Koh Samui is one of the exotic locations situated ridiculously close to Penang.  Since our last visit to the region, Firefly started a direct flight from our island to that island.  It’s hard to believe such a paradise can be just a 1.5 hour flight, but it is, and we took full advantage of an easy getaway with our visitors.

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Based on the share house success of our Sri Lanka trip, we booked into a private 4-bedroom villa (in MI we’d call this a cottage) on Bang Po beach.  There were 6 similar houses that surrounded a private pool and the deserted beach was just a few steps away.  We looked at each other and decided it would definitely do as our pad for the next 5 nights!  There was a management service who settled us in and also stocked the fridge for us.  We spent a few hours swimming and settling in, then walked down the beach for a Thai seafood dinner.  Delicious!  The next day was spent likewise, hanging out, swimming, exploring the nearby restaurants and spending time together.  The kids were having a blast together, entertaining each other and letting us parents relax a bit.

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By the third day, we were ready for some adventure.  We chartered a local fishing boat out to the 5-islands areas for the morning to do some snorkeling.  The boat was a bit of a shock.  I had expected the long wooden frame of the boat from previous SE Asia boat trips, but was not expecting the motor situation – a V8 car engine at one end of a 20ft pole with a propeller on the other end.

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I understand it made it easier to navigate the reefs, but it was funny looking!  We made it to the snorkeling spot, which was a bit cloudy from the recent stormy weather (we had apparently hit the first sunny days in a week!).  The boat captain tossed out an anchor and threw bread for the fish.  We didn’t need super clear water – the fish came to us!  All the kids snorkeled, and Hazel amazed us with her fascination under water.  She held my lifejacket strap, donned goggles and floated around with me, staring at fish along the way.  After an hour or so, we motored over to one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.  We walked in the clear, shallow water and bathed on the powdered sand.  Lunch was at another nearby island, serving up the best Tom Yum of the trip.  A few sprinkles hit our faces as we got in the boat to go back, and the driver pointed to a black cloud as we high tailed it home.  The sea was rough, and we got soaked by splashes, but made it to the van in one piece.

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The next day was stormy, so we took some time looking around the towns, and eating our first non-Thai meal at a pizza restaurant owned by Italians from Milan.  Delicious!  Emma and I were interested in another trip out on a boat, so we booked a tour to the nearby National Marine Sanctuary for the next day.  The wind slowed and we had a gorgeous finish to the day.

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The National Park was a totally different type of trip.  We were picked up and vanned to a ferry dock to meet the other 40 people on our boat, with several others headed the same way!  We snorkeled, kayaked, hiked and laid on the beach for the day, and had a great time on the well-run trip.  The whole experience provided a lot of opportunity for sister-in-law bonding time, we were both so glad for a chance to get to know each other better.

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The dads & kids were also out the whole day, exploring Koh Samui and ending up at a water park that was popular with everyone.  The kids (and dads) bounced, slid and bumper boated the day away.

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One more morning before we headed off, and the weather was finally perfect.  The sea was smooth and calm, and we spent the time taking sea kayaks out, enjoying the clear water and playing on the sand.  All good things must come to an end, and we headed back to the airport for transfers onward.  For us, that meant back to our own tropical island – but that one had laundry!

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