Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beach Crawl on Koh Samet, Thailand

Next stop was Koh Samet. It was a short 4 hour bus and ferry trip to the island. Koh Samet is only a few hours from Bangkok so, it is a weekend getaway from the city. I was prepared for higher prices and more tourists. I had made reservations at Jep's Bungalow and was happy with my choice. I got a cute little bungalow on the slope of the hill.

The restaurant and beach were a short 2 minute walk. Ahhh...this is the life! Even the dogs enjoy the afternoon on the beach! I had met an English girl, Gem, on the ferry and we bonded quickly as we were two woman traveling alone. We made plans to explore the island the next day on motorbikes. Yippee! I have missed being on a motorbike. I spent the first afternoon relaxing on the beach. It was easy to get use to this life.

The next morning, Gem and I met up to rent a motorbike. We had decided to share one scooter. She would drive and I was the passenger. Gem looked at me and told me that everyone said the roads are pretty rough. This was going to be an adventure! I was fine as long as we didn't fall and break anything. We decided to start off exploring the north side of the island where the roads were good. As we took off up the hill and hit all the potholes we both were a little leary about how much worse the roads could get. We hit potholes and I accidently grabbed her boob to try to hold on. Talk about embarrassing..but a great way to get to know someone! We laughed as we bounced down the road. I was convinced the Thai people heard us coming before they ever saw us. We had our own way of riding the bike. Since Gem was wearing a bikini and a top her bum was sweating on the hot seat. So, I would get on and lay my skirt out across the seat so she could sit on it. We also decided to have me put my feet down anytime we stopped or needed extra pushes to get out of a pothole or up a hill. Yes, it was just like the Flintstone's..."yabbadabbadoo!"
We saw a beautiful beach and decided to take a dip. We were on a beach crawl to see and swim in the coves of Koh Samet. The water was sparkling clear and felt fantastic. We swam around, took some photos and headed to our next destination. We saw a road behind a nice resort and decided to follow it. We bounced and giggled our way down the road and then saw our destination. No, not a beautiful beach....a garbage dump. (I know my friend Fara is laughing and blaming all of her trips to garbage dumps in other countries on me!) We used our super motorbike skills to turnaround and head to the southern end of the island. As we bounced and laughed back down the island, we decided we would switch the motorbike for an ATV. This was just too dangerous! When we stopped and asked the woman told us the $400 Baht price was for an hour, not the day. We decided to get a second motorbike and we would each drive. It was safer and the roads were going to get worse. Then, we were off to explore more beaches. Each beach was different. Some were secluded beaches where boats would pull up to shuttle passengers to/from the ferry. Others were large with restaurants and hotels.

We met 2 Chinese men (Fish and Shark) and a woman from Hong Kong (Andrea) at one stop. All three of them were all sharing one motorcycle. We laughed as we saw them pass us. Guess they were more comfortable on these then we were! We ended up meeting up with them at our last 2 stops.

Gem and I saw the swing and knew we had to take a break and enjoy it. I laughed as a man said to Gem "Hey, weren't you the girl at the fire show last night? I saw you limbo under the fire! You are enjoying this trip." She laughed and confirmed that she had enjoyed the fire show. As we giggled and played on the swing like we were 5 year olds we wondered how many people thought we were drunk. We were 100% sober and having a fantastic day!
We went out to swim and Gem and Fish (Chinese guy) noticed the raft. Of course we had to go up and jump off. The hardest part was getting up. No ladder. I pushed Gem up. Then Fish got up and helped me onto the raft. I banged up my good knee but who cares. We were enjoying life. The three of us joined hands and jumped off the raft. Then, we had to repeat a second time because Shark and Andrea did not get a photo. It was getting darker and we decided to head back. We made a pit-stop to see the sunset viewpoint. No sunset tonight, too many clouds. Then we bounced back towards our resorts. I came up over a hill and saw a huge lizard walk out onto the road. I stopped. It was at least 3 ft long. Gem tried to get her camera but 2 dogs came running and scared it into the jungle. Mean dogs!

We returned our motorbikes and were contemplating another swim. Gem looked at me and said "good job! We did not fall off our bikes." She took a step and I turned to get my camera from my bag. She screamed and I looked down and she was lying on the ground. She was fine. Just slipped on the rock she was standing on. We giggled and decided that we needed a last swim at this beach. As we walked out to the beach, I see a man raise his arms and wave to us. It was Fish, Shark and Andrea! We ran to them and chatted again. They were leaving the next day so, this was goodbye.

The next morning, Gem and I met up after breakfast and planned to rent a kayak. We stopped to rent a kayak from an old woman. We paid and she pointed to the beach and handed us each an oar. When we got down to the beach there was only one kayak for one person. We looked around and the woman pointed to it. We went back up and she said we would have to take turns in it. We asked for our money back and wandered further down the beach. It was hot and we were dehydrated by the time we found a kayak for 2 people. The woman was ready to rent it to us when we decided we needed a good cold drink. We sat down and relaxed as we drank fruit shakes. Ahhh! Gem was still hot so she asked for a bowl of ice for her sunburn. The guy brought out a bucket of ice.
We laughed and used it to cool ourselves. I was starting to think it was a hot flash hitting me. I could not cool off! The ice felt great! The man told us we could take it with us and return the bucket later. Yippeee! By this time, the kayak was gone and we decided to snorkel and float on a tube around the coves.
Another fantastic day ended at the beach. As we walked back, we passed a woman selling jewelry. I found a great necklace and bracelet set and decided it was my birthday present to myself!  I asked her if she would hold it until dinner when I would pay for it on my way back to the restaurant. The sweet girl, Sai, handed me the jewelry and said take it now and bring back the money when you have time. Seriously!?! I thanked her and promised to bring it right back. She was not worried at all. I was shocked that this had worked so well for her and nobody had stolen from her. I returned 10 minutes later with the money. She was surprised I came back so soon.
When Gem and I returned for dinner with the green bucket. We sat down and the waiter came over laughing and thanked us for returning it. As soon as it left our sight, we wished we had it filled with ice again. Then the fire show started, we were sitting in the front and it was HOT! It was inevitable that we ordered another bucket of ice.

We sat on the beach eating a delicious BBQ seafood dinner and laughing at the events of the day. We ran into some of the tourists from the previous day and they commented that we were still laughing and having fun. Of course! We said our goodbyes at the end of the night. I was heading to Bangkok and Gem was off to Koh Chang. It was a great beach vacation! 

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