Today’s post is a little different. It’s a flashback to a trip I took 2 years ago to Thailand. I went to the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Lanta and Koh Phangan.
Although I’ve always loved travel, I would say this is the trip that really solidified my love as an adult. I’d just gotten out of a significant relationship and decided fairly last minute to get out of town to clear my head.
I talked to a friend who was over there at the time, booked a Contiki tour for part of a trip, got a plane ticket, loaded up my passport and backpack and headed out. I did have a bit of anxiety about going, I’d never traveled anywhere solo before, I wasn’t sure what a group tour would be like and of course, long ass travel time.
To say that my mom was freaking out would be an understatement. I had just moved into an apartment alone for the first time, single for the first time since high school and now was heading to Asia?! I’m sure she thought I was having a mental break.
After a flight from Vancouver to Tokyo, Tokyo to Bangkok and finally Bangkok to Krabi…I had arrived! I quickly met up with my friend Shane who had already been in Thailand for a few weeks at this point.
The first night we stayed at a small hotel right in Krabi and decided to move out the next day. We booked in at the Beyond Krabi Resort, which is gorgeous. You walk in the lobby and have an amazing view of the entire property and the sea. I was in heaven! This is exactly what I was picturing and just what I wanted.
We spent 3 nights here then headed out to Koh Lanta. We made reservations at another resort, Rawi Warin. You guys, this wasn’t a backpacking trip. I was easing my way into the traveling life I’d say.
If you get a chance this resort is amazing. Huge beautiful grounds with creeks and ponds going through, infinity pool…basically everything you picture at a tropical island paradise. To be honest we spent most of our time there eating and drinking by the pool, hitting up the buffet and working on my tan. I think we barely left the resort…maybe once to hit up a 7/11?
After a few days, this luxury part of the trip was over and it was time for Shane and I to split up (though we would meet up again soon!) and I hopped on a flight to the island of Koh Samui to start my Contiki trip.
I had a lot of apprehension about starting this…what would the people be like, would I make friends, was I crazy for doing this? Needless to say, I shouldn’t have worried, I met some people on this trip I’ve traveled with again and am still very good friends with.
The tour started in Koh Samui. We spent a day touring the island in jeeps which was SO FUN! We went up to Wat Phra Yai temple to see a massive golden Buddha, got blessed by a monk and toured through a jungly area. We spent the nights in Koh Samui partying, it’s too bad I don’t remember the names of the clubs but they were great.
One place I would recommend going to is Ark Bar. They have a hotel there and also a pool bar. A few of us spent an afternoon there, drinking and swimming and it was so much fun. I think they regularly have pool parties and DJ’s there, so definitely worth hitting up if you’re around.
Koh Samui is a great place to do some wandering around and I felt super safe whilst there. I’d also recommend if you are wanting to pick up some souvenirs the market would be a great spot to do it.
Next up…time to get the ferry to Koh Tao! The ferries that go between the islands can be either fun or awful…I haven’t had much in between, to be honest. One ride, majority of the group was hungover and it was bumpy as hell (a suitcase even fell on top of someone!), so you can imagine how fun that was…
The next day we hopped on a boat with Goodtime Adventures for a snorkeling tour. Now if you know me, you know I’m not really an ocean person or a great swimmer for that matter. I spent most of the day bobbing around in a life jacket diaper with a beer while the group was checking out the fish.
We all make it to Koh Tao in one piece, we landed in a bit of a rainstorm so the afternoon was spent for most people at the resort. We stayed in SUCH a cool place, I’m devo I can’t remember the name of it, but it was up the hill from the main town and the whole resort was super steep. (If you are looking to book send me photos and I’ll see if I can recognize it.)
Aman and I also decided to play a hilarious joke on the group when we found a water gun/chicken broth combo pack (seriously…only in Asia) at the convenience store before heading out on the boat. We were spraying people with it (disgusting) and the fish loved it. We were very popular, which I guess was good for the people snorkeling.
After a big day on the boat, we wanted some fun and decided to go out for the night. Koh Tao is known as much for its scuba diving as it is for its partying and we wanted to get in on the action. We hit up a bar on the beach and spent the night with fire dancers and too many drinks. At one point Aman and I ended up in the ocean and that’s when we knew it was time to head home.
The 7:30 ferry the next morning was seriously painful, but we were en route to our final island, Koh Phangan. If you’ve heard of partying in Thailand, you’ve heard of the Full Moon Party and Koh Phangan. We were booked in at the Shiralea Backpacker’s Resort for 3 nights. Although I did really like the actual resort, it was quite far away from anything and we didn’t have transportation. I think that maybe have been on purpose, to keep us drinking and spending money at the place.
We actually missed the Full Moon party by just a few days, but they compensated by throwing a party at Shiralea with lots of neon and I think it was probably just as fun. People who have actually gone to a Full Moon party may disagree, but I think being at one would probably just give me a ton of anxiety.
After a few days on Koh Phangan, it was time to head back to Koh Samui to catch my flight back to Canada. I thought maybe after being surrounded by people for 3 weeks straight I’d be happy to have some alone time, but the moment I checked into my first solo hotel room of the trip I was so lonely!
To wrap it up I would say considering I made some lifelong friends and this was my first solo trip it was well worth it to do a group Contiki tour. If I were to go again (which I would love to get back to Thailand someday) I would certainly feel safe and know I could do it for a lot cheaper by myself. I think feeling this way has come from getting a lot of confidence by doing more traveling. At the time it was exactly what I needed, I came home tanned, happy, with a small (maybe large and disgusting would be a better description) coral wound on my knee (still got a scar to remember that night by) and had certainly caught the travel bug that would have me searching for my next trip ASAP.
If you made it this far thanks for reading through, I know it’s a bit longer than my usual posts! Also apologize for some of the poor picture quality, it was a lot of phone pictures. Have you been to Thailand or done a group tour like Contiki? What were your thoughts?