After an all-together 12 hour coach – boat – coach journey from Ayutthaya, we arrived in a place of relaxed vibes, gold sand beaches and turquoise sea. Paradise seems too small of a word to describe the stunning island of Koh Samui.
After two weeks of traveling through mainland Thailand; trekking, elephant riding, ziplining, white water rafting and cycling, I think our minds and bodies needed an island break, and what an incredible place to begin. Our accommodation, Samui Econo Lodge, was absolutely wonderful; myself and two friends were lucky enough to be allocated a room that was like a penthouse suite! It was absolutely huge, had a double bed, a single bed, a sofabed, a kitchen, A BATH! It was literally a dream. It wasn’t long before the rest of the group came to have a nose at how epic our room was and continued to just barge in whenever they pleased – party roooom!!
After dumping our stuff and reveling in our palace of a room, we headed straight for the beach. I’ve been to a lot of beautiful beaches in my time, such as those in the Caribbean, but the beaches in Koh Samui were like nothing I’ve ever experienced before; I felt like I’d stepped straight into a “wish you were here” postcard.
Over the course of our 4 days in Koh Samui we had some fabulous times on the beach; sunbathing, playing frisbee in the sea, teaching one of our girls how to swim, eating the best club sandwiches and drinking fruit smoothies in beachside bars, eating our bodyweight in ice cream, and just generally having lots of giggles. By this point I felt like I was on holiday with life-long friends – it’s crazy to think we’d only known eachother for two weeks at that time. I felt so lucky to be where I was, with the people I was with; it was like a much better version of your typical coming-of-age holidays to Magaluf or Ibiza.
We didn’t waste any time in getting into the party spirit. Our first evening on the island saw us girls go all out with our appearance (most of your time spent traveling you look like a pork scratching – at least I did anyway), getting dressed up, made up, straightening eachother’s hair – lucky I brought my straighteners along eh? Everyone was using them!
We went out for a meal as a group to Charming Restaurant, which does what it says on the tin really. The food was great and the cocktails were lovely…”boom boom on the beach!” We carried on to a little bar near our hotel, in which some of us snuck bottles of vodka in, one of the girls ended up with a pool cue in her eye, and my friend and I ended up getting quite drunk – her more so than me! Spent the night holding her hair up as she puked in the toilet, when in Rome eh?
The next morning saw our volunteering project begin, with a spot of dam-building; which didn’t immediately sound that interesting, but it was actually lots of fun. The building of new dam’s in the river helps the flow of clean water in these rural areas, so we did a worthwhile thing. Our group made a very good team, some of us (myself included) mixing cement, some people went to gather rocks, some laid the rocks, and we were all like a factory system – passing buckets of water up the line to make the cement, and passing buckets of cement down. We completed our dam in a couple of hours, much quicker than other teams, we were told; and all signed our names whilst the cement was still wet, whereas one of the lads decided to stick his face in it – coz writing your name is just SO mainstream.
Our next volunteer project was in a school, which I was so excited about; at home I’m a support worker for people with special needs, I love working with children and I was really looking forward to meeting some Thai kids. Unfortunately, it was half term, so the kids weren’t actually there; gutted! Our task was to paint one of the classrooms pink, which of course was much easier to do when the kids weren’t there. This was a two day task, which was actually rather enjoyable. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of DIY at home, and I get quite OCD over it; so I just got on with the task, whilst having giggles with the group, singing, chatting etc. Although we didn’t get to meet any children, it was nice knowing that the kids would hopefully appreciate a colourful new learning space.
I may not have got to meet any children at the school, but it soon became clear what they do during half term; sell crap on the beach at nighttime and start cuddling the shit out of you in order to trick you into buying stuff. On our penultimate night in Koh Samui we visited Ark Bar – a bar on the beach which we would be going to again the next day for a beach/pool party. It was a cool place, with benches on the sand, a staggering choice of cocktails, fire dancers and banging music! So yes, you’re sitting there, enjoying your cocktails when these adorable kids come up to you selling things like glow-stick glasses, flower necklaces and other junk that you’d absolutely never need in your life – but the children are so bloody cute it’s hard to say no! Sneaky marketing trick there. Grown-up sales merchants also bothered you, selling jewelry, sarongs, and some rather weird stuff; one woman put something which felt like a vibrator on my back, and there are also sales merchants with live monkeys and lizards which they just put into your hands, take a photo and force you to buy the polaroid. (We didn’t fall for that though, ain’t nobody got time for that)
The following night is when the real party began, the beach & pool party! I can absolutely 100% say that this was the craziest night of the trip in so many ways. It all started off fine, with a buffet dinner and one free drink included in the ticket price, we met some nice people from all over the world and had some good old chats in the sea…that was the calm before the storm, which very quickly turned into being absolutely rat-arsed (being drunk in the sea is such a surreal feeling), some frolicks that couldn’t possibly be shared on the internet, and some drama that made Geordie (or Jersey) Shore look tame.
It was an epic night though, and if you remove the bad parts, it was a fabulous way to wrap up our time in Koh Samui. I’ve taken away some wonderful and insane memories from this place, and I will definitely be returning one day.
Until next time, bye bye Koh Samui and onto Koh Tao…