We were staying at the Baan Haad Ngam resort just on the north end of Chaweng beach. The hotel was lovely, it had a modern boutique feel, with rooms leading down to the restaurant and infinity pool overlooking the beach. It was an absolutely stunning view, with the wide white sandy beach transforming into a vast turquoise lagoon with the tide.
We enjoyed a lovely alfresco meal at the hotel restaurant "Olivio's" that night and then up early for our tour of the Anthong National Marine Park the next-day. We had opted for the speedboat tour to cut the sailing time down and although it was a lovely speed boat, we were packed on like sardines.
Included amongst our fellow passengers were a few Russians, the ever-present Germans and three comedy 60+ northern birds (Luce reckons they were from Yorkshire but I could only narrow down to them being north of Watford) and a Victor Meldrew-esque bloke who had left his wife for the day, apparently one of her friends had told her Thailand was dangerous so she hadn't left her hotel all holiday. As we boarded the boat, and everyone got a little cosy the flirting started with Victor offering his knee if any of the 3NB's wanted to sit on it.
After about an hour of speedy if not comfortable boating, we arrived at our first stop of the day for some snorkelling. It wasn't great snorkelling and felt like a bit of an anti-climax after the diving on Koh Tao.
So we didn't snorkel for long and then it was back on the boat to get dry, cut your knee or whatever you wanted to do before moving on to our next stop, the emerald lagoon at Koh Mae Koh. The simple walk up to the view point required moutaineering gear and oxygen but was worth it for the view.
After another average traditional thai buffet we went to our final stop of the day for kayaking at a lovely beach also on Phaluai Island.
All in all the marine park wasn't exactly what we were expecting, it was very rugged and more spaced out with less desert island style outcrops but was none the less beautiful.
That afternoon was our first chance to explore Chaweng proper. It was an amazing little beach town where you could buy anything you wanted, from Tiffany Jewellery to Rolex watches... Luce settled for a new Mulberry handbag.
We had another great meal at an amazing restaurant called "Page", which is part of the Library hotel - a funky modern design hotel that looks like Ikea on steriods.
Add into that searching for a gym in Chaweng's red light district, a couple of trips to Starbucks and another great meal on the beach (lanterns, flags and private tented boothes while listening to the ocean....) it made for a perfect few days. Then it was time to move on and fly across to Krabi on the other coast of Thailand.
After a scramble at the pierside ticket office in Koh Tao, we boarded a brand-new Lompraya catamaran for the two hour trip back to Koh Samui. The boat was great and good value at 450baht/person and included transfers both ends (which considering taxi prices on Koh Samui is a good deal).