Week 48 - Ko Pha-ngan & Ko Tao

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October 9th 2011
Published: October 9th 2011
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Long Beach in Ko Phangan
Week 48 – Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao

After arriving on the last ferry and a bumpy tuk tuk ride later we had arrived at the Sandy Bay Resort, our new home for the next five nights. Due to arriving late at night I for one was just about ready to keel over after the 26 hour journey from hell as I was trying to stop the effects of food poisoning coming out of both ends for most of the journey! Cerri was trying to suss out the place as in the pitch black it was difficult to see what and where we were staying as well as our surroundings. We hit the sack in our luxury hut and morning was soon upon us. With a well needed rest underneath our belts we set about exploring the resort and local area. The Resort itself was situated on the stunning Haad Yao beach, which literally translates in Long Beach; the beach with its calm turquoise water ran all the way down the bay with a few resorts from scabby to really sheak. The bay and hotels were all surrounded by swaying coconut trees and brooding mountains in the background, our hut

The pool area with our hut in the background
was a stones throw from the beach, we were in paradise. After familiarising ourselves with our resort and area we headed to the restaurant area and had a spot of breakfast, omelette for Cerri and for me, since I was still feeling rather queasy dry toast and few cups of ginger tea. Bellies full we set up camp around the gorgeous pool that overlooked over the beach and spent most of the day there, reading our books and topping up the tans. I only lasted a couple of hours before a combination of a food poisoning and 40 degree heat became to much for me, so I returned to the bed I'd call home for the next few days, whilst Cerri ordered numerous beers and splashed around in the pool to cool off followed by a bit of a snorkel in the sea. I did manage to muster up enough energy to make it down to the beach and have a quick dip in the sea just in time to watch the sunset over the oceans horizon in the distance, which was worth it to say the least. Later that night two of the Welshies, Jennie and Laurie arrived on

Long Beach at Sunset
the island of Ko Pha-ngan and joined us down at the Sandy Bay resort, by which time I had taken refuse in the toilet where I would spend the majority of the fore coming night! This gave the girls a great opportunity to catch up and have a good old girlie gossip.

Over the next few days, I spent the majority of my time either in bed, in the shade or attached to the toilet, so it’s all a bit of a blur for me so I'll hand you over to Cerri to what happened next....

The next morning we all headed down to breakfast even Ben made it and had his usual of dry toast and ginger tea whereas I decided with the Full Moon Party later that evening to start lining my stomach so I went the whole hog and had a full three course breakfast which was topped off by a fry up Thailand style of course! As Ben then headed back to bed, me and the girls found a spot on the sun beds surrounding the pool and then baked for the majority of the day, which was broken up by browsing on the

Burning party sign
internet, re-applying sun tan lotion and a walk along the beach to the local shop. Later that afternoon talk of the full moon party began and we started making up the rules of the evening, the do’s and don’ts. When your on the Island you hear all these different rumours and horror stories and we nearly caved and didn’t end up going due to having to leave a poorly Ben behind (I think he enjoyed the peace and quiet!) plus due to the amount of electricity and voltage currents the full moon party needs for music, speakers, lights etc the rest of the Island has a black out for most of the evening with the lights coming on and off in spits and spurts. . . . as you can imagine three girls trying to get ready with the only light source being their mobile phones proved rather tricky! Anyways after getting showered, changed and having wonky make up we were ready to have some dinner and then head over to the other side of the Island to Haad Rin where Full Moon Mania was happening. The resort had organised a bus and after applying some body glow paint the

On the party bus to Full Moon Mania!
three Welsh girls were ready to party, the bus journey over was definitely an eye opener and a taster to what was lying ahead of us, the music was blaring so loud in the bus that we couldn’t actually hear each other when we spoke. On the way we did pass what looked like an English country pub; we weren’t sure if the beers we had earlier were starting to play tricks on us as somehow an English Tavern in the middle of a jungle and coconut trees just didn’t look right! As the bus pulled into Haad Rin we were immersed in the party atmosphere and you couldn’t bat an eye without seeing a bucket of booze or body painted bodies. After a quick stroll to get some cash out and a toilet stop we headed into the infamous beach party after paying to get in (another rumour we had heard that we weren’t sure that was true or not . . . . just so everyone knows it is true you have to pay to get in to party unless you try sneaking in, which I wouldn’t recommend as there are police everywhere looking to make a cheeky

