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Published: August 28th 2009
Ko Pha Ngan
Panoramic of the beach
After a busy few months travelling and being on the go constantly we left Vietnam and spent a time on a few of the Islands in southern Thailand. Having visited the previous year we knew what to expect and we were very much looking forward to relaxing and soaking up some sun. First we went to Koh Samui and Ko Pha Ngan in the gulf of Thailand with Rob & Lorraine and then on own we moved over to the Andaman coast where we spent a further ten nights in Krabi and Phuket. This was our holiday from our holiday.
We picked Rob & Lorraine up at the airport in Bangkok and from there it was back to our old reliable Shanti Lodge for accommodation. We were all buzzing with the excitement of seeing each other again after so long and hit the Ko San Road so catch up on news, and start the night with a few, which turned into many drinks. Well, the two nights that we were in Bangkok turned into a bit of a blur and before we knew it was time to hop on a plane and fly down to Koh Samui.
Ko Pha Ngan
View of the beach at sunset from lookout point
We followed a similar pattern as last year and headed to the quieter beaches of north Koh Samui for a few nights first before catching a boat down to Ko Pha Ngan. We stayed at the same place in Mae Nam beach which had a lovely comfort to it, not a single thing had changed. We enjoyed days of sunbathing and swimming in the sea and at night enjoyed the fresh catch of the day which included shark, barracuda and red snapper with some lovely cocktails to wash it all down.
Ko Pha Ngan is a very different island to Koh Samui and again we went for the quieter beaches which still had a little action but were much more chilled out, the party beaches of Haad rin and the full moon party wasn’t for us. We made our way to Ao Thong Nai Pan Yai and back to Dolphin resort where we stayed for six nights. This little gem of a place was unchanged from last year and was still as relaxed and chilled as it was only 12 months previously. We spent our time enjoying the sun, swimming in the sea and kayaking to other
beaches. One night we wandered to a local bar behind the beach (which was just somebody’s front garden and converted sitting room) when we were caught in a huge thunder storm. The electricity went so we drank for the night by candle light while the tropical rain battered down outside, turning the road into a small river. We were also joined one evening by a local bat who decided to hang outside our hut until we arrived back from our few evening drinks. The local wildlife is so different from anything you would have at home.
A local fisherman took us to bottle beach (or Haad Khuat) which is a little further around the island on the north east side of Ko Pha Ngan. This beach is only accessible by boat and to get ashore we had to get off the long tail boat in the water and our backpacks handed to us and wade ashore. We spent three nights here in this secluded paradise with just a handful of people dotted in the three sets of bungalows along the 500m stretch of beach. This was escapism in its finest form. We did nothing here, only happen across
a few very interesting insects and birds, swim some great waves and at night, watched the phosphorus sparkle in the water as we took a night time swim. Talk about getting away from it all.
Soon though it was time to go back to Koh Samui and to say goodbye to Rob & Lorraine or so we thought, turns out Rob mixed up his days and they were a night ahead of themselves. What a bonus! So we checked in to a resort which had a few bungalows to spare (luckily) and enjoyed an extra night in the busy resort town of Chaweng. The following day though we really did have to say goodbye and after lots of hugs we saw them off to the airport and we made preparations to move over to the Andaman coast.
Once on the west side of the Thai peninsula we stayed in Ao Nang beach for a two nights before getting a long tail boat to Railay beach. We spent four nights here and unfortunately it was Monsoon season so we only had one really good day with the weather and we made the most of it exploring as much
Ko Pha Ngan
Boats at sunset
as we could. Railay is very low lying and we often had to walk through mangroves on board walks which was different for us and a nice respite from the heat. But on the dull and wet days we still got out of our bungalow and spent time by the pool in the resort we were staying in.
Finally we went over to Phuket for a couple of nights and stayed in Shanti lodge (sister guesthouse to the one in Bangkok) Here the lodge was very self-contained and we relaxed by the pool and treated ourselves to a couples massage. Again the weather wasn’t great but instead of doing nothing we rented a motorbike to see some of the island, nothing like being on a motorbike driving through relentless rain. Anyway, that was the end of our Thai adventures and we were moving on. Next up- Malaysia!
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