The Koh Samui and Thailand wrap-up

Here’s the wrap-up of our stay at Mai Samui resort in Koh Samui, and our trip home……. I promise this will be the last of the Thailand photo spam!

As I mentioned in a previous post, the resort is split across a small road and the back section (blocks C, D and E) surround the sand pool. The beauty spa, gym and kids play area are also in this section, along with the sand bar which did drinks and snacks.  It was a nice part of the resort and we liked the sand pool for the kids.  It was a bit of a walk all the way down to the beach section of the resort and a bit of a walk to some of the restaurants, but the way the resort was laid out, it wasn’t the distance but the fact you had to wander over bridges and through sand and up and down steps that was the problem!

We were on the third floor of D block, which gave us a lovely view of the sand pool and easy access to the gym and play area which were both in our block.  The stairs were hard to negotiate for a 3 year old and impossible for a 1 year old so there was a lot of carrying 2 kids up and down stairs several million times a day! Here is the view from our room, and up to our room  (Anto and Soren are on the balcony) from the pool…..

The kids adored being able to play in the sand and I have already posted pictures of all the sand playing fun. It was certainly more convenient than having to head down to the beach to play with sand like we did in Khao Lak.

We had one of the base level rooms and they were very nice.  The room had a huge king sized bed, a chaise lounge that was set up as a bed for Astrid and still plenty of room for Soren’s cot.  There was a good TV and a desk/bar area.  There was a wardrobe and some shelving near the entrance but despite it being quite large there weren’t enough shelves and drawers to contain our mess adequately, so the room felt like a permanent mess.  A few more shelves or drawers in the same space would have solved the problem.  The airconditioning worked very efficiently (much better than our previous resort) and we were often too cold and had to turn it off!

The bathroom was very spacious and had a separate shower and toilet, with oh-so-private glass doors, and a big basin.  Our room had a huge outdoor bath with a door from the bathroom out onto the balcony. It was lucky we had the door as we could lock Soren out of it and keep him from hurting himself on the big concrete stairs. In my Dad’s room the bath was even bigger but part of the bathroom and had no door, so would have been a nightmare with small kids.
The room was very comfortable for our 8 nights and the kids had no complaints either.

We had a good sized balcony with had the bath, a lovely day bed and a chair and tables.  The problem with the balcony was that the railings weren’t particularly high (especially on the end where we were located) and Soren could easily climb straight over them to a terrifying 3 storey drop.  The bath was also a bit dangerous for small people. As a result the balcony door was locked most of the time, but the kids were allowed out when we were there. They often liked to eat their lunch outside. The outdoor bath was a huge hit. As it was around 30-35 degrees most days the water stayed warm and we could leave it in for a few days at a time.  Soren was often found having a tantrum when we were restricting bath or balcony access!

There were definitely a lot of outdoor baths – day and night!  It also provided a lazy swimming alternative that was easy for us to supervise when we were sick of being down at the pool in the sun.

The resort officially had a ‘kids club’ it was actually named the ‘fun zone’ and was a room full of great toys and activities, including a plastic slide and swing set.  It wasn’t staffed but you could go in there with your kids whenever you liked. Perfect for our kids who aren’t big kids clubs fans and like us around at all times.

There were some good chairs, a TV and wifi for the grown-ups and plenty for the littlies to do including games, puzzles, ride on wooden toys and heaps and heaps of balls to throw everywhere.  The best bit was that it was air-conditioned and gave the kids heaps of space to run around and play.  We visited most days when we wanted them out of the sun but were sick of keeping them cooped up in the room. The play area was also opposite the gym, so one of us could go to the gym while the other supervised the small people!

Mai Samui is a very attractive resort, completely beautiful to walk around, exactly what you would expect from a highly rated tropical resort.  We were a little disappointed with how little kid unfriendly it was though, especially as it advertised as great for young families. The staff were brilliant and very friendly but the resort layout was difficult to negotiate with little kids and there were a lot of really dangerous aspects to the resort for young kids.  There were a reasonable number of  young kids at the resort during our stay (mostly in the back section of the resort where we were located). All the ones we spoke to with similarly aged kids to ours had the same issues.  Those with older kids (7+ years) didn’t find it too problematic.

