All posts for the month March, 2023

Breakfast at Vana Belle, where they offered us champagne to start the day. Occasionally we would accept.

We closed our three-week holiday on our favorite island in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui. We’ve been here a number of times and always consider the beach absolutely one of the best in the world. And we loved it again this time, though it wasn’t quite perfect. The first day we were there the sea was so rough you couldn’t really go in safely. I tried and before I got more than a few feet out a big wave just knocked me on my butt. As I stumbled to get up another came and knocked me back down again. So I left and waited until things calmed down the next day.

Then a few days later a pretty big storm blew through one evening and the next two days there were red flags out along the beach: don’t go in at all. The sea was really rough and so that was the end of that.

Our view from lunch. Normally we’re eager to get away from a resort for lunch, but the food was so good and varied we ate every lunch here, then went out for dinner. And with a view like that, there’s not much not to like…

Again, lots of reading (I finished the full three-volume biography of Teddy Roosevelt!), lots of lounging, another great hotel gym to stay at least a little active in, and lots of good food. Some great beach time before the weather turned. But I learned two things over these three weeks.

Local fish and calamari, one of many low-key but great meals. You know you’re not home when you notice the ashtray in the picture!

The first is more cool than important. We flew in and out through Singapore, which is almost exactly half-way around the world from New York. So the day of a flight out of New York, for instance, Singapore Air looks at the weather conditions and decides whether to fly northeast across the North Atlantic and over Europe, or northwest over North America and down the east coast of Asia.

On our outbound they flew us the northeastern route over Europe but on the return weather conditions were such that we flew northeast out of Singapore, up over Alaska and down across North America. So in fact we went around the world on this trip. How cool is that?

Dinner our last night at The Boudoir, our favorite French restaurant in Samui. Right – who has a favorite French restaurant on an island in the Gulf of Thailand? Turns out we’ve been there each of our last few visits to the island and it’s this little sliver of France off on a remote road. Since we were last there, though, a younger French couple started running it and it’s maybe not just quite as great as it used to be. Still good though.

Here’s the other thing I learned: three weeks of lazing on a beach in luxury resorts is just too much. I never thought I’d say that but by the end I was just a little bored with it all. To be sure, that is not the worst problem a person has ever had. But we both had the sense that we don’t need to do that again.

The good news is that we’re already getting excited about doing a winter vacation next year in Vietnam that would include some resort beach time but also probably some trekking in Sapa in the north, cruising in Halong Bay, urban time in Hanoi, and so on.

Hard to imagine getting bored on a beach like this, but somehow I managed it

If you had suggested on the LONG flight home from Singapore to New York that I would even consider another east Asia trip so soon (oh, and to make everything even more miserable I was sick on the flight, presumably from something I ate the last day in Thailand) I’d have been clear that wasn’t going to happen. But here we are just a few days back in New York with a Lonely Planet book sketching out what you could do next winter with five weeks or so in Vietnam. I’m already getting excited!

Bamboo Bar was a fun, colorful place maybe five minutes from our hotel and a nice place to stop for a pre-dinner drink

Enjoying a calm day in the sea

These were our chairs, under great branches that provided shade all day long

Another view from lunch

What’s the problem with a little late-afternoon storm if you’re already wet?


An elegant plate at The Boudoir

Finally, this is the wine list at The Boudoir. I saw that chalk board and had to pull up the blog Return to Koh Samui from a previous visit. Sure enough, if you click on that link to our 2015 visit – eight years ago! – there’s the same chalk board down at the bottom. Nice to know that some things don’t change.