Ko Phangan - Quick visit to party town
24 Sep 2006
|Caught the night train down from Bangkok. Comfy, but still unable too well sleep owing to the constant rattling, banging and emergency stops associated with train journeys in Thailand. When I did get to sleep I woke up covered in Mosquito bites, so as future note to myself I must remember to put deet on before going to sleep.
Arrived in Ko Phangan, Thang Sala, at about 1pm after getting the 3 hour ferry journey over from the mainland. Got chatting to 3 girls at Bournemouth College, Jenny, Amy and Kate Wasn't hard to find Coral Bungalows (where Pete and James were staying) as one of the members of staff was happily waiting to give anyone a free lift from the taxi rank. Coral itself is a bit out of Hadrin and the main beach, but quite a nice setup. New modern buildings crossed with old bungalows a stones throw from the beach. Got a nice pool and pretty good relaxation area too. Looks like it is undergoing a huge expansion policy at the mo. Wasn't hard to find Pete and James (especially James with his new blond mohwawk), also bumped into Gary (from Gibbon Experience), who I wasn't expecting and Paul (who used to travel with Pete, James and Dean) is here too.
Had a few cheeky beers in the evening, then went on down to beach with Paul, about a 15 minute walk. Met up with Jenny, Kate and Amy. James, Pete, Gary and co turned up later on in the evening. Got my wallet stolen, fortunately they only kept the cash and wallet itseld, they through everything else (including my credit card in a bin). Was a real pain though as I'd just taken out my money for the next couple of weeks (10,000 bhat). Ended up getting a lift back in the back of the coral taxi truck, driven by Shane, one of the Thai guys working at Coral who somehow as developed a British accent despite never being there.
Spent the entire day lounging around watching DVDs as most of the day it rained. Ended up playing Kings cup (Drinking game involving cards) with about 15 others including (Luke, Mika, Katy, Nicole, Michelle, Celia, Gary and so on..) . A few more groups were sat around playing drinking games too. Ended up dancing on tables and the likes (something that the staff encourage!).
Weather not too hot again so sat around watching DVDs and having the odd swim in the pool.
Bit of sun, went swimming, went for a wander into town. Mostly spend the days doing not a right lot.
Went to find some waterfalls with Gary, Chaz (Ex US Marine, currently acting as personal body guard to the US Ambassador in Iraq - how cool is that!), Cathia, Liz, and Inga. At first we were going to get 3 bikes and double up the riders. However Chaz hadn't ridden a bike before, and after a little mess around wasn't confident with anyone on the back. I, after my fall a few weeks earlier, wasn't confident about it either. Ended up with Inga getting her own bike and Gary taking the two Aussie girls on the back of his (he having a bike and back home was very confident at handling our little scooters). With there only being 2 automatics, Gary and I, having done the most riding took the semi automatics. Our first impressions of the roads in Phangan were, "bloody hell, they're steep", in fact very steep. Going down the hills you pretty much had to hit the breaks on full in order to stop yourself careering out of control, and this was on the surfaced roads. Still the weather was good and proved to be great fun whizzing around roads that hugged the coastlines and beaches. We soon pulled off of the main roads and headed inland in search of the waterfalls.
As we made our way further inland the roads started to deteriorate, still paved, but it wasn't too uncommon for half the road to have been washed away. Traversing one of the high roads we came across the island rubbish dump. A lovely aroma emitted from the thousands of black decaying bin bags, the scene was perfectly framed against views of the sea and palm trees. After stopping to admire such an unforgettable site we ploughed on. It was here the first accident occurred, Gary started messing around with his bike, swerving from side to side (apparently trying to get the girls used to riding a bike). The effects of the swerving weren't good, things got out of control and soon ended in a heap. No one was badly injured, mostly scrapes, bruises and the odd minor cut, but it shook the girls up enough that they had had enough and wanted to go back. Fortunately they managed to flag down a passing truk, get a lift back to the main road and from their get a taxi (sangthaew) back to Coral.
Despite Gary's grazes we ploughed on in search of the waterfalls, soon the paved roads gave way to compact earth covered in layers of dust. As we got further into the hilly interior of the island the road became steeper still, whereas ascending was no problem, descending became more and more tricky as the bikes were now prone to skid on the dust if the brakes were applied to heavily. A near crash for Inga meant that she now proceeded at an overly cautious rate resulting us spending a lot of time having to wait around for her to catch up (althoug in all fair play, she opted to carry on and not go back!). After about 2 hours of tackling these dusty roads we finally came across our first waterfall, without any real crashes, Chaz fell off his bike, but managed to jump clear without injuring himself. We found the waterfall after a short 100 metre walk. It wasn't what we were expecting I must say, more of a tiny trickle passing over a few stones. I guess after having seem some staggering watefalls on my travels, a trickle through a few rocks hardly overawed me. With a shrug we headed on to the next of the waterfalls, a little closer to the sea, we now being almost over the other side of the island. To get there we were presented with our steepest descent yet and Inga opted to wait for us to get back rather than risk the slippery road.
The second waterfall wasn't any better than the first and held our attention for all over 2 minutes before we returned to the bikes. We were now almost to the coast, so we opted to go check out the beach at the end of the road. The road emptied into a quiet sheltered bay no more than a couple of hundred metres across. Clinging to the cliffs overlooking the bay were a slew of quaint little bungalows, yet despite the bungalows the beach was almost deserted. Mindful of having left Inga back at the first waterfall we didn't stop long, got back on our bikes and made our way back. On the way back to Inga Chaz came off his bike again, and yet again skillfully managed to jump to avoid injury. I wasn't so lucky, I got caught in a rut caused by water running down the road and came off, fortunately I suffered nothing worse than a bit of grazing on my hands. We caught back up with Inga and headed on back to Coral, ever mindful of the time and not wanting to get caught out on the steep roads in the dark. The return journey held nothing more install, we only stopped a couple of times to grab a few photos.
In the evening settled down to watch a few DVDs.
A nice sunny day, so spent the time hanging out in the pool. In the evening, Pete, James, Chaz, Mel, Lisa (a couple of Canadanian Girls) and I went out to watch some Thai boxing up in Thong Sala. We didn't get back until gone 12:30, time for bed.
Tanks birthday resulted in an all day pool party. It was also the day of the Half Moon party, based in the hills up near Ban Tai. Unlike the Full Moon party, the Half Moon, held more to it's traditional roots and was a heady mix of Techno and dance. There was only one stage surrounded by a number of small bar areas. The whole thing was surrounded by cliffs and jungle giving a very giving it a very back to the wild feel. I wasn't really in the mood for the music and I soon headed back to Coral.
Caught up on my blog, made a trip into town to get a replacement wallet. Booked myself a ticket over to Krabi for the following day.
Well decided to unbook my ticket to krabi and hang out a bit longer in Phangan, so my short little visit it becoming less short by the day. Coral is just a really cool place to chill and hang out (and Pete, James and co seem to be very adept at persuading me to stay!)
Still here, tried to buy some new DVDs to watch, ended up getting a Thai dubbed version of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - amusing for a while, but soon wore off.
Same same, but different, but did end up on the beach until sunrise.
Pool party! Ping pong (the boss guy) arranged a big pool party that was loads of fun, especially given the place is really filling up with full mooners now. All 69 bungalows are full!
Chaz came back, but there was no room at the inn, so ended up letting him have the spare bed in my room. Thai boxing tonight.
(Finished reading Ben Elton - High Society)
(Finished reading Prey - Michael Crichton)