Friday, 6 November 2015

South-East Asian Adventures: Koh Samui, Thailand

Where did we leave off? Ah yes, I was about to board the sleeper train from Bangkok - my first sleeper train ever.

That night entailed more than one first however, I also ate my first KFC. And if that's not broadening my horizons I don't know what is.

You have to be careful with what you eat in Thailand, and the last thing any of us wanted was to get sick on a 12 hour train, so we figured KFC was probably our safest bet from the station's offerings. And who doesn't love a chicken nugget or six?

The train was really quite fine, and definitely better than I'd feared expected.

There was just one large, comfy single chair on each side of the aisle, each with a neighbour facing them. You could put up a table and it was really very sociable.

It was actually Sarah's birthday that day so we all sang happy birthday to her and ate cupcakes which was so lovely (and of course I am always happy to see cupcakes.)

People walk up and down the aisles selling (mysterious Thai) food, and you can even order meals too! I was impressed by this, I must say.

When you're ready for bed, your carriage attendant will make up the beds - one upper, one lower. The sheets and pillow-covers are fresh, the blanket is in a packet, and the beds are pretty comfy. There's a curtain to pull across too. The only trouble is I was marginally too tall. And I'm 5'9". I'm yet to see a Thai person taller than me so spare a thought for poor 6'1" Jon who's part of our group.

Pleasingly, I did actually sleep. A bit. I reckon for maybe four hours, so it could've been worse. At 4.40am it was time to get up again though as the train would soon be reaching our stop.

Off we got at 5am, in the pitch black, and walked like zombies into a nearby café. There was wifi, there was caffeine and there was food. It was just what we needed. Over pancakes, smoothies and tea, I gradually woke up just as the sun did.

And then it was time to jump into minibuses and make our way to the ferry.

Unfortunately it was a slightly overcast morning, but it was only 8am and the sun was trying to break through. As we cruised over the water we admired the islands and even saw dolphins leaping through the waves which was amazing. The scenery was just incredible and so unlike anything I've ever seen before.

By the time we made it to Koh Samui, the sun was out and the excitement levels were rising.

Despite being slightly shattered, the one thing I was desperately after was a shower, so you have no idea how much I rejoiced when we got to the hotel and found out our rooms were ready early. Best shower of my life.

And there was no doubt where we were going to spend the rest of the day: the beach!

We ate lunch under palm trees by the crashing waves, wandered up and down the coast on the soft sand and lay on sun loungers drinking from coconuts.The coconut water here is so yummy and soooo much cheaper than the cartons you get your mum to buy back home.

I actually vividly remember being in Bristol about five months ago, in the middle of my finals, on a grey rainy day and dreaming of being on a white sandy beach with turquoise seas, sipping a coconut. And it actually happened. It sounds cringe but you've got to make your dreams come true, people. I had to pinch myself.

But my first priority that afternoon was to get in that ocean.

It was so warm!

Remember how I went on about the amazing warmth of the sea in Nice? Well the sea in Koh Samui blew that out of the water, if you'll pardon the pun. It was incredible.

Also, the waves were HUGE, which I had not been expecting. We kept being absolutely annihilated which was hilarious. See above photo.

That evening we went to a night market for dinner which was awesome - there are lots of different stands serving all sorts of different cuisines (and cocktails for £1.25!) and then there's communal seating in the middle.

It's also very pretty, with twinkling fairy lights, bunting and a great atmosphere.
Mango and sticky coconut rice.
Mango smoothie of dreams.
After eating we walked through the centre of Chaweng which was buzzing with life, despite it being low season. It was all a lot more touristy than I'd been expecting, but there were so many interesting things to look at.

Speaking of interesting things, we were on our way to a ladyboy cabaret show. It was so many things: weird, funny, strange, impressive, bizarre, entertaining, odd...  It took me a while to get into it but I did end up finding it really quite entertaining in the end.

And I suppose it's something so unique to Thai culture that I'm only going to see once so I'm glad I went, even though I did find it somewhat perplexing.

On our second day in Koh Samui we went off on a boat to sail round the islands - the idea was to spend the day snorkelling amongst tropical corals and fish, kayaking through mangroves and sunbathing on the top of the boat.

Sadly the weather had other ideas.

Approx. one minute after donning our snorkels the heavens opened and the heaviest of tropical storms broke out - thunder, lightning, fat raindrops... It was mad!

We all looked like we'd just been washed ashore after a shipwreck but it was actually kinda cool to be in the warm sea in the heavy rain. With the lightning, however, it wasn't the safest thing in the world so we reluctantly hopped back in the longboat and made our way back to the big boat to shelter, absolutely rocking the drowned-rat look. Luckily there was hot tea, coffee and hot chocolate on board, followed by a delicious warm lunch of Thai curries.

Although I didn't quite get the blue-sky-and-sunshine scenes I'd been hoping for, sailing round the islands was still great. The scenery is just so different to anything I've ever seen, and we saw flying fish and eagles too! It was incredible.

Also, I like boats and the sea.

Fortunately the weather was kinder to us on our third and final day in Koh Samui. After a morning spent getting long full-body Thai massages (for just £4!) we hot-footed it to the beach and found the most amazing spot: Elephant beach club, hotel and restaurant.

I think it was just because it's low-season but we were allowed in despite not staying there. Guests stay in charming little cabins around a gorgeous pool just off the beach. Comfy loungers are dotted round the pool, you're surrounded by palm trees laden with coconuts and you can look out to the sea from both the loungers and the pool.

Refreshing drinks in hand (the mango addiction is real. The mango smoothies are just like drinking the most amazing mango! I'm obsessed), it was damn dreamy.

Aaaand I know this shouldn't be a factor in the awesomeness of the situation but there was also free wifi. My poor friends. As I was snapchatting them pictures of my situation, they were all off to work on a dreary Monday morning. If I wasn't myself I would hate myself. I really need to stop or else I may have no friends left upon my return. (Hopefully my friends are happy for me..?)

We swam in the pool, soaked up the sun, sipped our drinks, read books and lolled in the sea - the waves were calmer and because the sea's so salty you can just lie back and float. Like being on a lilo, only without a lilo! It was awesome.

With the beautiful islands all around and a clear horizon, I made sure to savour the moment and notice every detail for when it's January and I'm back in rainy, grey England.

(If you're currently in rainy, grey England, please don't hate me! You have autumn leaves and toasty fireplaces and pumpkin spice lattes so it's not all bad. Even if it isn't exactly Koh Samui...)

*A couple of snaps stolen from Dan and Sarah!


  1. Haha I don't 100% hate you :) shame about the storm and the old lightning risk (health and safety gone mad hahaha) but it looks like you're having so much fun!! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua Italy

  2. Ah this is bringing back memories! I went here in the Summer. It was beautiful but found it a bit too touristy at times- like seedy/ package holiday kinda vibe. We actually stayed in Lamai but went to Chaweng beach which luckily for us was pretty deserted at the time.
    and i know what you mean about the coconut water, i practically lived off it while i was there, So cheap!
    If you get the chance, go to Koh Tao the smaller island nearby. Its beautiful and has a really nice backpackery feel- and is amazing for snorkeling, i saw a shark!


    1. Oh amazing, Julie! I totally know what you mean though. I'll have to go back and go to Koh Tao some time, sounds great! x

  3. I'd love to experience a sleeper train! Sounds like you are having a fab time, I'm loving the updates! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

    1. Thank you Chloe, that's so lovely to hear :) x


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