So I’ve been MIA around here. Again. Typical. But, I’ve got some fun stuff to share, so hopefully you’ll give me a pass for being absent. Somewhat recently, Mr. S and I returned from our twelve night honeymoon in Thailand, which included stops at Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok.
Our vacation of a lifetime started with a crap load of flying. Awesome for me because I have an affinity for airplane food (it’s just like those TV dinners my parents never bought me as a kid no matter how much I begged) but terrible for Mr. S, who has an irrational fear of flying. When we started making gigantic payments for our wedding, we opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred card to take advantage of the points system. Our hope was that we’d rack up enough points to afford “Premium Economy” seats for the long leg of our journey to Bangkok. I’ve been flying to and from the Philippines since I was a kid, always on economy, except for that one single, solitary, never-again-to-be-repeated, unicorn of a time that we flew premium economy. Holy Jesus, it was heavenly. There were foot rests, menus, space to stand and take a short stroll around the cabin, plushier blankets, bigger pillows with real fabric pillow cases (not that rough, disposable paper crap they give you in economy), and midnight servings of instant ramen. I could have flown three times around the world in premium economy without complaint.
While I’ve been flying across the International Date Line since I was in diapers, prior to our mini-moon vacation to Mexico, Mr. S had never left the country. And since I knew he wasn’t a fan of the friendly skies, I wanted to make his maiden long haul trip as comfortable as possible. After all, his experience flying to Thailand would dictate how willing he was to make future trips to the Philippines – something I hope we do regularly in the future. Plus, it was our honeymoon, and if ever there was a time to warrant splurging on an upgraded airplane seat, this was it.
Alas, homeownership has a way of unfairly robbing you of your disposable income, and when it came time to book our flights, we just couldn’t justify the $4,000 upgrade to premium economy when we had no kitchen, no walls, and no plumbing in our new house. (I couldn’t even bring myself to look at how much business class seats cost. Who are these people in business class?! Why don’t they just buy their own plane and let the rest of us have a chance?!)
So it was economy class for us, and with our Chase Sapphire points, we paid a grand total of $700 for two tickets on Cathay Pacific to Bangkok by way of Hong Kong. I guess it’s been a while since I’ve flown Cathay Pacific, but we were more than pleasantly surprised – the seats were roomy, the individual entertainment options plentiful, and we did get menus and late night cup o’ noodles. #winning
After our 22 hour journey to Bangkok, we boarded yet another airplane – this time a one and half hour domestic flight to Koh Samui. The domestic carrier we used was Bangkok Airways and we waited two hours in their lovely free airport lounge complete with Wi-Fi and Thai snacks.
The airport in Koh Samui was rustic – a collection of thatched roof huts and open air waiting rooms. We had a bit of a Mr. President and First Lady moment when disembarking the airplane via the long metal staircase. Prior to leaving the USA, we arranged for an airport transfer to our hotel because after 26 hours of traveling, we didn’t want to have to think too much once we got to our destination.
We spent four nights at Buri Rasa Village in the Chaweng section of Koh Samui. The island is fairly quiet and our accommodations were decorated in what I’d call “Thai shabby chic” and very well-appointed. Citing our honeymoon celebration, the hotel upgraded us to a deluxe room with plunge pool. (With all the special treatment we got on our Thailand vacation, we might be “on our honeymoon” for the rest of our lives.)
It took us a bit of time to get over our jet lag and we spent our early mornings watching the sunrise, then enjoying the complimentary breakfast, lounging on the beach, and taking long afternoon naps.
Breakfast was included with all our hotel stays, but the one at Buri Rasa was my favorite. It turns out that there is no Thai style breakfast. Thai people eat all the time – it’s one of the reasons street food is so popular. But while we’re used to certain foods being labeled “breakfast food” (i.e., cereal, pancakes, eggs, etc.), Thais eat the same food all day long – noodles, rice, curry, stir fried meat and veggies, soup, etc.
Other options for breakfast, catering to international tourists and highlighting some of Thailand’s local eats, included noodle soups, eggs, pancakes, dim sum, Danish, cereals and yogurt with all the toppings, fruit, cold cuts, cheese, etc. But the fruit juice station was a highlight each morning, always with a different selection. Orange and apple were familiar, but there was also guava, watermelon, kiwi, and mango. Later in Chiang Mai, we’d discover Roselle and Chrysanthemum juices.
Our time in Koh Samui was basically spent doing a bunch of nothing. We lazed on the beach, lazed in the pool, lazed in our hotel room, etc. In the afternoons we crossed the street to Ninja Crepe for some cheap lunch. Freshly prepared noodles or some chicken curry over rice set us back about $3.00 each.
Our favorite item on the menu though (and where the restaurant gets its name from) was the Ninja Crepe – a traditional dessert of mango with sweetened sticky rice served wrapped in roti (a thin pancake crepe). As soon as we took a bite, we knew we had found our go to lunch spot for the rest of our days in Koh Samui.
For dinner, we ventured to the local night market which featured a long line of food stalls. Five dollar fish platters and two dollar fried chicken plates were some of our favorites, and we always ended the night with some made to order ice cream.
When we found ourselves tired of the beach, we sought out what seemed to be the Thai national pastime: massages. Massage parlors were found on almost every corner and with prices ranging from $8 to $20 for an hour’s massage (depending on the type), and we indulged ourselves at every chance we got. Honestly, I think I was massaged on average every other day while we were in Thailand. Thai massage, foot massage, head and shoulder massage, full body without oil, full body with oil – we had it all.
After four days of being pampered like a Kobe beef cow and tanned to a crispy golden brown, Mr. S and I bid farewell to Koh Samui and headed off to Chiang Mai – the land of elephants and Kow Soi noodles! Stay tuned for more on Chiang Mai in my next post…