Day 3: Goodbye Bangkok, Hello Ko Samui (Using Travel Insurance, Ko Samui Airport, Chaweng Night Market)
The morning in Bangkok was pretty relaxed. At 08:00, the doctor showed up. It was a little strange honestly to have a doctor come to the hotel room, but we were happy we didn’t have to go in search of one (although there is a Catholic hospital 2 blocks from our hotel…pretty convenient!). He took one look at it and said, Yep…bad infection. He gave me some antibiotics and some medicine for the swelling and that was pretty much it (lucky for me, he said the antibiotics should take care of my leg and also a virus I picked up…vacation start double whammy!). It was straightforward and better to get taken care of early on. I was a little concerned about it since the rest of our trip (except for 5 days in Ubud) is water based (hello Thai/Bali beaches!). I’ve had plenty of injuries before…truthfully…more than average and I have never had a reaction like this (it figures the first time it happens would be on a month long trip).
So take aways from this? Get travel insurance, especially for long trips. It made the process much better for us (well, after we fought with the customer service/scheduling back in the states).
So, a trip to the hospital two blocks away (I told you, super convenient) and we scored some Betadine and Tegaderm. If you don’t know what Tegaderm is…it’s pretty much the best bandage ever (but difficult to find outside of a hospital).
The rest of the morning before leaving for the airport involved an amazing breakfast (seriously…amazing..dim sum=yum), a trip up to check out the incredible pool and some regrouping (aka, organizing the bags a bit).
Traveling domestically in Thailand is incredibly chill (in fact, maybe a bit too chill at security). In any case, the flight between Bangkok and Ko Samui was really short. Basically as soon as we reached altitude, we almost immediately started our descent! Despite that, they STILL fed us (not a tiny bag of peanuts, real food…take note cheap U.S. based airlines).
Landing in Ko Samui was a little surreal. First, let’s point out that if you are flying from Bangkok to Ko Samui, you will pass another island that looks like you might land on it…but then you keep flying past it…like….hey…whatcha doing…the island is back that way! Upon landing, you taxi to the parking area for the planes and leave via stairs (not so uncommon). There are trolley’s that take you to the terminal. According to Miguel, it’s “just like Disney World”. The terminal looks like a medium sized group of decent looking wood huts. There were only two small (seriously, small) belts for baggage claim. The whole process is incredibly relaxed and chill, exactly what you would expect and want when arriving to an island.
Our hotel, the Sandalwood Luxury Villas picked us up from the airport. The service in Thailand (except in restaurants) is incredible. After a short drive, we arrived to the hotel. While we waited a moment to check in, they brought us cool towels, snacks and a drink and then talked to us about the hotel and the services. Our villa was incredible. It has an amazing view of the bay, a sitting area, dining area, small kitchen, bathroom and even a jacuzzi. It was definitely better than I expected We relaxed for about 1.5 hours and then headed off to Chaweng area.
I had read about the Chaweng night market and it seemed to be worth checking out. What I had in mind (and based on what I read) was a little different than what we found. Until this point, I had been pretty proud that I hadn’t taken Miguel to really touristy areas. However, Chaweng night market seemed to be geared solely to foreigners and expats. Even so, it was interesting to check out. The main market area was a mix of street food and cheap souvenirs with a sitting area in the middle where you could chill and listen to a live band and maybe order a drink from one of the bar stalls (although I suggest ordering beer as I’m doubtful if the mixed drinks actually contain any alcohol).
After exploring the market, we left and wandered around for a little while. The surrounding area is mostly massage parlors, gift shops selling the standard fare of tourist targeted product and restaurants. While the restaurants all seemed pretty touristy, we picked one and sat down. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant…but don’t worry as it wasn’t good enough to mention. The most interesting thing about the restaurant was the T-shirts with a monkey farting on the back….which, while strange for a restaurant…is pretty hilarious.
We ordered a shrimp hot pot and some noodles. One thing we have discovered is that carbs (noodles, rice) rule the culinary world here. As a result, we were a little disappointed when we only got 4 shrimp in the hot pot (note to travelers, bring some type of protein powder with you when you come as we eventually became a little desperate for it towards the end of our trip). Still, it’s Thailand and even the mediocre food is better than some of the best Thai restaurants in the west!
One thing that you can definitely score here is BBQ seafood. Every place has tons of seafood on display and if you opt to get grilled seafood, it is pretty cheap compared to the west! We wanted to try something a bit more different, but should probably have gotten grilled seafood as well!