The Islands of Koh Phangang and Koh Samui

During our final dozen days abroad we made our way to the Gulf of Thailand for some island-hopping.

On the small island of Koh Pha Ngan we settled into our beachside bungalow for 5 days of, well, mostly torrential rain. When the clouds broke and the sun showed it's face for the final couple days of our stay we took advantage of it and rented another motorbike. For $200 bhat/day (less than $8 Canadian) how could we not?

We managed to circle the entire island of Koh Phan Gnan over the course of one day, with stops at some amazing viewpoints, a seaside lunch, one frustrating game of mini-golf, and a dip in the ocean to cool down.

After 5 days exploring we headed to the larger island of Koh Samui, located an hour south by (ridiculously rocky) ferry.

Stopping for a view atop one of Koh Pha Ngan's many steep hills.

After nearly a month of enjoying Thai cuisine we decided to take a cooking course in order to bring a bit of Thailand back home with us.

Our excursion with Island Organics Thai Cooking School commenced with a tour of our hosts- Lat and Cameron's- lush property. From the compost and worm fertilizer, to the aquaponics and mushroom shed, they're enthusiasm and knowledge for sustainable practices was impressive.

During the garden tour we picked fresh herbs and vegetables and prepared a feast of several dishes- including chicken satay, Pad Thai, both green and red curries which were turned into sauces and soups. We even created coconut broth from start to finish by finely grating and liquefying the freshly cracked coconut.

If you ever find yourself on the island of Koh Samui, we'd highly recommend checking out Islands Organics Thai Cooking School. Lat was the most patient teacher, and together with her husband Cameron they've created an outstanding and authentic Thai experience.

The motorbikes look like your typical scooter- but they pack a punch, with the chance to reach speeds well above 120 km/hr. We did not test this feature!

The final days of our trip were spent taking in the sights of Koh Samui by motorbike once again. The very last day we took our time driving around the perimeter of the island, touring the many temples, enjoying the many beaches, vistas, and outdoor markets, then capped off with body-surfing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand.

What an eye-opening experience. Coming to an environment so very different from the one we're accustomed to, each foreign encounter eased by the accommodating nature of the Thai people, and every day unique.

And now, back to reality.