Monday, 2 October 2017

7th Week: Trunk To The South

Sawadii ka, everyone!

In my 7th week I participated in the program "Trunk to the south" where we would get from Hua Hin to Bang Saphan Yai, to Surat Thani and from there to our final destination: Koh Samui. The purpose of this program is, to get to know the south of Thailand a bit better and to enjoy boat trips, snorkeling and the best beach in Koh Samui, Chaweng Beach.

Trunk to the south is more expensive than all the other programs that I've already done, since those were 5 point programs and Trunk to the south is a 10 point program. I payed 160€ extra, which really isn't that much for what I got to exprience. Everything is included in that price; rooms with air-conditioning, taxi drives, train and bus tickets, boat trips, breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. It definitely was worth it. I'll probably explain all organizational things, including the whole point system, after coming home. For now, let's get back to Trunk to the south!


Monday

After getting breakfast at the Hua Hin accommodation, we finished packing our backpacks and suitcases and left for the Plearnwan vintage market.
Since it was my third and my friends second time there, we didn't really need to visit every shop. I bought new sunglasses, though, since I've lost mine in Singburi and my friend bought a cover-up for the beach. Of course, I also got a mango shake again and we still went into some shops; mostly to enjoy the air-conditioning.


We then left the market and went to the Hua Hin train station where we had to wait for our train to Bang Saphan Yai.
The train ride took about three hours and was extremely uncomfortable since Thailands trains have weird seats and are kind of gross. At least this one was.


When we arrived in Bang Saphan Yai, we took a taxi to our accommodation which was directly at the beach. We stayed in the "Sunrise Resort" for the night which had really nice rooms.


Later, we went to the beach for the first time and were positively surprised. The water was warm, clear and there was not a single jellyfish in there. We stayed at the beach almost until dinnertime.


After dinner, which was really delicious, we watched the sunset coloring the sky bright pink. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera with me, so I only have one shitty picture which I took with my phone.


Tuesday

On Tuesday we had to get up earlier since we were going on a boat trip. We shared a big blue boat with two Thai teenagers and another european tourist. The boat was quite nice, since we could also go onto the "roof" and have a nice view.



In total, we stopped at three different islands to take pictures and go snorkeling.
At the first island we stayed on the boat and just took pictures of it. It was more like a massive rock than an actual island but it looked amazing with the torquoise water. 



We went snorkeling for the first time in front of the second island, Koh Talu. There we could jump into the sea from the "roof" of the boat and start snorkeling. The water was super clear so we could see every little coral, stone and animal perfectly.


Most of the fish we saw were those little black and white striped ones. They swam in huge fish swarms and were not scared of us at all so we could literally just be part of those swarms and swim with them.



I also saw some parrotfish, cornetfish and obviously lots of other kinds whose names I don't know. Between all the corals and stones on the ground, there were massive shells which were beautifully coloured. We were in the water for about 45 minutes (even the boat owners dog went!) and we all really enjoyed it.



At the third stop (the second snorkeling stop) we basically saw the same kinds of fish but the island itself was quite cool!
We could swim inside some sort of cave which was illuminated from the sun, since there was a big hole in the "ceiling". One girl even took her mobile phone to this cave just to take pictures of it. I would've loved to take pictures aswell but taking my phone there just in a plastic bag was a bit too risky for me.


After 45 minutes, again, we started our way back to the pier and tanned on the boats roof. This resulted in a major sunburn for me, adding the fact, that we were in the water, exposing our back the whole time, for about 2 hours in total and the sun was really strong that day.



We got back to the resort at around 4pm and after we all showered, we had dinner for the last time there.
I also went to the beach once more to see the sunset again. There I actually played a bit with a random dog and we tried to catch crabs together; meaning that I always showed the dog where a crab was and the dog then ran after it.



Since we were going to leave at midnight for the night train to finally go to Koh Samui, we all went to bed quite early after packing all our bags and tried to sleep. This night was going to be a long and exhausting night.


