so there’s not a lot to go into detail about! However, suffice to say we loved our time there and once AGAIN planned to one day own a cosy little bar and restaurant there to while away a couple of years ;-)
Our last morning in Koh Samui came around far too quickly and we were on the ferry to Koh Phangan. Our resort was set on its own private stretch of beach – beside Thong Nai Pan Noi, about 45mins drive from the jetty which included the rutted dirt tracks to actually gain access to the resort. The resort, Santhiya, absolutely lived up to its 5 star rating – it was breath-taking! The rooms and villas are spaced out all down a hillside set into the landscape
with absolutely stunning grounds and fantastic views of … well, paradise ;-) The views from the breakfast restaurant over the bay and the pool area complete with cascading waterfall are of course just a few more ‘wows’ ;-) Thong Nai Pan Noi and the next cove around, Thong Nai Pan Yai, are twin coves forming a picturesque double bay of white powdered beaches, aqua water and tropical jungle covering the hillsides. Did we say stunning already?
To make this location even better, it was a 5min walk along the beach, over the rocks to the public beach and to the small village of Thong Nai Pan Noi. For such a small, out of the way spot, there were some FAB little local restaurants serving up delicious Thai (and Laos!) food, really good food for such cheap prices! We were in heaven – a lovely little village and stunning beaches? What more could we ask for?! There was even one cool restaurant complete with a baby bunny, it was so cute! We would put it on our table while drinking our cocktails – it was called Lakoon (or sounded like that!) and it quite liked munching on Bunny’s cocktail garnishes!
We had an awesome few days sunning ourselves, eating and drinking away in the village and generally just chilling out. It was so nice to be back in Thailand and, as always, we didn’t want to leave. One day we definitely have to live in Thailand – it’s been on the list for too long already ;-)
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