Clare and I planned our relaxing weekend of massages, water parks, markets and shopping, whilst the others decided to make the most of the sunny weekend and take a trip to Koh Samet (an island not too far from Bangkok). However, after a few hitches and glitches on Friday and like most things in Thailand – our plans changed quickly and by Saturday morning we were up early, packed and ready to meet the other teachers from Ladprao to begin our journey to the beach.
Myself and Clare arrived at Victory Monument, sweaty, tired and grumpy (after Clare was all packed and ready and I was still in bed fast asleep when she knocked on my door) ready to meet the Ladprao teachers. So imagine this, when an hour and a half later they finally show up, we’ve booked a mini bus for us all to take us to Ban Pae (where you get the boat from to Koh Samet), we’ve been standing in the 35 degree sunshine and we look like we’ve already been for a dip in the sea.
Finally, we begin our journey out of Bangkok and towards the coast. After a good 3 hours we arrived at Ban Pae (where you get your ferry or speed boat to the island). The sun was shining, just about, and the island was clearly in view. We bought our ferry tickets and climbed aboard. When you think about a ferry, forget everything you have ever know, forget what the ferry looks like from Dover to Calais, this was completely different. A wooden boat which could only be accessed by climbing over the roofs of a few other boats and climbing down a ladder; a ladder in which one wrong step and you would find yourself soaking wet and in the sea. A little note to remember when going to Koh Samet on a ferry would be to not wear a dress, as Clare found out…a clear view of underwear etc is not what you want to show people when first meeting them.
After a ride with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster at Alton Towers and a nice refreshing spray of sea water in your face we were on the island, again using all our cheerleading balance and circus skills we jumped (literally) onto the dock and jumped (piled) aboard a “taxi”. When I say taxi, I mean a pick up truck with a few benches on the back resulting in a bruised bum, but defiantly a lot of fun.
Pulling up to the last resort on the island, we saw the other “lovetefl’ers” on the beach and attempted to check into…well anywhere. (Try and book accommodation before you leave, especially on a national holiday or the last weekend of the kids holidays). A good half an hour later, and a good amount of strops, we checked into a hostel. I can only describe myself, Clares and Trish’s room as a nature reserve. Bugs everywhere, gaps in the floor looking straight down to the ground, holes on the ceiling and a very questionable shower. A place you could only sleep when drunk, which leads me straight into the night.
Sat on the beach, Bacardi Breezer in hand (classy, I know), we watched the sunset, ate dinner and got even sandier (if possible). The others were recovering from the night before, however this didn’t stop anyone; how many times can you spend the weekend at a beautiful island with a big group of friends? After the obligatory photos by the sand and sea it was time to head off on another “taxi” to the boys choice of bar…Bob Marleys.
Five minutes of bumpy, no hands, freestyle’ing riding in the back of our “taxis”, we arrived at the bar, sweaty, tipsy and half of the group hanging and lagging severely. A few drinks later and we spotted a boxing ring – the obvious choice for a night out; but we went with it, and it turned out to be one of the best nights we’ve had so far. This is the night as I remember (not in any particular order) six bottles of Sangsom (Thai whiskey), a few Thai boxing matches, 100 requests of call me maybe and Adele, dancing, lying on the sofas, dancing, some more Sangsom and empting the entire bar of people, we decided it was time to call it a night. That was until we walked down the stairs onto the beach during the most beautiful electrical storm. Lesley and I took one look at each other and realised we had the exact same idea, and 2 minutes later we were in our underwear, in the sea, watching the lightening above us. One of the most memorable moments of my life; probably not of our most sensible moments but YOLO (for those of you reading this who don’t have a clue what YOLO is, it’s the new version of carpe diem, times have changed, ‘you only live once’).
Many hours later of sitting on the beach, watching Dave checking out the girls legs (so he says) who was cooking his late night snack and finding out she was one of Thailand’s notorious lady boys and a good chat, it was time to head to our bug invested, holey room for some much needed sleep.
The next day, we woke up feeling pretty fresh considering and headed for the beach again, missing more than half of the people we were with last night, who had headed home.
A full body massage on the beach later, a quick feed and a quick sunbathe, the time came for myself and Clare to leave the others and head back home. This time though, we decided to ditch the ferry and catch a speedboat back. If you get the chance I highly recommend you do this, as long as you don’t get sea sick – nobody wants vomit in their face, and it’s definitely a fast and bumpy ride, and just as a heads up, you will definitely get wetter on this than you ever have on a log ride on Brighton Pier.
The coach journey back, was a blur of traffic, sleep and fields. It was back to reality and move into our new home for the next 10 months.
Koh Samet Ferry
What we arrived to, a bunch of tired, sunburnt and hungover farrangs!