The ferry to Koh Phangun is filled with twenty-something farangs all looking like they are ramping up to go to a rave on the beach. Jacked-up dudes with tattoos and skinny girls with sun-bleached hair take up every available seat and the hot air inside is filled with the scent of sunscreen and sweat.
What the heck is going on?
And then we find out: there's going to be a full moon in a couple of days. We had no idea but now we are inadvertently on our way to the most famous Full Moon Party in Thailand. In fact, Full Moon Parties were invented on Koh Phangun, started by a bunch of tourists in 1985. Since then it's grown so large that tens of thousands of young partiers flock to the islands, dancing to electronic music all night, getting high on E and passing out on the beach.
Totally not our scene. I felt like the oldest person on the boat.
Neda catching some rays at the pool with a view
Even though we're staying at a small resort several orders of magnitude less nicer than the Renaissance in Koh Samui, it felt more homier sharing a bungalow with Mel and Anton and hanging out in the living room watching movies, yelling at the MotoGP race and planning out how we are going to fill our days.
Mel asked if we had watched "The Beach" which is set in Koh Phangun. I hadn't, so I put it down on my To-Watch list.
If we followed the Smaller-and-Smaller theme, we would be renting mopeds, but 125ccs is the lowest we're willing to go
Our resort is not near any of the towns so once again, we've rented scooters and we're going to explore the smaller island of Koh Phangun.
We're staying at the top of a hill and this is the view every time we leave it. Marvelous!
If I had eyes in the back of my head, this is what I'd see
Koh Phangun is a lot less developed than Koh Samui. There are fewer cities, the towns are smaller, less hotels, less bars and restaurants and less activities. About the only thing it's known for are the Full Moon parties every 29 days. But in between it's a sleepy island. We just happened to be here as the party is ramping up, so we see lots of farangs on scooters shuttling around the island.
If it wasn't for that, I think I'd prefer Koh Phangun over Koh Samui. A bit more slower paced and relaxed. Just like us...
Some stalls in one of the tiny towns on Koh Phangun
Our primary goal on Koh Phangun is to find the best beach on the island. And then lie on it and watch time pass. It's a rough life, but someone has to live it! :)
Taking a break from the hot sun before braving the beach
Trudging through the village to our destination. Hard work!
This one looks good
Feeling the sand beneath our toes
Another guy living the hard life.
Crystal clear waters and white sands. Not bad.
We hopped from beach to beach by scooter before we found one we liked. Some of them were too noisy - fishing boats and ferries pollute the air with noise and the waters with refuse, but we finally found one that we could spread out a blanket and then we set our timers so we knew when to turn over like turkeys basting in the oven. We're really enjoying ourselves in Koh Phangun!
Our neighbours for the next couple of hours
We alternate between baking on the sand and then cooling off in the refreshing waters
Junk boat trawling the waters of the island
Junk boats originated from China but are found all over SE Asia. You can charter these traditional junk boats to take you all around the islands and the marine parks.
Speaking of which, there are a lot of Thai words that I recognize from Chinese. More than half of the numbers are derived from Cantonese. Anton also pointed out some words that he recognized from Tamil, so between the two of us, we really don't understand any Thai at all...
We've gone into a lot more stores with Anton and Mel, and we've picked up more slang. A popular phrase is "same same", when a Thai person is trying to tell you something is similar.
However, we've realized when a Thai salesperson tries to convince you that something is "same same", often it is not similar at all.
I'm going to try to sell this picture to some postcard companies in Hawaii, Jamaica and Fiji. Same same.
Havin' a swingin' ole time!
Koh Phangun is actually Thai for "Farangs on Scooters". They (we?) are everywhere!
Okay, so I downloaded that movie, "The Beach" and we all watched it.
Holy hell, that's not the kind of movie you want to see while you're actually on the islands. Like watching an airplane disaster movie as your in-flight entertainment!
Hanging out with fellow travelers, John and Jen from BC
John and I have been e-mailing through the blog for a while and it just so happened that we were all on the islands at the same time. So we met at the bar right beside our resort, where we grabbed a couple of drinks while watching the spectacular sunset. Not a bad way to spend the evening!
Everything is so chill
Billy Corgan spinning the beatz. Absolutely Smashing!
Just before the sun sets, everyone tries to capture the moment
Loving the stacked layers of colours when the sun starts to disappear
We really like hanging out with Anton and Mel. They've got a very chill and unhurried approach to traveling, which means they book lots of one-way tickets and have plenty of flexibility to stay, roam or go. This fits in so well with our style of travel. We literally do not know what we are going to do tomorrow and I think that that's awesome!!!
Fishing boats out in the Golden Hour
It's not all smiles and giggles here on the islands.
We've been wrapped up inside our riding suits while in Thailand for months now and this is our first time out in our bathing suits. Neda got a nasty sunburn *EVERYWHERE*! If you are not easily offended by a bit of skin, here's a small peek:
The Full Moon is coming and I'm reminded of the movie we just saw. Time to leave Koh Phangun...