After last month's amazing visit to Koh Samet me and the girlies decided that spending Valentine's weekend there was definately on the cards. As the nights on the island are far too much fun to miss out on we thought we'd travel down after school... on Friday the 13th.
I snuck out of school an hour early (it was English Day and the kids were running riot doing various activities, and all the other teachers had shot off at lunch so I figured I wouldn't be missed!) Me and Kat got the van from Saraburi to Rangsit (North of Bangkok), where we were meeting up with the others and getting our next van from. Had a bit of time to waste so mooched around Future Park - the huuuuuge plush shopping mall there - and got myself a scrummy passion fruit and pineapple smoothie to kick-start the weekend.
The van 'should' have been leaving at 6, so we got in, and waited, and waited, until it's engine eventually chugged to life just before 7. Should be used to 'Thai time' by now! It should have taken around two hours or so to get to the ferry point, which meant we would have just made the last ferry to the island. But no, luck appeared to be against us (superstition got the better of me and I began to think it may well have had something to do with the date...) The van seemed to take far too many detours dropping other passengers off, and then it was just the four of us, and a driver who didn't seem to know where he was going: he pulled up at the side of the road, did multiple U-turns, I think he may have even phoned someone, all the time we kept reminding him where it was we wanted to go. Somehow we made it to the ferry point, although it was 10.30ish so a wee bit later than planned, and meant we'd already missed our beloved fireshows.
The last passenger ferry had already gone which meant we had to haggle about chartering a speedboat. These are mucho pricy... double the cost of the three hour van ride there for a 15min boat trip, each! We did some eye-lash fluttering whilst explaining we were but poor teachers, and then he kindly told us to wait for 30mins as a bus would arrive so we could split the cost between more people. This gave us time to get a 7-11 dinner, I went for Singha, tuna 'puffie' pie, and some raisin bread. Nutrituous.
Some more peeps turned up and we ended up paying 200b each instead of 400b, still a bit pricy when the ferry's 50b but it was worth it for the experience... flying across the black moonlit waves with water spraying up everywhere. I felt like one of James Bond's ladies... though ever-so slightly less glamorous as I still had my hair in plaited pigtails (I'd had to dress up as a cowgirl for 'English' Day!) It also dropped us right off on the beach so we arrived in style, clambering as gracefully as possible off the back of the boat into the shallows.
By this point it was nearing midnight... so there we were, four rather windswept and wet-legged ladies standing on the beach with no-where to stay, we knew we'd be up late so really just needed somewhere to deposit our overnight bags. Found a place open 24hours, although it still involved waking a little old lady up, whoops! She didn't understand we weren't really planning on sleeping there and said we'd have to pay 750b each, bit steep for what would basically be a cloakroom, I'm sure even the London clubs don't charge that much!
Wandered around a bit more and stumbled upon another seedy looking place advertising itself as 24hours, so we phoned and said we were outside and wanted a room. We were greeted by a guy, with long poker straight hair, in a hot pink night-dress. But 'she' sorted us out with a double room for 500b, and it was decent enough, bar the hairy spider Charla discovered in the toilet. I decided to hold it in until we got the the bar! We speedily changed into our party frocks and headed back out.
Within five mins I'd bumped into a couple of people I'd met in Bangkok during orientation, small Thai world! And within the next five mins we were happily sat by the sea with our first bucket. Happy days :)! Went along the beach from bar to bar, meeting up with the Thai bar boys we'd met last time along the way. Also met a new one who's done building work in Jersey... I found his builder's accent highly amusing, especially as he added 'mate', 'babe', and 'innit' onto the end of most sentences. He said he wanted to go back to England, I said I wanted to stay in Thailand, so he came up with the solution that we should get married, spend summer in England and then come back and run his beach bar together. Tempting, but don't worry, I politely declined. We walked back along the shore to our room as dawn was creeping up and the four of us slept width-ways on the double bed. For three hours.
Left first thing to find somewhere else to stay... ended up at Naga's Bungalows which are in a good location, behind a lovely stretch of white sand, and in between all the bars, as well as having their own... with a pole (literally a metal pole, not a proper dancing one, false advertising!) Got ourselves a couple of bungalows for 200b each, showered, had the most amazing poached eggs on toast I've ever tasted (no offence dad!) and hit the beach. Who needs sleep, pah!?
Had a lovely lazy morning dozing in the shade, swimming, wandering along the shore, listening to music and generally chilling out. The hours went by blissfully slowly. By early afternoon we thought a bit of activity was in order so we went banana boating, wooohooo! SOOO much fun, and I only fell off about three times. Grabbed a fruit shake and cheese roti for lunch and went back to relax-mode until it was time to get ready for another night out. Had a bit of a play on the Naga's pole before dinner, and was told we'd get a free bucket if I went back later and had a spin.
We had our Valentine's Day dinner at a front row table on the beach by the sea, set out with roses, candles, and there were heart balloons everywhere, it was all very romantic. I sipped on a strong strawberry colada (with flower!) and ate noodles and squid, having another roti for dessert. Then we went next door to Ploy where Rasta set us up our own table with a good view for the fireshow. Apparently it was going to be 'extra special' that night, and it didn't disappoint. It started with a spectacular firework display right above our heads, then the boys were introduced in their own special way and did their fire-twirling thing, then they twirled with fireworks on the end, it was amazinggggg!
Spent a few hours partying our way from place to place, ending up at Naga's where I got a free bucket, woo! What a handy talent to have, although unfortunately I couldn't show off half my moves owing to the fact it was a rubbish fake imposter pole! We were pretty knackered and so were tucked up under our mossie nets by 2am, a very early night for us, drifting to sleep to the sound of the reggae music being pumped out from a nearby bar.
Bright-eyed and bushy tailed I woke up around 8ish, had a freshly baked cinnammon roll for first breakfast, and went for a long leisurely morning swim. Met the others to collect our bags and go for second breakfast/brunch; I tried to be healthy after all the sugary cocktails consumed the night before and had muesli, fruit and yoghurt with delicious coconut yoghurt shake.
Kat and Erin headed off after brekkie as they had bits to get on with at home, but me and Charla decided to hang around a bit longer. It was so hard to pull ourselves away! Lounged on the beach for a few hours, did some final tanning, snacked on a sex on the beach sorbet which actually made me feel a teeny bit tipsy. We were very sad to leave our beachy paradise and walk back to the ferry, on the way we decided to drown our sorrows with frozen cocktails. I thought it appropriate to have a Samet Dream, little did I know it was going to turn out neon green (I'm such a poet!) We sipped them on our practically private boat back, and made a pact that one day we'll all come back together.
We had time to get a 7-11 late lunchtime feast before the van left at 4 and I ended our second Samet adventure as it had started... with a tuna puffie, this time washed down with water and not Singha, bit early for boozing and all that. Another long van ride and a bus later I was back in my humble little apartment. It was like never having been away, but I know I had as I have lots of happy memories of my Valentine's on the beach, and the photos to prove it.
Koh Samet is my happy place :)!