Teaching in Koh Samui

The long awaited four-day weekend had finally arrived. A friend of mine from Uni was living in Samui for a month on a Thai boxing camp (WMC Thai Boxing camp), so I decided to take full advantage of the long weekend and go to the island to meet him. Having unsuccessfully tried to book a sleeper train or bus form Bangkok to Samui (the full moon party was on this weekend) I decided to fly.

Thursday morning 3am, a quick Skype call to England to talk my family whilst out for my step dads birthday (the only time of day you can guarantee the internet to work), a frantic dash around my room making sure I’d packed everything vital (and my entire wardrobe of course) and the realisation that I was awake before any of the street food vendors; and it was time to go to the airport and get away for the city.

After sleeping for the entire flight, only to woken by the announcement “Ladies and gentleman, we will now be making our decent into Surat Thani” (you definitely just said that in your best air hostess voice), the plane landed smoothly and with no luggage to collect it was a smooth transition from the plane to the information desk for the bus to Donsak port. Buying my ticket I was instructed to go outside and get on the bus, which I thought was simple enough. I’d forgotten one little detail though. This was Thailand, nothing is ever straightforward. Stepping outside I was greeted by about six different buses, none of them saying where they were going or anyone to tell me which to get on. So I went and asked some staff standing nearby. After being instructed to stay where I was for ten minutes, I waited…and waited…and tried to ask again….and waited, until I saw the women who had sold me the ticket. She panicked as to why I was still there and why her instructions of “the bus outside” wasn’t clear enough, finally I was pointed in the right direction and bagged myself four seats at the back of the bus – time to catch up on some more sleep.

Another hour and a half later, I woke up at the port and boarded the ferry – bumping into some of the other teachers from Patai school. If you are getting the ferry across and you aren’t absolutely hanging from the night before, take advantage of sitting outside. Beautiful views, sunshine and great for people spotting. A short 45 minutes later, and a 30 mini taxi journey, I finally met up with Matt. Within half an hour we were on the beach, sunbathing (although I looked like a white marshmallow lying next to Matt who had been sunbathing for a month and going to a Thai boxing camp for a month).

As the clouds covered the sky, lunch time had been and gone and time started ticking until the boys had to go training, we decided to leave the beach and head back to the apartment. Whilst the boys were training I took full advantage of nap time and soon after we headed for the market in Lamai for food. Unfortunately there was no alcohol on the island that night due to it being an important Buddhist holiday, so while the others decided to call it an early one, myself and Matt headed to the beach, watched a fire show, Matt got his daily fix of ice cream and after a bit of catching up and watching the stars we headed to bed.

The next day we headed to a secret bar/hotel we had been told about. To get to it you need to call the hotel, tell them how many people are there and how many boys and girls. They then come and pick you up and take you way up into the mountains up some seriously steep and bumpy hills. Turning around the corner, we’d seen why this place had been recommended.

Jungle Bar hotel compromises views from the mountains out to the sea, and infinity pool looking out to the sea and other islands, outlook wooden houses off the edge complete with pillows and a beautiful menu of delicious Thai and western food. Whether you’re alone, in a couple, with friends or in a family, this place suits everyone and you don’t even mind paying the 100 baht charge to use the pool when it’s this beautiful.

After leaving Jungle bar, Matt and myself headed back to the beach in Lamai. Matt took his last trip wakeboarding in a warm sea for a while and I took out a jet ski (if any one if reading this and would like to donate one to me, I wouldn’t argue one little bit).

Later on that day, again whilst the boys trained, I headed out for a foot massage. It was one of the best I’ve ever had in Thailand and admittedly I did keep drifting off into crazy dreams. At 250 baht per hour (about £5) it is a definite must do, and when you live here, trust me, it becomes a regular occurrence.

After the regular feeding time, we headed down to the beach, accompanied by a bottle of Hong Thong (Thai whiskey), a bottle of coke, some cups and a bag of ice. A few hours later, a heart shaped fire lantern and a shot of gin, we headed to Cheweng (the party side of the island) where we indulged in a few buckets of more Thai whiskey, red bull and coke, jelly shots and a few cocktails. A few hazy hours later, I awoke, not remembering too much, but with a lot of photos and the cloud hanging over me that was telling me I had a long journey back to Bangkok ahead of me with Matt.

We decided to leave everything to the last minute, and after trying to book a taxi, mini bus or any form of transport that would take us to the port, we were offered a lift from a local. We were cutting it fine to make out flight. Arriving at the port, queuing for a ticket (well Matt queued, I laid in the sun eating ice lollies), we were told again and again, we will not make our flight and if we wanted any chance of making it we should book a private taxi from the port after the ferry at the price of…..2000 baht EACH. Being a teacher in Bangkok opens your eyes to the tourist trade and how occasionally you get ripped off, therefore I told Matt we should risk it and just get the bus. As much as they tried to argue that we wouldn’t make out flight, and tried to worry us (we pretended it was fine but inside we were panicking slightly) we stuck to our guns and booked the bus.

Earlier on I said about sitting outside only if you aren’t fragile from the night before, and trust me, I was speaking from experience. It only took 15 minutes for us to bail downstairs into the air conditioning and out of the sun.

Running off the ferry, with Matt having strategically placed his bag where we could get it before all the others on the ferry, we ran for the bus. Jumped aboard, waited again and fell asleep. Waking up at the airport, with only 10 minutes to spare before check in closed and as we predicted correctly, there was nothing to worry about. We checked in, went through security, got to the one gate at the airport and still had time to sit about before our flight boarded. Sometimes to save yourself money you just need to live on the wild side.

After another good sleep, headbutting each other every five minutes, we arrived in Bangkok. Securing a taxi at the airport we were on our way back to my apartment, however, the woman at the desk avoided telling us the little detail that the taxi was going to cost 650 baht. We asked the taxi driver to stop and we’d get out, after a quick conversation in Thi-nglish (Thai and English) he realised I lived here and wasn’t a tourist, told us to forget out the price and put the meter on, if we paid the highway tolls.

Eventually we made it back, got showered, changed and headed for Padpong night markets. I would highly recommend going to these, as long as you don’t mind the constant stream of “Ping pong show”, “sex show”, “special price just for you, you can chose any trick”, followed by the long list of tricks the girls can do with ping pong balls.

Sixteen scoops of Haagan Dazs, a pot full of melted chocolate, brownies, sponge, fruit and cookies later, Matt had finally finished eating and overcome his ice cream urges for the day, we headed home and Matt got ready to leave the next morning.

After Matt left, it was a very strange feeling. Being away in, well, paradise, with someone from home really makes a difference. Starting an entirely new life, in a different country, with people you don’t know very well and being in a city when you’ve never really been a city girl does take its toll after a while. I would never want to go back to England but living in Thailand can be hard, it can take its toll on you.

Koh Samui is a beautiful paradise, with beautiful beaches. I would tell anyone I could to go there and see all the things it has to offer. I would especially recommend it as a long weekend get away if you are living and working in Thailand, I didn’t want to come back to Bangkok after being there. It’s also a perfect place to stay on while the full moon party is on in Koh Phangan, regular ferry’s go between the two islands, so if you don’t feel like paying over the odds for accommodation or partying every single day on Phangan, then I highly recommend Samui.



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