After a few whirlwind days in Bangkok, we boarded a bus headed to Chumporn Pier. God only knows why we thought a night bus was a good idea – we had only had one solid night’s rest all week. Luckily, Lomprayah does a great job. The bus was giant and super comfy and had an added bonus of a toilet onboard. I joked with Chandler that the urinal was positioned practically in my face, but really, I was just marveling at the convenience – no bus in Ethiopia has a toilet. And the nice ones – Sky and Selam stop once in the middle of nowhere to let you relieve yourself.
But you don’t read this to hear about my bathroom situations…at 4:30 am we arrived at the pier and spent the morning chatting with some Canadian friends we had met the night before during check-in. The pier didn’t officially open until 6, so we had some time to kill.
Slowly, slowly, slowly, we began boarding the boats. Ours had stops on a snorkeling island, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan before finally dropping us off at Koh Samui. But really, we didn’t mind the wait, we had gotten our first view of the Gulf of Thailand.
Now for those of you who saw my itinerary for this trip, you may have noticed, this island wasn’t on it. We came here because Chandler needed to get approval from a doctor specialized in diving in order to get PADI certified. We had been told only Bangkok or Koh Samui could do it. We contacted the specialist in Bangkok only to be told there was no one available, so we made an appointment in Koh Samui.
Initially, we had decided to skip Koh Samui because it’s known as the most developed and most expensive of the three islands. Koh Phangan is known as the party island with its Full Moon parties and Koh Tao is known for certifying more divers than anywhere else in the world. But then we stepped off the boat and onto this lovely dock:
Koh Samui may be “developed,” but it’s still absolutely stunning. We made our way to the hotel – after the free shuttle dropped us off at the wrong one and we had to lug our duffels a half kilometer in the searing heat – and enjoyed our first shower in the past few days. Then it was off to the hospital – that was indeed why we were there.
Everything seemed simple enough, until Chandler came back out from the doctor’s room two minutes after he left it. She had explained to him that while she was qualified to give him his medical approval, she would first need to see the results of a test that could only be performed in Bangkok – something the hospital failed to mention when we made the appointment. What it boiled down to was that we were supposed to get on a boat back to Koh Tao the next day, but Chandler couldn’t take the diving course with me.
We talked about how much we had wanted to do this together…we talked about how much we loved the place we were staying…we talked about the terrible reviews the dive company’s housing had received in Koh Tao. And then we went for a walk along the beach.
This view was all it took. We called up Lomprayah and changed our departure date from the 11th to the 14th. I canceled my scuba class. We extended our stay at Baan Taa Yaay Bungalow. And now we’re doing nothing but relaxing and enjoying ourselves, it’s about time.
We’re still headed to Koh Tao on the 14th, to meet some Peace Corps friends of ours. But we’ve decided we’re going to take this trip more slowly, cut some of the things we had planned so we can stay longer in the places we do decide to go. We’re in no rush, and we like it that way.