Ko Samet Island a much needed escape!

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Our View from New Empire Hotel-ick!
We took a 3 hour car ride and a 30 minute boat ride to Ko Samet Island yesterday. Its so beautiful here, the water is an aqua color, its tropical and really lush. We checked into this cool beach bungalow place with a beautiful view of the Gulf of Thailand waters. The side of the island that we are on is very calm and quiet and the other guests are mostly Bangkokians. For lunch we FINALLY ate thai food and its delicious! I did however bite into a nuclear hot thai chili pepper complete with coughing and tears (full on crocodile tears!) Thailand Tip: when they ask "no spicy?" and you say "little spicy" that equals really spicy.

Our neighbors told us of a Full Moon Party that happens only once a month and just happens to be in Christmas Eve.
Marble Temple
..we were going of course! We had another delicious meal a few beaches down this time pad thai, coconut curry, vegetable spring rolls and grilled pineapple. We were so starved for good thai food after eating crap in Bangkok for the past 3 days that we ordered way too much! We looked like typical wasteful Americans but learned our lesson.

*note about crappy food in Bangkok: its not that the thai food isnt good. Its that where we have been there has been a lack of thai food. Its like someone coming to the US looking forwward to traditional American food: burgers, bbq, apple pie etc and not knowing where to go. They end up at the mall food court and are disappointed!

This whole side of the island is decorated with colored paper lanterns and strands of lights hanging from the trees.
Mariah Carey sings "All I want for Christmas" at the lady/boy show at Calyso in Bangkok
Its seriously like something out of a movie! The bar where the party was, Silver Sands had fire throwers performing on the beach as bunch of people watched while sitting on rugs and drinking buckets. Its literally a child's beach bucket filled with thai whiskey, redbull and like 5 straws. At midnight the huge "Merry Christmas" sign they had they lit on fire! Which was followed by the DJ playing Christmas songs while watching fireworks go off right over our heads, it was sooo cool! I could have done without the firework particles that fell in my drink but hey its Thailand :) We danced and drank till 4am then called it a night.

Today I got up and headed down to the shore to get started on that tan I have been dreaming about. Mission accomplished! Several locals have asked me if I'm Thai, not sure but I think its the hair...maybe now thats I'm even darker I will get some Thai perks like cheaper taxi fair ha ha! We came down to the same place for dinner and they have an internet cafe which is where I am sending you this message. Its like 2 baht per minute which is .06 cents hence the longer message this time.

We finished up Ko Samet island complete with a gecko in our room which was a little freaky but they are ALL over the island, we are just lucky we didnt see one oe of the 7 footers we have been hearing about. Lots of laying out, relaxing, eating good food, and seeing nice resorts and the poverty of the island.

