Thailand Part 2

Upon arrival, we were a little disappointed with Koh Phangan, I blame this partially on lack of sleep and the poor quality of the first hostel we booked into as the island perked up a few days into our stay. We dumped our gear in Same Same guesthouse in Had Rin, which is apparently party central before Full Moon parties, but we didn’t see any action here. The rooms were overpriced and none of the luxuries were in working order i.e. fan, running water, doors. They’ll also try and rip you off by not re-stocking the mini bar in your room, or as we discovered leaving a packet of open peanuts in there and demanding that you pay for them the next day. We spent one sleepless night here before storming out and checking into Delight Resort, just a few minutes down the road. This resort was recommended to us by a couple from the Netherlands that we bumped into and went to Half Moon with, and it was in fact a delight. 500B gave us air conditioning for the first time since Japan, a powerful hot and cold shower, and a gorgeous swimming pool to cool down in.

There’s also a lovely restaurant straight opposite which offers delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner at reasonable prices. A bunch of our friends that we met in Cambodia had booked in at Coral Bungalows where they paid the same price as us for the same sort of luxury and also had the extra added bonus of organised pool parties, but their accommodation was a good 5-10 minute walk from the center of Had Rid and the beach, regardless, we spent most of the week around their pool because it was bigger.

First couple of days in Koh Phangan we spent relaxing and recovering from Phi Phi (much needed), we met a few people around our pool so in the evenings we had a few drinks with them on the beach, and then Half Moon came around. Turns out it’s 500B entry and it’s held in the jungle which means it’ll cost you 200B return in a taxi but despite these two setbacks it’s well worth the pennies. Get yourselves a few buckets on Had Rid beach first (this is an eyeopener, as soon as you set foot on the beach dozens of beach vendors shout and beg for your business, see if you can get buckets for 75B – 100B, anything more than this and you’re being ripped off, they’ll also offer you free jewellery made from plastic straws and flowers, cute) before hopping in a taxi into the jungle.

There will be plenty of adverts for taxi’s to take you to Half Moon, barter down and try and get a big group together, it helps save money. Memories of Half Moon are a little blurry but if you ignore the heavy trance music, don’t overpay for the expensive drinks and just have fun with the people you’re with you’ll have the best time, and we did, glow in the dark body paint and all.

As previously mentioned the next few days consisted of curing our hangovers by a dip in Coral Bungalows swimming pool with our friends, before heading back to Delight for showers and naps, back out again with the guys for dinner then off for more buckets on the beach. Very much like Phi Phi there are always fire displays and if you saunter down the beach to Drop In bar they often have foam parties going on (watch your eyes, this stuff stings) so it’s a good laugh if you’re with a group of people. Bumped into a few familiar faces from Phi Phi (few guys from Sweden and some girls from Norway) who informed us they were staying for the Full Moon party and that their accommodation at Coral was setting them back 1500B per night instead of 500B, simply as it was peak time for Full Moon.

With smug smiles on our faces, the big group of us booked our boat tickets across to Koh Samui to get away from the overpricing of Full Moon. This cost us about 200B each, booked through Coral Bungalows, you get picked up in a taxi from the resort and ferried down to the port where you jump on a relatively small boat that, 45 minutes later, will deliver you smoothly on beautiful Koh Samui. This island has the cleanest beach I’ve seen so far, not much of a night life but still worth seeing (see Koh Tao if you want some peace and quiet and superb diving). Prices were a little more expensive here but nothing in the 1500B range, we checked into The Loft which is the main backpacker haunt on Koh Samui, offering a restaurant, travel agency and a pool table. We managed to haggle 650 for air conditioned rooms for all 8 of us, including hot and cold showers, breakfast and a TV which made our American friend very happy. The loft is a 5 minute walk to the beach and is right on the main strip, head out left of The Loft and continue a few minutes down the road for cheap eats and relatively cheap drinks (try happy hour for 50B Chang). The shopping in Koh Samui is also quite handy if this is the last place in Thailand you’re visiting, plenty of knock offs to keep the folks at home happy and also some traditional Thai merch if you’re interested. After a few nights on Koh Samui drinking, playing pool, sizzling on the beach and playing extreme Jenga (see below) the group had to part, two left and headed back to the UK, one made their way down Malaysia for some diving, and the remaining 5 of us booked a bus to Kuala Lumpur followed by a flight down to Singapore.

This is a long and painful trip, setting you back around 1200B and is especially unpleasant if you’re crammed into a sauna of a minibus for 4 hours. However, the border crossing into Malaysia is quick and simple and before we knew it we’d left two more in KL and the last 3 of us were jetting out of the airport to Singapore. This is a one hour flight, book it with Air Asia for very cheap rates as low as $8.

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