Sunday, 20 January 2013

Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Krabi

This could be a long one, so much has happened since my last blog!

On 2nd January, Netsky came to play at the Beach Village on Koh Phangan! As a guest at the hostel I got free entry and the gig was absolutely amazing. The atmosphere was incredible and the fact that it was on a beach in Thailand  made it even better. Andy was doing a DJ set after Netsky and he was really good too.

I spent the next couple of days doing very little, booked myself a hostel in Koh Samui and left Koh Phangan on 4th January. The Lounge was a very nice, relatively new hostel with proper bathrooms and hot showers! I soon made friends with the people in my dorm, who were mostly part of a big group from Australia and New Zealand - Sean, JB, JT, Yo, Alex, Adam, Morgan and Ali. The next day I took a walk to see the Big Buddha (15ft, nowhere near as big as the one in Hong Kong) then got a taxi to Chaweng, the main town, to check out the beach and markets etc. It was Alex's birthday so when I got back we all got ready to go out. The guys had set him a load of challenges to complete on the night out, and he had to wear bright pink leggings and a fishnet top. We went for dinner at the same place we went to the night before, called Up2You, and he started the challenges straight away - holding an aerobics class with strangers and drinking a beer upside down on a pole. We then went to Ark Bar in Chaweng and had an amazing night. The bar is on the beach and holds beach parties every night with fire spinners and people walking around with monkeys and iguanas which they charge you to have a photo taken with. Alex managed to complete all of his challenges, including bench-pressing a random girl and drinking 26 drinks standing on one leg!

On 8th January I took a boat tour to Ang Thong Marine Park, which is a stunning archipelago of 42 islands. The boat journey over there took over an hour and I made friends with an Australian girl called Sandy, who was the only other solo traveller there! Once we got there we took kayaks from the back of the tour boat and made our way around the edge of one of the islands, stopping at a beach where we could climb up to a viewpoint to see a view of the islands and a lagoon in the centre of the one we were on.
We had lunch on the tour boat and then were taken round to another beach where we had the opportunity to swim and snorkel or take a 40 minute hike up to another viewpoint. Sandy chose the hike whereas I decided to stay at the beach. I tried snorkeling but the water was not very clear so I didn't see much. As we were heading back to the boat we were told that we could jump from the top, which was 3 storeys and great fun.
The last few days on Koh Samui were spent mainly relaxing at the beach, and I had one last night out with the Aussie lads before I left on 11th Jan for Koh Tao.

The boat journey over to Koh Tao was 2 hours, and it was nice to relax in the sun on the deck as I had walked to the pier from the hostel with my rucksack and I had started coming down with a virus. Once I got to the island I checked into the Koh Tao Backpackers hostel I had booked and went on a walk to try and find phone signal so I could contact Andy, who I knew was staying nearby. We arranged to meet at Fizz bar for some drinks on the beach, where I was introduced to a group of people and we watched the sunset, which was spectacular. We all went for dinner, followed by a lot of drinks at the beach bars!

It is very easy to relax and do very little during the day on Koh Tao, the beaches are beautiful and the water is amazingly clear. One day Andy and I hired a kayak and we could see straight down to the bottom of the sea!
I decided to try scuba diving as Koh Tao is supposed to be the cheapest and best place to do it, so I booked a discovery dive, and it was amazing! It was a little hard for me to get used to equalising and my cold made it a lot harder but it was worth it once I got down there - it's like another world. I saw so many different types of fish and coral, and plants that would disappear inside themselves if you brushed your hand over them.
On another day a few of us took mopeds over to the other side of the island to see some different beaches, and when we got back I went for an oil massage with Lucy and Arisa, who were staying in the hostel that I had now moved into, Jizo's (I didn't like Koh Tao Backpackers so moved after the first two nights).
On my last day in Koh Tao, we went over to NangYuan Islands, which are 3 islands joined together by beaches. We climbed up to the viewpoint to look over it and it was beautiful. We spent most of the day there on the beach, then later in the evening Lucy and I said our goodbyes to the others as were both leaving on the night boat to Surrathani - she was going to Kuala Lumpur, I was headed for Krabi.

The night boat was interesting. We had booked our tickets and paid for them but when we got there they said they had no beds left inside so we would have to sleep outside. This actually turned out to be quite nice, and I managed to get a relatively good sleep, even though it rained. The boat left at 9pm and arrived at Surrathani at 5am, where we had to wait until 6.30 for the different buses to come and collect us. The bus journey for me was only about 3 hours and I got a bit more sleep, although it was ridiculously crowded and so hot! When I finally got to Krabi at around 9.30am I was told my hostel was a ten minute walk away so I set off, and everybody I asked gave me different directions! I eventually got there and was so relieved. It's the nicest hostel I've stayed in yet, and the cheapest! I met Andy (again) and we went to Railay beach with a couple of other guys from the hostel. Railay beach is absolutely beautiful, like paradise, but we were told that there was an even better beach around the corner! We went to check it out and it was amazing, we swam out to a little cove and climbed through it to the other side and swam back around to the beach. It was wonderful, there were cliffs rising all around us with caves dotted around them and we couldn't quite believe that this was really how we were living our lives.

Once we got back, we decided to make the climb to see the lagoon, which involved climbing up and down rocks using bits of rope and was quite tough but worth it once we got there. We swam out into the lagoon and looked up at the cliffs that hug the very edges of the water.
The next day, Andy and I went to Tiger Cave Temple, which is situated at the top of a mountain and you have to walk up 1237 steps to get to it! We had left in the late afternoon as we were hoping to catch the sunset from the top, and we timed it perfectly. The climb was tough but definitely worth it, it was so peaceful and the view was amazing. We sat there until the sun had disappeared then made our way back down.

My plan from now is to go to Koh Phi Phi tomorrow for one night and then start making my way up to Bangkok, then to be in Cambodia by Friday.

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