10.01.2008 - 13.01.2008 30 °C
Well well well! We were struggling with the travelling, and we had our hearts and minds set on getting to a beach with nice accommodation and a laid back atmosphere. There is only so much jumping in and out of taxis and ferries you can take – especially the local “taxis” – which are basically pick up trucks with two long opposing benches running down each side – driven by Thai versions or Michael Schumacker – on speed, and the roads were made on an “off day” to say the least. But we grinned and bared it (bore?).
After staying one night in the mosquito nest of a room in Koh Samui, and having the most fantastic seafood dinner on the beach with our feet in the sand we both woke up at 7 am – pretty much because neither of us were comfortable sleeping in a room that we’d spend 15 min whacking mozzies with a towel, and then 1 litre of spray to make sure is was as good as it could be. We booked our ferry tickets to Ko Pha Ngan (pron. Kofangyang) – heart of the full moon ravers but also home to some of the countries finest secluded bungalows (so we assumed). Our “taxi” arrived at 9.30 and we jumped in the back for our 10.30 ferry. After picking up two lads on the way we waited at another hotel for a foreign couple (no idea – Iranian? Didn’t want to ask) who took 20 minutes to show, then she said “5 more minutes” to the driver and strolled off - no hurry dear, you take your time. She eventually got on with her fella, a fat man in speedos. It took all of about 1 second for K to notice his left testicle was slightly poking out and she couldn’t stop herself laughing - as we flew down bumpy roads the offending item slipped more and more into view. We both felt a little sick. I made jokes about the journey being “the nuts”, “dogs bollocks” etc. He never twigged.
We eventually got to the pier, and got the now late departing boat. Both very relieved it waited! – 40 minutes of a gentle chugging along (the captain was asleep with his feet on the wheel – no kidding) we arrived at Ko Pha Ngan – at the main harbour and town – Hat Rin – home to all the scumbags we thought we’d left behind in England lol. Repeatedly seeing fat ugly Brits and other Europeans with clearly paid-for Thai girlfriends is something I think neither of us will be able to accept comfortably. More than anything because the Thai sex trade does not have age limits. What can you do? Who knows.
So now, we grab rolling tobacco for K she’s been desperately searching Thailand for (no surprises the rave capital of Thailand sells all manner of rolling kit!) and jump into an aircon van to the Mai Pen Rai Bungalows/resort. This is what we’ve both been gunning for from day one. Make no mistake, we’ll sight-see with the best of them, but we want beach life, and we want it now! We went to the resort office in Thong Sala and from there we got a 4x4 taxi down to the resort – on what is basically a clearing in the forest made by a bulldozer. Amazingly steep, no road surface – just a jungle track. We were both astonished there were couples on little 125cc twist-and-go scooters traversing this road. At times they had to get off and walk their scooters down steep bits – all this in shorts or swimming cozzies! – total madness, and all to save a 100Baht (£1.40 ish) taxi. Natural selection is still working, I can assure you
This is it now – we are here, and we are both wondering if we are going to get what we expected. We jumped out of the jeep and strolled to the bar/reception/checkin hut on the beach. Oh My Word – we here!! – the place is amazingly beautiful – a small white sand cove with Bungalows on the beach, along the river, and on the rocks on the sea front.
Our “bath” for some time!
Immediately we were lead off to our bungalow (we booked a “family” one on the rocks) – getting there involves walking across the beach, then over some rocks, then UNDER a giant boulder which caught both our backpacks as we stooped to get through, then some more steps and paths along the coast. When we got to our bungalow we were both speechless! – forget any 5 star resorts you might have seen pics of with huts on stilts – this owns all of them! We have a HUGE , what is basically a tree house on stilts, bungalow. Our deck looks directly out over the sea, we have an “upstairs” with 2 spare beds – and it’s stunning – with windows out to the sea, back downstairs we have a home-made-out of-trees 4 poster with mozzie net, and a huge bathroom. All you can hear – is the sea. (cold showers are a real shocker mind you!)
Our Home for some time!
Our balcony – tricky to take a pic in such bright light in the shade – plenty of time to learn how!
