Koh Phangan Island, Thailand and Full Moon party madness!

Koh Phangan Travel Blog

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Me, outside our hut.

The bus journey from Singapore to K.L was luxurious and the 9 hour, 6 pound bus ride from K.L to Hat Yai in Southern Thailand wasn't bad either. There were just 26 seats on the bus with loads of leg room and seats that reclined all the way back so the chair was almost a bed. We crossed the Malaysia-Thailand border without a hitch and arrived in Hat Yai at around 7pm and checked into a hotel in the centre of town....a double room with ensuite, air conditioning, TV and a king size bed for all of 5 pound between the two of us! All was going well...we ate and slept loads that night, both recuperating from the long journey and preparing ourselves for the next day's trip too.

Our journey was from Hat Yai to Sura Thani, a town 6 hours north and the gateway to the south easterly Thai islands.

The view from our beach bungalow...see how close we are to the beach! :)
We knew we were going by mini bus and even though it was only costing us 4 pound each, we were sure it would be a smart little bus with some of the room and comfort of the previous two buses...Oh how wrong we were!

We nearly tripped over our jaws as we got into the bus from sheer disbelief. There were 9 passenger seats on the bus...with 6 people already on the bus and another couple as well as us to get on! Each and every one of us had a large backpack each and some smaller bags too. We crammed onto the bus, the driver shoving the backpacks anywhere he could, behind people's heads, under our legs and feet etc. It was at this point that it clicked why the ticket we had bought the evening before had been stamped "NO REFUND".....crafty!

So, we headed off for Sura Thani.

Enough said!
...or so we thought....even though I couldn't see out of the windows, the view being restricted by a multitude of backpacks, I could sense we were driving around in a circle. Then we stopped and the side door opened. There, on the roadside, was standing another backpacker. We all laughed when we saw him but stopped quite soon after as the bus driver started trying to find a space for his bag. "No way!"the English guys behind us were saying. They squashed him in as well and shut the door before we could fall out. Now there were 11 passengers and all their belongings on the 9 seater bus....Now we were ready...the bus driver did stop again but resisted the temptation to squeeze in the two guys waiting on the kerb...anyway by the looks of their faces (and I just wish I could have moved my arms to take a picture of them) they were not going to bother trying anyway.
The gang.
..I think they thought they were on Candid Camera...and by this point, so did we!

Surprisingly, the bus ride wasn't too bad....I mean it was hot and sweaty, what with the air conditioning not working fully and our knees up around our ears......oh, and the fact that the driver started to fall asleep whilst driving. I thought he was driving a little more erratically than usual and it turns out he had fallen asleep, only to wake up as we started drifting cross into the on coming traffic. Good thing we could hardly see out f the bus I suppose or we may have been worried! A short rest stop (of about 4 minutes) and we were off again.....OK, so the bus journey was dodgy to say the least, but we reached Sura Thani in one piece and booked into a hotel for the night...same deal as before, cheap, cheerful and comfortable.

Me, with the guys from our resort at "Stone Hill"

Yet another mini bus ride the next morning to get us to the ferry. It took about an hour but seemed to last an age as some Thai woman beside me insisted on clipping her nails whilst we travel. I mean, for Pete's sake...we are all hot and sweaty and in very close quarters and there she is flinging her nails everywhere. It was foul and I did everything in my power not to scream...or be sick out of the window.

I took what were supposed to be travel sickness tablets for the 2 and a half hour ferry ride. We had bought them in a shop for about 15p in Sura Thani and the shop assistant did not have much English....Now I am not sure if they are travel sickness tablets...I was completely comatose on the boat. I could not stay awake, my eyes rolling in my head.

See, it's a big bugger.
..tingles all over my body and sometimes not able to move my arms and legs...whatever these tablets were, I don't think they'd be legal and available over the counter in Britain!

I dragged myself off the ferry and followed John to a nearby bar/cafe and ordered some food to try and get some energy. After food and a short 'tuk tuk' (taxi) ride, we were there....Koh Phagnan Beach Resort.

What a little corner of paradise! We had reserved our own beach bungalow and it was great. We had our own room with an outside toilet and shower attached...we were set and ready to rest for the madness of the Full Moon Party.

John and I had all intentions of resting and chilling out before the Full Moon Party, but this went right out of the window.

