Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thailand - Part 2 - Ko Samui

Ko Samui was my favorite part of the trip, and probably one of my favorite places that I've ever visited. I feel like I just need to start this post with a picture... 

It's pretty easy to love a place that is this beautiful. Our resort we stayed at was the Renaissance Ko Samui Resort and Spa... and it was amazing! We decided to splurge a little bit on this part of the trip since we were only going to be there two days, so we ended up getting a villa with our own private pool.

The nice thing about Thailand is that even though we "splurged" on this villa, it still was very cheap compared to a normal hotel room anywhere else we could have traveled. Enough about that though...

The first day in Ko Samui, we explored the resort (and probably looked so out of place with our wide eyes and chins hitting the floor) and then we decided we wanted to explore a national park nearby. The resort set up a taxi for us and took us to the park. When we got dropped off, the first thing we saw (after the amazing jungle we would be hiking through) was elephants!!!! The one thing I wanted to see while in Thailand was an elephant and I got to see a bunch up close! They were doing elephant rides but we decided to just hike instead. The elephants were so cute though!

Next time I go to Thailand (and I sure hope there is a next time!) I will be riding an elephant. Now, on to the hike. We were hiking up to a waterfall in the jungle and had a great time! I love hiking and exploring so it was a great way to spend the day. The jungle was beautiful and the views were amazing. 

There was also a totally random mini-waterpark inside the national park (?) with two big slides. Seemed a little weird to me but it sure would have been refreshing after a long, hot hike! When we got to the waterfall, of course we wanted to hike more. So... we found this little off-path trail that took us up higher and higher. We literally had to pull ourselves up the mountain with ropes and branches to get up. We ventured about half way to the top before decided it was time to head back down. Getting down was just as hard... I felt like I was rock climbing! It was so much fun though (and I didn't fall, yay!). After the hike, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy happy hour and an amazing sunset over the water.

On our second day in Ko Samui, we signed up for a speed boat tour through Ang Thong National Marine Park. This was one of the places I really wanted to see while in Ko Samui but to get there, you really need to book a tour. We wanted to kayak and snorkel as well so we found the perfect tour!  The guides were awesome and we got to do so much in a short day. We started the trip by taking the speed boat out about one hour towards the national marine park. Our first stop was snorkeling at Koh Wao. They gave us or snorkel gear and we dove right in! The corral and fish were so pretty - we had a great time swimming around and looking under water. 

The next stop of the trip was to hike up to a lookout point at one of the islands. We climbed tons and tons of stairs (seems to be a reoccurring thing on this trip...) to where we could see many of the islands, the beautiful water, and a lagoon.

 Our next stop was a small fisherman's village on the only inhabited island in the Ang Thong National Marine Park. There were children selling crafts, people just hanging around, and a delicious traditional Thai lunch (including yummy shrimp!). 

Last but not least... kayaking. Kayaking was awesome! We were give a couple of hours to explore in the kayaks or lounge on the beach. We decided to kayak first and found some cool caves and rock formations in the water. 

On the way back, we saw a rope dangling from a rock so of course Will had to climb the rope and jump off the rock :) 

We lounged on the beach for a bit, then it was time to head back. I was so exhausted that I dozed off on the boat ride home. To end the night, we had dinner at the resort restaurant. 

The next morning, it was time to fly back to Bangkok. We were both very sad to leave this beautiful, tropical paradise. I would absolutely love to return again and explore all that the island has to offer.

Overall, Thailand was definitely a success. I hope to spend about 2-3 weeks in Thailand again in the near future to see more! Hope you enjoyed this post and all the pictures :)


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