November 16, 2004


OK, so my aspirations of writing this blog while on the go came to naught. I'm still a bit wary about busting out my fancy laptop in public and besides there's plenty to absorb while cruising through the Thai countryside on the train (and a cute Thai student to chat with to boot). But anyway, I managed to meet up with my Aussie friend Jenni, who had just flown in from China and had bought her flight from Bangkok to Ko Samui two days before while we were chatting online and I had told her it's my birthday. My Irish friend, Orlagh, who I had originally planned on meeting up with for my birthday is still MIA. The last email I had received from her was ten days before my birthday so countless things could have happened in between that could have waylaid her. I just hope it wasn't anything bad.

It was actually a fairly long but smooth day of travel to get out to the islands. I started my day in Kuala Lumpur, took a short flight to Hat Yai, just over the border in Thailand. From there, I grabbed a train just in the nick of time for the 6 hour journey to Surat Thani. In Surat Thani, I had enough time to have some dinner and then grab a motorcycle taxi (cuz I was to cheap to spring the extra $1.25 for a real taxi, even with my 3 bags, oy ve) to the port, where I caught the 6 hour night ferry to Ko Samui. The ferry ride was actually very smooth (in contrast to my last ferry trip to Ko Pha Ngan 10 years ago which made me quite ill) and I actually managed to sleep pretty much the whole way on the comfy mattresses provided. Once on Ko Samui, I grabbed a taxi to the airport there to meet up with my friend Jenni. After hemming and hawing about where to stay on Samui, we finally said fuck it and decided to head over to Ko Pha Ngan. We caught the one hour ferry to Had Rin and after asking around about the elusive New Moon Party and not being able to get a definitive answer from anyone, we decided to head for a new age resort type place a 20 minute water taxi ride from Had Rin called The Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary was apparently started by a few Brits some 12 years ago trying to escape the chaos of the Full Moon party. They hired a boat and ended up on a then unsettled beach called Hat Tien. They liked it so much they decided to set up shop there and the Sanctuary now consists of a bunch of bungalows, gourmet health food restaurant, meditation center, spa, and general new age paradise retreat. But it's all very tastefully done and only as new agey as you wanna make it. The prices are pretty steep relative to the rest of Thailand but still very cheap by western standards. So we finally got there, got settled, and had a good nap. Then it was off to the spa for a deep tissue neck and shoulder massage followed by a traditional Thai massage. My neck is quite sore by now from the combination of less than ergonomic sleeping conditions, bad sleeping position (on my stomach), and carrying around my three backpacks on the back of a motorcycle taxi for instance. So the expert touch of the Thai masseurs was welcome relief indeed. And the food is just phenomenal. It's almost all vegetarian - a mix of Thai, Indian, Western, and even a bit of Mexican. But everything is prepared exceptionally well, it's all very fresh, very healthy, and very delicious.

Posted by Pedro at November 16, 2004 08:07 PM | TrackBack
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