Koh Phangan: Finally, the sun

After spending a rainy week in Koh Tao we were really looking forward to the three days of sunshine the weather report had been promising us on our arrival at Koh Phangan. Thankfully the sun appeared as promised, and the island stayed dry long enough for Jeyn to finally get a taste of the warm island beach life.

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We were very lucky with our hotel pick as it turned out to only be a five minute walk from a small beach that was basically deserted. We had it all to ourselves. The water was calm, warm and clear. We were in heaven.

Our hotel didn’t have a pool, but the hotel adjacent to the beach was also seemingly empty, so we got away with sneaking into their pool. The heavy rains and flooding must have turned a lot of people away from the islands.

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Equally as exciting as the amazing water times were the wonderful cat friends we made.

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We were excited to experience one of the famous full moon parties that draws so many tourists to Koh Phangan. We got in the spirit of it with the standard fluoro body paint and bright, tacky tourist clothes. Jeyn turned out to be quite the pro, I was very impressed with how well she painted her own face.The hotel had clearly had problems in the past with people getting paint on anything. The staff were really friendly and explained we’d need to pay for anything we stained, which is completely understandable. I became obsessively careful and paranoid about the paint. We managed to get through the night without damaging anything (except I got a speck of paint on a towel at one point and spent a good ten minutes scrubbing it with soap to get it spotless).

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The party itself was okay. We were both a little turned off by the vibe brought by some of the other tourists. The local Thai people, as usual, were lovely. There was just a lot of very drunk and often rude visitors. It didn’t feel like the kind of party we’d enjoy if we were back home. It had a bit of a frat house atmosphere.

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It was fun getting dressed up though. Jeyn’s Bernie Sanders/Obama sleeve was a highlight (not as neat as her face because I painted that one).

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The beach was pretty packed, easily a few thousand people turned up. We learned from chatting to stall holders that this was small compared to past events though.

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Another highlight was bumping into the “mom I’m fine” guy. Basically he travels around the world with a sign that says “mom I’m fine” and poses for pictures with people. He was sweet and it was a cute idea.

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The photo below really sums up the aesthetic of the night.

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And we found more cats! Jeyn was consoling this kitty after some drunk American girls hassled it and patted it way too hard for ages.

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The next day made up for any lingering disappointment about the full moon party. We’d been carrying the snorkelling gear that we got from my Dad for Christmas around with us for the month we’d been in Thailand, and finally with the weather clearing up on the islands, we got to use it.

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We booked in with a local snorkelling boat trip company called, strangely, “No Woman No Cry Boat Trip”. They took us out on a long boat to a few different points around the island.

If you’re really into your snorkelling you’re probably better off heading to Koh Tao where the reefs are more colourful (less dead) and the waters are clearer, but honestly, the whole thing was magical for us regardless.

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And on a side note, if you’re planning on doing much snorkelling, or other water-y things, I highly recommend buying a pair of reef shoes. The ones in the photo below cost us $20 a pair back in Australia and they’ve been invaluable in a whole bunch of different situations (great for trekking around in the rain). Just remember, don’t stand on coral!

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We were very lucky to have this time together in such a wonderful place and I’m so glad that technology today means I can, fairly easily, chuck all these memories up on a blog to look back on when I’m back in the day-to-day grind of everyday life.

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