Bucket number 3!
buck or two off an arrest!) once in we bought our first bucket, then a second and then a third, each bucket seemed to get stronger and each bucket made us dance more! On the purchase of our fourth bucket we managed to sneak another bottle of thai whiskey and a bottle of vodka into our bucket without the seller realising so that was our fifth and sixth bucket sorted, you got to watch out for us Welshies! We watched some rather brave/drunk people jump the burning fire skipping rope and also fall down the 10 foot man made slide which resulted in a long line of people queuing outside the emergency/medical room! We danced the night away, bumping and chatting to lots of people and lady boys and watched many many drunk and disorderly people getting into all kinds of messes, shapes and scrapes. After being offered a mushroom shake which I kindly declined to the dismay of the man offering it to me, I knew it was time to stop drinking; you know you’ve hit your limit when you think paying £8.00 to go down the 10 foot slide is a good idea! We randomly bumped into some

I didn't have enough straws obviously!
friends Jennie and Laurie had made during their travels and spent the rest of the night dancing and chatting to them . . . . Jennie on the other hand who had missed her cue to stop drinking was starting to turn into one of the very drunk people so me and Laurie at 4am had decided to was time to venture home. Our ride home was as eventful as the party, as an extremely drunk guy literally jumped into our tuk tuk van as we were pulling off, Jennie at this point thought it would be a great idea to sit on the step that you use to get into the van so me and Laurie spent the journey home holding onto Jennie for dear life, whilst the drunk man got a lot of abuse and even a slap from our fellow passengers. We all fell into bed at about 5am and poor Ben who hadn’t moved from the same position I left him in was still feeling sick!

The next morning I woke up as there was a knock at the door, as I got up I realised that my jelly legs and fuzzy head were a

Beautiful . . .
result of last nights shenanigan’s. As I opened the door I was pleasantly surprised to see Shenaide another one of the Welshies, she had just arrived off the ferry and with a quick change of clothes we all headed down to breakfast where we all started discussing last nights going’s on. After lots of laughter at breakfast and a very dishevelled looking Jennie we got our spaces around the pool and tried to sweat the alcohol out of us whilst Shenaide filled us in on her journey over. With our heads nearly back to normal well mine and Laurie’s anyway as poor Jennie had to go back to bed as she was feeling as sick as Ben, we strolled down the beach and showed Shenaide around the area. It was a beautiful day and the sun was scorching, we picked up a few essentials at the shop and after a quick dip in the sea we headed back to the resort for lunch. At around 5pm that evening Jennie had made it out of bed and joined us in the pool. She looked rather green and after about half an hour in the pool so did her hair!!! The chlorine

Tea time with the Welsh gang
had turned her highlights green, we all had a good giggle and poor Jennie wasn’t as impressed as she had had a rubbish day, she had a killer hangover and now had green hair! That night we had dinner down on the beach where we watched the staff from the resort do some fire dancing and let of some fireworks, after one beer each we were all ready for bed, an early night was needed as we were all still in recovery.

Ben was starting to feel slightly better the next day so we decided to have a beach day; with the sun shining and the sea looking a gorgeous turquoise we headed down to the bay, to lounge on the golden sands. After soaking up the sun and a bit of snorkelling we headed back to the pool to cool off as the sea water was as warm as a bath. The Welshies were heading off to Ko Tao that afternoon so we all had lunch together and said our goodbyes, we would be catching up with them the next day as our next stop was Ko Tao. After the girls had gone me and Ben fell asleep

It's a magic sunset!
by the pool and had a very lazy afternoon. We knew we were going to see another spectacular sunset so whilst Ben went to visit the bathroom again I decided to have a traditional Thai massage – I had spotted a few places along the beach a few days earlier and was intrigued by the contorting and pounding techniques that the masseurs use. For £4.00 and 45 minutes my muscles were poked, prodded and my body put into all different shapes (my old gymnastics days came in handy!) whilst looking over the beach and ocean, I couldn’t imagine being any where else in the world it truly was paradise! After the massage I met Ben down on the beach and we watched the sunset whilst taking some funny photos and observed the locals bringing in their catches of the day on their long tail boats.

