A 24 hour coach journey overnight down the coast of Western Thailand and we arrive at at rather ropey looking ferry port with a cafe selling only noodles and bean soup at 5AM, not exactly a welcome sight. However once on the ferry for the 2 hour journey to the island of Koh Phangan the beauty of the ocean and rock formations began to make up for that, (along with our "VIP" seats which reclined).
We arrived onto the island on April 13th... the first day on Songkran. We had been warned about Thailand's infamous water festival which marks the Thai new year, but nothing could quite prepare us for the chaos. What I had previously experienced as a quiet and rather reserved population in the north of the country, had gone insane. The taxi journey to our hotel, a journey of around 30 minutes, was a gauntlet of trying to avoid everything from water and beer to paint being hurled from all angles. Thankfully we arrived around an hour before it really began. But once we had changed into swimming gear and locked our suitcases safely in our rooms at the hotel, we set out into town with 4
barrels of water, 2 pickups and an armoury of everything and anything which could hold and through water. Tens of thousands of people, locals and tourists lined the streets by this point. Those trying to avoid the deluge were driving and riding their bikes in snorkels and helmets... it didn't help. Once we reached the town centre we dismounted and went to join the crowds in the bars and restuarants on the streets. Every business and home had a hose leading to the street for anyone to use as a refil, Unforturnately only those with water proof cameras could document the mayhem. At one point a fire engine which appeared to have been hyjacked sped down the main street, canon on full, manned by around 20 kids between the ages of 8 and 20. Amazing day.
We later went out to celebrate new year in classic Koh Phangan style; party on the beach with fire shows and stunts and all drinks in "bucket" form.
Yesterday we went on an island tour of some of the smaller islands around Koh Phangan. Snorkeling at a small reef, kyaking through water caves and a walk up to see the nature reserve
and lagoon on another island. Certainly the hottest day so far, with temperatures exceeding 40 from about 9AM onwards and only made bareable by the water... although that was warmer than most baths too.
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