After six days of perfect relaxation in Koh Samui, we hopped on a ferry and made our way over to Koh Phangan for some more of the same, beaches and paradise- lucky us!
The island is ten years behind Koh Samui, it’s much smaller and is only accessible by boat. The majority of the roads connecting the north and south of the island are unfinished and mountainous, which made our journey to the hotel somewhat terrifying. The taxi driver navigated the bumpy roads, meandering around the edge of huge rainforest drops, whilst we peered out the windows and into the forest below.
Arriving at our hotel felt like walking onto the set of Jurassic Park. Set back from the beach, the hotel is surrounded by rainforest and built halfway up mountainous hillside. Our room was surrounded by jungle which meant we were frequently visited by the resident wildlife: birds, lizards and thousands of bugs (all of which seemed to be waiting to bite me). It was the first time I truly felt away from the familiarity of Europe and unsure of what was going to be waiting for me outside the balcony door.
The island is famed for its backpacker party culture and full-moon parties. Following suit from our relaxing Koh Samui stint, Joel and I decided to stay at the North of the island, where you can enjoy the beautiful beaches and lack of revelry. Perfect.
Thong Nai Pan Beach
The resort was situated on Thong Nai Pan Beach, which is known as one of the most beautiful on the island. It is an idyllic bay with blue/ green waters, surrounded by rainforest and endless ocean.
The beach was quiet, with no clubs or bars, with only restaurants lining the waterside.
We spent much of our time on the island wandering up and down the beach, sampling coffees and cocktails on our way. We often watched thunderstorms brew from the beach, until the forks of lightening got too much (for me) and we would retreat to watch from the safety of our room. (Click below for some serious lightening.)
Thongsala Night Market
Thongsala is at the south of the island and is where the majority of the action happens. Backpackers congregate for the full moon parties and there is a lot of shopping and eating to be done. We wanted to see what the fuss of Thongsala was about so we hopped on another moped and set off to explore the night market.
There is great novelty in shopping in the dark, it’s so un-British. The hot and humid weather in Thailand promotes doing your day to day tasks by moonlight when the temperature has dropped and there is something really special about it.
The market is a weekly event that is a big deal to both the islanders and travellers.There is lots on offer from trinkets and jewellery to street food and groceries and is bustling with people looking for a bargain.
Date night on the beach –
So you may think its slightly ridiculous to call this night our ‘date night’ but since the big move I have spent a lot of time communicating with home and sometimes hours and evenings can disappear to a chinwag with your family. We decided that we would take a night off from our phones, let our hair down and have one night without worrying too much about our budget (that always seems to go out of the window after a couple of drinks anyway.)
As it was our last night on the island, we sat on the beach watching fish jump out of the water and drank Pina Colada’s until the sun went down!
Our stay on Koh Phangan was amazing. The endless white beaches and jungle rainforests were such beautiful sights to behold and experience. I kept wanting to pinch myself to see if what I was seeing was real. One thing I would like to suggest to any would-be visitors of the island, is to invest in some heavy-duty insect repellant as the bugs on this island are ruthless.
Thanks for the fantastic trip Koh Phangan, you were a treat.
Koh Samui Part 2
We had to travel back to Samui to reach the snazzy airport, so we decided it would be rude not to stay for a couple more nights on our favourite island. We lapped up the last bit of paradise before heading back to Bangkok and for the final leg of the journey to Australia.
We stayed in Mantra Samui Resort which was positioned halfway up the hillside at the north of the island. We had panoramic views of the island from our infinity pool (which are almost everywhere in Thailand) and ate eggs benedict every morning from the buffet, that along with pancakes, toast, pastries, yoghurt etc.
Sad, tanned and very well fed, we said our goodbyes to Thailand and began the journey (dragging our bulging suitcases) the final 4,500 miles to Melbourne!