Koh Phangan: Testimonials From An LBW Traveller
After a short 2 hour boat ride we were at Koh Phangan. We were greeted from one of the cab drivers Ekky where we took 2 cabs to The Pier. Ekky has been driving LWB for the past 10 years and he is truly amazing. Our bungalows were pretty cool little huts near the beach. Luc and I stayed in a little yellow one was next to the restaurant which was convenient. By now we’ve seen plenty of beach dogs but this place had about 4 or 5. The owner stayed in the bungalow next to us so we sometimes would have a dog sleeping on our porch. Other times the dogs would be passed out near the restaurant. The dogs here were definitely fed and treated like kings and queens. We all got settled in our rooms and changed.
Eight of us stayed to play some volleyball before heading to Lime and Soda pool/bar. Ironically the first 2 games ended with a score of 18-21 (first to 21). It was down to one more game to break the tie. Halfway through the final game the black dog came over. Immediately Luukas made the obvious rule that anyone who hits the dog loses. She walked around a little before plopping down in front of me. Her new nickname became InstaLose. It was 17-20, game point, and the other team was determined. The ball was bumped my direction and I quickly see the dog. I could either chance going for the ball and stepping on her or just InstaLose. I’m a dog person so we straight up lost. Touché puppy, touché.
Only a short 3 minute walk along the beach and there was Lime and Soda. They have delicious Pad See Ew and killer Mai Tai’s. One of the workers there is a comic. His name is Mai and he definitely knows how to mix a sales pitch with a little stand up comedy. His go-to beverage to sell is Mai Tai’s. During happy hour, cocktails are only 100 baht. He’ll go around and ask if you want another drink if you’re almost done with yours. He’ll start with saying “only 100 baht. One for you none for me”; I think his slight chuckle and smile are what get people to say yes. Plus for that cheap why not. Once you order he also jokes and asks if you want the chilli pepper with it or not. He’ll point at his name tag and say Mai Tai if you ask for a drink recommendation. With the ocean being warm and it was pretty hot out, the pool was what we all needed. It was cool and soothing. Time to take a break from drinking and relax.
One of the best and cheapest places to get foods are at the local night markets. Vendors offered a wide variety of fried chicken, sticky rice, meat skewers, etc. I got sticky rice, chicken satay, and a sketchy crab meat skewer. It turned out to be imitation crab but it looked like shrimp... Weird but luckily I didn’t get sick from it. Luc and Brenden got the sketchy sushi that was sitting out in the warm heat. They later regretted that decision that night. I fell as though every destination we go to there are always spots to do some shopping. The items for sale are usually similar but each place seems to have a few things that I haven’t seen at the previous town. These Thai ladies put up a strong poker face as you try to bargain. Some you have to walk away because they do not budge from their asking price at all. I joking tried to go down 10 baht and was quickly shot down.
I missed out on the pool party that was pretty fun. Everyone who went said they had a blast. The slide seemed to be the highlight of the party. I had to stay back to take care of work related tasks back at home. It can get difficult when there is a 14 hour difference. There are only a couple windows early in the morning and late at night.
There are various religions celebrated in Thailand. We went to a Chinese temple where we got to know a little bit more about their culture. They have a tube of sticks that you hold with both hands at a 45 degree angle. You lightly shake it back and forth until a stick falls out. Each stick has a number on them. Once you looked at your number you put the stick back for the next person. There’s a board with every number and the reading that is linked to it. Mine was true but not good. There’s life events happening right now back home that almost made me cancel my trip. I’m not trying to make this blog any bit depressing so we will leave it at that.
At Koh Ma some people got massages on the beach. There was an option for an aloe massage for those that were sunburnt. We enjoyed lunch and chilled at the beach before moving on to the next… Malibu Beach definitely earned its name. The sand was fine and white with gorgeous views. We headed into the clear waters and figured we’d go out farther toward the deeper side. There were dark patches in the water where it was rocky. Kit and I started to just float over it to avoid cutting our feet. Every day someone in our group somehow cut their foot if not got slightly injured. Morgan, Kennedy and the other girls were talking about their trip in Bali before here. There was a sea urchin that was hiding next to a rock and one of the girls almost stepped on it. Right as they were saying that Mikala screamed that she just stepped on one. We started to walk back and a guy near us happened to step on one as well. Lesson learned don’t step where you can’t see here.
My favorite part in Koh Phangan was the jungle party. There were a bunch of black lights everywhere. If you didn’t have neon body paint, there were about 10 booths with artists for cheap. Once you were in it was a bit confusing to get drinks. You had to go to the coupon stand and take those tickets to the alcohol booths. I later found cash bars with beers and waters. The jungle party was a big mosh pit/dance floor with people dressed up on stage. I’m a fan of raves and so this felt like home. Be aware though, it will cost you 10 baht every time you have to go to the washroom.
I’m not sure if it’s a Canadian saying but the motto for our group has been “full send”. I’m all about that and it suits my life right now. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow so live life to the fullest. I wanted to get that translated in Thai and add that to my sleeve. To my surprise 8 out of the 15 of us wanted matching “full send” tattoos. We were going to wait until the end of the tour because we wouldn’t be able to go in the water or even play with the elephants. The Brits ended up getting traditional bamboo tattoos. Best friends Monica and Diana also got tattoos the next day. To our surprise they came back and one of the guys had his bipolar pierced as well. Our group definitely was outgoing and unpredictable.
The biggest party in Koh Phangan is their full moon party. There can be 5,000-20,000 there apparently. The group went back to where the party would be and went shopping. Crazy neon and tie dye clothes and accessories were everywhere. I stuck with white shorts that had neon paint splatter and a neon yellow tank top that read full moon party in bright red. My outfit definitely glowed under neon lights. We all met up dressed to impress before pregaming at the local bar. 200 baht for unlimited drink. Understandably it wasn’t as fast for drinks right away. In the meantime we all took turns using the body paints on each other. The full moon party was way bigger than I thought it would be. I was expecting 5,000-20,000 people partying on one area of the beach. It seemed like half the city was filled with bars and crowds all down the beach. There was a water slide, fire jump rope, etc. At the first bar/club we stopped at had a small stage on the water. Kaitlyn, Natalie, Kennedy, and myself made our way up. We were dancing and having the time of our lives. The rest of the group was partying on the rooftop. After a bit there were guys that I think worked at that bar/club started splashing the water at all of us on the stage. They may have thought it was fun and funny but after a while the mixture of salt water and some sand made our eyes burn. The girl left but I wanted to wait it out until 2am when we would be working our way to the next spot. Taxis were there that came every hour. If we wanted to head back early we just had to let one of the guides know and they would give us our passes and make sure we made it back. My memory is a little fuzzy but only about 5 people ended up taking taxis back. Ideally we were all trying to stay up until we saw the sunrise. The view was unbelievable. By 6am we headed back and hibernated for about 8 hours.
The final day in Koh Phangan was all about relaxing and recovering from the Full Moon Party. We started with the 360 bar. It was basically a rooftop that overlooked the mountains and everything. I’m not going to lie it was a little weird to see the sunrise before sleeping and wake up for the sunset. Still awesome and worth going to. Our last stop was a place called The Dome. There were 2 saunas you could go into. I preferred the hotter one as I tried the cooler one and it wasn’t working for me. They had showers outside to rinse off after. The menu there was small with 5 different types of tea (each had a different benefits) and a couple organic snack options. We layed under the stars next to the small fire that was going. It was a nice relaxing end to Koh Phangan.
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