It was such a relief to unpack at last! – once that was done I tested out the hammock. With only the sound of the sea in my head I was asleep in about 5 mins lol. Total bliss.
White but very happy – will be brown as a button soon!, very soon!
The place is awesome – they have 2 bars and 3 restaurants dotted around, some on the beach and some round and up the rocks. Good value too – we’ve rented the most costly option (of course) at 800B a night (£13) – unreal! And delightful dishes are about a pound a pop. Beers the same. Oh that reminds me – the food out here is blissful. We’ve always enjoyed Thai cuisine but kinda overlooked the fact that now we are in their own country. Boy do they do it well – yum-bloody-yum!
We are going to extend our 10 day reservation to 3 or 4 weeks tomorrow. Why move? No rush
Wifeling relaxing in the Reggae Bar on the beach on the 1st night there (last night) – there is a hammock in the background – I was in that immediately after taking this shot :-p
We have finally made it! – both totally delighted (though K is in bed right now after bringing back up here Alka-Seltzer after a night of underestimating the strength of the local Long Island Iced Teas - she’s vowed to stick to beer now – we’ll see ) – update – she’s ok now!
They have Internet here apparently but it’s very intermittent, so I’m pre-typing this and I’ll send it when we go to Tha Salong tomorrow to get some provisions. If any of you want a bargain paradise holiday then all you have to get here (this is obviously aimed at family and friends only - for any strangers bored enough to be reading this!). Just call the Mai Pen Rai resort (linked in other posts here) or email them and they will be able to get a message to us as we are at the bar an aweful lot. We will 100% be here for 2 weeks as of today (10th Jan) and almost certainly a month. If you arrive the day we are leaving, no worries, we’ll stay – who’d not want to? :---)
We have two spare beds upstairs, and a hammock on the deck too! Or if you want you could book your own bungalow – you can even have one on the beach! – they range from £5 to £13 a day lol! If they are full – which I doubt – no probs – we have loads of room.
Directions: Turn left out of your front door, get a taxi to the airport, then…
Fly to Bangkok (about 12 hours direct). From Bangkok airport…
Fly to Ko Samui (Bangkok air flies every 40 mins for between £30 and £50) – like a bus service really – it’s only a 40 min flight
At Ko Samui (note below). Get a taxi to the Big Buddah Pier and get the ferry (40 mins again) to Ko Pha Ngan.
Arrive at KPN and you will be offered taxis – take an aircon Van to Thong Sala (20 mins and about 200Baht). At Thong Sala you walk across the road to the Mai Pen Rai Bungalows office (just down from the 7-11 store) and at 1pm they will take you in a 4x4 to the resort for 150 Baht) (if later – they will take you for 800 Baht)
Note: It’s a very easy journey, only stumbling block is the last ferry from Ko Samui is at 4pm so if you miss it, just stay a night in Ko Samui – we got a quick taxi (it’s a small island) to the Ban Chaweng beach and stayed at the Marine bungalows for 1200 Baht – the beach at night is littered with stunning cafes and restaurants on the sand. Tell your hotelier you want the 10.30 ferry (or 1pm or 4pm) to Ko Pha Ngan and he’ll book you a “taxi” and your ferry ticket. If you fly in early to Ko Samui just get a cab to the Big Buddah Pier where you can buy a ferry ticket for 150 Baht.
Everyone knows were everything is so there is no fear of not knowing where to go – people will come up to you and say “where you going?” – you say “Ko Pha Ngan” and they’ll arrange it for you on the spot. You may end up paying a few pounds (at most) more than booking direct, but it’s so simple.
Basically, if you get a flight to BKK that lands in the morning you’ll be here the same day you land. If you get to BKK by midday, you’ll probably stay a night in Koh Samui.
Either way – it’s probably one of the easiest options you’ll have to join us for a week or two as we’ll def hang around here and it’s so amazing you won’t believe your eyes when you arrive! If you email the resort to get hold of us, Fiona is the best person to speak to (English speaker and very helpful).
Maybe see you soon! – Having a super ranch-relaxo time! – R & K xx