Sabbatical days 271-285: We ❤️ Koh Samui

We love the island of Koh Samui. It’s the perfect balance of laid back activity and just plain ol’ laid back. And it was the perfect place for Trent to say goodbye to his thirties.

Trent saying goodbye to his 30’s on Chaweng Beach

What did we love most about our time here? Duh. The beach. We went to a beach nearly every single day for two weeks and the one or two days we didn’t, we hung out by the pool.

Can I tell you how happy it made me when Trent turned to me and said, “Babe, I’m a beach guy.” Heck yeah! It’s amazing how successfully avoiding a sunburn and being served cheap beer on white sands can win hearts and minds.

We did the big touristy Chaweng Beach and the smaller more private Silver Beach, and we loved them both equally. The waves here were the best of any of the islands we visited for body surfing. There were some real surfers catching waves too.

We rented a motor bike again and rode around the island every day, exploring shops and markets and temples and feeling like we really hit our island-hopping stride.

Big BuddhaGoddess of Mercy and CompassionOther Big BuddhaGonging for Good Luck at the Stupa on the HillStupa on the HillThe monks love talking to Trent. This one told him he looked 19 not 40. The monk was 70.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the full moon blue moon lunar eclipse. It only happens every 150 years or so and we viewed it right from our balcony, right over the sea. Pretty spectacular and pretty remarkable to think about how just a few months ago we viewed a full total eclipse of the sun from a field in Wyoming.

This screen grab is better than the pictures I took. Through our binoculars, this is exactly what we saw.

If I had to rank the islands we visited over the last five weeks, Koh Samui is number one. Then Koh Yao Noi, Phuket and Koh Lanta. To be fair, I was seriously ill while we were on Koh Lanta so maybe I’m not being fair. Oh well. It’s my list.

We didn’t do any hikes or excursions on Koh Samui. We literally just laid on the beach. A lot. We also did yoga a few times but the teacher kind of stunk so it was forgettable. When we got to class she asked if we spoke Russian. When we said no, she switched from teaching the class in Russian to English. I think I would have liked it more in Russian. Oh well. Can’t win them all.

So we gave up on exercise other than bobbing in the humongous waves. Which led to me gaining back a few of the pounds I had lost. Tradeoffs!

Aside from the beach, my favorite experience was finally going to a ladyboy show. Ladyboys (aka kathoey in Thai) are not unique to Thailand (well, the term might be), but their acceptance into the social fabric is definitely different than back home, in a good way.

Ladyboys, or men with typically feminine qualities (sometimes surgically enhanced) are not only accepted but admired. One Thai woman that we met showed us pictures of her 14 year old son, bragging about how he “danced like a girl.”

We thought this ladyboy was the most convincing as a woman.

This cabaret show claimed to be family friendly and did indeed have a diverse audience, including one little girl (with her parents) who got lots of kisses blown her way. The performers were dressed spectacularly and gave a great show even if they didn’t know all the actual words to every ABBA, Beyoncé, JLo, etc. song.

We were there early and Trent chose our seats front row center at the end of the catwalk. He may have regretted that choice after one of the ladyboys grabbed his hand and put it on his/her very large breast for a squeeze. You’ll have to ask him about it.

Anyway, we really like it here. But it’s time to leave the beach life for a few weeks and head back inland. We are going back to Chiang Mai for a second visit to enjoy more yoga at the awesome studio we found on our first visit. Although we have done a bit of yoga here and there since leaving Chiang Mai, nothing has measured up to Freedom Yoga. We will do a few hours of yoga every day for two weeks and hopefully burn off all our beach weight before heading back to Krabi and Ao Ng beach at the end of the month.

Our last day on the beach. For a while anyway. Public art display near our gate at the Koh Samui airport. Appropriate since we left part of our hearts in Koh Samui.

Next stops: Chiang Mai, Pai, and Chiang Rai

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