Wednesday

As I've already mentioned, we left at midnight. We got to the train station by taxi and then had to wait for the train. Unfortunately, the train, we were supposed to go on, had several hours delay so we had to book another one.


That one had 40 minutes delay as well so when we finally got on the train, it was already 2 o'clock in the morning. Luckily it was a night train with bed cabins so we could sleep for a few hours.

At six o'clock we got off the train and went to a restaurant/café to get breakfast and to wait for the bus.
The bus ride to To Samui Pier took about two hours and we then had to wait for the ferry to Koh Samui, which took two hours as well. Just when we thought, we were almost at the accommodation, our coordinator told us, we still had to drive 40 minutes to our hotel.

When we finally arrived at the hotel, we got our room keys (our room was on the 4th floor, whohoo.) and went to our rooms to unpack. It was quite nice actually. We had air-conditioning, a warm shower, a fridge and a semi-comfortable bed.

After lunch at the hotels restaurant, we all went back to our rooms and took a much needed nap until our coordinator showed us the beach we could go to whenever we'd have free time.
It's the Chaweng beach, whic, apparently, is the most beautiful beach in Koh Samui, according to the Greenway organisation. I don't know if that's actually true but it was a really nice beach, indeed.

After dinner, we went to the Koh Samui Night market next to a huge mall where I could purchase a few souvenirs for my friends and family.
On the way back to the hotel we came by a shop where we bought some post cards and snacks for the boat trip on Thursday.


 

Thursday

On Thursday we, as I've mentioned, went on another boat trip. This time it wasn't for snorkeling but mainly for seeing the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park.

We left the hotel at 7:15am and went to the pier in a minivan. There we got on a quite big boat with lots of other people, where we could eat breakfast. It took us nearly two hours to get to the first island of the national park. We could already see the islands from the distance and they looked really nice. They didn't look like the typical islands with a smooth surface but looked very bumpy, different and interesting.


The first stop was the best one. To get to the beach, we had to divide in a few largeer groups to get on largeer boats which then got us to the "pier". The pier was basically a few air-filled boxes tied together. It was so shaky to walk on that, that some people almost fell off; didn't happen, though.


The beach there looked amazing. The sand was super white and the water clearer than ever. Combined with part of the island and a few palm trees, it made just a perfect picture.


On that island, there was a trail that lead to a view point at 400 height meter. That path was extremely exhausting to walk on, even after a few metres. In-between the ground and the top view point there were a few resting points where you could stop to gain new energy and enjoy the view.


On the way up, a monkey was suddenly sitting on one of the poles next to the trail. I'm sure, if you've read a couple of my previous posts, you know how much I've learned to hate those animals. 
With this monkey it was different. It was just chilling there, eating its banana, posing for the camera, minding its own business and not being an asshole to us. It even let a few people pet its back and then moved on to sitting in a tree, away from all the humans.
   
As I've said, hiking up there was hard! Especially for short people like me, since the "steps" were quite big and we really had to use all our energy.
Fortunately, I had my camera with me so I could take little breaks all the time to """take pictures""". 
To be honest, I was really proud of myself when I  finally got to the top view point. Not everyone got to the end but stopped halfway or at the second last resting point. It was so worth it in the end, though.
The view was unbelievably incredible. We could see most of the 42 islands of the National park. This, of course, was a great opportunity to take pictures again, so that's what we ended up doing up there the whole time.

The way down obviously wasn't as exhausting as the way up but it was still challenging. Especially because of the big steps we had to take. I'm sure that wasn't all too healthy for our knees, but, as I've said, everything was worth it.

When we got to the beach again, we grabbed our life vests and got back to the boat to have lunch, before we went to another island to drop most of the people off, since they were going kayaking.

We continued our boat trip a bit longer and got to the other side of that island. There was a trail to a view point as well and we got on that too. This time there were actual stairs and it was a lot easier to get up to that view point. 

It also didn't take too long, only about 20 minutes. From that platform we could see the Mae Koh Island Lagune which was an amazing looking green lagune. It was completely untouched and just beautiful. Going up there was so worth it, as well!

