RTW Trip Itinerary - Current Country: Laos

My RTW Trip Itinerary
Countries Cities Dates
USA Los Angeles 12/31/2011
New Zealand Auckland, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Dunedin, Lake Ohau 01/03 thru 01/18
Australia Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns 01/18 thru 02/16
Singapore Singapore 02/16 thru 02/20
Thailand Phuket, Ko Samui, Ko Tao, Bangkok 02/20 thru 03/02
Cambodia Siem Rep, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville 03/02 thru 03/08
Vietnam Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh 03/08 thru 03/21
Loas Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Huay Xai 03/21 thru 04/04
Singapore Singapore 04/04 thru 04/05
China Beijing, Lhasa 04/05 thru 04/22
South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe Cape Town, Citrusdal, Noordoewer, Namib Desert, Sesriem, Soussusvlei, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe, Etosha National Park, Grootfontein, Bagani, Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls 04/22 thru 05/18
Switzerland Zurich 05/18 thru 05/21
Germany Munich 05/21 thru 05/25
Czech Republic Prague, Olomouc 05/25 thru 06/02
Poland Krakow, Zakopane 06/02 thru 06/05
Hungary Budapest 06/05 thru 06/07
Croatia Plitvice, Split, Omis, Markarska, Stari Grad, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet, Dubrovnik 06/07 thru 06/18
Greece Athens, Mykonos, Paros, Los, Santorini 06/18 thru 07/02
Switzerland Zurich 07/02 thru 07/04
USA Los Angeles 07/04

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thailand - Koh Samui and Ao Nang

As were on final approach into Koh Samui the island looks spectacular, sunny beaches, clear blue green water, palm tress everywhere, I'm excited. Koh Samui used to be a little known island but now it has become a tourist mecca complete with five star resorts. Doru and I chose to stay in Chaweng beach which is known as the party beach of Koh Samui. We check in and I immediately head to the beach, Doru stays behind to catch up on internet.

Yeah We Landed!

Our lovely hotel pool steps from the beach
Wow what a beach! The beach is lined with restaurants, bars with cushions and lounges, massage places, food stands, jet ski rentals, etc. This beach is definitely bustling. I decide to go ahead and get my adrenaline going so I opt to rent a jetski for 300 baht or roughly $10 USD dollars for 30 minutes a bargain compared to anywhere else. I head out and the swells are somewhat big. I do a series of jumps, 180s, etc. Jet skis are fun anywhere you go and it was great to explore the coast of the island with a jet ski.

Back in the Tropics my kind of living

Many days were spent under these umbrellas!

I head back to the hotel and Doru is getting ready for his run so I opt to head to happy hour at the Famous Cargo beach bar. It was at this bar that I met the infamous Becki from England. Becki ironically was in Koh Samui to get married, except she was not getting married. It turns out Becky called off the engagement 3 months prior but had already purchased non-refundable airplane tickets and hotel stays. Rather than lose the money she decided to come out with her family and celebrate what I call her "un-wedding". And ironically her ex-fiancee's parents were also somewhere on the island as well although I'm not sure there was as much celebrating for them. How crazy is this? In anycase I met her on the night of what would have been her rehearsal dinner and we decide to have our own impromptu rehearsal dinner at a local Thai Food stand/restaurant followed by drinks back at the Cargo bar. Doru joins us and Becki and I bond over the dramas in our lives.

Runaway Bride Becki at Cargo Bar! (JK)
The next day we spend most of our time at the beach. I purchase a paddle ball set and Becki and I try out our skills or lack thereof. And Doru heads out for his training swim. Doru has decided to head back to Singapore early to spend more time with work buddies and Becki is leaving early tomorrow morning back to England. So I decide to bond with Doru over some more adrenaline jet ski's and meet Becki for her un-wedding celebration.

Catching beach time with Becki

Doru takes a break from swimming to shoot our poor paddle ball skills. Notice no ball in the air
Oops My Bad!
Doru and I head out on jet ski's take pictures and explore the coast. Our time is running short so I head back to the beach thinking Doru is right behind me. About 5 minutes into my trip back and I notice Doru is no longer with me. I try to find him but cannot locate him and my time is running out so I head back thinking he might have taken another route. I get back and no Doru to be found. The Thai guys on the beach are getting restless and they are starting to look at me like it's my fault. Dudes I have no clue where he is. They hop on jet skis to go find him. 20 minutes has passed and still no Doru. What happened to the guy? Damn it what am I going to say to his folks his girlfriend. Hangover line, "Carmen I lost Doru!". As these thoughts are running through my head I look up see Doru riding double with a Thai guy on a jet ski. Thank God! It turns out Doru's jet ski broke down somewhere out in the ocean and the Doru had to swim the damn thing ashore. Good thing he was training for a triathalon. I guess he took care of his training swim for the day haha! I was happy everything turned out okay.

