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Chiang Mai, Thailand – Day 5

January 21, 2023

I enjoyed my last incredible breakfast from my hotel before packing up and taking a Grab to Decathlon (206 baht). Decathlon is the REI of Asia with Asian prices. I picked up four dri-fit shirts and two pairs of socks. 1540 baht.

After shopping I took another Grab to the airport (237 baht). This one was much smoother than in Singapore, so I’m through security 2 hours before I leave. Good time to catch up with others and review some receipts. The 3000 baht I withdrew at the beginning of my stay in Chiang Mai lasted me until I left. 2200 for the Elephant tour, 160 for laundry, the rest for food. Money can go far here.

The Chiang Mai airport was easy. Boarded my plane, Bangkok Airways, for Koh Samui. They gave us a meal even though the flight was only 1.5 hours. Mine was rice, beans and squash with real bowls and silverware. Nice not to see plastic.

We flew over the beautiful blue Gulf of Thailand and landed in Koh Samui shortly after eating. I must have been the only person who didn’t check a bag, because I was able to withdraw more cash from the ATM and sort out my pier change with the first taxi I came across. Perks of traveling light.

My ferry to Koh Phangan is from Pralan Pier, on the north side of the island. The taxi company informed me that due to big waves that pier is closed and I need to go to one twice as far, Nathon Pier. When they showed me the website with the announcement I agreed to switch piers. An 11 passenger van just for me. 800 baht – rip off.

I think we’ll make it on time but the way my driver is running and driving makes me wonder otherwise. He’s passing 3-4 cars at a time on a road that looks like it’s intended for non-passing city traffic. I think he and the driver to Pai could be related.

I wonder where my Dramamine is.

Me and Martha in the wind

Made it to the ferry with plenty of time to spare. My ferry ended up being delayed by an hour. In the meantime I met a woman named Martha, a Stanford PhD student. After a rough 2022, she’s taking a break to get back on track. We talked a lot about sabbaticals and how to figure out what to do with your life. We also talked a lot about different career options for friends of hers that are exploring career transitions.

When we were finally ready to board, Martha and I grabbed second row seats on top of the ferry. We got to see a beautiful sunset, reminding me of Key West. Shortly into the trip, the people in the first row moved and we felt the full brunt of the wind. The beauty overpowered the wind, so we stayed put, but we talked a lot less.

I could see Amy as we approached the island. She introduced me to Warren, a long time KP resident. We loaded up the scooter with my bags and left for dinner.

We ate at the Belgian Beer Bistro. I ignored Amy’s recommendation of the salmon and got the fish carpaccio instead. Mistake. After we ate, I got a second dinner nearby where I picked up some roasted vegetables and we shared a chocolate mousse. Yum!

Now we started the return journey to the hotel, Loyfa, where I was excited to shower after a long and hot day. Loyfa is beautiful, as I would hope and expect since it’s by far my most expensive accommodation at $71/night.

There’s a big party nearby, and the music is loud. Good thing I have my earplugs and eye mask. #HighMaintenanceSleeper

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