Thursday, March 26, 2009

Koh Samui to Koh Phangan

Tuesday we took a minibus and a short ferry over to Koh Phangan - a kind of "backpacker paradise."  The boat landed at Haad Rin Nai - so we decided to follow everyone else, and head through the small town.  I don't think I've mentioned this yet - but think of a lot of these small towns as Pedestrian Neighbourhoods....with motorcycles/mopeds constantly moving through.  It's pretty funny - but there are, not surprisingly, a ton of accidents here..:)  Over on Haad Rin Nok is where the infamous Full Moon Party happens - think:  30,000 people on the beach, with little rules..:)  We are not staying here at the same time as the party - which is fine because it means we can find a place to stay!  

We looked around for awhile, and decided to head up the east coast for a night.  We took a
 boat up to the next beach c
alled Haad Yuan, and it was quite beautiful.  Someone on the taxi boat over recommended a place to stay there, called "Barcelona Resort".  We walked up and
 found a room for 600 THB (Baht) total - a little over $20 CDN (or $10 each).  We could have taken a room for 1/2 that price, but this one was much larger with a slightly better view.  Yep - you can stay here for$10/night...hence the "backpacker destination" label!  

The room itself was great - about 3 flights of stairs up with a nice view.  The room itself served it's purpose - beds, walls, etc..:)  Best com
parison is a camping cabin in the Algonquin with beds.

We had a nice lazy afternoon on the beach, followed by a great dinner at a restaurant up in the hills.  We headed back to the bar near our room for a couple of beers and chatted with another Canadian who runs 30 day drunken college student tours through thailand, then headed to bed with some friends - of the gecko/salamander variety!  You actually want them in your room - they take care of all the bugs and are totally harmless.

Wednesday after breakfast we headed back to Haad Rin Nok to find our next place..  After some quick browsing, we found Sarikantang Resort, in a quieter area of the beach (but only a short walk).  They have a nice range of options here - from the fairly inex
pensive to nice, private, oceanview bungalows.  Everything is very modern as well - I would recommend this place for a nice getaway.  The beach however is not really ideal
 for swimming, so we headed down to Haad Rin Nok.  

Haad Rin Nok is interesting - many people love it, but just as many hate it.  A lot of veteran backpackers remember the "good old days"- before full moon party resulted in expa
nded development.  The beach itself is actually not bad at all - thin white sand and crystal clear water. While swimming a school of fish became obsessed with me and followed me around - it was pretty funny..:)

We both took 2 more massages - Jeff went with the traditional Thai massage, while I took Foot Reflexology (or "Reflex Sology" as is commonly misspelled here!).  Afterwards - he was very awake, and I was nearly dead!!  During dinner I kept lying down..:)  

We both wanted to sleep - but as we are near the party beach, we had to head down.  There was a Black Moon Party on - but as we found out it was at another beach about 15-25 minutes away (Ban Tai).  After taxi fare, entrance fees, etc - we decided it wasn't worth it as we wanted an early night as well.  These various Moon parties go until dawn...with after
 parties advertised starting at 7am! 

Instead we headed down to the main beach (where Full Moon happens).  There were two major bars that had some action, then a lot of stalls in between with vendors yelling anything at all to get your attention to buy a drink from them.  Most popular is a bucket - basically a pile of whiskey, coke, ice..and a bunch of straws in a bucket you carry around.  

I didn't get a bucket.

We had some beer and watched the various fire shows - from amazing displays of twirling to jumping over a fire rope.  Fun times!  

Today we relaxing during the day and going fishing tonight.  We had meant to go fishing during the day, but there was some excuse resulting in us having to go night-fishing instead!