We awoke at 4:30AM and made the 15 minute walk to the ferry pier in the dark. Breakfast was a ham and cheese croissant and orange juice that we grabbed from a 7-11 near the dock. About a half hour later, this would prove to be the biggest mistake of our trip. We boarded the ferry and found our seats. The water was choppier than on our ride to Koh Tao…much choppier. At some point while struggling to maintain his balance doubled over and vomiting in a 3’x3′ bathroom as a few inches of seawater sloshed from side to side on the floor, Eric realized that this was as miserable as he’d ever been in his life, which is a much more substantial statement than Ting’s daily declaration of the same. When he returned to his seat and found Ting (and all the rest of the passengers) in a similar state, we realized Koh Samui had no where to go but up.
As the ferry finally pulled up to Koh Samui, Eric deposited one last gift in a zip lock bag and rushed off the boat to solid land as quickly as possible. We found a van to drive us the 35 minutes from the dock to our hotel. Thanks to another very generous benefactor (“Thanks Mom!” -Ting) we would be staying at the Conrad Koh Samui for two nights. As we neared the resort, passing a sign warning of steep roads, our driver (who was the Thai version of Vince Vaughan in every way) turned to us, gave a thumbs up, and cracked a huge smile. The wheels squealed and we roared up a series of hills to an amazing view overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. With one of us in vomit-covered elephant print pants and the other still an unnatural shade of pale, together lugging an assortment of dirty backpacks, we looked very out of place. Even though we arrived just past 8AM, the staff said our upgraded room would be ready in a mere 45 minutes and treated us to a complimentary breakfast in the meantime. It was the start of something beautiful.
For the next two days, we didn’t leave the resort. We passed the time catching up on overdue blog posts, trying to time jumping photos into our private infinity pool, sipping from fresh coconuts for breakfast, and generally just relaxing after an exhausting ~5 weeks of travel. Our villa was equipped with everything we could have possibly needed, namely a radio station called The Mix that played a collection of “oh yeah, this song!” songs. The staff was endlessly helpful, if not prescient at times: anticipating rain 5 minutes before it poured, bringing an assortment of macaroons to our room (Ting’s favorite), bringing us water shoes the second we set foot on the rocky beach, etc. It was the most friendly and helpful service we’d ever encountered. Our time was a filled with constant reminders of just how lucky we are.
The morning of our third day in Koh Samui we reluctantly made our way to an airport that felt much more like a resort or outdoor mall than an international transport hub. We were excited for our next stop in Penang, Malaysia but sad to leave the Conrad. A few days after our stay, the resort sent us a satisfaction survey. After thinking long and hard, the biggest complaint we could come up with was “We think the hotel should provide sharper spoons to scoop the meat from the coconuts. The spoons on offer have really blunt edges.” Needless to say, it was a wonderful stay and we’re very grateful to Ting’s mom.
Disclaimer: We recognize that this is a particularly obnoxious blog post for those of you stuck back home. But in the interest of being sure the blog completely and accurately reflects our trip, we felt compelled to share.