Arriving in Samui and driving alongside scooters down the lively streets, lined by countless signs and spaghetti electricity lines, and scattered with restaurants, market stalls, and shops selling a bit of everything, was so familiar it suddenly made everything start to feel a bit more real. We’re actually doing this thing!
We hadn’t initially planned to come to Koh Samui. We’d always had the quieter and smaller island of Koh Lanta in mind when we’d hatched our plan. But the more I looked at predicted rainfall and humidity levels at this time of year, the more the thought of starting out our Thai adventure in the worst possible part of the monsoon season seemed unnecessary, when we could head to the other side of Thailand and start off less wet and sweaty. And to those that think Samui isn’t exactly true Thailand, with its strong focus on tourism, or isn’t exactly true island living, with its built up areas like Chaweng, I say, while it might not be off the beaten track, the buzzing streets, tropical beaches, sizzling heat, and unique food still make it a far cry from where we came from.
After we changed our rough plan (just a couple of busy weeks before we were due to leave) and decided to go to Samui, we did a quick scout of apartment options and only came across places under our expectations and over our budget. That was a dark morning, when the path we’d set out on suddenly felt rather thorny, and a few doubts inched their way in. A few hours later Gareth called me from work saying he’d found a place that was still more than we’d anticipated spending, but was so much nicer than any of the other places I’d turned down at first glance. I’d usually spend a lot more time researching different options, and making sure the area was ideal and there were lots of restaurants within walking distance etc, but my more decisive husband was worried we’d miss out, and our Getting To Thailand To Do List wasn’t diminishing as quickly as the time before wheels up, so I gave in to the new experience of leaving things to the last minute and then going with your (or someone else’s) gut, and we booked it then and there.
I’m always hearing, “I’d rather be lucky than good” from said decisive and wise hubby (a saying I actually take some exception to, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day), and things couldn’t have rung more true in this instance – something he didn’t miss the opportunity to point out. My usual research into which area we should be in and what would be around us was almost non-existent, and yet we landed up in a nice big apartment with a pool perfect for a tot in the independence phase of toddlerhood, near a quiet, beautiful beach (which not all are on Samui, particularly during low tide) away from the built-up touristy areas (with speakers on the beach and hawkers peddling all manor of things, including photos with poor imprisoned monkeys), and with lots of great restaurants nearby.
With this good fortune in mind, and witnessing our little tot marvelling at the dreamy sea, and her sheer delight digging her hands into the velvety sand, while we gawked at a serene sunset and devoured a delicious meal, I thought, “I could get used to this…”