Doru before getting lost

Taking my jetski for a ride!

Whats wrong with this picture it's me and no Doru!
That night we celebrated the funny story over dinner back at our local Thai stands and then met up with some of Becki's new friends who were Thai locals that make money performing fire shows on the beach. BTW fire shows are big on Koh Samui at night and every evening the beach is lined with displays of fire hoops, spinning fire balls, etc. The other thing I was introduced to in Koh Samui was the concept of a bucket drink. A bucket drink is essentially a large bucket filled with your alcohol and mixer of choice. One bucket and you are good to go, two buckets and you are done, three buckets and you have no clue how you got home. The infamous "Kohsam bucket" is made with Thai Whiskey, red bull, and coke. Believe or not Thai whiskey is cheaper then water in Thailand so you can imagine they pack the bucket full of whiskey. The next days are never pretty after the Kohsam buck. I think Kohsam means "splitting headache". We celebrated the night away with fire shows and dancing at the Green Mango. Becki and her Thai buddies were a ton of fun!

Before the bucket!
After the Bucket!
The next day Doru heads out and I decide to rent a motorscooter and explore the island a little further on my own. I head south to find untouched beaches and less touristy areas. I also heard of this place called Dining On The Rocks. Dining On The Rocks is at the 5 star ultra exclusive Amara hotel and it is a series of decks at various levels on the side of a cliff. On these decks they have tables, chairs, and lounges and you sit out there at sunset looking northwest towards Koh Phangang. Incredible views. When I arrive they make me park my motorscooter and escort me to Dining On The Rocks via golf cart. I sit out there by myself and enjoy a cocktail which is $8USD or super expensive by Thai standards.

Motorbike rental and notice the bottles of gasoline that sit in regular coke bottles
Thai long boats
Stopped at a Buddhist Temple during my scooter tour

View from top of the Temple
I donated money to the Temple re-building project and wrote a dedication on one of the slabs I bought. It will be used for the Temple Floor.

Sun setting at the Amara Hotel

View of the decks from Dinning On The Rocks

Me and my empty $8 cocktail with Koh Phangang in the background
A couple enjoying a romantic dinner
The next day I head out on a full day tour of the Ao Nang islands. This is a highlight of Thailand. The Ao Nang islands are incredible with jagged granite rock formations seemingly coming right out of the ocean and towering several hundred feet tall. It takes about 90 minutes to reach the islands and we start with a 45 minute kayak trip to secluded beaches and rock formations. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We then head to this Mae Koh island that has a secret lagoon that you hike to. The views from the top of this island are incredible. Thailand is such a beautiful place.

On this day tour I meet Joshua and his girlfriend Chloe? Joshua is from New Zealand and Chloe is from Australia. They are going to be living in Melbourne. They are super nice and we bond over our love for Mexican food. I share with them my super secret (not really) guacamole and Margarita recipes. We decide to meet up back on Koh Samui for dinner and drinks at a Mexican restaurant. Also on this tour were some what I politely will say demanding Israelis. Yes Israelis were everywhere in Thailand. There were 4 couples all in their mid forties early fifties. It was quite entertaining watching these mid forty year old women take a million pictures on the boat in different model poses. Were these women trying to make a Calendar? If so they had no business doing so. In addition, they bitched about everything. The lunch was not good enough, the life jackets were not clean enough for them to Kayak. When we finished Kayaking they cut the line to get their boats out of the water first. It's very interesting when you travel how a few choice people can shape your opinion of an entire country. I can now see why Americans have such a bad reputation because a few rude and demanding Americans can make others think our entire country is this way. Come on Israel we need better representation!

Setting sail for Ao Nang
We have arrived!

Heading out on our Kayaks!

Navigating under cool rock formations!

Kayak Break!

Josh and Chloe taking a dip
More Cool Rocks!

Back on the beach!

My Favorite shot with the Long Boat

This looks straight out of Fantasy Island, Tatoo?
View of surrounding islands

The Incredible Lagoon!

It takes some steps to get down there
Chloe makes her way down carefully
What a view!

These Israelis beginning their modeling shoot.

Views of surrounding islands from lookout point

A few more of my favorite shots!

My new favorite Thailand spot!
Joshua, Chloe, and I shared our stories from the day over some wanna be Mexican food. Yes the food wasn't great but it wasn't bad either. I guess I shouldn't complain because it was Thailand. We grab a few drinks afterwards and then the next day I catch the Ferry that took me from Koh Samui to Koh Tao.



  1. Great Post!
    It's Jazz not Chloe! but months on end travelling will do that!
    hope the trips gone all well, photos look great,


  2. it s great story and pictures amazing. Just the Dining on the Rock is located inside the hotel Six Senses : )