Venturing out into Thai Island Life


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Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan
January 1st 2006
Published: January 25th 2006
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We took a flight from the Adaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand to check out some of the islands on the eastern front. We heard that Koh Samui was similar to Phuket so instead of spending much time there we just used it as a stopover one night before heading out to Ko Pha Ngan the next morning. Up to this point our lodging has been great. It seemed the further you wander into island life the quality of the lodging seemed to dwindle off (more on the Koh Tao report). I would have to say that our lodging in Koh Samui was bad. Embarrassed to say I was the one that booked it. It was through the phone with a lady who barely spoke English....I was a tad skeptical, but was trying to be optmistic....too optimistic. They did have rooms for us, but not the ones we asked for and basically none of the rooms were good. Thank God we were there for only one night. The boys called it the Reptilarium because they saw a huge lizard crawl back into our headboard before I came in the room. They chose to conceal this information until the next morning
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This is near the Koh Samui dock. They are supposed to bring you good luck
afterwe left. If I knew there was a huge lizard that could easily crawl across my face in the middle of the night (maybe the boys were hoping this would happen???) I do not think I could have slept all night. Samui...did not see much and from what I have heard we did not miss too much. There were HUGE long sand beaches, and we were not even on the main beach. Those were beautiful. Walking along our beach it was resort after resort. If you are into that stuff, then Samui is your place. They were absolutely amazing...but we were looking for something more original. Early in the morning we left the Reptilarium and headed out to Ko Pha Ngan.

Approaching Ko Pha Ngan I was so excited. The weather was amazing, it looked awesome...yes!!! There are literally no real roads on Ko Pha Ngan. Everything is dirt. We got off the boat and headed to our next GREAT (sense the sarcasm) lodging, the Leela Bungalows. On the way there I literally felt like I was going to fall out. This time the truck that took us had a cover so I felt a little safer. Later when
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Leah and I wandering the beach
we headed into Haad Rin beach our truck had no cover and it was like "hold on for dear life." Remember how you are always told to never ride in the back of an open truck? You have no choice in Thailand. One time we were in town and the driver said he had to take us the the bungalow right before ours because the road to the Leela Bungalow was so bad....yes we are in a third world country. This is just to give you an idea of how undeveloped most of the island still is.

So the Leela Bungalow....we like to call this one the tree house (most of our lodgings took on nicknames). We literally lived in a shitty, run down 2 story bungalow buildinng that seemed like it was going to fall apart....kinda like a treehouse. Yet the atmosphere there was awesome. People were so chill and it seemed like the place that people just come and befriend the owners and stay there for weeks...we met some people that did exactly that. We even had to flush our own toilets!!! What an adventure. That afternoon we enjoyed a lazy day on the beach. We did
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Welcome to our treehouse!
not have the best luck with seeing spectacular sunsets because weather would roll in at that time. Our first night in Ko Pha Ngan was the sunset I will never forget. Leah and Jason got massages on the beach as the sun set. Me, Liz, and Jeff sat outside the treehouse with other backpackers, drinking tall Chang beers, and they had U2 "With or Without You" playing....it was absolute heaven. I could not have been happier.

Definitely will never forget that. Later that night we headed to Haad Rin, home of the infamous Full Moon Party. Once a month 10,000 people come to this beach and basically just get fucked up. It would have been absolutey perfect for New Years (take note to readers who head to Thailand around New Years...crazy beach party is on Ko Pha Ngan!!). It was 2 days after and there were still hundreds of people there. People were throwing fire. Each bar had their on genre of music. As you walked along you heard techno, house, hip hop, etc etc, and all the tables were lined up on the beach. It was awesome. Great place to meet some interesting people. The drink of choice
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Doesn't get much better!
is a bucket with ice, coke, vodka or sang som (illegal thai whiskey), and red bull. You put one or two fo those down yourself....woooooo you are feeling good! I would LOVE to come back for a Full Moon Party someday!

The next day the boys and I decided to go on a hike in the rainforest to a secluded beach. As we are beginning this hike Jeff starts out "So did you know that jungles and rainforests are actually the same thing, the only difference is that jungle has a negative connotation." Jason and I were like that's cool thinking nothing of it. We read about this hike in a local magazine printed out for tourists like us. It was called the "Green Dot Trail." It sounded like it was super easy. Well, it was definitely NOT. Now I am a pretty avid hiker. Yet, never have I hiked in a Thai forest. We were completely unprepared. We had no bug spray, not enough water, were sweating profusely, I was in a tank top and shorts, we were climbing over big tree roots and up washed out mud paths....not your easy hike. We get to a point and realize we will not be back before dark so instead of heading to the beach we headed back down to chill by the pool. This is where the fun begins. Half way down I feel a sting on my middle right finger. I push Jason to go because something kinda stung me. Before I can even finish my sentence you hear Jeff cursing and pushing us as fast as he can. We ran into a nest of some sort and they attacked Jeff. We finally made it down the shortened hike and went to a pharmacist to make sure Jeff was okay. The lady told us it was like a flying ant. What it really was we are not sure. We are both alive and healthy. At the end of the hike we decided that we went on a hike throug the Thai jungle, and NOT the Thai rainforest. After we went to a restaurant had the token banana shake and had a good laugh on the whole experience.

Koh Pha Ngan....a backpackers haven and a beautiful wonderful place. Definitely not my last time there! We managed to do a lot in the two days we were there!


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Haad RinHaad Rin
Haad Rin

Oh the buckets...
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Haad Rin

Oh the people we met....
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Haad Rin

Fire limbo. Jason is going to catch on fire!
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Ko Pha Ngan Jungle

So this is the one photo I took with my cool little camera stand. We could not stop any longer bc the mosquitos were so bad if we stopped they swarmed us!!


25th January 2006

Is that you with fisherman pants on?? How much do those things ROCK!!

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