On the 25th of March we had our last breaky at Mai Khao Lak, a last swim in the pool, and got packed and headed off around 9.30am for the long drive back to Phuket. We had to bid farewell to Granny, who was flying back home to Queensland, but leaving on a much later flight. We had the van to ourselves for the hour and a half trip and both kids decided pretty quickly that it was wise to nap, a fact we were thankful for!
We arrived at Phuket airport in plenty of time for our flight to Koh Samui, and without our usual Qantas Club we wandered with the plebs, and decided to feed the kids Burger King to keep them amused and in case there wasn’t anything edible on the flight (which was over lunch time). The flight to Koh Samui was a little under an hour and very uneventful. It was quite scenic being able to see all the islands below us and we did get quite decent food again. The Bangkok airways ‘snacks’ put the Qantas actual meals to shame.
Once we landed and were transported in our trams to the airport (very fun for the kids) we quickly found our transfer van, which was minus one car seat, so only Soren got one on this trip. It was only around 25 minutes to the new hotel and we were all checked in by 2pm. Not a particularly long travel day, but the kids were still looking pretty tired.
For our next 8 nights we were staying at Mai Samui, the sister resort of our Khao Lak resort. This resort was very attractive but rather small child unfriendly, in design at least, the staff were more than welcoming. I’ll post more about the resort in the next post but there will photo overload so I have to split it across several posts.
My father (Gramps) was joining us for the second half of the holiday but was flying in from Australia late that night. We spent the first afternoon swimming, having an explore and fending off all mighty meltdowns from over-tired children.
Like our stay in Khao Lak, we didn’t have any particular plans for our time in Koh Samui, and we were happy to relax, swim, eat and drink our time away. The resort had 2 pools for us to choose from. The resort is split across a small road, with accommodation and a pool in each section. We were in the back section, where the sand pool is. This pool was smaller than the main pool (which is football field sized) but had a very cool sandy bottom, a swim-up bar and a shallower kids area. The kids had an absolute ball here and we spent most of our time swimming here.
The swim up bar was convenient as it is a fair walk down to the bar at the other pool which was right down at the beach. The bar also had happy hour which we renamed ‘happy half day’ as it went from 1-6pm. It meant more than a few cocktails were consumed while we swam and played in the sand. We learnt after a day or so the bar tender often wandered down to the other bar to finish making the drinks, so you don’t want to be in a hurry for your drink. We had nothing much to do, so we didn’t mind. The sand pool was certainly quieter than the main pool, although there were often a few kids around and lots of people laying around sunbathing and reading. I think our kids spent half their day in it though.
Between playing with beach balls, practicing dives, collecting pebbles, moving sand from one part of the pool to the other, and practicing swimming – the kids still had plenty of time for their favourite activity, being thrown in the air! I am usually required to take photos too, since that makes it even more fun!
Interestingly (and somewhat annoyingly) the 3 blocks of rooms that surrounded the sand pool were also entirely surrounded by sand. It was kind of cool to have sand everywhere to walk over, except it was sand it got into everything! The rooms in C and E block could actually be accessed using the boardwalks and mostly keeping off the sand. We were in D block (right behind the pool) and there was no way to get into that block without trudging through the sand. The kids loved it but we got a little bit over the constant dirty feet and bits of sand all through our room.
On the upside there was a ready made beach/sandpit for the kids to play in. The actual beach the resort was on was rather rocky, so we spent most of our time playing in the sand around our pool. Most afternoons, when we had swum enough, and it was quite shady near our pool, we would go down and the kids would play in the sand and we would actually utilise the sun lounges to supervise then and have a read or a rest. It was definitely more relaxing than supervising the sand pit at home. Just like at home though there were tantrums when they were made to come inside and get ready for dinner. I guess some things are universal!
Pretty much every day we would have a swim and play in the big pool on the other side of the resort. This pool is massive and runs from the reception area right past the other accommodation blocks, under some bridges and all the way down to the beach. Unfortunately it’s a pain to get in and out of as it looks beautiful but you pretty much have to go down to the beach to leave your stuff and then swim back through, unless you had a pool access room or one of the poolside villas. These looked lovely, and like the last resort the kids would have had a ball swimming straight from the room. Sadly for the kids though (and us who had to trudge around with all our stuff) the pool rooms were hideously expensive at this resort. So we would trudge down with our gear and have a swim in the big pool for an hour or two.
The big pool had a bar, which was much more efficient at making cocktails (and also did ‘happy half day’). There was another coffee bar on the other side near the main restaurant but we never actually saw anyone in there to get our coffees! There were also water polo nets, which provided endless entertainment for the kids, spa areas and bridges to swim under. If we hadn’t have had to walk so far with our stuff (over bridges, through sand and winding through the resort) we probably would have spent more time in this pool, but one visit a day was enough for variety of swimming hole at any rate. We did do some big swims, looping around the pool and going under all the bridges. The kids loved swimming past the pool access rooms and waving at people and showing off their swimming skills.
I’ll post more about our eating adventures in the next post, but all the nights we ate near the beach we were treated to some lovely sunsets. We didn’t quite get to see the brilliant red sun we saw every night in Khao Lak, but it was still very pretty. There were certainly worse ways to end a big day of swimming, swimming and more swimming!