Christmas And New Years
Christmas Eve day it rained non-stop. Christmas on Koh Samui was less than spectacular. But, we made the best of it and on the 26th decided to spend our last day doing some sight seeing. We rented a bike went to see the Big Buddha. It was mostly cloudy and still not the best weather. In fact, the entire time we were in Koh Samui we had about 2 hours of sunshine the entire 5 days we were there. Pretty frustrating really since we really longed for some beach time and wanted to simply relax in the sun on an island. We thought we might try the other side of the Thailand peninsula and go to Karabi or Phucket, but the weather reports said the same for New Years Eve.... rain!
Heading To The Sun in Pattaya
We decided to get off Samui and go to Pattaya, a little south of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand's eastern shores. We hear it has a sleazy side to it, but that for new years, it would be fun and the weather reports were calling for 90s and sunny. We decided to leave Koh Samui on the 27th, and fly back to Bangkok for a few days and hang out there and go to Pattaya. We have heard mixed things about Pattaya and figured we would take the sunny forecast and possibility of an exciting New Year Celebration over the suggestions of others who said it was seedy and dangerous.
Wat Phra Yai - The Big Buddha Temple
The Big Buddha Temple of Koh Samui
Our last day in Koh Samui we at lunch at a great little place that was half the price of anywhere else on the Island (which ran on the expensive side.. for Thailand). We sat quite literally on the water as the restaurant had stilts that jutted out into the shore where the waves broke. It was a great place we wish we had found sooner. For the most part, the restaurants on Koh Samui are expensive. 250 baht or $9.50 per entree. I guess that's what you get in touristy places. We left the restaurant and rode up the island road into the hills (which was beautiful) and arrived at the Big Buddha. It's a huge golden Buddha with a Buddhist temple built around it and around the temple, a bunch of shops selling trinkets, clothing and other touristy things.
Shelly and Brady at the Big Buddha Temple
More Sight Seeing on Samui
We hung out and took some pictures, bought some chop sticks, and Shelly shopped around for something to wear. We bought is chopsticks because a lot of times when you are at food places, you get some "house" chopsticks and who knows who has eaten off them and how well they are cleaned. We had been meaning to get some, but never did, and finally we found some nice ones that came in a little silk holder.
We rode around the island some more and headed back to return the rental bike. That evening we ate at another place right on the water front whose ambiance was great!! Food however was not so great. Extremely small portions and expensive.We walked home on the beach which was nice and headed back to the Cocooning Hotel to get some sleep as we would fly out the next day at 9:30am.
Back To Bangkok and A Rude Awakening
We woke up and had our free (included) breakfast at the Cocooning Hotel, and caught a cab to the airport. It was a small but very nice aiport with manicured gardens and a nice tiki hut style terminal. We hoped our plane and took our one hour flight to Bangkok. We had pre-booked a room at a place called Patra Place Hotel in Bangkok and took a cab to the hotel.
We checked in and to our surprise the place was better than expected. It was near our friend Kish's place and was like a little apartment and only about 25 dollars a night. We hung out for about an hour and decided to take a nap. While watching Gladiator on TV and getting ready to nap, suddenly our door opened up abruptly and a guy walked in, saw us in bed with the covers pulled tight, and left. I furiously arose, put some clothes on, and went out to the hallway to ask why the guy thought it was ok to enter a room that had the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and had the bottom deadbolt lock engaged.
Not a Good Start In Bangkok
We weren't off to a good start and still feeling as if Bangkok is not our cup of tea like the last time we were here. The man who barged into our room apologetically said he was trying to show a room to some people and didn't know there was anyone in the room. We got on the phone immediately with Hotels.com and demanded a refund, as we were not going to stay there after the intrusion. After some wrangling and declining the Hotel Patra Places' offer to put us in the executive suite and pay for diner every night for our stay, we checked out with a full refund. We simply wouldn't stay, especially since we hide Buddha most of the time, in a place that will just walk in an occupied room without knocking, the do not disturb sign on the door, and dead bolted. REGARDLESS of the mistake.
We checked back in the Bangkok City Hotel Downtown and were put on the same floor we had stayed a week prior. Back in Bangkok again!