Bangkok to Koh Samui, Thailand

Secret look out point on Koh Samui, Thailand

After taking off on a red-eye from Hanoi in early July, we arrived in Bangkok at about 2:00am. AM folks. 2:00am is a magical time; too early for the subway to be open and too late to justify paying for a real bed to sleep in for the night. So we did what any sensible people would have done. Slept in the airport.

Well, Eric slept. My paranoid self just read. Thanks Janet Evanovich!

Once the sun came up and the train started running we hurried on over to the train station with our hearts set on taking the first morning train down the peninsula of Thailand to Koh Samui.

Our hopes were dashed when we arrived at the Hualongphu Train Station to find that the entire train was booked (this was typical of Thai trains the morning of, they buy ahead-unbeknownst to us). Our other options were to take the night train which did not have A/C accomodations available, or to take an air-conditioned night bus. We opted for the night bus (as per a recommendation we recieved in Nha Trang). We regrouped over doughnuts (finally!!) and decided to hit up our favorite places in Bangkok again before heading out that night. We went to one of our favorite “falang” restaurants in the city, Tartine, hung out at the TCDC and saw a movie- Kung Fu Panda 2 (!). We had a great day being in the city and it was comforting as we had spent so much time there before, we knew exactly what to do and where to go to have fun. Yay us!

Cafe Tartine, Bangkok

The Glory of Cafe Tartine in Bangkok

We headed back that night and to find the train station in a torrential rain. The train station roof (which had about the same heft as a handkerchief)  was busily leaking in water as we waded into the station. This caused the bus to be late by 1 hour, so when we finally boarded we were already behind schedule. This didn’t bother me because the bus was scheduled to arrive at the Pier by 5:00am, even though the ferries don’t start until 7:00am. I figured, great! Less time to wait at the Pier! Boy, was I wrong.

Just to give you a little reference, here’s a map of our journey from Bangkok to Koh Samui. And let me assure you, we followed the path exactly and yes, this is the most recent map I could find.

Our journey from Bangkok to Koh Samui, yes we did a loop-dee-loop

After boarding the bus we settled in for a long night of what I anticipated as a perfect night of slumber. Conditions were perfect:  a double-decker bus hurtling through the Thai night with 20 other party people on their way to the Full Moon Party. This was going to be great.

Each time the bus driver stops at a gas station or concession stand he gets a commission on whatever us passengers buy. We made about 5 stops in the course of the night. I guarantee no one needed snacks at 2:00am. Also, there was a bathroom on the bus. Perfect.

At 5:00am we arrived at what can best be described as a shack, where you can purchase food or pay to use the bathroom. We were near a river, or body of water so I assumed this was “the pier” where we would take a ferry to Koh Samui. Of course not! This was just somewhere we had to wait for 2 cursory two hours before being shuttled back onto another bus. After driving for another inexplicable hour, we were all shuttled off the bus to wait and another waiting/concession area for another 2 hours. At this point, we had our bags but no one around was telling us what was going on or where we should be going, which boat was ours, minor details like that.

So after Eric found out that our boat had arrived at the Pier (unannounced) our rowdy lot walked our way out to the pier. When we arrived, some self-appointed person was directing foot traffic and demanded we wait for another 10 perfunctory minutes. Finally-oh what a blessing- we were let onto the boat. After a brief 40 minute boat ride to the island, we disembarked for a minivan we had booked (onboard the boat) for $5/each that would take us to our hotel.

As we disembarked the boat, another passenger informed me that the night buses are notorious for stealing everything of value out of your big bag (not your purses) during the night (since your big bags are stored below on the first level of the bus while you sleep). Luckily, nothing is missing from our backpacks, but we keep ALL our valuables on our person when we travel. These girls informed me that their passports and wallets had been stolen. Excellent.

All of this was before 9:00am in the morning. We’d gone about 48 hours on about 5 hours sleep. We were not at our most fresh.

At long last, we arrived at our humble abode, Freehouse Bungalows (via Agoda.com). These basic little bungalows are nestled right on Bophut Beach, a nice quiet beach on the north side of the island. The accomodations were very basic but they were only $19/ night (no breakfast) so we couldn’t complain. After grabbing the best pad thai we’d had in Thailand from our “hotel’s” restaurant, we retired to our room for what can only be called 17 hours of sleep.

Ah, that’s better! Finally we were refreshed and ready to go and had finally gotten to the island we’d been planning on visiting for over a year! Yahoo!

After we crash landed we decided to extend our stay on Koh Samui until, well, even now. We were only planning on being here for 2 days and we’ve now been here for 11 days (the longest we’ve been in any one place so far). We stayed at the Freehouse Bungalows for a few days, eating yummy food at their restaurant, and renting scooters to explore the island.

Renting Scooters!

Exploring: Beverley Hills Resort, insert me there!

On our first day of exploration, we found ourselves at Coral Cove. The tiniest beach on the island and quite possibly the prettiest. We spent the day splish-splashing and playing with more watercolors.

Inspiration at Coral Cove, Koh Samui

Eric's take, plus you can see his lanterns!

My version, you can spy my lanterns too!

This island is the biggest of the islands down here (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao). As this one is the most developped we anticipated that we would want to leave it right away. Ironically, because there’s a little more to see and do here, we’re really liking it!

We’re in the middle of deciding the rest of our plans for July and the first week of August. We may stay longer on this island and keep exploring or move onto the other two for further exploration of the area. Stay tuned.

We’ve now moved to our own little beach bungalow in an even quieter neighborhood. It’s the perfect size for 2, we’ve got our own beach in front and we love our “landlords” who live next door {and their dog Winston the Mastiff and two cats: Eric and Carlos}! Next time I’ll post even more about our little life here on the island.

<3 Chelsea

 

 

 

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