Whoo Hoo!! Haad Rin baby, yeah!
...The night before the Full Moon, we went to a Thai Restaurant and saw one of the guys from our resort sitting on his own, being nice people, we asked him to come and join us for dinner and so, that's where it started. After having dinner with the guy from Canada, we had a few drinks at our resort. An hour or two of drinks later, another guy from Bristol came over and asked if we were going to the Amsterdam bar with a bunch of others. Intrigued by his offer, and the suggestive title of the bar, we went along. By the time we got into the back of the open air tuk-tuk, we had had a good few drinks and were well on our way. When we got there, we noticed a huge hill that we had to climb...the Amsterdam Bar was on top of a very steep hill with fantastic views of the island and the sea....the place as called 'Stone Hill'.
I promise our body paint was a bit better than this...
...enough said.

We had a couple of hazy hours there on the hilltop and then started the long (and by now, dangerous) decent down the hill, to the taxi at the bottom. John and I went straight to bed when we got back to Phangnan Beach Resort, but I had great trouble getting to sleep...I only managed to sleep for about 2 hours all night. We found out the next morning that Red Bull in Thailand is not just an energy drink, it contains amphetamines, so the 6 Red Bull and vodkas I had had that night were keeping me up all night!

It took us both all day to recover after our night at Stone Hill, but we both managed to be up and ready for the Full Moon celebrations that night. We had decided to head down to the party at our accommodation about 9.

aaahhhh!
00 pm, ample time given that we were determined to see the sunrise the next morning...But a small something kept us in our room for an hour longer... I say small, it was actually the biggest spider that either John or I have ever laid eyes on...He was bloody HUGE!! Bigger than my hand and legs nearly as fat as my little finger!...no kidding, he was big, even the two Thai guys that helped get him out of the room were all calm and collected 'till they saw him, and even they jumped and gasped.

We got a minibus down to the party in Hat Rin and met a couple of American guys in the street and had a chat with them for about an hour...by the time we went to go down on the beach, John had already drank his first bucket of drink and I hadn't noticed! So, after buying some luminous body paint and painting each other's faces and my chest, I bought myself a bucket too, to try and catch up with John.

The view from the beach.
These buckets are the type of buckets that kids play with to make sandcastles..they are filled with half a bottle of vodka or whiskey or what ever your tipple is, a bottle of red bull and topped up with some coke or sprite and ice....each bucket is lethal I can tell you. We spent the night dancing on the beach in front of the different clubs and bars that all pump out loud dance music and watched fire dancers with their mesmerising shows that included passers by jumping through hoops of fire...John wanted to have a go at this but seeing as he had trouble seeing straight at this point, adding fire to the equation would have been a bad idea. We danced and partied all night 'till the sun rose over the sea and then made our way back to our beach house by tuk tuk. We took some fab photos of the madness that night but sadly, we lost our camera.
Long tail boats on the sea.
..lucky it was our crappy camera with cellotpe holding it together but the photos would have been very entertaining.

Obviously, we spent the next day recovering, waking up in time to take another trip to Stone Hill to watch the sun set and having a meal with friends we had met on the island. The only other event was a cat that we could hear scrapping away inside the roof of our hut which had, as it turns out, given birth to two kittens and we spent our last afternoon in Koh Phangan rescuing them from the confines of the roof. They were so young they had not even opened their eyes yet and they were so cute!

We had a great chilled out and crazy time in Koh Phangan all rolled into one, what with the mad Full Moon party and the luxury of having a private beach ten steps from our doorway....ahhh

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Me, outside our hut.
Me, outside our hut.
The view from our beach bungalow..…
The view from our beach bungalow.…
Enough said!
Enough said!
The gang.
The gang.
Me, with the guys from our resort …
Me, with the guys from our resort…
See, its a big bugger.
See, it's a big bugger.
Whoo Hoo!! Haad Rin baby, yeah!
Whoo Hoo!! Haad Rin baby, yeah!
I promise our body paint was a bit…
I promise our body paint was a bi…
aaahhhh!
aaahhhh!
The view from the beach.
The view from the beach.
Long tail boats on the sea.
Long tail boats on the sea.
Picking the kids up from school.
Picking the kids up from school.
John deep in conversation.
John deep in conversation.
Some full moon buckets.
Some full moon buckets.
Look at them!...They are so small!
Look at them!...They are so small!
John to the rescue!
John to the rescue!
At the Amsterdam Bar, on Stone Hi…
At the Amsterdam Bar, on "Stone H…
Me, as we got off the ferry with t…
Me, as we got off the ferry with …
Koh Phangan
photo by: alanmica