As I write this I’m on the upper berth of a clattery night train heading out of Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. There’s a Chinese couple on the bunks below and we’re desperate for the sheets and blankets to be given out as the air conditioning is so fierce. Around us, I can hear various languages being spoken – Thai, Chinese and the unmistakable drawl of Australian English. And now a knowledgeable Yank has piped up: ” I rode these trains before and they don’t know how to turn the air-con off. Like, at all.”
This marks the end of over two months loving the islands and beaches of Thailand. Today I said goodbye to my sister on Koh Samui. We’ve had over two weeks sunning ourselves up the east coast of Koh Phang An.
In my previous blog post, I talked about our experience at The Sanctuary and from there we travelled on this little almost dead ferry up to Thong Nai Pan Noi. It sputtered up onto the beach and we stayed in some bungalows next to what Tripadvisor calls the number one choice of accommodation on the island. We learnt that no beach looks nice in the rain, but it can look a bit better when you’re sipping a sneaky smoothie at the Anantara. Boutique chic eat your heart out. Each seafront villa had its own plunge pool… and intercom. The area in between the villas was so beautifully landscaped – think foot bridges, palms and koi carp. Yes, we had a good old nose about. My sister could review hotels for a living.
Then the sun came out and we felt compelled to stay for almost a week.
I also managed to secure my first bit of freelance yoga writing work so I’ve been spending time typing away whilst looking at beautiful turquoise sea. Much better than a desk in Whitehall.
We risked life and limb by getting back on the almost dead ferry to travel back down to the southern tip of the island, just close to the place famed for full moon parties – Had Rin. Thankfully we missed the party but I’ve still managed to see enough neon to last a life time. T-shirts, sunglasses, shorts, even a sign on our bungalow door saying ‘if floresant paint on sheet pay 600 baht’.
We stayed in a rickety bungalow perched precariously on the side of rocks overlooking crashing waves and, in the distance, Koh Samui. It felt like the end of the world.
And then onto Koh Samui for one night. On the island I pointed out every sight that was ever-so-slightly related to my teacher training:
“We ate on this beach one night!”
“We set off lanterns from right here!”
“I bought your ripped-off Muppets DVD from this stall!”
I would like to formally take this moment to apologise to Katharine for being a yoga teacher training bore. She was very understanding and made all the right noises.
I was sad to say goodbye to Kaths. We travel well together. I’d get up early to do my yoga practice and then we’d see each other at breakfast. We’re both very happy to spend time sitting relaxing although I’m much more of a shade-seeker than her. We’d have a dip in the sea, then lie to dry off. It’s a tough life. She’s off home to London in two days’ time but I’ll be seeing her and the parents in Kerala in November.
Anyway, I’m on my way to Chiang Mai in order to do a two-week Thai massage course. I’m intrigued and I’ll let you know how I get on.
Oh and we now have blankets! And I’ve had the opportunity to remember how challenging it is to use a squat toilet on a moving train! Night night sleep tight.
Clackety clack… clackety clack… clackety clack…