Our first taste of the Thai islands
December 28, 2009 – Day 368 – Koh Samet, Thailand
“Uggghhhh.” We all three grunted at the alarm clock in unison. It was suggesting that we get out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6:45. Why, oh why must buses to beautiful beaches run so blasted early? Is it some kind of karma pre-payment plan for getting to go somewhere lovely while the rest of the city zips around on the back of a moped huffing diesel exhaust? Maybe…
By 7:15, we were eating breakfast and on our way to Koh Samet via minibus. It was a cramped but air conditioned 3 hour ride with a short lunch break in between. Once we arrived we still have a 15-20 minute ferry ride to the island and then another couple hours of hunting down cheap lodging for 3 during the holiday season ahead of us as well.
We disboarded the ferry with a giant leap upward onto the dock (no stairs, what?) and then made like a sneaky snake through the national park booth which kept our wallets weighted down with an extra 200 baht, thank you! Normally we would feel guilty about not helping pay for the upkeep of a national park anywhere in the world but it seems, like many places, that the astronomical fee only for foriegn tourists and all of the infastructre on the island is maintained by the hotels.
Anyway, we merrily jaunted down a long and sandy road. Our search for lodging was underway and we were hunting like no tomorrow for the right place to house our new giant companion comfortably and affordably. Finally we made it all the way to Ao Pudsa (Pudsa Beach), a small quiet beach with just enough conveniences and facilities to save you from having to walk all the way back to the park entrance (where the main beach is). We scored a newly renovated room with a TV, fan, private bathroom with hot water (whoa!), oh and let’s not forget the best part—a mini fridge! It cost 700 baht for the three of us per night and was 50 meters from the beach. Not too shabby for the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.
Well, by the time we finally made it to Samet and got settled into a place to stay, it was late afternoon and only a couple more hours before sunset so we took the time to explore our surroundings. From the ferry dock, we walked maybe 3 kilometers to Ao Pudsa but there were tons of places to stay along the way. It was a good place for us, kind of in the middle of the bigger beaches back toward the docks and then some more, smaller beaches the other direction over the hill.
We dined at a great restaurant right beside the clear turquoise water as the sun set. Not a bad way to end a typically dull travel day. This place is going to cure whatever ails us with its incredible tropical beauty, wonderful people and amazingly delicious food. Ah, Thailand!