Koh Samui was an absolute blast. Karen and I have two very different opinions on the best way to travel, and this time we did it my way, which I like to refer to as Forrest Gumping. Karen would rather plan every detail of our trip before hand so we can spend maximum time relaxing and not have to worry about the many aspects of travelling that consume so much time. Transportation, lodging and activities are the three main things that Karen would like to have planned before hand. This makes perfect sense and I respect that kind of thinking, but I have never been all that good at it. I prefer to just land somewhere randomly and find a place I like, stay there and meet people and ask them what the best things to do are. There are pros and cons to both of these practices. The problem with planning is that you are usually choosing everything from online, and often what you see online is not what you get in person. Also, to have everything bought and paid for is dangerous in case there is something terribly wrong with the place you have chosen to stay online, and you have to fight to get your money back. Forrest Gumping gives you the option to pay for as many or as few days as desired, and move around trying out different things.
The downside to Forrest Gumping, is that it is often more expensive and time consuming than pre-planning. During our Koh Samui trip we spent many hours on the island walking around in the heat looking at dingy rooms until we found a place that we liked. Time that would have been better spent on the beach, after 24 hours of travel time. Also, we were there during thier new year celebrations and it was nearly impossible to find last minute transportation around Thialand. This would have been an area we would have been much better off pre-planning for.
There is something to be said for the free-wheeling, devil may care, let the chips fall where they may, gonzo style of travelling that I enjoy so much, but just to even things out a bit, maybe we will go with Karens way the next time. After this trip, I think it might be a nice change to have everything taken care of beforehand.
Bye for now,
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
So today is April 5th, and after 2 days of travelling, we are finally settled into a hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. What a trip! In the course of 24 hours we have single handedly managed to utilize every major mode of transportation possible. After getting off our motorbike in Hanoi on April 3rd, we took a 45 min. taxi to the airport where we boarded a plane for Bangkok, immediately getting off the plane after 1hr/45 min and onto an airport transfer bus to the terminal, from there onto a bus that took us through Bangkok rush hour traffic, where it proceeded to linger for 2 hrs at an almost dead standstill, forcing us to get off at the first available oppertunity (which was some good advice we heeded from a complete stranger on the bus who lived there) if we wanted to catch a connecting train or bus to Koh Samui that night. From here we crossed the street and climbed the stairs to the Sky Train, which took us to the Subway, where we could quickly reach the Railway Station. From here we tried to catch an overnight train, but the last train was sold out. So, on the advice from a friendly tout, we followed him to his travel agency upstairs and bought a ticket on the overnight VIP bus instead. 10 hrs later, we arrived at the Ferry Terminal, where we boarded a boat for the 4 hour journey. Once arriving, we found ourselves on the island of Koh Samui without a transfer to the beach we were staying at, so we hopped in a taxi, where upon our request, he drove us first to a phone shop to purchase a SIM card for our phone, and then to an internet cafe where he waited outside while we went online and got the number of our friend who is also staying here. Unfortunately, he wasn't answering, so we decided to have him drop us off on the main street where we could find a hotel. Once this was accomplished, we immediately headed for McDonalds (they don't have them in 'Nam!) for a Big Mac meal, then straight to the beach on the motorbike we rented from our hotel. All in all, a great, albeit long, but fun journey. After sleeping for the last 12 hours, we are looking forward to the next 10 days in breathtaking Thailand.