Chilling out in Ko Samui

The green patches of land, encircled by a wide expanse of blue was my first sighting of Ko Samui, right from the air. On ground, we arrived at a cheery little airport that instantly put you in the holiday mood. We collected our luggage smiling (and truly, how many airports can you say that about?)

Samui is a nice big island with wonderful beaches tucked on all sides. We had decided to stay at the quieter Bophut beach. Our trip happened to coincide with the New Year, and the first evening was spent boogying away at Samui’s most popular beach in Chaeweng.

The next morning, it began to rain. And rain it did for most part of the stay. Luckily, Samui is famous for its spas and we made good use of the weather to get pampered indoors at the Zazen Resort Spa and the Anantara Spa next door. We ourselves were staying at the Ibis Hotel chain, a lazy booking brought about by lack of enthusiasm to search for a truly boutique place. It was quite comfortable, had its own beach and served its purpose.

The rains let up most evenings, leaving us some time to explore the island. One evening was spent by me walking around Chaeweng beach shopping area while D decided to learn some Thai cooking at the famous Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts.

Another evening was set aside to explore the neighbouring Fisherman’s Village, filled with restaurants and shops.

One day when the sky was merely overcast, we hired a bike to drive to Lamai beach and that gave us the freedom to make random stops, including one for lunch at the breathtakingly located The Cliff.

What we however could not do thanks to the rains was a trip to the Anthong Marine Park to try a hand at kayaking, snorkeling and a bit of trekking.

Samui was a good trip - plenty of food, lazy strolling around, excellent massages. What more can one ask for..


Bangkok Diary

The trip to Bangkok was planned on the basis of it being the easiest to book within the short timeframe we had to plan a holiday. And Bangkok is certainly easy on the tourist. It has good tourist infrastructure. There is a lot to do but nothing stops you from just chilling out.

Where we stayed – In the Sukhumvit area, close to the Skytrain and Metro. Bangkok has really bad traffic. So choosing a location that lets you commute through public transport can make a big difference. Sukumvit is also close to the malls and has a lot of food joints.

Our actual hotels were the Baan Sukhumvit at Soi 18 and its sister concern at Soi 20. The former is larger and much nicer than the latter. The English owner of the place was friendly and helpful.

What we did – Since this was my frist trip, I wanted to do all the tourist sights. So an entire day was spent ferry-hoping to catch the Grand Palace (massive – takes a couple of hours to get around), Wat Pao (of the reclining Buddha fame) and Wat Arun (Intricate work on the walls)

The rest of the time was spent in checking out some of the malls – Siam Paragan and Central World for branded stuff and MBK for the low end and tourist stuff. Unfortunately, since we were not there in the weekend, we could not see the famous Chatuchak Market that everyone and their grandma had recommended.

D also did a walking tour in Chinatown, following the LP’s recommended route, while I was doing the shallower pastime of window shopping.

Where we ate – Bangkok has great food places and really good street food. So most crowded restaurants turned out to be a good deal. We also wanted to rot in luxury one meal and chose to go to the Vertigo and Moon Bar located on the 62nd floor of a tower in the lumpini gardens business district. The choice was between that and Sirocco and we picked this one because the name was cuter. The views were great, the crowd watching satisfying and the food nice.

Did we get massages (of the legal kind) - Not really. Since Ko Samui was dedicated to the spa visits during our holiday, we did not. But it is definitely economical to get one.

Hot tip - Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) was carrying a TV on the flight back to India. Apparently it is priced very very competitively. So even if you are not in the market for a TV, you need to buy one just to sell it and make a neat profit when you get back home.


Ringing in 2012

How do you know you had a happening New Year’s Eve?

Be in Ko Samui, Thailand – Yes

Be in a party on the beach – Yes

Watch lanterns floating onto the sky – Yes

Hear and see firecrackers at regular intervals – Yes

Sit around a table on the beach sand and get cool neon fake glasses to wear – Yes

Start dancing after a while to the thumping music – Yes

Watch fire eaters do some stunts – Yes

Greet the new year by hugging D and watch the magic around - Yes

Happy 2012!