Back down at the beach we went swimming a bit. Luckily there were no jellyfish at all; instead there were those striped fish again which, apparently, really enjoyed biting our feet.
At 3:15, after all the kayaker have arrived at the beach, we started our way back to Koh Samui. It took about two hours again and at the end it even started to rain a bit, which wasn't all too tragic, though, since we were almost at the pier anyways.

After getting back to the hotel and having dinner there, we all went to our rooms and I spend my evening writing a few post cards for my friends and family, before going to bed.


Friday

Friday was a sight seeing day for us. At 9:30am, after breakfast, we went to another temple. This one was called Wat Phra Yai temple and it was the most popular one in Koh Samui.
It's actually quite near to the airport and it's not illuminated at night so there were lots of accidents where airplanes crashed into the Buddha statue. Because of that, the routes of all the flights had to be changed. The temple itself was just a typical thai temple but with an amazing view of the sea.


We then went to the Hin Ta and Hin Yai (grandfather and grandmother stones) which is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. The story behind those stones is quite interesting.


Apparently there was a man who was going to get married on Koh  Samui. Their boat crashed, though, and all the people on it were separated from each other. The mans parents both got spooled on Koh Samui.


After they've realised that their son had died, they starved themselves to death. Those stones basically represent their genitalia, which is quite odd, in my opinion, since Thai people usually avoid talking or thinking about "obscene" things. It was a very interesting land mark, still.


After eating lunch at those stones, we continued sight seeing and went to the Namuang Waterfall. It was a pretty big waterfall and great for taking pictures, once again.


I spent my time trying to climb on top of the rocks, which were extremely slippery, so I could take some pictures while some other participants went for a swim. I just went in with my feet which was cold enough, in my opinion.
There was also a little market near the waterfall so that's where I went for a bit to take a look at all the products that were being sold there.

Back at the hotel I finished writing all 13 of my postcards and then went to Chaweng beach with Felicity. 
There I went swimming (still no jellyfish!) and Felicity even rented a jetski for a few minutes. Before we got back to the hotel for dinner, we went to 7eleven for some snacks.


Since it was our last night in Koh Samui, we decided to find a bar and go for a few drinks. We soon found one which was really cheap (2,50€ for a decent sized cocktail) and had really nice staff.
After a couple of drinks and card games, we wanted to go to the beach and see if there's something to do. We found a beach party pretty easily and stayed there for a bit. I was one of the first to go home, with two others, since I was just too tired and not in the mood for partying anymore. 

On the way back we obviously had to get from the beach to the street again, so we just walked through the same beach resort we came through when we got to the beach in the first place. There was a security guard, though, who shouted at us for entering private property and even threatened to call the police. We just ran away and finally got to the main road on which we walked home for a few minutes. No police, thankfully. 


Saturday

Saturday was our last day in Koh Samui. We initially wanted to watch the sunrise that day but decided not to, since we were way too tired from the previous evening. After breakfast we went back to our rooms to pack all our stuff and enjoy the air-conditioning one last time before having to check out at 12. 



We then went to the beach a bit and basically just sat there, watched the waves and talked about all the things we've done so far on our Thailand journey. We stayed there for an hour or so and then decided to go get lunch. 



We soon found a little café called "Uno" and ordered some pizza and a huge mozzarella mushroom baguette which we shared. The staff there was incredibly nice and we ended up staying for more than two hours.

After lunch we stopped at 7eleven again to get snacks for the trip back to Singburi and headed back to the hotel. There we had to wait an hour for our minivan to arrive which took us to a bus station where we had to change to a bus to get to the ferry. 

Back at the dry land we took the night bus to Bangkok and from there we got back to Singburi in a minivan. In total, that was a 17 hour trip back and at the same time an almost sleepless night.

Sunday


We arrived at Twinhouse at 10 o'clock and did nothing that day besides catching up on sleep and watching series. On the weekends there's nothing to do in Singburi anyways so being unproductive was okay. In the evening, after dinner, I skyped with some friends from home for a few hours and went to bed quite early to be ready for sports coaching the next day.

No comments:

Post a Comment