4th April 2012
Clackety-clack, a gentle sway from side to side, the fierce heat subsiding as we sped away from Bangkok bound for Surat Thani, the port from which we would catch the Lomprayah catamaran to Koh Samui. We pulled into the station in the early morning and were greeted by the rep from Lomprayah who took us across the road to a café to wait for the bus to the port.
The café has nothing to do with the Lomprayah company, but they have an arrangement – useful for both of them, and convenient for the traveller who arriving in the early morning can find a place to squat and maybe have coffee and breakfast. We waited an hour or so before the bus arrived and we were transported to the catamaran. We boarded the boat and we were off, bound for the beautiful island of Koh Samui.
We arrived slightly late and walked from the pier, past the Lomprayah office searching for a beige Fortuna and our host, Pip who had kindly agreed to pick us up. We found the car and dumped our things and waited for the owner to arrive. Fortunately he didn’t as it was the wrong car, and as I set off in search of Pip, he arrived from the other pier on foot. Warmly welcoming us, he went to get the car and we were off to the villa, via Tesco for provisions.
The house was set just off a private road on the south west of the island away from the main strip of beach on the west side. It was a big place with 4 bedrooms and a large lounge and dining room and of course a swimming pool. We allocated the kids their rooms and it was a little tricky to explain to Oskar that he would be sleeping alone (honest!) but he bought the story….. the surprise was still to come of course!
Within minutes of arriving the kids were in the pool splashing happily whilst we unpacked.
We soon joined them and spent a lovely afternoon together just enjoying the luxury of our new found home.
As evening drew in we ate a home cooked meal for the first time since Koh Tao. The surprise was due to arrive at around 9pm and so we kept the kids up, Mateo was seriously flagging so we got him ready for bed and the big boys too. Then, all of a sudden there was the car in the drive way, Pip had returned with the surprise and we called the boys down to the front door……
Our long kept secret – since we arrived in Vietnam in fact – was now a reality. Nanny, Grampy and Uncle Colin were greeted with equal shock and happiness by the boys. It was a moment to treasure, tears pricking our eyes as we watched the boys hugging their family that they had not seen for more than 6 months. Brilliant! Luca asked “Are they real? They’re not statues are they?” – such a special moment.
Oddly enough it wasn’t too big a struggle to get the boys to bed after that, and as they settled down, we caught up with Mum, Dad and Colin.
The rest of the time on Koh Samui
The pattern of the rest of our stay on Koh Samui was much the same. We chilled out most of the time by the pool and went on the occasional shopping trip to a very large Tesco a few kilometres away to stock up on provisions. Mum had brought lots of crafty things with her and spent time with the boys being creative, and practising their reading. We all suffered a bit with the heat, Grampy especially, but fortunately we had air con and the pool of course.
The boys made friends with a boy staying in the house next door to ours. And they spent their time switching between the two houses and pools – Oskar and Will also playing DragonVale together on iPod and iPad.
Colin had to leave us after a week, work beckoned. Mum and Dad stayed with us until the end and it was absolutely great…. thanks for coming out to see us.
There were, of course, a few events of note that occurred whilst on the island.
Easter – 8th April 2012
Easter Sunday arrived and we could not let it pass without an Easter egg hunt! This posed a small problem as the temperature would have melted the eggs in a trice. So we got the boys to draw and colour pieces of paper with eggs on them, and then Uncle Colin hid them around the garden. When found, they could be exchanged for eggs – which were in the fridge! It was good fun….
v and for dinner we had roast pork and roast potatoes with the trimmings courtesy of Nanny. Yum yum!
Oskar’s 11th Birthday – 9th April 2012
Hmmmm, cake, jelly and ice cream – and a Thai banquet cooked by Pip’s wife Mon. Delicious! Oh, and Oskar got some presents…
Uncle Colin helped the boys make their lego, and then we gave Oskar his big pressie – an iPod Touch. He was over the moon.
The Thai feast arrived…. and for dessert, sticky rice cake….
It was a really great day, and a special thanks to Pip and Mon for the food, it was truly delicious.
Boat Trip – 16th April
We organised a long tail to take us to the two islands just opposite our beach. We sped across the relatively flat water to the first of the islands where we moored off-shore and were soon over the side in our snorkel gear to explore the reef below.
We soon espied a yellow spotted ray as well as parrot fish and angel fish. Whilst Nanny and Grampy stayed in the boat, we swam far and wide investigating the depths below. Ok, it was not as good as Koh Tao, but the water was clearer and it was good to be in the water again, face down, scanning the life below us.
Returning to the boat, the skipper took us a short way to a beach side restaurant where we ate a reasonable meal that was surprisingly not too expensive – being the only restaurant for miles it is a credit to them that the prices were not super-inflated.
After lunch, we headed across to the second island where Nanny and Grampy took to the shallow water which for the most part was at the temperature of a warm bath! We snorkelled a bit more, but there was not much to see except a crab or two and some fish that live in holes in the sandy bottom.
All too soon it was time to head back home. It had been a lovely day on and in the water.
18th April 2012 – Bye bye Koh Samui
Wow, the two weeks passed quickly. It was time to leave the villa, Mum & Dad, and Koh Samui behind. With lots of hugs we jumped in the car and bid them adieu. Big big thanks xxx
Pip dropped us at the pier to catch the catamaran back to Surat Thani which, for once, actually left on time. Then onto the coach to the café by the station where we were informed that the trains were running late – one chap’s by more than 4 hours.
There were several other people at the café waiting for various trains – ours was due to leave at 8:15pm – and so we chatted and chatted together, passing a very pleasant time whilst we waited. One of the girls had a DVD player with her and so the boys and the children of another French family watched Puss in Boots.
Eventually, the other travellers left to catch their trains, and the café closed for the night leaving us to find somewhere else to squat. There was a food hall down the road and so we grabbed some dinner there and then headed over to the station. The train was now further delayed, scheduled to depart at 10:45pm.
We plonked ourselves down on the platform and waited. We were entertained by a small Thai boy who wanted to play flighting with us whilst his mother looked on smilingly. And then the train arrived and we piled on, and into bed. It was cooler this time but I still slept fitfully.
19th April 2012 – Bangkok for the last time
Daylight streamed through the windows and consciousness slowly crept into our minds as we rocked gently towards Bangkok. From 7am onwards hawkers walked through the carriage announcing their wares loudly – coffee, rice, crackers and a whole host of other goodies.
The beds were put away and we peered out of the now open windows to spot familiar landmarks. When the bed man passed by I asked how long, and he said 4 stops. Despite the late leaving of the train, we actually arrived in Bangkok only an hour late, and we travelled across town on the MRT and then City Line towards the airport where we were to pass the evening in the YHA Bangkok Airport.
The hostel had a fantastic view of the airport and we watched planes taking off and landing whilst we killed time before bed.
“We’re off to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow” was echoed by the children – a souvenir of Melaka and the conversation with a lovely couple we met there. Tomorrow we would bid farewell to Thailand and be once again in Malaysia.