Four days on Koh Samui, Thailand
08.30.2007 26 °C
( Jenn )
Mid-afternoon, we took a taxi from Mingood Hotel to Bayan Lepas (Penang's International Airport). It should have cost us 20 MYR but the driver charged us 35, telling us the hotel charged /him/ a 15 MYR kickback for calling him and that he was just passing that along. We knew this to be true from things we'd read and forgotten so we paid up without question but next time we'll walk a block down and wave one over instead.
The airport was great. Expensive like any other airport but still cheap in our books, we managed to grab muffins and a couple cans of pop to tide us over until dinner, along with a package of Mentos to stop everyone's ears from popping on the plane.
Past security, there were lots of stores and comfortable seats and we spent the remaining hour before our flight watching our small 50 seat Fokker being refueled and playing games on the cellphone. Oh, and Anica played her version of Sumo wrestler - putting her backpack on frontways and slamming into us over and over
When it came time to be called for the plane, a man led us down some stairs, out onto the tarmac and waved in the direction of our plane. It was small enough that there were only four steps leading up into it, and as we were sitting right under the wing, we got to watch the wheels being raised and lowered. Anica /loved/ it.
The flight took roughly an hour and fifteen minutes and Anica was terribly disappointed when it was over. Too short, she declared, but the open-air tram waiting to take us to the customs and baggage area more than made up for it.
Customs was simple and quick with only one guy waiting to jump us on the other side. 500 baht, he told us - private taxi. We knew it was supposed to cost 200-300 and we kept insisting 300 but eventually agreed to 400 - anything to get to our hotel, and again, knowing how little we were quibbling over.
The drive around Koh Samui, to Bophut and our resort, was slightly harrowing as usual. Left-sided driving, tons of motorbikes, too many driven by Westerners who have no clue what they're doing, narrow streets, huge trucks and 4x4s unlike Pangkor, etc. But we got there and wow...
The place was heaven. It was a real splurge for us coming in around the 100 CDN mark a night, but when our itinerary shifted we found ourselves there in peak season /and/ on a weekend.
Oh well. For that price we got a huge buffet breakfast every morning (eating well enough to carry ourselves through to dinner) and a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom bungalow with a living room, tv, free drinking water, daily maid service, towels (both beach and bathroom - a huge luxury after barely being given one at some of the hostels).
Our room at the resort
Anica had her own living quarters and loved it - as did we, finally getting some alone time after almost four weeks on the road.
The beds were hugely comfortable, the air conditioning actually adjustable, and we had a wonderful porch with a table, chairs and a rack for drying all our wet things. There were two swimming pools: a smaller one right outside our door and a larger one at the front of the resort
gorgeous gardens, a beachfront restaurant, a whole village of shops and restaurants, and a long strip of beautiful sandy beach
Given that we're looking at four weeks in China followed by two in Vietnam, this was exactly what we needed. And even though it came fairly close on the heels of being in Pangkor, it was a totally different experience and I'm glad we managed to have them both.
The first thing we did upon arrival - after running around our huge bungalow celebrating how clean and large and gorgeous it was - was go swimming in the pool right outside. Then we hunted up dinner at The Frog & Gecko. True to its name, there were dozens of geckos running around inside - up and down the walls, the ceiling, etc. Good thing they're so cute and useful! Anica indulged in a bacon cheeseburger, Rob in a mince and onion pie with mashed potatoes and I had potato skins with cheese and bacon. Yum!
Anica at the Frog & Gecko
( Jenn )
So, after several more encounters with cockroaches - one falling from our air-conditioning unit, two in the shower, and another by the bathroom door handle - we can honestly say that your surroundings make all the difference in how you react to the things.
Take a scummy slimy dingy hostel with rats crawling around near the restaurant and one cockroach is enough to make you run (almost literally) from town a day early. But find a couple of them over a few days at a place kept so squeaky clean and you can easily chock them up to the climate and nature of the location.
Oh, gross factor of the day? Being suddenly deterred from using the beach by the underwater sewage spill (burst pipe) just down the way. Ugh. *clings to pools*
Random act of kindess of the day? Committed by the lovely Australian family from Hong Kong who dropped off all their beach toys, mats, insect repellent and electronic mosquito zappers on our front porch before leaving for the airport. Thank you!
Rob says I should continue to mention the restaurants. Last night we went to the Happy Elephant. Anica had a lovely huge cheese sandwich which came on a submarine bun with fries and coleslaw. She also had her first "mocktail" - mango, orange and pineapple juices mixed with strawberry syrup. Rob and I shared pork satay with peanut sauce, prawns with thai chili paste and beef with basil. All was delicious and made even more so by our table overlooking the water.
Tonight we checked out Starfish and Coffee. Again ushered to a table overlooking the water (something you could have every night for two weeks here and never have to repeat a restaurant), Anica ordered a cheeseburger with fries and we had more seafood! which made for a happy Rob. Prawns with basil and onion, crab with sweet chili paste, more pork satay with peanut sauce and springs rolls with chili sauce. Mm mm good. And all meals that, while not cheap by non-resort Thai standards, set us back for a third of what they would cost us at home.
( Jenn )
Our last night we ate at the Frog & Gecko again. We were craving comfort food and it was the only place that really had its kitchen going before 7 pm. I had the potato skins again while Anica had a back bacon sandwich and Rob had chili. Yum again.
It's been a gorgeous three days (well, three and a half) and we're going to be sorry to leave. I could've used a day or two more I think :P