Friday, November 5, 2010

Koh Phangan

From Koh Tao we decided to go to another island called Koh Phangan. It was only an hour ferry ride away. We arrived to more people trying to get our business for a Taxi. We knew we wanted to go to the North Western Side of the island to a beach called Haad Yao. We negotiated a price for the taxi and we were off. We arrived at Ibiza bungalows and were thrilled. These were clean and large (still no hot water) and were reasonably priced. The beach was also wonderful. Much larger than in Koh Tao, much cleaner and also much quieter. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out on the hammock. At least I did. Andrew went to explore the “town”.

As in Koh Tao we could have rented a motor bike but decided to hike instead. The weather was not the greatest and although it wasn’t constantly raining, it was extremely humid. Regardless we thought it would be best to explore by foot rather than by bike. Andrew thought it would be best not to bring water along as we would buy it at the nearest 7/11 (Thailand has 7/11’s everywhere) since there was no point of carrying all that water around. I disagreed and brought 1 bottle. It’s a good thing too because we didn’t come across one 7/11 during the whole day. I don’t think we realized how “mountainy” the island was. We were either climbing a steep road or walking down a steep road. After a couple hours of this I was exhausted, and thirsty. That one bottle of water was running low. Along the way we spotted a lot of dogs, but one was special. It was a puppy about 3 months old and she would not leave our side. After about an hour of walking I had to retrace some steps and shoo her away. She wasn’t happy but she left. She was very cute though. I also have to say Andrew seems to be attracting these dogs. I have quite a few photos with them following him around. But we try not to interact them too much, as we don’t know what their temperament is like.

We stopped off at a beach in a town called Hat Mae Haad. This was a unique beach as there was also a sand bar connecting it to a small island, however it was only accessible during low tide. When we visited it was high tide so there were some waves crashing into the sand bar from both sides. From Haad Mae Haad we started heading back (came across a store with water) and spotted a sign for a water fall. We decided to explore it, but realized very soon we would need to take our shoes off as there was no real path to lead us there and we would have to climb up some rocks, where the water was flowing. It was slow going and painful on our feet, but we did end up getting there. It’s hard to say if it was worth it but it was definitely an experience. It took us another hour to get back home after that. Again, we were exhausted (I think that’s the theme of this trip so far).

After the exhausting day of hiking we rented a motor bike to explore the island. The road were much better than in Koh Tao and I’m happy to say the bike performed much better as well. However the road to Hat Rin was STEEP and CURVY and overall dangerous. I honestly don’t know how trucks made it up those roads and blind and hairpin turns. Hat Rin is where the infamous Full Moon party occurs during every full moon, but we were there a few days after the full moon, and the town was dead. We kept exploring the island, and in the evening came across a night market. Everything was for sale there, from clothes, to shoes to photos, but the most important thing was food. We ate chicken satays with peanut sauce, pork buns, frozen Coca-Cola “Popsicles” and pancakes with coconuts. It was delicious.

The next day I was feeling pretty sick (just a cold), so I stayed in bed all day while Andrew ran errands. He brought me medicine and food, and he went to town at least 3 times since he kept “forgetting” things. I think he was just bored and didn’t feel like spending the day in bed with me. That’s okay, I had an opportunity to just sleep. The weather was pretty gloomy so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.

That night we went to eat something at the place next door and met some people who were attending a “Half Moon Party” in the jungle that night. I was still feeling sick but I told Andrew to go ahead. He came home at 3am but he says it wasn’t too crazy but people were definitely doing a lot of drinking , amongst other things.
The next day the weather was still gloomy so we decided it was time to leave. We went to the ferry terminal, only to find out that all ferries were cancelled except for one, due to the storm which was scheduled to hit the southern coast in the next day or two. We decided to take the ferry as it was the last one for at least the next 3-7 days, due to the storm.

It was a quite large catamaran and I was glad we were getting off the island just in time because we didn’t want to be stuck on the island for possibly another week.
We boarded the ferry and since it was a fairly large ferry there were plenty of places to sit. We went up front as we wanted the best view. One of the staff on the boat asked us if we got sea sick. No! But they started handing out small plastic bags to everyone and they suggested we move to the back of the boat as the effects wouldn’t be as bad. I was confused but we moved to the back. I was completely unprepared for the trip. Once we pulled away and were on the open water, we hit 4 meter waves (14 feet) and the boat was hitting the waves hard! It was moving side to side drastically! It’s very hard to explain the feeling and how scared I was and how terrifying it all was. There was a girl who started crying hysterically and was saying “We’re going to die”. I started crying but tried to keep myself pretty composed. I checked where the life jackets were held (under each seat) and was making a plan in my head in case the boat tipped over. All around us people were getting sick (read puking) and it was not a pleasant atmosphere. This lasted for about 2.5 hours and when we (finally) got back to land I said I never want to see another boat again. It was then I understood why all the other ferries were cancelled. If the boat we were on would not have been a catamaran, we would not have made it. The only ferry I’m getting back on will be in calm waters. I would normally say something very sarcastic about Andrew and his lack of support during this time, but I think seeing how scared I really was (he was fine…if not excited during this whole thing) he was very supportive and sat with me holding my hand the whole time trying to keep me calm. I think what kept me somewhat sane was that the staff was completely calm and in a few cases would lie on the floor and sleep! I figured if they were sleeping, then 1) the boat can handle these waves, 2) this is probably not the worst they have seen.

We arrived in Bangkok that morning at 5am, after a 7 hour bus ride from the ferry. Again, I was exhausted.


  1. Thanks for the update. I can't believe all the marine life you saw, especially the turtle! I'm glad you got back to land safely - I can't even imagine what that boat ride must have felt like. Hope to see some pictures soon, and continue the posts:)

    Miss and love you guys,

  2. Hey Gosia/Andrew, glad to see that you arrived safely. Next time Andrew wants to get you on a boat like that, I know you said you wouldn’t go, but do it anyway. Who knows what would have happened on the Island. My remedy to anything that goes bad is, (sleep, drink, go crazy), any one of these will fix any problem if applied appropriately. I’m glad we didn’t stay on the Island, now we get to see something else. Remember how I told you I was cheap on this trip, well I even get to pick if I really want to be on a boat or just teleport to next town, now that is cheap and futuristic. See you soon, I’m sure will be doing some diving, this time I’m not wearing any cloths, and I’m not taking my diving gear with me, and you can’t make me.