We decided to stick to google’s weather predictions and head to Thailand’s eastern islands in search of sun soaked beaches. As we’d left it last minute we missed out on any chance of an affordable hotel on Koh Samet to bring in the New Year so we opted for Rayong. Not having heard of this place before doesn’t seem so strange now as it’s not much of a place at all!
Our hotel had a pool, was right on the beach and the sun the was shining so things were far from awful. After trying out the very sparse local ‘restaurants’ we were less than hopeful for an amazing NYE so we checked the weather and made the choice to skip the thunderstorms and 100% rain to the west and head for Koh Chang. Paranoid about leaving the minibus to the next day we booked one in Ban Phe then looked for a taxi back for a quiet night. So a taxi or tuk tuk anywhere in Asia is usually annoying as everyone wants to take you somewhere except of course for when we actually want to get back to the hotel. After half an hour we gave up and chose a pool table in an empty bar. The bar closed early, as there were no customers and the friendly French owner wanted to go and party. He offered us a lift in the back of his jeep with some free beers for the journey so the universe had our back finally.
Driving onto the beach just over the road from our hotel we were then invited to party with the Frenchman and his Thai girlfriend, with nothing else to do we went along to be greeted by a handful of Frenchmen in their 60’s accompanied by more Thai girlfriends and a ladyboy dance show. Luckily it was a family event and their clothes stayed on but we got the urge to leave and spent the rest of the evening on the beach watching the lanterns float above us and chatting with some friendly locals who wanted to talk mostly about English football and Muay thai.
Having a weird but interesting NYE we were ready to head to Koh Chang and as we got to Ban Phe early we were treated to a trail of monks collecting various treats from locals.