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Floating Market
14 hours is a REALLY long flight! The first 7 hours seemed to go by smoothly but after that it was a waiting game. Our first full day in Thailand was chalked full of what Thailand specializes in..extremes! We got caught in the typical bangkok scam which is when the tuk-tuk driver takes you to the jewlery exchange in the hopes that you buy something so he gets a commission. After that little excursion we headed to the Marble Temple and took pictures of gold buddha statues and beautiful ornate thai temple architecture.
Then off to MBK a 6 story mall with an awesome food court. They had all kinds of food fresh made to order. Outside the mall they were having a japanese anime festival complete with teens dressed up in random costumes like: geisha, cats, little girl holding a cat-you get the idea.
"The Best Cobra Show in the World"
It was a great photo op! We walked around for a few hours and did some shopping. After that back to the hotel to freshen up for our buffet dinner and lady/boy cabaret show.
For vegetarians there sure wasnt much to chose from so I settled for salad and potatoes (in Thailand I know!) the spaghetti sauce for the pasta tasted weird. Its like things LOOK the same as they do back home but they dont TASTE the same. There is some weird sweet difference. For $15 it wasnt worth it. The lady boy show was great though! Some of them really look like beautiful women but we were sitting 2nd row so we knew the truth ha ha! The costumes were amazing and the performers are really talented! They finished with Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas" which put us in the Christmas spirit!
We were up at 6am the next morning for a 12 hour day of floating market and tiger temple. The floating market was about an hour drive from Bangkok and just as I imagined it would be. Many small boats and some larger with gas motors crusing down narrow canals all in the name of the almighty baht! I swear if they can put a motor on it here, they will :) This place is not for the meek you haveto bargain unless you want to pay $45 for a collapsable hat that probably cost .50 to make, if that. I scored some good deals on things but overpaid my first couple of purchases, hey it takes time to get into the haggling groove!
From there we stopped at the Cobra Show that boasts "Best in the World" not jus the best cobra show but the best show...EVER! This was a surprise stop to us as it wasnt mentioned in the itinerary and something I would have probably not opted for but there we were. My friend wanted to try and relieve her phobia of snakes by facing her fears head on. We walk into the show and are taking pics of snakes in cages and one of the workers walks right up to her and put a python's face on her shoulder! You can imagin her reaction! Funny and sad at the same time she let out a few blood curdeling screams. Onwards and upwards we go into the small arena to watch the show. It consists of men wrestling snakes, cobra and mongoose fight, and python throwing (toward the audience, very scary and I was sitting in the last row!) For $6 it was a good show but I would never want to see it again thats for sure.
Another 90 minutes to the tiger temple I was feeling overwhelmed to say the least. My heart rate had just returned to normal and now we were about to not only see tigers but touch them and take pictures with them. I jokingly asked our tour driver if anyone had been bitten at the tiger temple that he knew of and he said yes, this happened last month. I guess some lady got bit on the arm he was laughing when he was telling us this. I was like ok they really do bite! Once there we waited in line about 30 minutes then it was my turn. The photographer took me by the hand into the area where the tigers were (yes there was more than 1 more like 10) they were all laying on the ground and appeared to be asleep. Some had chains around their necks and some didnt. I told her I was scared, she laughed and led me to a small cub. I knelt down for my picture nervously touching his/her? fur and smiled thinking "hurry hurry take the picture!". We went to one more tiger cub and I was done, by choice. They will really take a lot of pictures with you with all of the tigers if you want so its pretty cool. The only thing I didnt like about it is that the tigers are SO relaxed that they almost seem sedated which the workers swear they arent. I watched a large male tiger bt pushed onto his back and his legs spread apart while a young guy crawled in front of the tiger laying down in the tigers arms to take his picture (this is where you have to pay $). I just down know if I believe that this tiger is so used to people that this is ok to him? P.S. The tiger wasnt wearing a chain. Another 2 hour ride back home some time on the internet and we checked out Khao San Road. Now whoever said its a cool place was sooo wrong, ok maybe in the day time it might be cool. At night its filthy think dirty strrets, trash everywhere, horrible smell, cockraoch heaven! I wanted to get out of there as soon as the taxi dropped us off. After a dinner of salad with gross mayonnaise dressing and velveeta cheese sandwhiches it was time to go. We checked out the noted ping-pong show even though there actually wasnt any ping pongs but other tricks. It wasnt as bad as I thought it would be but we were in a small place and there werent many people there. Ahhh Bangkok all done now onto Ko Samet island!

See Ko Samet blog.

Ok so we returned to Bangkok for our last night and stayed in
Chinatown (the area where we spent our first memorable night in that
dirty hotel) but the Shanghai Inn was a vast difference! It has
beautiful silk bedding and asian lanterns hanging in the room, very
nice! We walked around Chinatown and went to Golden Buddha who is the
largest PURE GOLD buddha in the world. It was covered in stone until a
few decdes ago to hide its worth from the Burmese during the invasion.
Its very large and very beautiful! We went to Hard Rock Cafe for
dinner and had some good old American food which is always welcome in
a country where they try so hard to make the food the same but it just
doesnt turn out exactly right. Then stumbled upon a night market for
young people with cool t-shirts and trendy accessories, did a little
shopping and called it a night. The next day we woke up and made some
shipments home of souveneirs and just stuff that I dont think I will
need to use in India and $90 later my backpack is significantly
lighter! Just when I was getting used to the smell of fish sauce we
have to leave for India :( I love Thaiand though and will definitely
be back!
LeighTravelClub says:
Enjoy Koh Samet!!
Posted on: Dec 26, 2007
Our View from New Empire Hotel-ick!
Our View from New Empire Hotel-ick!
Marble Temple
Marble Temple
Mariah Carey sings All I want for…
Mariah Carey sings "All I want fo…
Floating Market
Floating Market
The Best Cobra Show in the World
"The Best Cobra Show in the World"
Bangkok Hotels & Accommodations review
This hotel is a diamond amonst the rough. Located in the Patpong district (the gay area of Bangkok) its a beautiful, modern, clean, and organized hote… read entire review
3,007 km (1,868 miles) traveled
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photo by: Deats