After the incredible heat of Cambodia we were craving some time on the beach and in the sea. So it was rather lucky that we needed to travel back to Thailand before coming home.
The island of Ko Samet was the logical choice as it is within easy reach of Bangkok and close to the Cambodian border near Battambang. But after 4 days on the Perhentian Islands it is fair to say our standards are now rather high when it comes to sand and surf.
Ko Samet is a lively island. The beaches closer to the main pier are big party destinations and these beaches were crammed in the day. Luckily ours was the beach where people dealt with their hangovers before strolling northwards again for the evening. Our beach was also rather pretty.
The highlight of our time on Samet was probably the food. I am very much a connosieur of Thai food. Well of Red Curry and Pad Thai anyway. That’s my Thai food of choice and I have it way too often. Tubtim do a mean Red Curry and a half decent Pad Thai. They also have a barbeque each night with fresh fish and seafood. We munched on 4 huge and rather expensive prawns one night. Please excuse the awful photograph. After 1 and a half laps of the planet our camera is on the way out.
But as far as the beach was concerned, it just wasn’t up to scratch. The sand has too many cigarette ends and the water is murky. The other nearby beaches were no better. Memories of crystal clear blue waters and our own personal coral reef in Malaysia came too quickly to mind. There was also lots of rubbish on the island.
So on our first full day we decided to make it our last and head back to Bangkok.
The next day we got up fairly early and got a taxi (a green pick up truck designed to maim passengers) and headed back to the pier. The slow boat then took us back to Ban Phe from where we hoped to get tickets in a typical Thai Minibus of Doom.
It took all of 30 seconds to find one and we were soon on our way. Thankfully this was nothing like our first Thai Minibus journey back in 2010 when we travelled from Siem Reap to Bangkok. This one was almost relaxing and I never once felt like I may die.
Claire found a gem of a hotel in Bangkok. The Aetas Hotel were brilliant. Claire booked a standard room and then told them we were on our honeymooon. This worked a treat and they upgraded us to one of their deluxe rooms on the 22nd floor. The bathroom was seperated from the bedroom by a huge glass window. Handy as I could watch football whilst in the bath.
In fact as I wallowed in the bath there was a knock on the door. Claire answered and I then quickly wound down the blind to hide my glistening naked form from the 3 hotel employees who entered. I watched through a crack in the blind as they decorated our bed with rose petals and swans created from towels. It took them ages, and Claire sat at the desk watching in her delightful hotel gown and slippers.
A little later there was another knock at the door. This time a large heart shaped strawberry and cream cake was delivered. (I think our trusty camera has really lost the plot. It looked a lot better than this)
That evening we visited a restaurant that Claire first visited 12 years ago with her good friend Anna. The restaurant is called Cabbages and Condoms which has relevance to their origins. They were very involved in reducing the birth rate in Thailand. At one time family sizes averaged 7 children!
Some of the light shades were made of condoms and when we paid our bill we did not get mints (see below). Claire nearly opened one thinking it was a wet wipe! More importantly the food was fantastic so I celebrated with a Chang Beer.
The next day we planned to do very little. We started the day at the pool and then went out for lunch and sticky rice and mango. We also fancied one final massage.
I opted for a Thai back and shoulders massage. I made this choice with a large dose of complete ignorance as to what a Thai Massage involved. What followed was around 3 minutes of pleasure and 57 minutes of pain. First the woman smeared me with Tiger Balm. I now know that Tiger Balm and sun burn is not a great combination. It burns!
I have a rather weak back but luckily I have strong core muscles courtesy of the strength exercises I do every day. I needed them to fend off the masseuse who seemed to be doing everything in her power to snap me in two. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse I felt an incredible weight on the backs of my thighs. The weight moved up over my rear and on to my back. I glanced sideways to see Claire laughing before realising the woman was walking on me. I used every bit of core strength I had to stop her from injuring me. Never again!
That evening we went for a stroll at a couple of shopping malls before eating in a restaurant that served the hottest curry I have ever eaten.
And that was that. If it isn’t obvious already, we most definitely had the most incredible honeymoon. The thought of sitting around on a beach sunbathing day after day just doesn’t do it for us any more. The world has too much to see. We spent a total of 4 days on beaches. About the same amount of time we spent on the move by bus, taxi, tuk tuk, elephant, boat, plane, pick up truck, floating dining table….
The Perhentian islands were fantastic though. They took some getting to but they were near perfect.
Returning to Cambodia and seeing Davong and the temples again was my personal highlight. I love Cambodia and I love the people. Battambang was worth a visit for the Bamboo Railway and the kids at the end of the line alone.
Claire is unpacking so I just interviewed her for you. She says that snorkelling off the Perhentians were her highlight. Finding a coral reef right outside our resort was rather perfect. Even if the fish did attack me!
So back to the daily grind again. Who knows when we will be off again……