For those wanting to visit the tropical areas of Thailand, there are two popular options: The first is to fly into Phuket, take a ferry from there, and scope out the islands in the Andaman Sea, west of Thailand’s landmass. The other option, which we chose essentially at random (read: some girls we met were going there), is to go down and east, into the Gulf of Thailand.
We only spent 3 nights total in the area (including 2 on Ko Samui), so I don’t profess to be any authority on the Gulf islands. But with the help of a few rented motorbikes, we covered plenty of ground and had a grand old time. First stop was Ko Samui. Here are some highlights:
- Vince and I played tennis (count it) on some deserted club courts right up the road from our hostel. We were fully prepared to pay, but didn’t see a soul for the 90 minutes we were there. It was real hot.
- We got very drunk and had our nails painted by some enthusiastic British girls. It was real hot.
- We moto’d up into the hills in the middle of the island, following signs for enigmatic “Waterfall 2.” After a longer ride than any of us expected, and after dodging elephants and crossing bamboo bridges on the hike up, we cooled off in a perfect little natural swimming hole at the base of a modest waterfall. I don’t know where “Waterfall 1” was, if it even existed, but none of us regretted the path we’d chosen.
- Vince’s cherished Merrel Trailgloves – both of them – were eaten by wild dogs in the night. No one else’s shoes were disturbed.
We only spent 1 night on this second of the famous gulf ‘Ko’s, and John and I split from Vince and Sascha almost immediately on arrival. They wanted to relax at our hostel on the southern edge of the island – which, to their credit, did have a pretty bitchin’ pool – but we wanted to go find some friends who were staying up north. Once again, on the backs of rented motorbikes with questionable service histories, we set forth into the unknown.
The road was long and treacherous. Kilometer after kilometer of unpaved hills, with loose dirt crumbling under our tires, through jungle that can only be described as jurrassicparkesque, we made our way. But we got there. We found our friends. We had a great dinner under the stars at a restaurant whose chairs were the chairs from a kindergarten classroom.
It was only later, on the way back the next day, that we realized that we’d taken the hard way. There was a highway – a paved highway – that we could have taken, and that would have gotten us there in under half the time.
We stopped for gas at a roadside hut, where a monkey was chained up to one of the beams. I didn’t want that little fucker anywhere near me, but John “Achy Breaky Heart” Franklin couldn’t resist letting it climb all over him. We got some cute pictures before the little simian prisoner took a shit on John’s backpack, cutting their budding friendship tragically short.
I can’t speak to Vince and Sascha’s night on Ko Pha-ngan, but based on their glowing faces the next morning, John and I were left to assume that some truly beautiful lovemaking had occurred between them.
 Literally any description would be less clumsy.