The following morning we set sail from Ko Pha-ngan and headed just a few hours north to the Island of Ko Tao, still not feeling a hundred percent I wasn't looking forward to be crammed onto an overcrowded, rickety and rusty marine vessel! Arriving safe and sound (and slightly green) at Mae Hat on

Cool palm tree on Sairee Beach
Ko Tao, we did the usual barter with the taxi's to get us to the side of the island Hat Sai Ri where we were to meet up with the Welshies once again. The little island of Ko Tao perches on a ledge of coral reefs like a sunbathing turtle (Tao meaning turtle) earning its worldwide fame as a diving and snorkelling mecca. Once we were out of the taxi and when I say taxi I mean the back of a truck with yours and everyone else’s luggage piled on top of you we searched for a little place to stay. We dropped our bags off with the girls and strolled along the beach looking for a cheap and nice hideaway. We found some accommodation in the form of a little wooden hut on stilts ten metres away from the beach for a couple of quid a night and with the help from the girls we struggled through the sand of Sairee Beach carrying our oversized and very overweight backpacks. We off loaded the bags and headed to a little beach bar for some lunch with Shenaide, Jennie, Laurie and a couple of guys they'd met on their travels called

The drag queens in action!
Rich and Alex. Everybody was sipping their ice cold Chang Lagers in the sun whilst I only managed a lemonade (anybody who knows me, will know I’ll never turn down a beer - so I must have been unwell!) From the beach bar we went on to the touristy places to try and book ourselves on to a snorkelling trip for the following day, with this completed we all headed back to our huts to have a shower before getting ready to experience some of Ko Tao's nightlife. The nightlife turned out to be a comedy Lady Boy show! Where we spent the evening watching some unconvincing and some very convincing Drag Queens belt out some of Tina Turner’s classic hits, we all left rather confused as to who was what! We ventured into a couple more bars before having a spot of dinner and then finished the night in a bar in the back streets where they made some yummy cocktails.

An early start the next morning, as we were heading out for the day on a snorkelling trip. We all met up outside where the Welshies were staying and hopped onto the back of a truck to

Scuba friends!
take us round to the harbour. Once at the harbour we boarded our sea vessel for the day, unfortunately the weather wasn't the clear blue sky we'd seen the previous few days, but we didn't let that dampen our spirits as we were going to get wet anyway! As we arrived at our first port of call the rain started to fall and we all got rather chilly so we found it rather lovely jumping into the luke warm ocean. The lovely feeling soon changed after we found out what our first snorkelling stop was called Shark Island/Bay, luckily we didn't managed to spot any of Jaws' friend here! We spent a good hour viewing the underwater marine live before moving onto a further two snorkelling hot spots notably one called Mango Bay and the other White Rock where we saw an abundance of coral formations. After our snorkelling session we were in need of some grub, so the boat crew rustled up some chicken and chilli stir fry to keep the tummy rumbles at bay. Lunch over we then made our way to a small private island a couple hundred metres off Ko Tao called Ko Nangyuan, I say

Ko Nangyuan
Island but its more a collection of three small islands all linked by golden sandbanks making their way through the clear turquoise water. As we stepped off the boat the sun began to shine so we relaxed on the beach, cooled off in the water, Cerri and Laurie did a bit more exploring of the coral and ocean life by snorkelling around the entire island and the rest of us played a bit of bat and ball, which myself and Shenaide held the record for the longest rally! With the day coming to an end the boat took us back to mainland Ko Tao where we all decided to meet up for dinner again. We started off the evening chilling on a boat bar with beers at Sairee beach which a British Guy ran, we then watched a drunk English girl fall off the boat; after a few giggles we headed back to dry land and grabbed a spot of dinner. Ending the night watching another fire show at one of the beach bars during cocktail happy hour, whilst lying on some fun bean bags . . . although after a few beers and cocktails they proved difficult to get

Cocktail time at Sairee Beach
out of!

Our final day on Ko Tao was spent buying our ferry tickets to our next destination, exploring along Sairee Beach and its surroundings. We decided to have a final top up the tan session by sunbathing on the beach, with the heat starting to become unbearable we took shelter at another beach bar, lying on the cushions and sipped on lots of different smoothies whilst reading our books. We headed back to our hut to refresh and repack the back packs and followed by a bit of Cerri's favourite past time... Shopping!
That evening we said a tearful goodbye to Laurie who was heading to Ko Phi Phi and then onto Bangkok before heading back to the UK. The rest of us then headed for dinner along with a few Chang beers and called it a night as the next day we were on the ferry off to Ko Samui. . . .

Additional photos below
Photos: 80, Displayed: 33



Fire dancers!

This is what happens when you've had too many buckets!

Making friends with the locals

Jenny had a bit of an accident

The sign says it all!

Full Moon Party!

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