Aside from the sand and stairs everywhere (and big stairs that little legs had trouble with) there were a lot of wooden bridges that were hard to walk over and stepping stones surrounded by water on the way to and from every restaurant, reception and the pool. The restaurants had very few railings or much stopping little kids from ending up in the water. The stair cases also had some very cool metal sculptures/railing up the middle of them but with gaps big enough that our almost 4 year old could walk straight off the edge.

All in all a rather terrifying resort for young kids but extremely beautiful.  We had no incidents at all with our kids but if you had small kids that are real runners and don’t stick close to you, then do not come here!  If you are a couple without small kids, this a fantastic resort, especially the pool villas!

We did have a lovely time though, lots of fun swimming, eating and drinking in beautiful surroundings. Definitely no complaints on that front!  It was also very good value for money with the Cudo voucher.  The voucher included buffet breakfast every day, the seafood dinner, the Thai set dinner and 4 hours of spa treatments. We talked to a lot of Australian families on the same deal we were and everyone was enjoying themselves and thought it was good value for money.

Yep, definitely a pretty good 8 days in Koh Samui!


The journey home………

On the 2nd of April we had our last buffet breaky – yes we let the kids eat as much icecream and other treats as they wanted as it was the last day.  They were mostly over it though and stuck to eggs and some waffles and feeding the birds that had come to realise Soren’s highchair was good place to hang out near.

Then it was time for our last swim.  After 16 days of pretty much non-stop swimming you would think the kids were all swum out but they were still happy to have a play for the last hour and a half.  I let Anto finish the packing in peace while I took the freshly cleaned kids down to the play room for a play and to stop the unpacking from happening faster than the packing was happening.

Our transport back to the airport was organised for 1030, giving us plenty of time to sit around Koh Samui airport being hot and bored. Again our hotel organised van turned up with only one carseat but this time they looked pretty ashamed and at least refunded the cost of both carseats. Luckily we got to the airport without incident (the driving was significantly better than in Phuket).

Our flight from Koh Samui to Bangkok seemed to have been rescheduled about 15 times from when we booked it, and we somehow ended up on a different flight to my Dad. Ours was scheduled to leave 15 minutes before his and arrive in 20 minutes after his (turbo prop versus jet) so we asked if we could be moved onto his flight if there was room. Of course Astrid was being super-cute for the check-in ladies and they were happy to move us, although we were told we wouldn’t be getting our special meals (kids meals and vegetarian). We thought that was a little odd given there was 2 hours until departure but we weren’t overly phased and decided to wander down to  immigration and have a browse around the airport on the way.

Even though we were on a domestic flight we had been told to clear immigration in Koh Samui so we didn’t need to again in Bangkok.  We had dawdled down to immigration and passed our requisite ‘checks’ before being given our official CIQ stickers (no one would fake a sticker to not have to clear immigration). We were about to do toilet stops and a Soren nappy change when we heard them calling our flight.  Next thing we know people are ushering us towards the trams.  Apparently the departure time for the flight had been randomly brought forward by 1 hour and 40 minutes from what it was on the booking and tickets.

We weren’t the only ones being rushed onto the trams though, there were a heap of airport dawdlers, they probably also didn’t realise the flight time had been changed.  At least we got our tram ride out to the plane, which made Astrid happy!

Next thing we know we were on the plane and hadn’t even sat down when they started pushing back.  The plane then took off 10 minutes before the departure time they had been telling us as we were boarding.  It turns out 20 minutes after arriving at the airport we were airborne……. still no idea what happened there but it saved some sitting around at the airport!

