Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Koh Samui, Our Thai Paradise!

Our guide to Thailand could go on for pages, so we decided to pick our highlights and focus on them instead! It'll also mean you're not spending most of your evening reading through what was an eventful week in our life :) But as we have your attention, sit back, relax and enjoy our guide to Koh Samui!

Let's start with the FOOD because we guarantee you'll eat A LOT. We ate out for every meal and the whole time, didn't have a bad meal. In fact we had some of the best food we've ever had! The food isn't exactly 'foreign' in the sense that you can look at a menu and know what you will get and in a way that meant we could be more adventurous. There are items you find on a Chinese takeaway menu, but it's fresh and far tastier than we've ever found in the UK.


Combined with the new and exciting tastes we found on every menu we also found Koh Samui offered a wide variety of western foods - you could get chips almost everywhere! And here's a confession -Sarah didn't have chips once - and for someone who NEVER resists a potato, that says a lot about the food on offer!

Before we headed to Koh Samui there were two things that people told us about; one was the food and the other was the beaches. We are both fans of the beach - maybe more for the significance that it means you really are on holiday than because we like finding sand in places it shouldn't be, but the beaches in Thailand really are beautiful. Our location had a stunning beach stretching as far as the eye could see in both directions - it was as if the entire island was surround by the perfect definition of a beach!


The other thing about the beaches in Thailand is the fact that they are an extension of the streets: not in the hustle and bustle way, but in the sense that if you wanted a massage you wouldn't have to walk too far to find a canopied bed with masseuse or someone providing a pedicure and manicure. There were all types of sellers - including an ice-cream man - but the nice thing was a simple head-shake would mean that they moved on.

The location we had chosen was Bophut, partly because it wasn't in a 'party zone' and partly because it was fairly easy to get everywhere from. It also had plenty of reasonably priced accommodation - ours was £20 a night! Bargain! The really nice thing about out hotel, Cocooning Hotel & Tapas Bar, was the fact we were at the top of the street and therefore away from the bars but within a 3 minute walk we were back in the centre. It meant we could stroll in to have dinner and 'be part of it all' and stroll out to have a quiet drink at our hotel. For us it meant we could mix up our evening and it suited us perfectly. It also helped that the tapas food at our hotel was delicious!


Bophut is actually a fisherman village, but in recent years has seen an increase of European business owners, it seems a lot of Frenchmen who marry Thai girls have settled here, and in a weird way this has created a very Frenchified (if that's a word) atmosphere. You can walk the streets without being hassled into shops, you can browse at leisure - bless Thai people they can be a little pushy at times - and most of all you can relax. It's no Chaweng - which is less than 20 minutes away, but is hectic and noisy and full of western style bars....the Thailand we really didn't want to end up in!


We may have mentioned that the reason we actually choice Thailand as our holiday destination was because our good friends Blakeley and Sam were getting married there. We have both known Blakeley separately as we all worked together way back when at the job we met at and it just so happened that we realised we have a lot of fun hanging out. When we met her now husband, Sam, we knew we had friends for life and it definitely helped that they were AMAZING cooks! We had a rollercoaster friendship finding a flat 5 minutes walk away from each other on our return from Australia, finding out they had gotten engaged and then finding out they were moving back to Sam's hometown in Adelaide, Australia. The last time we had seen Blakeley we had organised an impromtu hen party to Blackpool! The wedding was on the Thursday but as a warm-up we had a Bacherolette party in Chaweng on the Tuesday- this involved dinner on the beach and a LADY BOY SHOW! A cabaret show that included hits from Moulin Rouge, Cabaret, Beyonce and Whitney....brilliant entertainment!


Pre-wedding, on the Wednesday night we had a cocktail evening at the wedding resort so that everyone could meet and admire the beautiful location. It was a nice, relaxed, informal evening that had everyone buzzing about the impending wedding.....


