After spending a few days chilling in Pai, our trip was very much dictated by spontaneous decisions, which was something I absolutely loved. So we headed to the south and spent 13 days in Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket. I am already planning my next trip to see the rest of the islands..
As a pretty organised person, and someone who had a fairly rigid routine at home, I am definitely not used to waking up and quite literally thinking ‘where shall we go today?’ But I guess that’s one of the biggest appeals about backpacking and we were lucky to be able to drift around a beautiful country, with no timescale, spending as much or as little time in a place as we liked..
From Pai, we decided to make our way down to Koh Samui. The first part of the journey, involved a mini van and a sleeper bus to Bangkok, where we holed up for a while to overcome the food poisoning. We then took a mammoth journey of 18 hours of travelling, from Bangkok to Koh Samui, on a 14 hour sleeper bus, coach, ferry and mini van.
Communication isn’t always 100% clear in Thailand, and most of the time, we had no idea where we were or what we were supposed to be doing. We were abandoned a fair few times, simply waiting for instructions.. We rocked up to our hostel delirious, hungry and very overtired!
In Koh Samui, we checked ourselves into Nid’s Bungalows, where we actually had our own two bed bungalow and ensuite, for £6.50 a night! Safe to say though, it was the strangest place I’ve ever stayed in my life and I’m not sure I would actually recommend it… The place feels as if you’re staying in an animal shelter; the animals roam around absolutely everywhere – rabbits, dogs, kittens and ponds full of fish. Most roamed around freely, some animals had hutches, others were for sale, and the whole concept was pretty unnerving. It was unclear as to whether the animals had been rescued, or were bred there, but they were kept off the streets, which are full of strays.
The owner of the hostel is a character as well – best described as, not overly helpful, but still friendly, difficult at times, a patriarch and an Australian guy trying to pull off a Thai accent, that just didn’t work. The days we spent in Koh Samui were made very memorable by how much we laughed at the odd situations we constantly found ourselves in. But the beaches are beautiful, the beer is cheap, the weather is hot and it’s a fairly calm island. One of the highlights for me, was having dinner overlooking the ocean at Ark Bar! We had incredible Thai food, followed by trying banana frittas for the first time.
After 3 fabulous days in Koh Samui, we then took a ferry and a 3 hour coach to Krabi, back on the mainland. In contrast, I’d highly recommend the hostel that we stayed in, Pak Up! It was the perfect combination of social and lively, but calm and quiet too. The beds were heavenly, the bar was awesome and it was a really decent location, right near to the harbour. We weren’t blessed with fantastic weather in Krabi, it rained heavily, with low temperatures and grey skies. But not to be out off, we still took a day trip to Railay Beach, which was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. An epitome of paradise – white sands, turquoise ocean, lined with palm trees and in some areas, totally deserted.
We spent the entire day relaxing on the sand and watching the ocean, and I could’ve easily spent longer just laying there. The island is full of luxury resorts with infinity pools, ocean view villas and I would love, love, love to stay in one one day! This is a definitely a must visit if you’re going to Southern Thailand.
Phuket was our last stop in Thailand, and so we set off in another mini bus, arranged through our hostel. Transport is so inexpensive in Thailand, ans most of our trips cost between £8-18! I dread to think how much it would’ve cost covering those distances in the UK!
This was one of the worst journeys we had in terms of dangerous driving – literal maniac that has us fearing for our lives. But the Thais seem very confident in their abilities and most people drive in a way that would probably get you banned from driving in Europe. All part of the adventure though, and I guess we live to tell the tale!
Unfortunately after the hectic journey, we then arrived in Phuket, unable to find our hostel and quickly realising that Old Town Phuket is an actual ghost town at this time of year. Our hostel was actually very decent though, with an amazing cake shop two doors down and close to the airport. Admittedly, this was the only reason we came to Phuket – the international airport with a flight to Singapore! But walking around at 7.30pm trying to find somewhere for dinner, was like walking around a city that was just totally empty, and in the pouring rain. We admitted defeat, and in desperation, settled for a café with football memorabilia from the 80s all over the walls, and only burgers on the menu, which also looked like they could give us food poisoning.
Side note – there were many, many occasions across South East Asia where we thought food poisoning was a real possibility and also heard many, many horror stories from other backpackers. I felt extremely lucky to learn I have a stomach of steel and a strong immune system that miraculously kept me safe! We were lucky and we know it!
So Phuket was a massive disappointment. Crap weather, nothing to do and just dead. We spent the days watching Netflix and eating digestive biscuits that we’d managed to find! (Yay)
We had an early flight out of Phuket Airport, leaving at 7am for Singapore. The airport was another experience in itself, as checked luggage is security scanned before actually checking in, resulting in seriously long queues all the way down the airport. If you fly from there, leave yourself a lot of extra time!
Singapore was never in my original plan, but oh my god I am SO grateful that we visited. Thank you, Samantha, for the suggestion! Singapore very quickly became my favourite place that I’ve ever been to, and I already can’t wait to return. Mum, if you’re reading this, you’re coming with me!
As always, thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you had a fabulous Christmas and New Years.