We awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for our ferry to Koh Samui. When I say "we", I mean Liam and I - we had left Louise and Kirsten to work their way through the cocktail menu before stumbling back to their bungalow at sunrise. Needless to say they were feeling a tad worse for wear, not at all looking forward to another ferry crossing like the last, which was akin to being on a spin-cycle in a washing machine.
Fortunately this time we had the benefit of a catamaran, which felt infinitely more sturdy than the previous vessel.The journey passed without any dramas. The girls even managed a little shut-eye, which would've been impossible on the last boat.
We all agreed that Koh Tao had been fantastic and were curious as to whether Koh Samui would impress us equally. First impressions...probably not. Taking a pickup to Chaweng Beach, we were greeted by that Thai delicacy...MacDonalds. The golden arches were accompanied by a Burger King, a Starbucks and a Pizza Hut. We expressed our disdain at seeing all this Westernised gluttony....and then headed straight to Pizza Hut for lunch.
Well, we WERE starving and hadn't eaten breakfast for fear of regurgitating it on the ferry.
We had come to Koh Samui to meet up with our friends Jo and Ross who had booked a luxury 5-star villa called Eden Rock, which was located between Chaweng and Lamai.
Fully recharged on deep pan delights, we took another taxi up to the villa. When I say "up" to the villa, it was a 75 degree angle uphill to the resort, on a clifftop. Impractical to get to, but the altitude of the house made for fantastic views over the Koh Samui coastline.
Welcomed by Jo and Ross, they ushered us inside where we were greeted by what can only be described as a palace, such was the sumptuous luxury of this villa.
The living area was absolutely huge, with a bar, 4-poster bed, piano, chaise-longue, pc, flatscreen tv, sofas and various other pieces of furniture all rattling around and still planty of space for a football pitch or two. Well, maybe not two.
The ceilings were so high that our voices echoed.I could picture Katherine Jenkins belting out a few classical tunes in that vast room, such were the acoustics. French doors opened out onto a balcony overlooking the infinity pool with swim-up bar and breathtaking views.
The rest of the house was just as impressive - 4-posters in all the bedrooms, huge marble sunken baths, walk-in closets, waiters and a chef..this place was seriously impressive. Even a proper diva like Marey Carey wouldn't have been able to stick out her bottom lip and find fault with this place. I kept half-expecting the crew from MTV Cribs to show up and request an interview for the next episode.
After 4 months of backpacking, such luxury brought a tear to my eye. Not having had a bath for ages, I had the taps running and my lotions and potions unpacked before you could say "freeloader", although Jo insisted it was no trouble.
Some other friends of Jo and Ross's were due over that evening so we washed and changed and generally made ourselves at home. Louise draped herself over one of the chaise-longues wearing a chiffon kaftan. She reminded me of a photoshoot I'd seen for OK magazine featuring Nancy De'llolio.When Jo had said there was plenty of space for us all to sleep over we had pictured bodies piled high on sofabeds, not that Liam and I would haver our own honeymoon suite with a bath big enough for 6 to sit in comfortably. We could hardly contain our excitement.
Later, Ross's friends Terry and Dan arrived, along with Fran, Anna and Nicki. The 11 of us got better acquainted whilst the chefs and staff busied themselves preparing a banquet fit for a king.
We all went up to the dining area and tucked into a mouth-watering meal of tiger prawns, red snapper, chicken and various other barbequed delights.
Afterwards we retreated back to the pool area where the evening began to degenerate from sophisticated soiree to drink-fuelled mayhem. Some of the boys explained a drinking game called Circle of Death whereby playing cards are arranged in a circle face down and each person takes turns to turn one over. Each card has a rule, action, or word game attached, with drinking penalties for failure to complete your task. After 2 games (and plenty of vodka, whisky and beer) the rules were being forgotten and it was all getting too confusing, so we did what any group of Brits abroad would do...we all jumped in the pool and messed about..
After drinking,dancing and working our way through the villa's extensive CD collection we decided to call it a night after one more rendition of "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics..oh, and a few plays of "the Reflex-flex-flex-flex...."
The next day we hit the beach at Lamai and indulged in several treatments - a foot-file buffing treatment whereby a Thai women removes about 2 inches of hard skin from your feet then excitedly holds up the shavings for you to see just how gross your feet were before. (I'm only five foot six now, the rest was dead skin..)
Liam and I also had a full Thai massage, where bones you didn't even know you had are cracked noisily by tiny Thai women.The girls all had a pedicure and little flowers painted on their toenails.I opted out of this one - I think my therapist was still traumatised after picking up all the dead skin from my heels..)
That evening we went for a Thai meal in Chaweng, then hit the bars for a few drinks. Unfortunately, the Brits were out in force, beering it up and springing about in an alcohol-fuelled frenzy to dodgy drum-and-bass music. We avoided this area like the plague, except for a bar called Mint, where Brandon Block was spinning old house tunes, with the help of his old mate Ricky Butcher. I told you it was tacky - I kept expecting Bianca to come screeching out from behind the decks at any moment, letting out an ear-piercing "Riickkkkkaaaayyy!!!".
We stuck it out til 4am - by this time I'd had enough of roided-up bodybuilders and bleary-eyed skinheads, no matter how good the music was...
The next day we had just enough time for a cooked breakfast by the pool and a bit of speed-sunbathing before it was time to say a sad goodbye to Ross, Jo and the beautiful villa and head to the airport for our flight back to Bangkok and the evening's entertainment - a ping-pong show in Patpong....