As I sit here in the airport, writing this post about my time in Ko Phangan, I can’t help but feel a sense of longing. I am nowhere near going home to Vancouver yet, but already am missing the islands of Thailand. We just spent three days in Ko Phangan and it was absolutely amazing. I mean, apart from the painful and intense sunburn I received as a souvenir by sitting in the sun on the ferry from Koh Tao. Side note; don’t stay too long in the sun on the ferry (or at least wear a super high SPF). Thankfully, the ferry ride was only 2 hours as oppose to 3-5 hours, so we made it to the island from Koh Tao at a reasonable time. We got to our resort, put our stuff away, and immediately went to get a drink and some food at the resort restaurant.
It was super windy the day we got to the island, but the breeze was a nice welcome to the heat that the sun brought down. The ice cold beers were a nice pairing for the delicious Panang and fried rice that we had for a late lunch. After that, we decided to relax a little and soothe our sunburns with some aloe vera and air conditioning in our room before going out to explore our surroundings. The resort was secluded from the main road, which was nice, but was not too much of a walk to the bars and restaurants that were nearby. We got changed, sprayed on the Off bug spray, and ventured to find a bar for dinner and some drinks.
The bars that we saw were small, empty, with a pool table at the centre of each of them. They had Thai women sitting on the outside to entice people to come in, and as we walked by each one were unsure of which to choose, until we saw one that was playing a live soccer game all the way from England. We ended up hanging out there and watching the game before going back to the resort to bed.
The next day we decided to rent a scooter to take around the island and explore, which was so much fun (after I stopped panicking, that is). It was my first time on a scooter and even though everyone in Thailand so far had made it look so easy breezy, I was terrified for my life. I thought to myself, this is going to be so much fun! until I actually got on the road and realized there were other cars and trucks and scooters zipping by. I let my boyfriend drive and I sat terrified on the back, clutching him for dear life as we drove along the road going to another beach area. He had to stop three times so I could catch my breath, and after letting out a few tears because I thought we were going to die going around a particular bend that had a DANGER sign, I was able to set foot on a stunning beach and relax a little.
It was the beach that holds the full and half moon parties and although we were not there for the parties (and in my opinion had luckily arrived at a time that the parties were not happening) I couldn’t help but imagine how much fun it could be to see this beach at night with fire dancers and everyone enjoying themselves. The shops around the area all sold full moon party merchandise and the amount of neon was almost overwhelming, but nothing compared to the feeling of being in the waves with such beautiful surroundings. We had not seen any beach waves up until we got to that beach. It was not anything crazy, but enough make you feel like a kid again having a blast in the water jumping into the waves as they came for you. The water was warm yet refreshing, so clear you could see the bottom, and so turquoise it made it really feel like a paradise.
Being that I still had a pretty fresh sunburn, I wore one of my boyfriends t-shirts so I could keep the burn covered from the sun, so we decided to come back the next day to have breakfast and take photos. We hopped back on the scooter (or death trap on wheels as I liked to refer to it before I finally got used to it) and zipped back to the resort to jump in the pool and lie in the shade. We spent the night having drinks and playing pool at one of the local bars, called Chill Up (the names of the bars on the island just brought a smile to both our faces), then went back to our room to watch some Game of Thrones and fall asleep.
The next day we got up early and took the scooter back to the beach. We had breakfast at the hotel on the beach there which was all you can eat buffet style (and was amazingly good) and then decided to jump in the waves for a while. It was so fun to just act like kids again and when we decided we had enough of behaving like children, we took the scooter to the other side of the island to just drive around and grab a fresh fruit juice. I highly recommend drinking as much fresh fruit juice as you can if you are going to Thailand because there is nothing like it. There is no sugar needed and the fruit there is so tasty its almost unbelievable! Granted, I have not had any in Vietnam yet, but I can’t imagine anything topping those juices in Thailand.
Sadly, we had to return the scooter, so we decided to walk along the beach our resort was on and relax in the pool before dinner. I found the whole vibe of the island when there is no full moon festivities is just so calm and relaxing, yet still fun and exciting if that makes any sense. We had a blast just hanging out at our resort watching the sun set at dinner and just really enjoying each others company. Seeing as we had to be up at the crack of dawn to catch our ferry back to the mainland, it was the perfect end to our trip to the two islands of Koh Tao and Ko Phangan.
If it wasn’t for the intense sunburn, we would have tried to go on a hike or maybe do more on the island that involved being out and about, but the sun was, unfortunately too much for us at that point. We didn’t want to risk getting a worse burn than we already had, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to scooter around the island, even if it was for a shorter time than intended and sacrificing seeing much more than we did. I wish we didn’t have to leave because there is still so much I wanted to see and do, but alas, I can’t deny how excited I am to be in Vietnam eating the amazing food, exploring the cities, and hanging out with our friends!
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