After a stormy week in Koh Samui and limited touristy things to do, Harmony and I were really excited for a change in scenery! The weather was finally clearing up and there was even a stunning sunset to welcome us to Koh Phangan!
From Koh Samui, the boat journey took no longer than an hour. It cost 300 Baht each and was easy enough to organise online. From Koh Phangan's main pier (Thong Sala), a taxi to our hostel (Pink's Bungalows) cost 100 Baht each. The hostel couldn't have been more budget, with nothing but a fan in the room and a blanket-less bed. Also, let's just say that the shared toilets had no flush, and I'll say no more! Fortunately, the food at the hostel was fantastic and the location was great. It was right on the beach, surrounded by palm trees and very peaceful.
The Area (What To Do)
On our first day, we went on a short walk to see the island's biggest tree. It's much more impressive than it sounds, as it measures 14m in diameter and over 53m tall! From here, we walked along the side of the road in a circle back to the hostel. Along the way, we saw a few temples (Wat Nai and Wat Pho, which were no more than a few shacks and some small stupas). We also came across a coconut farm with mountains of piled up coconuts. Amongst the island's actual mountains and the many palm trees, were lots of stilt houses with puppies, cats and chickens playing outside, and also a monkey tied to a tree - why, I just don't know!
We also explored the beach that day, which gave me some ideas of what I wanted to take photos of. It rained in the evening but the sunset was absolutely stellar, so I quickly ran down to an old, broken boat that I really liked the look of and snapped a few photos. On the following day, there was another spectacular sunset and, this time, I noticed that the tide had revealed lots of large chunks of dead coral - making the landscape look other worldly! The sky stayed quite clear and the sunset lasted forever. So, I could spend much more time on each shot! As a bonus, the moon started to rise over the island, which made for a really cool image.
Unfortunately, amongst all of the coral and rocks, Harmony and I found lots of glass bottles and plastic rubbish. It was shocking as we had seen next to no rubbish at high tide during the daytime. We thought it was actually a really nice place to chill out, lay on the sand and paddle in the sea! In fact, it was felt perfect and was exactly what we pictured when we thought of coming to Thailand. Other people played on stand up paddleboards and rode around on jet skis, which looked like great fun, but we didn't have a clue where to get the equipment to engage in such water sports. All we could've rented from our hostel were bikes and jeeps, but we just wanted to relax (though it would've been nice to have gone to a waterfall).
Full Moon Party and Haad Rin Beach
Harmony and I happened to have some friends on the island whilst we were there. They were staying near Haad Rin Beach, which was a 200 Baht taxi ride away for us. At Haad Rin, it was like an entirely different island - the streets were lined with locals selling neon body paint, crazy clothing and buckets of cheap alcohol, and all of the tourists too wasted to see straight.
We went back the following night for Koh Phangan's world famous Full Moon Party. This is an event that tourists and celebrities alike want to experience! The massive amount of people that attend it create an enormous crowd on the beach that you have to see to believe. We found a rooftop bar that offered a perfect perspective of all of the action below and we stayed there for most of the night. Everyone was up on a table with a bucket in their hand and a smile on their face, dancing to the pop music that the bars all played! The bars themselves were still very cheap and they didn't have an entrance fee. That said, there was an entrance fee to get on the beach that night, with the proceeds helping to keep the area as clean as possible. Plus, we got a cool, rubber wristband that made for a great souvenir!
Honestly, there wasn't much of a difference between the two nights. It seemed to be a wild place whatever the date, with all the people just wanting to party. However, I don't think the size of the crowd came close to when it was actually the Full Moon Party. I can't tell you much more than that, because its a bit hard to remember with all of the buckets! Somehow, we managed to wake up early the morning after, ate breakfast and checked out in time to make the early boat to Krabi!