Saturday, 25 May 2013

Koh Phangan, my love/hate relationship!

24th-30th May 2013

So on the evening of the 24th, I left Devyn in Bangkok to await the arrival of her sister Chandler, finally, and they would be joining me for the Full Moon Party tomorrow. As for me I had a lovely 2nd class A/C overnight train, bus and ferry combo. So my train departed Bangkok for Surat Thani in the south, at 7.30pm, we left around 8.30, but that's ok as it would mean less waiting around in the morning for the first bus! I met some really nice people, 2 guys from Canada one was a model in Bangkok, and a girl from New Zealand. It's a shame I only met one of them again at the FMP the next day but hey ho, 12hour train friends!

We arrived at Surat Thani the next day at around 8.30am, the first bus departed at 9 so that was pretty snazzy timing, said goodbye to my train friends as they were on different buses. I'd really hoped we'd make the first ferry, but hey ho, our bus driver was SLOW. So our bus made the 2hr (what should have been 1hr) journey to Donsak Pier where we arrived at around 11am and had another 2 hours til the next ferry at 1pm, so I ordered some food, got chatting to a group of Indian guys travelling (from Kolkata of all places - where my great grandfather was from), and a girl from America, Melissa, who was half Cambodian, half Chinese, which was super cool so we had a pretty interesting conversation about visiting her fathers village in Cambodia where he lived before the war etc.

We then boarded the ferry and it was 2 hours over to Koh Phangan. Me and Melissa joined forces with a group of Norwegians (2 girls, one guy) and a guy from Chile from my bus and grabbed a table in the seating area. This proved to be a very entertaining two hours as these guys were simply MAD! We also got bored along the way so out came my nail polishes and we created some crazy patterns on our nails in time for Full Moon Party tonight.

Upon arrival, we got bombarded with a couple dozen or so tuktuk drivers yelling at everyone and asking which side of the island each person is going to. Melissa and I parted ways and I was herded into a truck with an Indian couple who'd just got married, plus her father and brother. Everyone pays a flat 200baht. There is no haggling. Unfortunately for me, we were in one of the furthest away bays (1hr away) - Thong Nai Pan beach - so I had to pay 300 baht, which is super expensive for a taxi - you can get a boat to another Island for that!!

The ride over was particularly painful, as after Baan Tai and Thongsala, it's pretty much a dirt track so it was off-road tuk-tuking! Upon arrival though I was awarded with a super cute bungalow literally 2 steps from an absolutely STUNNING bay! We pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves for the 5 days. I decided to go for a swim, get some alcohol for tonight and then waited on Devyn and Chandler to arrive, which they did at 8pm. We then had food, and I had gotten talking to Nikki, a lovely Thai guy who also wanted to do the full moon party, so we went to charter a taxi for later. 200 baht each, 11pm, sold!

So we got ready for the full moon, grabbed our taxi into town and off we headed to Haad Rin, for what would be my 4th Full Moon Party, and Devyn and Chandler's first! First things first, upon arrival in Haad Rin, the girls got UV body-painted, I didn't feel the need this time - been there, done that a little too much! lol Then we headed to find Devyn a full moon top and off to the beach we went!

Devyn's blog: Entry fee was 100 baht which provided you a cool wristband. The 4 of us made our way down the beach, stopping at each bar along the way to take it all in. Booths lined the bar in between beach parties selling buckets of alcohol. Bars along the beach blasted music. Young, tan foreigners in neon colours dancing and mingling everywhere. Fire was everywhere too. Tiki torches, locals walking around holding fire lanterns and of course fire jump rope. The jump roping is not like when we were kids. Locals holding the rope, and they would let someone get a few jumps in before speeding it up so fast that it inevitably burned them. We saw a girl get her hair burned off. People acted like they were invincible.

And then we got to the know...the one I went down 3 times because I acted like I was invincible and then was left a cripple for 2 months? Yea, that one. It is coincidentally right next door to a clinic. People shoot off the water slide from the bar atop, hit a pile of sandbags and land on the sand which is about a 3 foot drop. When I got there, I literally started having heart palpitations and my hands were physically shaking! It just brought back all those horrible, painful memories of that night, and seeing people still doing it, even going down head-first and doing flips off it, it was just amazing to see how incredibly stupid drunk people can get (including myself!). Nikki decided he'd have a go and there was no convincing him otherwise, he also took part in the fire jump rope - this guy was crazy!! Though luckily he didn't hurt himself.

The rest of the night was pretty tame but tons of fun, we basically danced our hearts out at each bar, on tables, on the sand, on podiums. We danced and partied with about 30,000 foreigners until sunrise. When sunrise came, music still blasting, we took it all in. It was beautiful. Such an amazing site to see and to experience it with so many people from around the world who are just loving life. Even for the 4th time, it's still an incredible experience!

We then took a fun tuk tuk ride back to the hotel, where Devyn took full advantage of the hammock in the middle of it and lounged the entire journey, as you do. She almost fell out at one point! I concussed myself by falling asleep, just as we hit the dirt track! We then went to bed, until 3pm, I went to the beach and chilled with a Canadian writer I'd just met, she had accidently used my suncream and then we'd gotten talking and spent the next 2 hours together on the beach. She also handed me some prized directions to Koh Jum, a secluded hard-to-find island on the other side that I really want to go to.

The girls then resurfaced and we monged, hungover for the rest of the evening, watched a fireshow at the super cute bar next door and went to bed.
                                                                            ~ ~ ~

The next few days were just spent lazing around on our secluded beach, eating, drinking, sunbathing and using the free infinity pool up the way. A great way to start our island adventures!

We went out one more night in Haad Rin. We needed more people for the taxi so I ended up asking a Canadian guy, Brandon, who we'd just met at a restaurant that evening and he said he'd come along as his friends were trying to convince him into coming too. It turns out that him and his friends are British Royal Marines, based in Taunton (minutes from Bath) randomly, so we're talking super hot! So it ended up being a pretty good evening partying with 4 guys who had just returned from their 2nd tour in Afghanistan - some of the stories Brandon was telling me are crazy! Those guys have to deal with a hell of a lot. 3 of them are 'Tankies', so they are trained to take down tanks, and one was a 'Mortar' so at last resort, he fires rockets.

Basically just partied away with them. I was branded by 'Johnny Depp' at Johnny Depp bucket bar, which I was super excited about, we got some crazy strong 'Haaaappppyyyy Hourrrrr' buckets with a cute lady at SO SO bar, who also gave us free shots, free hugs and free kisses. At the end of the night the girls ended up going home with 2 of the marine dudes. I ended up getting a tuk tuk back to our beach with Brandon. But we first got a moto to Baan Thai, which was crazy at sunrise, then it took us a while to find anyone who would take us all the way to Thong Nai Pan beach for the 200baht we knew it was, instead of the 400 baht they wanted to charge us. Eventually we ended up hitching with a local back to the beach, as he was headed that way. So, a good time had again in Haad Rin - gonna miss that place!

The next day we spent at the beach, playing with the puppies in the bar next door to us, met up with Brandon during the day and in the evening. Brandon left the next day. Booked our tickets to Koh Tao, spent the day at the beach again. Headed to Koh Tao the morning of the 30th! And so ended my time with Koh Phangan, it had been an epic love story, and it was now coming to a final end. At least this time though, I have tied up loose ends, and left on good terms, a happy ending for both of us.


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