The blog you are about to read may contain events and images not suitable for all audiences (namely our parents)
As Anne mentioned in the “Big Bangkok Reunion” post, I have had a tradition since March 3rd, 2003 of getting friends together when the day, month, and year all match up. What follows is 12/12/12, the grand finale of a 10-year tradition, celebrated with the convergence of family and friends (Mike, Anne, Ryan, Chelsea, Ashley, Scott, TJ, and Carolyn in the flesh and via Google Hangout with Magic Pete, Mendelsohn, Leo & Markus) in the most ridiculous beach house on the island of Ko Samui, Thailand for three days of unadulterated fun.
Our friends requested that as often as possible during their 12 days in Thailand, that we live and travel the way HoneyTrek does. While we didn’t make them hitch-hike in the back of a banana truck or eat PB&J and freeze-dried coffee on the daily, we did require an overnight train to be on the itinerary. Here, the six of us (my brother Ryan & Chelsea were on a flight from San Fran at this very moment) are geared up in Bangkok train station for our trip to Ko Samui.
When we made the reservation for this beach house we thought to ourselves, “If the house is even half as amazing as these photos lead to believe…everyone is going to be SOOO stoked.” And I think I can speak for all eight of us when I say that the place was even more spectacular than the website suggested (How could they neglect to mention the second infinity pool and 50-foot waterfall!!!). We walked in and our jaws hit the floor, followed by our clothes for a dip in infinity pool number #1 then #2.
The house had four lovely bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, and living room but every time we looked out our window, we were drawn to that seamless horizon between pool and ocean. If I told you we paid a grand total of $179 a head for 4-days in this mansion on Samrong beach you probably wouldn’t believe me…but we did. Renting a house is sometimes more economical than hotel rooms, and SO much more fun!
If you have ever partaken in a Day/Month/Year party you will know that the theme is always based on the number, whether it be a poker night for “Lucky 7/7/7”, the “9/9 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” or the “10 Party Commandments on 10/10/10.” So for the “12 days of 12/12/12” party we decided to bring elements from each of the nine previous years together for one legendary night.
Warming up with a few rounds of poker in our beautifully Thai-style living room, Ryan (far left) and Scott (far right) show off their best poker faces and the rest of the crew are just happy to still be in the hand.
If you have been to Thailand then you are well acquainted with the 13th person attending the “12 days of 12/12/12” party….Mr. Chang. At 6.5% ABV and slightly Belgian in style, he can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.
As I mentioned earlier we had a total of 12 people partake in the 12/12/12 festivities, and while four of them didn’t make the full commitment of buying a plane ticket half-way around the world, they shall be commended for waking up at 7am on a workday (the USA is 12+ hours ahead of Thailand) to join the festivities. Here is Magic Pete joining us from Denver, wearing his best spandex Santa costume, for the push-up portion of the physical challenge (later he returned virtually…and helped WIN the Flip Cup Challenge).
When you are at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you will have a mask and snorkel. And when you have a house in Thailand, you will inevitably have Chang in the fridge. Together (with some backwards logic) you get the “The Chang Snorkel,” one of the 12 badges needed to be crowned King/Queen of 12/12/12. Note: To get full credit, all party members must be present in the two-person tub.
The next morning we woke up happy to be in one piece, albeit in slight pain. Food was needed as was more exploring around this big and beautiful island, so we rented motorbikes and set out for a full day of adventure. First stop? The local market for some incredibly spicy Panang Curry and Pad Thai…just the cure we were looking for.
Bellies and gas tanks full (check the slide-show and see the awesome Asian gas stations: Guy on plastic chair with wooden rack of old liquor bottles full of petrol.) we took in a little culture with the Wat Phra Yai Temple, home to the island’s biggest Buddha, and a few other neighborhood temples along the way.
As we got farther south and into smaller villages, the back roads were calling our names. This palm-tree slalom course of sorts was not only a lot of fun but good look into local island life.
We capped off our stay on Ko Samui with some sunset bouldering and beach combing at the infamous Lamai beach beach with its suggestive rock formations.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much it meant to us to have such amazing friends join us in Thailand to celebrate 12/12/12. And while the occasion might be a slightly silly and fictitious holiday, the love between our group of buddies is true as they come! We can’t thank you guys enough for traveling the 17,302 miles to visit us and send this ten-year tradition out with a bang.