We arrived in Koh Samui tired but happy. It had been an incredible two weeks touring through Cambodia and Vietnam, but I was totally ready for some serious beach and relax time. Anyone who knows me loves that my absolute favorite moments are passed lying in the sun, with a good book on my kindle and a little lounge music playing, cocktail in hand.
Our first few days in Koh Samui were spent catching up on sleep and exploring some of the beaches on the island. We started off on Bophut beach, and then visited Chaong Non and Silver Beach the following two days. We also checked out the walking street in the Bophut Fisherman village, which was more like a night market. We chose to stay at a cool studio apartment near the airport in the North of the island, which was a very cool space…pool table included. Several lizards also included. In fact most of our stay in Asia included un-bargined for wildlife (foot long geckos, giant bugs, terrifying spiders and what I swear was a crocodile but apparently not).
Anxiously awaiting the arrival of my very best friend Marisa and her husband Eric, we then checked into a two bedroom house we rented in the Mae Nam area of the island on our fourth day there. The house was entirely made of wood and a pretty cool space, although the house manager Ron was pretty lame.
Marisa and Eric arrived in tow with their friends Danielle and Jeremy and Jorge proceeded to lead us on a wild goose chase to find a bar I had selected for us to visit for dinner and drinks. As we walked through the jungle, I silently cursed Jorge for yet again getting me lost…and then finally, we found it!The funny part is, once we’d found it, we were greeted by the owner, Pui, and it was like we were home! A warm welcome made our jungle hike suddenly forgettable, and Nature Bar became our hangout spot for the week. The owner Pui and his girlfriend Noi were totally awesome and made our stay unforgettable.
During the week, we hung out on our local beach and Nature Bar, rented scooters and headed again to Silver Beach and to The Cliff Bar for pricey drinks with a great view, and also day a day excursion to the Anthong National Park, which included kayaking, snorkeling and a boat ride to the archipelago that conveniently made Jorge and I seasick, as the boat battled a rocky sea. We also got a few massages, set off those flaming lanterns, and accidentally went to a lady boy brothel to karoke.
The most memorable parts of the week were simply spending some well needed time chilling on the beach and enjoying some quality time with Marisa. We’ve known each other since the sixth grade and she’s been an influential person in my life pretty much ever since. One of the things I adore about her is how no matter what is happening in my life, turbulent travels, job changes, moving across the nation or even the world, Marisa is a constant. She is home. She’s the sister I never had, someone who I know will immediately ground me and take me back to a safe and happy world of happiness, humor and comfort. She’s one of the people I miss most at any given time in my life, and we don’t get to spend nearly enough time together, so I was really happy we had this wonderful vacation together.
All good things must come to an end, and our whirlwind week with Marisa and Eric flew by. We headed to Koh Phangan on the ferry and I kept my chin up, knowing I would probably see Marisa this fall and of course, headed to tropical paradise, I couldn’t stay down for long.
Koh Phangan is, in all honesty, heaven. At least the heaven I hope to enter someday (fingers crossed!). Tropical paradise. White sands, palm trees, clear water for days. Pure perfection.
We arrived and were immediately picked up by the owner of our AirBNB rental, The Glass Cottage.
The Glass Cottage. This is the stuff dreams are made of people. I can’t believe I stayed in such a peaceful zen place. A small bungalow made entirely of glass, with incredible views of what was pretty much our own private beach. So romantic and tranquil! I could just curl up there staring at that view and never get tired of it.
Most of the time on Koh Phangan was simply spent lounging at various beaches, snorkeling, reading my kindle and floating in the arms of mi amore, Jorge (sorry to get cheesy, but this cottage was romance inducing, as I previously stated). We did make an exception to our relaxing routine to hit the Full Moon Party, which was insane.
I didn’t really drink much or get too crazy because of all the horror stories I had read about people getting robbed and stuff, but it was definitely an experience to be there, and watching the sun come up on the beach was special! (I am sure it would have been even more special if I was “on” what everyone else was, but you know me…not one to get too crazy these days!). The party was fun, an experience for sure, however I think I would have really enjoyed it more in my late teens or early twenties, those carefree youthful days! Of course, Jorge loved it. I had to talk him out of jumping rope on the fire rope though, thank god. I mean I really didn’t want to miss quality tanning time the next day tending to burn wounds at the hospital, so I was relieved when he actually listened to me.
My favorite experiences were snorkeling at Mae Haad beach and taking the water taxi to Bottle Beach. Bottle beach is so remote that there is no road to get there! So you have to arrive by a wooden boat. Magical! The snorkeling was amazing, the water is shallow so you have to be careful not to cut your stomach on the reef but I saw some amazing fish, some bigger than a foot long! I don’t know much about fish species…but I saw stripes, solids and polka dots! I also loved eating extra spicy fish at the Beach Lounge restaurant, which is rated number 1 on Trip Advisor in Koh Phangan, and for good reason.
Besides the energetic the full moon party, the island of Koh Phangan holds memories of a calm and beautiful natural spot that can rejuvenate anyone of any ailment. After my five days there, I felt inspired…calm, de-stressed, and ready to channel my inner fabulousness once again! Isn’t that what vacay’s are for?!
We ferryed back to Koh Samui, spent a day at the Nature Bar and the beach, and then headed to Chiang Mai…the last stop on our Asia itinerary.