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Another slice of paradise

Koh Samui - Lamai Beach
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

We checked out, packed our stuff and jumped in a baht bus and within half an hour we had checked in at Samui Beach Resort in Lamai. Our room was a beach hut that was literally 30 seconds away from the hotel pool area and bar which overlooked the beach and sea. This was probably the closest we have ever stayed to the beach on any holiday we have ever been on! Happy days :-)

We spent the whole afternoon chilling on a sun lounger on the beach, reading and periodically jumping in the sea for a swim and cool down. Ross was sensible and used sandals to walk down to the sea but Sonya being strong headed as normal and having just removed her scandals claimed 'I'll be alright' Wrong, the sand was the hottest ever and could have easily burnt your feet if you stood still for too long. It was comical for everyone watching Sonya who could be seen hopping and then running flat out to reach the sea.

That evening we walked along the beach to get into town and had a great meal at a 'plastic chair restaurant' We have come to learn that there seems to be a kind of hierarchy in restaurants with prices to match. Restaurants with plastic chairs and tables are often the cheapest. When you get to wooden chairs and comfy chairs these are out of the budget for most backpackers. This might sound strange but the best thing about plastic chair restaurants is the lack of 'service' The novelty of eating in a restaurant has certainly worn off and it is simply a way to eat. We don't go for the experience anymore we just want to eat and leave, a bit like eating at home, it is something you need to do. The other great thing is it is normally where the locals eat and the food is traditionally Thai not a Western Thai variant and they normally have gigantic portion sizes.

We spent the next 3 days at the hotel swimming and relaxing and although it was nice we have never had a 'beach holiday' before and soon began to feel extremely lazy. We had become the people we normally point out saying 'have they really sat there all day, what a waste of a holiday'

However Ross's leg was still causing him pain even after a couple of days on strong antibiotics so we knew that the best thing would be to rest his leg as much as possible. He did have some pain relief but had been holding off taking them after reading the side effects.

After the first couple of days swimming we noticed that getting Ross's leg constantly wet especially in the salt water wasn't helping his wound heal, so on day 3 he kept out of the water completely and had to rein in the green eyed monster on a few occasions as it was hot and the pool looked so inviting 9 So with big puppy dog eyes he got on with working on the website instead.

We are sad to be leaving Koh Samui as we really don't know if we will ever come back. It is such a remote and exotic destination to get to from the UK and flight prices just make it prohibitive to visit for a holiday. We will never be able to get there again for just 700B, that's for sure!

Ross a little disappointed with himself that he couldn't make full use of the facilities took consolation that getting rid of the infection in his leg was slightly more important than going in the pool or sea for a few days. Not to over exaggerate if we hadn't sought medical advice and stopped the infection, something as stupid as a simple horse ride could have ended our big adventure.

Koh Samui - Phuket

The last big trip with the Mule. We were picked up from the hotel bright and early at 6:30am, for the short dash across the island to catch the 8:00am ferry.

We arrived at the port, checked in and were shown to the bus parked at the end of the pier. We have heard many, many stories of valuables going missing on this coach trip, we don't know why this trip in particular would be any worse than the other coach trips we had taken but we were warned about it back in Hua Hin, on the Internet and when booking tickets. Slightly worrying but we agreed to use 'operation bus'

Since our first coach way back in China we have used 'operation bus' where we put our luggage under the bus and then Sonya boards the bus with the daypacks (loaded with valuables) to nab a good seat, while Ross patiently waits around to make sure the bags aren't tampered with before the luggage compartment is closed.

Now a well-oiled operation we were just about to put the luggage underneath the bus when the driver said 'Phuket this way'

We followed him round the otherside of the bus and he opened the emergency exit door and proceeded to throw our luggage into the main compartment of the coach. Great news we thought as we good grab a seat directly in front of the bags and they wouldn't leave our sight for the entire trip.

Wrong, firstly the bags never moved so blocked the emergency exit but hey who needs an emergency exit anyway?

Secondly the bus then departed before driving down the pier which took a full 2 minutes and the driver then announced that passengers have to board the ferry on foot.

Humm.... so now we have to leave our bags in the coach which are not locked in the compartment underneath the bus whilst the driver has an hour and half to do what he wants on the ferry.

As always we took our valuables with us and to our knowledge nothing went missing from ours or anybody else's luggage. It's a shame he didn't take some of the dirty laundry off our hands but never mind.

The ferry took an hour and a half and then we were reunited with the bus and our bags. We then had to change buses in Surat Thani for our onward bus to Phuket.

About an hour into the journey two people started to collect the bus tickets. Unfortunately the couple next to us had left theirs on the last bus. The little Thai women was by far the most intolerable Thai person we have ever seen and demanded they produced their ticket and if they couldn't they had to pay again or would be thrown off the bus. They found the receipt for the tickets clearly showing they had purchased them only the day before but this wasn't enough and she demanded they pay again, which obviously they refused. So about 10 minutes later the bus stopped and one of the ticket inspectors got off and approached a load of motorbike taxi drivers. The biggest one but still a fairly small Thai man put down his newspaper and boarded the bus claiming to be the 'Police'

After a very heated debate it was obvious the German's were not going to pay again and even the 'Policeman' couldn't get them to pay so it looked like we were going to be in for a long wait while the real Police turned up. Until a local Thai woman paid the fare and didn't want anything in return which was really sweet. In all of our visits to Thailand we have never seen a Thai person be so intolerant or dam right aggressive, maybe she should consider a change of profession and go into Thai boxing.

We finally arrived over an hour later than planned but going on all our trips in Thailand we didn't think this was too bad considering we had been on a minibus, a ferry and 2 coaches.

So we have finally arrived in Phuket, another milestone in our big journey. Phuket was the place we both fell in love with, way back in our first visit to Thailand in 2008. In all of our visits to Thailand since 2008 we have spent 7 weeks in Phuket and we plan to spend another 4 weeks here on this occasion. We look forward to rooting down for a few weeks and not constantly being on the move and look forward to enjoying our mid journey holiday in a holiday.

As we will be doing less activities day to day for the next few weeks we will probably be blogging less but intend to blog weekly.

Take care

Ta Ta for now

Team Chip

Hotel Review

We stayed at the Samui Beach Resort in a double private beach hut. The resort was slightly out of town but the main town was easily accessible in 10-15 minutes by foot via the beach. Our beach hut was just 30 seconds from the pool and bar area which overlooked the beach, probably the closest we have ever stayed to the beach on any holiday. The room was basic and was only fan cooled and did look dated but for 550B a night was exceptional value for money. One of the beach huts was currently being renovated and looked very swanky, we just hope the prices don't rocket when they are all complete. You would be hard pushed to find anywhere else on the beach front in Lamai that offers such good value for money. We would recommend Samui Beach Resort to other travellers.


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