I took this off the back of the long tail boat as I left the island.
I've found a pretty special beach here (Koh Huan) and highly recommend you spend some time here, particularly if you're on a budget and want somewhere to chill and have peace.
From Bangkok: night train to Than Surat, ferry to Koh Samui, taxi to Big Buddha beach, 30-minute ferry to Haad Rin, walk to the other side of the town to Sunrise beach, hire a water taxi for 300 baht (for the whole boat, regardless of number of people) for a 10 minute ride to Koh Huan.
SUNRISE/SUNSET BEACHES / HAAD RIN
This is where the popular (or in my case, dreaded) Full Moon Party takes place. 10,000+ partiers flow across the country and into this drain for the monthly party. The town is more or less empty during all other times, and dozens of hostels are completely closed except during these parties. The town itself is much nicer than Chaweng, but I still opted to continue on to Haad Huan.
OCEAN ROCK RESORT (firstname.lastname@example.org oceanrockresort.blogspot.com)
I paid 250 baht here (7 dollars) for a little bungalow of my own. It was clean enough, but they didn't pay much attention to detail, such as a light
Ocean Rock Bungalow
I only stayed here one night. The owner is extremely friendly and helpful, and the place was cheap (250 baht), but I couldn't handle walking on the creaky boardwalk that felt like it could collapse at any moment.
bulb and toilet paper in the bathroom, both of which I had to seek out. The man who runs the place is very helpful in organizing tours and giving general information about the beach and island. The food is impressive and the view of the beach is spectacular. The only reason I changed is because of the rickety wood walkways leading to the hostel. I'm sure they're sturdy enough, but it was stressful every time I had to walk to my room and look through the gaps to the rocks 20 feet below.
So, I changed to Barcelona. I paid 500 here for a better room and sturdier bed. Three Canadian girls I met paid the same price as me for their whole group, so I guess the price is for the room, not per person. It was fine, but no better than Ocean Rock, and less friendly / hospitable.
This resort shows popular films nightly in their restaurant. The food is phenomenal -- some of the best I've had in Thailand. The rooms are pretty cheap as well.
DAY TRIP TO ANG THONG NATIONAL PARK THROUGH ORION TOURS
Koh Phangan is a bit farther away from the park than Koh Samui, you should take the tour from here. You have to get to Sunrise beach or somewhere near Thong Sala, but Orion tours will pick you up and transport you to their boat, which is a campy pirate-looking vessel. The trip to Ang Thong took almost an hour, but the last 15 minutes is filled with breathtaking views of tiny islands that rise a hundred feet out of the ocean.
Our first stop was a crowded snorkeling area. The fish were minimal, but the underwater plantlife was really interesting. Overall, it was average.
The food they had for us on board was pretty good.
There is an option to kayak along the cliffs, which was pretty nice, and then to hike up to a lagoon.
I hope to add more specifics later.
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