An island which stole my heart

Phi Phi Island, Thailand

In December 2012, Phi Phi Island stole my heart. I’d been to Thailand before, but somehow missed out on the incredible experience that this island brings.

We arrived under somewhat confusing circumstances. We were meant to all be on the same ferry, our whole group of friends, but somehow, we ended up on different ferries. It was just Lana and myself on the one, and all the rest of our friends on the other. We arrived first and sat and had a drink at a little restaurant while waiting for them. Once we were all reunited, we began winding our way through the small streets of the island. There are no vehicles on this islands. No cars. No scooters. Just feet and the odd bicycle. Its amazing.

We didn’t have any accommodation booked, but soon enough, a Pakistani man named Ali had attached himself to our group and guided us to a hostel of sorts that his friend owns. And so we settled in.

The island is small, and as you wander the narrow alley ways, there are many travellers around. It is a tourist place, but it is still quite beautiful. On the one side of the island, there is the swimming/partying beach. By day, there are lazy people spreading themselves across the soft sand, absorbing the sun, and enjoying every moment of it. By night, fire’s are set up on the beach, beach bars open up, music gets started, fire dancers show some amazing skills, and everyone has a fantastic night. And so the pattern repeats. On the opposite side of the island is the port, where everybody arrives from. It’s chaotic, filled with people trying to convince you to book accommodation with them.

There are many day trips which can be made to go see the beautiful beach where the movie “The Beach” was shot. There is a little walk up to the top of the island to see the sunset. There is so little but so much.

My most epic memory from my time on Phi Phi, was when we ended up making an arrangement with a restaurant owner to sleep on the massage mattresses in his restaurant, right on the beach, right next to the beach bar that stayed open the latest. We paid next to nothing, lived like gypsies, and were the happiest people on the island.

A holiday worth remembering

In December 2012, there was a huge group of us travelling together through thailand. It was somewhat of a reunion for a lot of us that had all gone to Uni together.  This was a holiday worth remembering.

I’ve been to Koh Phangan before a few years ago, and the previous time, we stayed in Haad Rin (which is right where the party happens), but this time we stayed in Baan Tai in an awesome, simple, cheap and clean resort called Phangan Villa Beach Bungalows, and then got the taxi’s through to the party beach at night. I must say that this second option was so much better as a group. The beaches in Baan Tai are clean and untouched and peaceful and the whole area is relaxed, yet in Haad Rin the beaches are riddled with tourists that don’t care a stitch about the environment. There are bottles and buckets and thongs/slops/slip slops lying everywhere, so much litter, and it broke my heart. So yes, we did partake in the festivities and had a wild time, but I found myself continuously picking up litter. Good samaritan aren’t I? 🙂

For those who haven’t experienced the epic-ness that is a New Years in Koh Phangan, let me explain… There is a long beach stretch called Haad Rin, and on it, there are a whole assortment of different dance floors, all with their own genre of music. You can walk along the beach from one dance floor to the next. You’re allowed to carry your bucket of alcohol mix with you all along the beach and just go with the flow. It’s all very easy and happy go lucky. But it’s also quite dangerous. It’s not a place you want to be walking alone, drunk. The thai people aren’t quite as friendly as the Cambodian’s. I think they’ve just had enough of all the tourists destroying their home. On New Years Eve we were on Haad Rin beach, at the Psy-Trance dance floor mainly, but also scattering around seems as there were so many of us all together. It was an amazing time and everyone was so happy, but it turns out that later in the night (once we’d already gone back to Baan Tai where our resort was), that there was a Thai gang fight on the beach and a tourist actually got shot and killed. That’s enough to scare me away for good. It could have been any one of us that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On New Years Day, Jacques and I went back to Haad Rin because he wanted to get a new tattoo, and I wanted my first tattoo. Eeep scary. We walked down to the beach just to take a look, and I’ve never been so disgusted in the human race as I was that morning. There was so much litter churning about in the waves, it actually made me feel so ashamed that I had anything to do with it.

We had our tattoo’s done, and now I’m absolutely hooked on tattoos!! I want MORE!! It’s not near as painful as they say it will be, but I was so glad to have Jacques by my side, holding my hand.    We left Koh Phangan the next day, getting a ferry to Don Sak Pier on the mainland, then a bus to Nakhon, and then a flight to Bangkok. Now this all sounds like quite a drag in comparison to just catching a ferry to Koh Samui and then a flight straight from Koh Samui to Bangkok. But trust me, if you are on a tight budget, this is the way to go! It’s cheaper by far, and with Air Asia, you can actually book the whole ferry-bus-flight combo all at once. Its ideal. DO IT!

And so ends the story of our time in Koh Phangan.  Here’s a little gallery of some of the memories from our incredible few days in Koh Phangan for New Years 2012/2013.