As we were on the jet it was a pretty short and painless flight.  We now knew why we weren’t getting our special meals but the kids ate the standard adult meal (fish) and I just had to hang out for Qantas Club in Bangkok.

Once we arrived in Bangkok, our official stickers meant no need for immigration so we just commenced the long walk down to find our gate and Qantas Club.  Due to the earlier then expected flight from Koh Samui we had 6 hours to kill before our flight out.  It turns out that we needed a fair proportion of that just to walk to where Qantas Club was. I ended up recording over 6km of walking around the airport, poor Astrid ended up in the ergo and/or being carried after awhile.

We managed to get my Dad into Qantas Club and it was pretty quiet so we all made a dent in the food provisions and the bottles of Baileys in the unattended bar!  I was starving by now so some lunch/afternoon tea was welcome.  The kids also had lunch number 2 (or 3) for the day and Astrid amused herself for several hours with happily watching a movie on my laptop and we took Soren for a walk around in the ergo to get him to nap.

Finally it was time for a quick shower and to head for another longish walk down to the gate.  The flight was departing at 6.20pm, right on the kids bedtimes, so we had made sure they had another meal before departing so they could hopefully sleep the majority of the flight home.

Unlike our flight over, we took off on time and Astrid, who was looking very weary, curled up and slept not long after take-off.  We had scored the middle 4 seats for her and my Dad, so they got to stretch out.  The hosties offered for Anto or I to move to the back of the plane to another spare seat after take-off so we had more room for Soren. Unfortunately Soren, who was very overtired and had sore teeth and ears let the whole plane know he was onboard for at least the first 40 minutes of the flight. He was not happy about being restrained and did not want to go to sleep.  I eventually got him to sleep and Anto moved up the back, just in time for them to deliver the kids meals (that they now weren’t eating) and mine, that was impossible to eat with a Soren on my lap comatosed. Sadly Anto was 30 rows back and I didn’t have a telepathic link to him so not much food got eaten, which I later regretted!

Astrid was an angel and slept seven hours straight, without incident. Aside from blanket kicking off she even slept through turbulence and the seat-belt sign constantly going on.  Soren slept pretty solidly but was constantly wriggling and being restless so I didn’t get a wink of sleep and watched lots of TV. Anto didn’t fare much better at the back of the plane. We definitely find it easier to fly overnight with the kids as they mostly sleep, unfortunately we generally don’t which makes us very tired.

At 3am body clock time the lights were unceremoniously turned on and both kids were awake. Astrid was very chipper and happy to eat her breakfast. Soren was less chipper but still happy to bounce around and jump from one lap to another. The adults were in need of coffee and food.  Airline food in economy is always a bit dodgy but I was seriously unimpressed with Qantas providing me with only an apple and 2 pieces of honeydew melon 8 hours into a 9 and a half hour flight. I was starving and not impressed! Sadly, it was hours until the next access to food.

The last hour of the flight dragged, although we did have an awesome sunrise to fly into as we headed into Sydney. Soren detests being locked down with a seat belt so was pretty vocal about his last half an hour of the flight but had been otherwise well behaved so no real complaints.

We landed on time on Good Friday and went through the boring tasks of immigration, customs and quarantine, and made the transfer back to the domestic terminal just over an hour and a half after landing. We bid farewell to Gramps who was flying back to Queensland and headed off to Qantas Club.  Finally food and coffee was obtained…….. oh how sweet that coffee tasted.  The kids raided Easter eggs that were far too available in Qantas club, we drank about 3 coffees and tried not to care.

Finally it was time for the final hop home to Canberra. After having driven home after an all night flight previously, the flying option is vastly preferable. We half nodded off during Astrid’s running commentary on the safety procedures and emergency card and Soren actually nodded off, making for a peaceful flight.  By lunch time we were home and safely tucked up for some catch-up sleep!  It was 25 degrees cooler than the temperature we left the previous day in Koh Samui and we were pretty damn tired but we’d had a good time!

That’s the Thailand wrap-up. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the (many) photos!

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