The long days of travelling to get here are done, and we have slipped into relaxation/explorer mode. Getting here was exhausting as I mentioned in my oh-so-tired post from Hong Kong. We left on a Wednesday morning, but didn’t arrive into Bangkok till Thursday night around midnight. By the time we cleared customs and got our bags, navigated the airport and found the shuttle bus to our hotel and then actually got checked in, it was around 1:00 AM or so Friday morning!
I’m so glad we stayed where we did at the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport hotel (review to come). We booked the airport hotel knowing that we would be getting in late, but I didn’t realize it was a short drive away still. After a bit of a long wait for check in, I barely made it to the bed in our room before crashing hard! And speaking of hard, the beds so far everywhere are pretty hard – no cushy, pillow top mattress for the Thais I guess! But I still managed to get an okay sleep nonetheless. I had a bit of an issue for the first couple of days actually staying asleep, and I’d wake up around midnight to 2 AM and be WIDE AWAKE…. It sucked. The past couple of days, however, I don’t seem to be having the same issues thankfully! I’m sleeping at night and staying asleep, so the dreaded jet-lag hasn’t been too bad for me I guess. We got up in time in the morning to have our free breakfast, and it was fantastic! It might be a small and silly thing to most, but they had a real honey comb to scrape your fresh honey from if you wanted it! I loved it! Nothing like peanut butter and FRESH honey on toast to start a day off right! Our Bangkok Airways flight left around 2:00 PM on the Friday, and it was less than an hour travel time. Bangkok Airways refer to themselves as a “boutique airline” and I wasn’t sure what that meant at first, but I think it’s due to the extras you get, like a meal, even on a 50 min flight! It was a pretty nice flight, great service and a great in flight magazine.
At the Samui airport we were greeted by a wall of lovely humid heat – instant sweat, and I’m not sure we’ve dried off since LOL We waited a bit for our luggage, then found the mini bus shuttle that Sean, our host, recommended we take. The drive from the airport to the White Pearl was a bit long, and it was a great introduction to the wonder that is driving in Thailand! They drive on the opposite side of the road, but that wasn’t too foreign to me after having visited Europe already, but what is bat-shit-crazy is that since motorbikes are the preferred way to get around the island here, they freely pass on BOTH sides! Also, entire families are packed on those bikes as they weave in and out of traffic. I saw one mom with her very young child (maybe 5ish?) standing in front of her while she was driving. It made me gasp and chuckle a bit.
When we finally arrived at the White Pearl, we met Sean and were greeted with some lovely juice drinks – then we had a beer 🙂 We chatted for a bit before Sean showed us to our beachfront “hut” (or cabin maybe)? I did check out the photos online ahead of time, and had read that the accommodations were very basic, so I was expecting simple.
The room had a bed (mattress on a slab of concrete), a TV, air conditioning and some shelves, and another room with a small washroom which had a toilet and a shower facet on the wall next to it, and a sink. Again, I had viewed the photos prior to booking, but when it came down to real life living in the room, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to live like I was camping. There were some other concerns I had too, and I have come to realize that I am not a girl who wants to live in a bare bones basic way – I want a hotel – I want a comfy bed and a shower stall with walls. I didn’t sleep at all that night and as a result of the hard lump bed and of the lack of sleep, my back was the worst it had been since I first hurt it! I was crabby and in pain, and as much as I adore Sean, I just needed more from our accommodations. So we found something else online the next day, and Sean was kind enough to drive us there. He is a wonderful person, and gave us lots of tips. Plus his bar is super fun and the food was amazing!! I hope we get the chance to go visit him and have a day there again while we are on the island. We moved ourselves from a very quite, secluded part of the island closer to the more touristy and busy part of the island. We were originally looking for quiet and seclusion, but quickly realized that it would be easier to explore and to get involved with activities if we were on the more touristy beaches. So we arrived at the Chaweng Garden Beach Resort (review to come) and waited to check in. We were greeted with lovely refreshing juice drinks, but had to wait a bit for check in. Once we finally did speak to someone, we realized that we messed our dates up and had ourselves booked in for the next day! Luckily, they were able to accommodate our extra day.
Our room is on the main floor of a long strip of rooms, and I guess ours is called a suite? I think it’s just a bit bigger than the regular standard rooms. We are a very short walk to the beach, and the restaurant and pool areas. The location is ideal because it feels very jungle-like and remote, but a minute walk outside of the resort and we are smack dab in the middle of the action. There are 7-11 stores about every second store, and a mall nearby with a great grocery store. The resort is under the flight path of the incoming/outgoing planes, but that hasn’t bothered me at all and it’s cool to see the planes so close up.
The food so far has been amazing, and inexpensive, even on the touristy streets. We are trying Thai food, but I’m not exactly sure what the proper names are for what we’ve had LOL I just know it’s really tasty! I had worried that it might be too spicy for me since I’m a baby when it comes to eating spicy food, and I consider pepper too spicy for me. But, I am pleased to report that even though the food has spices, it doesn’t create the same taste bud killing burn, and is rather more like a mouth tingle. It is more warming flavour than burn, and I like it! Today, however, I caved and had to try a Thai version of a pizza – Hawaiian style. It was pretty good, but I’m not sure why they brought me a side of ketchup with it? LOL
I also found myself weak and under the powerful spell of the Starbucks seasonal red cup, and stopped in there to satisfy my desire for a Christmas latte. I won’t be doing that again because when I did the baht to cad conversion, I realize that I paid about $5.70 for a tall (small) drink! Not worth it I’m afraid, especially since I’m rather fond of the regular brewed coffee available here. At the breakfast buffet they have coffee (pretty strong stuff) that I add warm milk to and it’s delish!
After a full day of walking around yesterday, we decided to treat ourselves to some massages – I’m not ready yet for the full Thai massage, so I opted for a 40 min foot massage, and Steve had a 40 min hand massage. Shoes are left outside before entering, then they brought us to the back where they washed our feet too. I remember reading that Thais consider feet dirty, and that we will need to take our shoes off before entering temples or homes or some shops even. We were then brought to the chairs to sit back and enjoy the pampering. I had an older lady, who didn’t speak any English to me, and Steve had this little petite young girl. The massages were pretty relaxing, but didn’t stop at the feet and hands – they included about an extra 5 minutes of neck/head and face massaging too! Not a bad way to spend 40 minutes and about $13 bucks total for both of us!
The nightlife on the main tourist strip reminded me a bit of Vegas in that there are lots of shiny lights and open air pubs, as well as people walking down the street drinking. But instead of costumed characters like Spiderman and minions, there were people with monkeys and iguanas trying to get you to take pictures and give them cash. Oh, and the lady boys and entertainers were handing out brochures and coupons for their clubs, and most of the shops were trying to lure us in to take a look and buy something. Kinda of the same, but ever so different too. 🙂 Hope everyone back home is keeping warm and safe! I hear that the temps have been dropping, and there is snow now and icy roads – ick! Take care out there!