Love from Koh Sumui

It’s Wednesday 14th, 5PM, in an internet cafe on the south east coast of the Thai island, Koh Sumui just off the south east coast of Thailand.

Since my last email from Phom Penh last Monday, we took a coach to Siem Reap in Cambodia Tuesday morning where we stayed 3 nights to explore the enchanted ruins of the Ancient Angkor period. The coach took up most of the day but we rolled up in time for a brief introduction to the temples in the evening. We got talking to a resident from Siem Reap, Solu, on the journey who represented the Capitol tour group we have become familiar with and he was keen to recruit us for a guided tour around Angkor via Tuk Tuk (motorbike with two person carriage on the back). It was very convenient, as he organised free transport to a cheap hotel and agreed to be our driver for the two and a half days we would spend exploring the temples. That evening he took us to see one ruin with a view out over the forest and the most famous of all the ruins, Angkor Wat, and we watched the sun set over the beautiful scene. The following two days Solu carted us about on his Tuk Tuk going from temple to temple. These are some amazing ruins, dating back as far as the 10th century and the Angkor kingdom, a city far more developed than any Western civilisation at the time. And these ruins have been left completely free and open to tourists to explore at their will. It was a bizarre feeling to be able to walk around these 10th century ruins with immaculate carvings in the walls and what would have once been stunning pieces architecture, and not being constrained from walking on the stone and touching the ancient carvings in the wall. Fascinating.

Friday morning we took another coach across the border to Bangkok, Thailand. Another long journey left us with an evening to explore the city. We stayed in a cheap place very near to the main backpacker centre, which is a bit out of the commercial district, but buzzing with tourists. Not as many as I was expecting though, perhaps due to the recent unrest. As expected, the Thai’s are the most accommodating people of the three countries we have passed through. We spent 3 nights in Bangkok, two days to get to grips with the city. Not much to see really, other than temples. But a glowing city all the same. On Sunday we took a short Tuk Tuk tour around a couple of temples, albeit with a few detours to some shops that bribe the drivers to stop there. Both me and Ben ended up splashing out on tailored suits, allured by very cheap prices for seemingly high quality. I ordered two fitted shirts with ties and a 2-piece suit, to be collected on our return to Bangkok. An expense I hadn’t anticipated, but worth it all the same.

Monday evening we departed Bangers via a night coach again for the long journey to Southern Thailand. Arrived at a bus station on the coast at 5AM, to be picked up by another bus at 8 and shuttled onto a boat. 1 and a half hours later we rocked up on Koh Sumui island. We had prearranged accommodation at our stop over, so we were able to get a free bus ride directly to the resort. We have a twin bed triangular shaped shack directly on the beach, no more than a few meters from the high tide mark. Paradise. Its tiny and very basic, but just about everything we need given its situ. Yesterday we rented out a scooter (motorised) to explore the island. We started off on the best beach on the east coast, and ended up exploring a couple of waterfalls in the centre of the island. Beautiful forested areas. Stripped off and had a splash around at the second waterfall. This morning I woke at 7, still with a few hours left with the bike (24hr hire). I headed off to the next beach along and had a quick swim before returning the bike at 10 and having breakfast. Great feeling zipping around the island on a bike like a local! This afternoon weather has been a bit stormy. Windy with a short burst of rain. We were just in the sea making the most of the waves and as we came out to our surprise a tornado was forming on the horizon. Not something you see every day! Must have been moving in the other direction as it dissipated pretty quickly.

One more night in our lovely beach shack and then we are going a short distance north to the island of Ko Pan Nan (spelling unknown). Similar setup to here. More days on the beach, topping up the January tan. Then we’ll head back to Bangkok Sunday or Monday, with a few days to spare until our flight out on Wednesday.

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