in search of the full moon
three islands, one month
Catching the night bus from Bangkok to Chumpon I arrived to watch the sunrise before boarding the boat to Koh Samui. My initial reaction to Koh Samui wasn’t one of paradise but boarder line nightmare. High prices, expensive hotels and a dorm room full of 18 year old lads, just keen to party all night. Therefore I wasn’t surprised when in the morning one had returned without his, phone, wallet and passport…! Deciding that Koh Samui wasn’t for me I bought a ticket to Koh Phangan, escaping with a friend and finally finding paradise, paradise with a party. We had timed it right for the full moon party. Time to let our hair down.
Koh Phangan ticked all the boxes. Walking into the hostel, I immediately felt at ease, this was mostly down to the amazing couple that ran it, taking a group of us up to the sunset bar in the pick up truck. Being asked to jump in the back literally meant sitting on the side of the pickup. Drinking cocktails in a reggae bar, sat on bean bags whilst watching the sunset was a far cry from the crowded bars in Koh Samui. Discovering that you could use an amazing pool located at a hotel just down the road for the price of a drink won me over, what I wasn’t expecting was the amazing beach that came with it. Well that was me sorted for a day. Another great thing that the hostel did was take us to a view point. Jumping in the back of the truck we drove to catch a boat that took us to a beach where a group of us walked/scrambled up a very steep path to a view point, yes, the view point was on top of a giant rock, no barriers. It was exhilarating.
Time to party, with beer flowing along with neon paint and glitter, people got ready for the full moon party and wow what a party, dancing on the beach well into the early hours whilst watching the sun come up. Lets just say I didn’t do much the next day!
After the high that Koh Phangan provided I decided to give Koh Samui another chance, booking into a wooden hut on the beach, I stayed there for a week, relaxing, reading and soaking up the sun. It was an extremely chilled place, well I expected nothing less with a reggae bar on site, although I must know Bob Marley's greatest hits off by heart now.
After thoroughly relaxing I was ready to explore island number three, oh hello Koh Tao. It was here and the magical Koh Nang Yuan that I fell I love with the world under the sea, partly wishing I was a mermaid so I didn’t have to wear a snorkel and choke on the water by accident. It’s true, I wasn’t graceful at all! Thankfully that didn’t seem to bother the fish. So many colours and varieties. I became hooked, spending more time in the sea than on the beach. Disappearing into another world. Getting the opportunity to witness the method of traditional bamboo tattooing was about the most cultural activity I did on Koh Tao, an island that’s built on tourism, but a fascinating one, especially when the guy tattooing looks like a living art work.
A month of relaxed living had come to an end and the journey to Malaysia needed to be undertook. Well what a journey, getting from Koh Tao to Hat Yai was fine but getting off the bus and trying to find transport of George town, Penang was interesting… let’s put it this way, I no longer like to travel on mini buses. Sitting squashed amongst the luggage, in a red-hot bus, that only made one toilet stop in 8 hours was, was in no way a pleasant journey. The lengths to you go too to save money.
Still on a high from a month of beaches and tropical waters however, I welcomed Malaysia with open arms.