It’s been a few weeks since our long weekend trip to Koh Samet, and I learned a couple few important things from that trip:
1) Always book accommodation ahead of time for a holiday weekend. The rest of the country will be also traveling at the same time as you!
2) Cheap is always good, except when it comes with bed bugs and other creatures of the night.
3) The amount of sunscreen you used in the US is no match for the sun in Thailand. Re-apply, re-apply, re-apply!
4) Always pack your first aid kit, because the time you don’t will be when you hurt yourself!
All that being said, it was a great weekend regardless of a few little bumps here and there! That’s life, though. It all makes a funny story once it’s said and done. The girls and I left Phrapradaeng immediately after school and headed to Ekamai bus station in Bangkok. Large air-conditioned buses will bring you to the port in Ban Phe, Rayong for about 300 baht round trip ($10 USD). The trip takes about 3 hours, most of that time is getting out of Bangkok on a Friday evening. We checked into our humble little hostel in Ban Phe, which was appropriately named Ban Phe Hostel, and almost ran to dinner because we heard there was PIZZA. We ran into some OEG girls at the bar/restaurant, and all had a delicious Western meal that consisted of some burgers, pizza, and an omelette! The pizza was delicious, but I could have eaten twice the amount I did. We were to bed soon after to wake up early for the first ferry over to Koh Samet.
The next morning we loaded onto an interesting ferry which was packed with backpackers and Thai people alike. The ferry dragged on but for the cheap fare, I can’t really complain. I know now that if I am crunched for time, I would definitely spend some more baht on a quick and fun speed boat to get to a beautiful beach much quicker. As soon as we got to the island of Koh Samet, we were in love with its quaint quirkiness and natural beauty. The water was bright blue and clear, and the skies were overcast which was fine for our hostel hunt to begin. We began a leisure search for a place to crash and had no luck. That search soon turned a bit desperate, as we were hungry and tired and just wanted to put our stuff down to go have fun. Many many hours later, we found rooms at these tiny little bungalows that were in a peninsula like area of the island, so there was beach on both sides! We crawled to a hotel for food and some much needed drinks and a dip in the water. Koh Samet is dotted with hostels, big hotels, little bungalows, and restaurants all up and down the beaches. The beaches were flat but the land had a bit of an incline to it, so bungalows were stacked all over the hills amongst lush trees and plants. There is a long dirt road that travels from one end of the island to the other, and bright green pickup trucks will taxi you anywhere on the island for an agreed upon fee. It’s a fun and bumpy ride in the back of the trucks and if you don’t hold on tightly, you could literally fly off of the truck. It felt like we were touring through Jurassic Park, but unfortunately I didn’t spot any dinos.
After a strange meal of Spaghetti Americano (with chopped up hotdogs in it? They love those here.) and some relaxing time, we went back to our bungalows for a better inspection of our rooms. A quick lookover revealed that one of the beds was infested with bed bugs, amongst many other lovely insects. The beds were on the floor, which would mean that many other of Earth’s creatures could easily get in and snuggle with you during the night. No, thanks! We quickly left that hell hole and we were back to being homeless. As luck would have it, we walked up to the desk at a really nice cabana hotel and they had ONE room left for the weekend. It was expensive (and I’m talking $40 per person per night here, that’s EXPENSIVE in Thailand) but it was probably one of the last rooms on the island to choose from, and it was getting dark. We’ll take it! The manager even brought in extra beds for our large group of six, and we had an infinity pool right next to our room! Not too shabby.
The rest of the weekend consisted of yummy meals (som tom made by a Thai man on the beach for 50 baht!), jumping off a rickety pier into the bright blue bathwater sea and floating around, drinking many Changs, hilarious karaoke at a reggae bar, and a late night dance party on the beach that spilled into the ocean under the full moon. I’d say that our nearly homeless, nearly bed bug infested, first weekend of traveling was a success. It felt amazing to be in the sun on that beach with new friends, not thinking about work come Monday morning. We all came back to the mainland pretty sunburnt but in good spirits, I slipped on a beach rock and acquired a nice deep scallop shaped cut on the knee, but that was the worst of the weekend. Koh Samet was easy to get to from BKK, and it’s a super chill beautiful place that you can either party hard at, or just relax and turn off your mind. I will definitely be back soon!