Thursday, 20 October 2011

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Sunrise at Surat Thani

View from our hut
After a 10 hour journey in a Mini van we arrived at the Pier at Surat Thani in time for sunrise. We waited here for just over an hour I think, before catching our ferry to Koh Phangan. The mini-van had been surprisingly cold and despite me having my hoodie with me I still couldn't sleep as I was freezing! By the time we got onto the ferry and found some seats I'm pretty sure everyone was needing a snooze. I got about and hours power nap that kept me going for the rest of the day. We arrived at the pier by Thong Sala at roughly 11am and I was struck by how powerfully hot it was. The air was a lot more dry than our previous stops and the bright blue sky allowed the sun to beat down even more powerfully. We got a taxi/truck to our resort "Mac Bay's Resort"near Ban Tau in the south of the Island. The resort has a mix of beach huts and huts by the pool. As there are 3 of us sharing we got the hut by the pool as it is bigger and also has air-con (the beach huts only have a fan). For the rest of the day we lay on the beach and went in the sea. In the evening we went to Hat Rin which is the most south-easterly point of the island. It is also the most renowned for it's night life and it home to the Full Moon Party. The October Full Moon Party took place last week, however there are several bars along the beach front and inevitably there is some form of party going on. When we got there it was quite quiet so we watched the Fire Show and had a few drinks until a few more people started to arrive. I got dragged up to have a go at breathing fire: basically you fill your mouth with paraffin and then spit it towards the stick which is already alight. Whilst I'm pretty sure I didn't swallow anything all I could taste for the rest of the night was paraffin and I definitely regretted it! After this a couple of other games were played. I came second at their version of musical chairs and won a bottle of beer so couldn't complain. Eventually the games stopped and then everyone just ended up dancing on the beach.

Sunday was another really nice day so again we stayed on our private beach and worked on our sun tan. It was just nice to chill out after the last couple of days in Sangkhlaburi with the children - whilst it was nice it was very tiring. We stayed and watched the sunset before heading into Ban Tai for some food. We found an Italian restaurant and went there for something different; it was slightly more expensive than previous places but so worth it! Its very western on Koh Phangan as so many European people visit here and surprisingly large amounts move here.

On Monday I went and had a look around the shops that are close by for something to do. Annoyingly if we want to go anywhere you need to get a taxi which, granted, isn't hugely expensive, but it all adds up. I found a travel company and booked my boat over to Koh Tao for the end of the week. As of Friday I will no longer be with the group and will be making my own way around. I can't wait! I also had a family skype call - was lovely to catch up with the parents and my brother. Monday night we headed to Hat Rin again. This time they had limbo. To begin with I was doing okay, however after a few beers and them deciding to make us go backwards things started to not go so well. I fell awkwardly and twisted my knee; I knew it was painful at the time but I proceeded to get very drunk and didn't really notice.

The next day was painful. I honestly believe it was the hottest day since I've been here and I cannot cope with hangovers in the heat! Also I was struggling to put much weight on my leg so I wasn't in the best of moods!

The weather forecast for Wednesday hadn't been very good but 5 of us decided to hire a Jeep to have a look around the Island. I didn't have a go at driving as I was still struggling quite a bit with my knee but the others said it was quite hard, especially as our Jeep had no power and the roads here are unbelievably steep in places; we sometimes only made it at a push in first gear! First we stopped off at Thong Sala and had a look around the markets. Then we headed further north and stopped off at an elephant camp where one of the girls paid to give the elephant a bath. We travelled further north again to Coconut Beach at Haad Khom. This was on quite a rugged bit of the coastline and it was nice to hear waves again. On our beach, there are no waves what-so-ever. From here we continued in the jeep to Khao Ko one of the viewpoints on the island. After a steep drive and a bit of a climb, we came across a Reggae bar built around the viewpoint so we chilled out there for a while. you could see right about the jungle and to the coast which was really impressive.After a drink there, we headed to Hat Yao on the west coast to watch the sunset. That evening we went back to Hat Rin to a restaurant which plays Friends on repeat all day and all night long - pure genius! We had our meal and watched a few episodes before heading back to our resort.

Thursday morning started very similarly to Wednesday; torrential downpour. It did, however, brighten up by about 11am when we set off on our "Island Tour". We got dropped off at Ban Chalok Lam and got a taxi boat round to Bottle Beach. Unfortunately there was a mix up with times so we didn't actually spend very long there, just enough time to grab some lunch before setting off again. We then got the truck to Ko Ma where we were able to do some snorkelling. It was a bit of a swim from the shore but once I reached the coral reef I saw a variety of colourful fish all shapes and sizes. I would gestimate the largest one I saw was 2ft. - I got a photo of it and apparently its a Parrot fish. Naturally, I took my camera however it was quite difficult to decipher where was best to take the photo so they didn't all come out very well. After a few hours here we decided to go back to the resort to get ready for the Half Moon Party !

Once we arrived back we started to get ready. The Half Moon Party takes place in the jungle and they use UV lights so illuminant paint is a must. Most of us had white t-shirts/vests which we painted with various designs so that we would glow. When we got there, there were various stalls either selling Half moon clothing, or paint. There were a few people doing body painting as well and some the designs looked really good in the light. In order to protect my knee I wasn't drinking too much but had a really good night. The group had to be back by about half 5 as they were travelling back to Bangkok setting off early this morning, but I didn't stay to the end either. After about an hours sleep I woke up to say goodbye to some of the group I've been with for the last month. I managed to sleep another 2 or so but then got up to pack. I'm currently waiting to get my boat to Koh Tao where I'm going to be doing my PADI open water course. Now I'm away from the group I can do what I want and when I want. I can't wait. I have 4 weeks now until I need to be in Singapore to catch my flight to Australia and the options are endless!

Hannah, Holly, Me, Dale


  1. hehe good work on the vesttop :D
    that place looks so amazing...I want to be there...happy birthday special k!, missing you! (not in a soppy way...just in a "miss your banter" kind of way...honest...sniff)

  2. haha miss your banter too mate! yea I thought I needed to get JR out there somehow :)