Sunday, 28 July 2013

Day Nineteen - Ko Pha-ngan Part One - Thailand

After two long days of travel from Bangkok via Hua Hin, we were finally on Ko Pha-Ngan! We got up and had breakfast before lazing on the beach for an hour while deciding what to do with our day. I went for a swim in the beautiful warm water while Jamie went for a 'walk' along the beach. I carried on soaking up the sun, then after thirty minutes and no sign of Jamie on the two hundred meter stretch of beach, started to wonder where he had gone! A few minutes later I heard footsteps coming down the path from the road and there Jamie was, back from his 'walk' with two helmets in his hand and a smile on his face. I should have known he never walks anywhere unless it's to something that contains petrol! We would now be spending the rest of the day exploring the island on our shiny new moped!

We took off on the open road (or rather lethal dirt track) towards the southeast of the island. We carried along a dead end road that eventually leads you to a beautiful secluded beach at the end. Along the way we followed a river which breaks every so often with three beautiful waterfalls. The waterfalls were not as dramatic as they are in the rainy season but there was still enough of a trickle to get the idea and to cool off in.

Eventually we saw a sign that pointed to 'bar with a view to die for and bloody cold beers'. We were sold on the idea and parked up the moped and set off on the track the half a kilometre to this bar. The track was seriously steep and every step was an effort in the heat. We went past three blind bends and after each one the track climbed even steeper again to the next. After about fifteen minutes we reached the top and headed over to a hut with a wooden balcony out the back. We climbed again up the steps and were warmly greeted by its owner (who I think had been to one too many full moon parties in his time and was so laid back he was almost horizontal). We ordered a couple of drinks and some snacks and went out onto the balcony and stared out to a view over the ocean from a couple of hundred meters up.

Beautiful butterfly's, dragonfly and birds buzzed around us with noises we didn't recognise while we relaxed for an hour. Afterwards we made our way down the hill and got back on our bike to the end of the road. At the end the river opened out into a small bay with rocks protecting each side from the wind. We swam in the flat water with only a few other people who had made it out this far. The water was crystal clear and warm enough to stay in the whole day. We drank milk from a coconut in the beach bar before carrying on back to the village next to ours.

The east side of Ko Pha-ngan is a lot more quite and secluded than the west where the boats come in and depart from. There's lots of coves to be discovered here if you don't mind walking or hiring a moped to reach them. We went off and explored various tracks that lead to coves and mountain tops until the sun started to go down and we headed back to out beach bungalow to watch the sunset. On the way back we stopped for gasoline at a hut on the side of the road where a giggly old lady who had inhaled way too may fumes helpfully filled us up.

In the evening we had a beach BBQ with red snapper and giant prawns freshly caught in the day. As the evening got darker people set off Chinese lanterns into the sky with some making their way up over the mountain and some setting fire to things like flags closer by. We looked at the map for things to see the following day before going to bed in our little hut for the night. I could stay here for for weeks or even years and am really beginning to fit in now with three weeks of beach hair!

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