Getting to Koh Phangan from Bangkok was a lot more complicated than getting to Koh Samet. I was planning to take the train down, but the agent who arranged my buses, trains and flights in Thailand persuaded me to fly down so that I could make it to the monthly full moon party. I opted to take the train on my return to Bangkok instead.
The flight doesn’t take you directly to Koh Phangan, it takes you to an airport that’s about 1.5 hours away from a dock. You then have to take a 3 hour ferry ride to the island.
Two shots from the boat ride across:
Depending on which beach you are staying in, you then need to take a group tuk tuk for anywhere from 10-45 minutes. My spot was at the opposite end of the island so it took 45 minutes. In the end, Koh Phangan was a little bit prettier than Koh Samet, but I don’t think it was worth the brutal effort to get there as compared to Koh Samet. Also, since the island’s geography is more complicated and because the island is huge, it’s more difficult to explore than Koh Samet. I rented a motorcycle for one of my days there and gave up after three hours. The serious upside to Koh Phangan however is that it is far easier to meet people. Without making much of an effort I met new people pretty much every night I was out.
I arrived on the day of the full moon party, so I took a good nap when I arrived to be fresh for a late night out. I met a nice German girl early on who also wasn’t into cheesy techno music and being in a huge crowd, so she kept me company as we sat at the periphery of the action. It was neat to see the place full of people having a good time, but from what I later heard, the parties leading up to the full moon party are ultimately better.
Some shots from the party:
Some shots of the island during my daytime explorations:
On my last day I was relaxing on the beach and happened to be next to a stunning girl. I asked her name and where she was from (Jenny, Germany) and we ended up hanging out for dinner, drinks at night, and then we met up again for an early breakfast and swim before my departure the following morning. Don’t get excited, it was strictly Platonic, I wasn’t about to push my luck given that she was incredibly nice.
In terms of drinks that night, Jenny took me to a super mellow bar on a quiet stretch of beach a few minutes away from the main street. The bar is right next to the ocean, has a huge hippie vibe and is essentially built around an old tree like a tree house. The owner is so nice that he’ll fully let you sleep in the bar if you are too tired to make it back to your hotel.
Some shots of the cool bar:
The lovely Jenny:
The following morning, after a relaxing beachside breakfast and swim with Jenny, I made my way down to the dock for the ferry back into town.
The boat ride was a bit on the brutal side, the ferry was rather full so the little outdoor shade got taken up quickly. The indoor area had no AC so it was hot as an oven. In the end I essentially baked under the sun for three hours reading a book and acquiring a bit of a sunburn on my neck, which takes some doing given my current pigmentation.
The train station is in the same town as the closest airport so I again had a 1.5 hour van ride to the train station. It was only upon arriving at the train station that I discovered that I had actually left Koh Phangan one day early. Lesson learned, always double check your train tickets. It wasn’t a big deal, the train ticket I had to rebuy was only $20 for a second class sleeper. I was actually getting a bit bored of the beach in any event and I appreciated the extra night in Bangkok.