I ended up making two trips to Koh Samui – first to meet my sister and then to take her back there for the airport – within my visit to the Thai islands, but for ease and consistency I will talk about both experiences in the one blog post.
So I arrived at Angel Garden Green Bungalow at 1pm after the longest ever “journey” from Cambodia, walked past the pool and crept up to our bungalow where my sister, Marie, was waiting (having flown in the evening before) – spotting me, she leapt up from her deck chair and ran towards me and into my arms, where she was forced to remain whilst I sobbed tears of relief and joy. Just to clarify, we hadn’t seen each other in 3 months – perhaps a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things but the longest her and I have ever gone without seeing each other. We kinda like each other a little bit. I spent the next half hour squealing with delight as I discovered the luxuries of our bungalow; proper air con, a separate shower and toilet, a kettle, a fridge… So many things I hadn’t had in months! My joy then continued when she presented me with clean clothes, pic n mix and messages from home.
We spent the afternoon walking along Bophut beach, catching up and having surreal moments where my home and travelling worlds were colliding. Bophut beach is quite narrow but long and a lot of water sports go on there, but we spent most of our time drinking fruit shakes on bean bags on the sand at CocoTams and wandering around the market stalls if the Fisherman Village – it’s a really cute place and vastly different from the centre of the island, which, if you drive through, is so built up that it’s hard to believe you are on an Island. Because of this I can understand why many people do not rate Samui as highly as the other islands, but I personally think it has its own charm.
That evening we took a late-night dip in our swimming pool (I’m a backpacker, and I had a pool – a POOL) then we sat on our patio and devoured the cheese (proper hardcore delicious English cheese – the kind I haven’t had since I left for travelling) that Marie brought from home, God bless her, washed down with the bottle of red I had carted with me from Bangkok. My dietary intake for the day consisted of sweets, chocolate, cheese and wine; well-balanced and nutritional, I would say.
The following day we spent sunbathing and swimming at the pool, lamenting how shit and unfortunate we were compared to if we were at home, before heading to Bangrak Pier at 3pm to catch a ferry across to Koh Phangan – there are various ferries you can take to move between the islands and I have heard some horror stories of people vomiting and passing out, but we mainly went with Seatran and had relatively horror-free experiences. We then headed back to Samui 6 days later (after visiting Koh Phangan and Koh Tao), this time staying at Samui Backpacker hostel so that it was closer for Marie to get to the airport the following morning at 6am. We headed for our last meal together at a restaurant facing the sea before grabbing a couple of Full Moon bottles (think miniature bottles of alcoholic shloer) from the 7-Eleven to take with us to the beach, where we sat listening to the waves and reflecting on our past week (weird to type before I have even gone into the details of our trip, I know!)
We both woke up at 5am, had an emotional goodbye on the side of the road in front of a bemused taxi driver, before I headed back to sleep for a few hours. Once I finally woke and moved from our double room into a dormitory for the following evening (oh good, how I have missed dorm rooms…) I decided to explore the island but basically ended up recreating the afternoon I had spent with Marie a week before; I walked about 40 minutes to Bophut beach where I went straight to CocoTams (my body took me there – I had no choice) for a fruit shake on the beach before sunbathing on the sand and then going for a wander round Fisherman Village before the sun set.
This time I hit it in time with the night market where I bought what is now the 5th pair of sunglasses I have had with me on my travels (“Sunglasses are just sunglasses I haven’t lost yet”) and some food from the street stalls (Pad Thai, of course). I would recommend an amble through this market, which isn’t as chaotic or intense as others but also has a decent array of offerings and has character. As I said I actually quite liked Koh Samui, and found the chilled-out vibe (sorry, Marie – is this an acceptable use of “vibe”?) to be a welcome break from the party islands.
The following morning, still feeling a little bit lost without my sister, I decided to head back to Koh Phangan to drown my sorrows at the Full Moon Party…