New Year’s Eve was one crazy night, but it wasn’t the only adventure to be had in Thailand. From zip-lining to getting up close and personal with a baby tiger, our days on Koh Samui were packed with once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
On the first day of 2011, we slept all day before being roused by the mellow evening breeze that swept into the windows of our gorgeous, tropical retreat. We threw on our warm weather-ready garb, hopped into a cab and spent the evening on Bo Phut beach, in Fisherman’s Village.
After a lovely dinner at Starfish, we strolled in the village and perused merchandise from the various shops and street vendors lining the warm, well-lit streets. We inspected trinkets and souvenirs before finding ourselves at Dr. Fish, a spa that specializes in tubs with tiny fish that eat the dead skin off of your feet.
It was ten minutes of simultaneous tickling, discomfort and hilarity! Mimi and I went into a tank, while Matt and Evan hopped into another.
The feeling of the fish nibbling on my toes, heels and ankles was too much to bear. Mimi and I spent our time laughing, screaming and swirling our feet around in the water, terrifying the little buggers. Eventually, the fish stopped biting because we squirmed so much.
Evan and Matt kept cool under pressure a lot better than we did. They giggled and chewed on their lips, but were able to hold their feet still long enough for the fishies to get a decent meal. The school in the water swarmed their feet! It was a funny experience, but not one that any of us are looking to repeat any time soon.
Also, during our “spa treatment,” a crowd of people watched our discomfort through the floor-to-ceiling glass panels. I’m sure we scared more than one person off!
After a beautiful, relatively quiet night (aside from a rowdy tween who shot me with a popper on the street during a war with his friends) we hit the hay to prepare for the day of adventure that we had ahead of us.
The next morning, we woke early and hopped aboard our trusty motorbikes to begin our tour of the island. After breakfast and a long, bumpy ride into the jungle, our first stop was to the Canopy Adventures. It was there where we suited up to zip-line through the tree tops.
Weeee! It was mildly terrifying to sail through the trees, but mostly just exhilarating. We had a blast, swinging in the trees and screaming as our small platforms swayed in the wind.
Our tour guide was awesome too — cracking jokes, telling stories, and even zip-lining upside down! He even took a great video of one of our rides, scaring all of us at the end when we almost collided! YouTube is being funky (boooo) but I will upload the video as soon as I can! :)
A seaside lunch and motorbike ride later, we arrived at one of the largest waterfalls on Koh Samui. Surrounding the waterfall were touristy activities of sorts — elephant rides, more zip lines, and even petting and taking a picture of a tiger or leopard! I know that I probably shouldn’t support the mediocre (or worse) care of these animals by paying to take a picture with them, but the baby tiger was so cute I couldn’t resist.
We fed the little guy a bottle :)
The waterfall was a rocky hike away, but definitely worth it once we reached the top. We chilled out there for a bit, combating the sweltering heat with the cool spring water.
Afterward, we headed to Hin Tai and Hin Yai, the Grandfather and Grandmother rocks located on Lamai Beach. These rocks, shaped like male and female genatalia, located closely together, have spawned a legend about how they came to be. The story tells the tale of Ta Kreng (Grandpa Kreng) and Yai Riem (Grandma Riem), an elderly couple who were killed at sea when their boat capsized on their way to marry off their son. The couple transformed into rocks as “proof to the bride’s parents of their true intentions.”
The sun was sinking in the sky when we arrived, and got some beautiful shots of the red-purple sky, breaking tide and the, ehm, phallic rock.
There was also a tiny reggae bar nestled into the boulders, Rock Bar, where Bob Marley played softly over speakers, rasta art donned the hut-like structure, and tourists and locals got together for a Chang and a laugh. It was peaceful and relaxing — a perfect end to a perfect day out.
Our last day was spent at Bo Phut, where we feasted before walking down the beach looking for seaside massages. We finally found a pleasant open-air space with four unoccupied beds — we laid down, and the Thai women got right to work massaging our sore bodies. The hour rub-down only set us back about $8, not bad for a massage with sand and surf as your ambiance.
Afterward, we found a beach bar to down some fruity drinks before scouring the streets for some lovely souvenirs to take home. Evan and I ended up with two wooden elephants to use as bookends, a wooden sculpture of a drummer, a beautiful bowl, and a deep red table runner. I also got a few clothing items to rock in April, when we meet my family in Oahu on the way back to the states!
The rest of our night was spent packing and eating with our friends, then starting our journey home.
Wonderful trip — food, friends, partying, adventures. One of the best vacations ever!
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