Published: January 7th 2011January 4th 2011
We arrived at the ferry port on the 30th after our luxurious overnight bus journey from Bangkok and waited an hour for the ferry that would take us to Koh Phangan, which took a further 2 ½ hours before we arrived, but we then had to get a taxi for another 40 minutes as we were staying at the northern end of the island which didn’t have fully paved roads. To say the roads were bumpy is an understatement – although it was only 18km from the port the journey took so long because over half of the ‘roads’ are nothing more than mud tracks! We made it though and checked into a lovely hotel - kindly booked by Scott's mum & dad for xmas (Thanks guys!), right on the beach, where we would be for the next 5 days.
It was quite cloudy so we walked around the small town (Thong Nai Pan) which had some local shops, restaurants and other hotels, and along the beach before having some lunch. It cleared up a bit in the afternoon so we relaxed by the swimming pool and decided that we wanted to go into Haad Rin (HR, where the full
moon parties are held on the beach) that evening, as although it was the night before NYE we had heard they were doing something in the lead up to it every night. The problem was that taxis on the island are expensive anyway, as there isn’t another mode of public transport, and as we were 40 minutes away from HR and the road was bad it was hard to get a taxi there, plus for just 2 of us it would cost over £20 each way! But then Scott found some Australian guys who wanted to go so we could share a taxi then which made it a lot less and we agreed to meet later than night at 8pm to go.
We started to get ready and met our Aussie friends at 8pm where we got a taxi to HR expecting it to be quite busy in the build up to NYE but no where near as mad as it was. The beach was packed! There were so many people, maybe 20,000, and all the bars along the beach were busy playing different music, there were fire dancers and people doing body paint, so the atmosphere was really
good and everyone was in good spirits – probably thanks to the ‘buckets’ – literally spirits (usually vodka or whiskey) and mixers which are poured into a small plastic bucket to drink and are super strong – one of these was enough for us and we spent the rest of the night dancing away until about 2am, where we spent almost 2 hours trying to get a taxi back but as it was just the 2 of us (we had lost the Aussies) it was difficult as the drivers were trying to charge us the equivalent of £40! We eventually got one for much less but vowed that the next night we would have to stick with people from our resort to share the taxi home. The night was really good though and we now couldn’t wait to see what NYE would be like...
The next day it was cloudy again so as we both felt really tired from our late night and we wanted to be rested for that night, we had breakfast and went back to bed, before getting up for some lunch and going back to bed, so we pretty much slept all day but it
made us feel better by the evening! We then started getting ready for NYE, something we had both been looking forward to for ages. We met up with our Aussie friends to taxi share as well as some Aussie girls who were in the room next to us, and a few other people and got in the large taxis to go to Haad Rin. Unfortunately as it had poured with rain late that afternoon, the dirt roads, which were hilly, were just swamps and impossible for vehicles to get through – we all sat in our taxi for about 25 minutes, alongside lots of others, who just couldn’t get through this bit of road and we honestly thought we would have to turn back and that we wouldn’t make it to the party! Then we all got out thinking that it may be easier for the taxi to get up the hill without people in it, but then we heard only 4x4’s could make it up so we started to walk up the hill thinking that maybe we could get one on the other side, but the mud was awful and we were all slipping everywhere. By this point we
were all a bit stressed out as we so wanted to make it to Haad Rin but it didn’t look like we were going to, when a 4x4 truck that our group was near announced he was going to try and get through, so we all piled in the back and after a sticky start he made it and we were finally on our way to Haad Rin!
We arrived about 9pm and straight away we could see that it was even busier than the night before – it was just crazy with around 50,000 people and we were both so excited to be there. We had bought our own UV face paint with us so as it was raining again we dived into a small cafe with some drinks and started to paint each other which was fun, before going down to the beach when the rain had stopped.
We went to the UV lights dotted around the beach to see our paint glow and as Scott was drawing on Vic people started coming up to him thinking he was a professional and asked him to paint them too! We lost all our group straight away as
it was so packed but we had a great night, jumping from bar to bar and just soaking up the atmosphere, before scrambling up on a stage by a big countdown clock in time for midnight. The countdown started and everyone was shouting and then at midnight a load of fireworks were let of into the see, which were all different colours and incredible and lasted for about 5 minutes. During this whole time we were on this stage just jumping around and singing and it was the best time ever!
We then walked to a few other beach bars and danced some more, but then as we were walking along the beach Scott cut his foot on something (we weren’t sure if it was glass or a sharp rock in the sand) and when we went into the light it was bleeding a lot, so went to one of the many medi centres that were along the beach to get them to clean it up and put a plaster on it. Straight off Scott said we didn’t have money to pay fro treatment (as we had heard they rip tourists off here) and they said ok so they
washed it and Vic was watching and although it was a deep cut it looked worse than it was, so when they said it needed stitches that would cost £60 we both laughed and said no way! Poor Scott started to feel sick at this point, probably from seeing all the blood wash away, so Vic got him some water and when she came back they had said they wouldn’t stitch it but they could put antiseptic on it and a plaster for £8?! We said no but they ended up doing it anyway and we didn’t have to pay anything, but we later heard of a guy who had stitches thinking they were free and then was charged £200 and taken to a police station as he refused to pay it!
After leaving the clinic with Scott’s foot bandaged up, we walked no more than 50 metres before he tripped and cut open his big toe on the other foot! So once again we headed to a medi centre and found one on the beach that had been set up especially so it was free, and they cleaned the cut and bandaged it up so both of his
feet were in bandages which was quite amusing for Vic. Both times he cut his toes he had his flip flops on! But some parts of the beach are not as lit up so its hard to see what you are walking on, and I guess with thousands of people partying there is bound to be bottles etc thrown on the beach. Anyway we partied for a little while more before deciding at 4am to call it a night. Luckily we had booked a return taxi back to our resort with a load of other people during the day which would leave at 4am, so we didn’t have the problems we had the night before and made it back to the hotel around 5am, after the best NYE ever!
The next day we didn’t bother getting up for breakfast so slept until 12.30, went for lunch and as it was cloudy again we just went back to bed until 8pm where we went for some dinner along the beach, then went back to bed, a real lazy New Years Day but we needed the sleep!
Thankfully on the 2nd when we woke up it was sunny so
we headed to the pool and spent the day sunbathing and swimming which was great, before going out for dinner on the beach (with all the dogs - there are so many here!) and some drinks with our Aussie friends that evening, to a cool little bar along the main road
On the 3rd it was much of the same - sunbathing and swimming in the pool and the sea (the beach was so nice), as it was another beautiful day - before some dinner that evening and an early night as the next day we were to say goodbye to Koh Phangan, after a brilliant few days there, and say hello to the island of Koh Samui, about 15km away by boat...
We had a great new year and a really good few days here and would definately like to come back to this part of the island one day!
There are more photos below