Clive, my friend from Portugal, suggested we meet in Thailand for a short break in the tropics – for him to escape the European winter, and for me to just have a holiday, rather than work, in Thailand. I flew to Bangkok, then Koh Samui, on the same plane as Bron and Michael (daughter and son-in-law) after their wedding. They were off on their honeymoon, and I was going to celebrate my 70th birthday on February 7 2014.
I caught up with Clive at Koh Samui where we spent a few days – including my birthday – before taking the ferry over to Koh Phangan. The birthday dinner was at the beautiful Zazen Restaurant, almost on the beach, overlooking a big bay. Bron and Michael joined us – and the delightful staff at Zazen joined in singing Happy Birthday!
Koh Phangan is a short ferry trip across from Koh Samui, but the beach we were to stay at was at the top of the island, furthest from the ferry port.
Mai pen rai …. no worries! Clive rented a small motor bike (like all the farangs/foreigners do on the Thai islands) and we rode up to ‘our’ beach, luggage and all. We seemed to cause a bit of amusement among some of the younger backpacker travellers …. but Clive’s ridden motorbikes around the world, from tip to toe in Africa and all over Europe, so I wasn’t a bit worried.
It was worth the hour-long bike ride to get to our beach … one of the prettiest on the island. We enjoyed drinks and dinner every night at different tiny bars or restaurants, sometimes right on the sand. (Memories of time spent years ago with husband and children on the beaches of Kerala, India).
And then we did it all again at the same time of year in 2016. Another birthday celebration on Koh Phangan for me. This time it ended with a massive storm.
After days of sunshine and blue seas, ominous signs of trouble ahead came with all the boats in the bay disappearing to safer harbours, and all ferries being cancelled. When the storm struck, the sea was raging and crashing into the resorts along the beach … including ours. As soon as I could, I decided I’d had enough (not because of the storm), so I escaped to Koh Samui for the last 2 nights. Clive suggested another trip in 2018, but by then I’d visited Thailand at least 5 or 6 times and had plans for other adventures in other places. (Clive and I had also met up in Portugal in 2012 and 2013 … before our jaunts to Thailand. )