Thursday morning saw us visit the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks and then return to our hotel to primp and prep and get into our dresses for the wedding. The wedding started at 4pm with a cocktail hour and we arrived early enough to have a tour round the resort on a golfcart - so funny! - before joining everyone. After cocktails - banana daiquiris and champagne - we were guided through tropical gardens towards the beach. We removed our shoes and made our way along the silk walkway to our spaces. The ceremony took place on the beach with the sea as the backdrop and it was beautiful and so uniquely Sam and Blakeley, from mixing wines to being able to be barefoot and have it as an intimate as it was- it was perfect!


From the ceremony we headed to the pavilion for dinner and enjoyed Thai food for every course- it lead to some interesting dessert taste tests :) the speeches were heartfelt and well timed and everyone we met was so happy to be there! In a way it made us miss Oz and the friendliness we experienced there. Sam's mum and Aunt were so nice chatting to us and reminding us how great Adelaide was and we made a new friend in Nyssa who reminded us of our dear friend Kate from Sydney. It was sooooooo great to feel like we were with people we'd known for ages. We danced the night away until fireworks were set off on the beach to end what was a truly wonderful day.


One think we should mention about Thailand is that there is no shortage of transport options- whether you want the luxury of air conditioned taxis, or the slightly thrilling tuk-tuks (also known as sitting on the back of a converted truck), or maybe you'd prefer the trams with no sides that are favoured at the airport or if you're like us, or in fact if you are a Thai native or tourist or just looking for cheap transport you'll end up on a moped (at £6 a day and 80p fotr a tank of petrol it's CHEAP). We had heard the horror stories - burns, grazes, lack of brakes, dodgy roads etc and we're sure if you are a reckless driver it would be very easy to damage yourself but with Laura driving we took it SLOW, incredibly SLOW! And we couldn't fall off on corners because we turned off the moped, and GOT OFF the bike to turn corners!!! Lets just say Laura treasures our health, and Sarah was just glad to ONLY have the dog bite as an injury. On our moped we saw the big Budda(s) and various other statues, made it to Lamai to see the grandparent rocks and generally had a great time driving the coast road.


Although the highlight had to be pulling up to the amazing Melati resort on our moped in cocktail attire (of sorts) and walking into the impressive reception looking pretty much like we'd just stepped of a moped- that is how we enter a party! Blakeley and Sam's parents were probably hoping we'd wandered into the wrong party! The drive home was brilliant though with stars above us, the sea gently lapping and the road pretty much just to us we thought we could  retire there easy enough!

To finish our week we were treated to the highlight of Bophut's week - the Friday night Walking Market. The quiet street that we were used to enjoying a relaxing stroll suddenly became packed. Both sides had stalls selling food (any meat on a stick is available), jewelley - Tiffany's or Pandora replica's being particular favourites, clothes, hats, sunglasses, souvenirs, remedies - you name it, it was on sale and cheap - really cheap! We had found a market earlier in the week that was clearly local - we could tell as were taller than EVERYONE and really the only white people. That had opened our eyes to the Thai culture and the delight available and to have it brought to our doorstep was incredible.

We could hear the music from our balcony as we sat and watched tourist and Thai people alike negotiating and shopping and it was a truly wonderful final evening.

We finished our week with the one thing we had been dying to do all week - lie on the beach. With 3 doctors/hospital trips in 5 days, the one thing our Thailand holiday had missed was relaxing beach time so when we hit it we hit it hard! Sarah only woke up to get her Thai massage - pulled and stretched in ALL kinds of way, creating inappropriate looking positions - it meant that on our last walk back to our hotel we could say that we truly experienced Koh Sumai and LOVED IT!!!


Have you been to Koh Samui? What was your experience of it?

Love always, 
Sarah & Laura xo

4 comments:

  1. WOW, it looks and sounds like you had an amazing time minus the dog bite of course :)

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  2. It looks lovely! :) I haven't been there before. Very cool!

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  3. Sounds like a lovely place to visit! xxx

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  4. Good god, Sarah's swimsuit in those first sets of photos may be THE most amazing piece of clothing I have ever seen. I LOVE it.

    Oh, and that whole "extremely fun experience in Thailand" looks pretty fun, too! ;) Do they have pad kee mao for realsies in Thailand?

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