A few days is all I really needed in Bangkok before a serious case of Island Withdrawal had us headed to Koh Tao on a 930PM bus. We’ll come back to Bangkok, it’s probably cooler and more enjoyable anyways, when it doesn’t feel like there is a monkey knife fight going on inside your stomach. FYI: you can get salmonella from peanuts.
Our good friend from home, Saichon, arranged for her cousin, June, and friend An, to take us to visit some temples and a floating market. The ladies were a calming and happy presence in an otherwise chaotic place. They were graceful as they went through Buddhist rituals, and the sincerity that flowed from them when abiding temple customs felt purifying to me, even as a spectator.
To my surprise, on our way out of Bangkok to catch the 9:30PM bus to ferry to Koh Tao, we met up with Vicki, Paul, and John once more and had some good laughs for old times sake. Then, an 8 hour bus ride to the northeast peninsula city of Chumpon. The bus ride was freezing, but the movie, Step Up 3 (Saichon’s husband, Adam produced the movie trailer for the “film”), was at least a torturous distraction.
Koh Tao was pretty chill: A bit of scuba diving, beach,cards, lunch, cards, explore, dinner, repeat. Then back to Koh Samui again to do pretty much the same thing, but in a different setting, Lamai Beach. I’m almost becoming restless for a change of pace after five weeks of island hopping. Yet, something tells me I should completely lose myself in relaxation before flooring the accelerator into Bangkok again. Heeding my own advice, we are off to the beach for some paddleball and a cold Chang. On a sand bar, 100ft into the ocean, there we were, Erika Jude, and I, laughing, swimming, and enjoying our easy paddleball rallies for one last day of beach.
*Travel Tip: Lomprayah travel agency, near the Viang Tai hotel (on a parallel street to Khao San Rd) is where we purchased our tickets to Koh Tao. The overnight bus wasn’t full and we were able to stretch out, but we prefer the train as you have a bit more room. Its a couple of hours longer but it makes for a cooler experience. The overnight bus should run you about 600-800 Baht. Make sure to book any first or second class train travel at least 4 days ahead of time as they fill up. The bus is possible to reserve the day before. There are three ferry companies and all have nice seating but paying more saves you a lot of time. Lastly we flew out of Suratthani back to Bangkok and if you have 5 hours to spare (minivan, bus, ferry, bus, minivan) and want to save money on the flight go for it. Otherwise, pay for the flight from Koh Samui and have more time at the beach.