Thailand – Ko Pha Ngnan

39464_10150234952745462_3085210_nKo Pha Ngnan


We made it to Ko Pha Ngan by the skin of our teeth after a petrifying speed boat journey across from Ko Samui three days ago.  The captain of the boat who literally looked no older than fifteen set about trying to complete the journey in as little time…..

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as possible, despite the bad weather and rough sea!  All eight passengers on board including us, spend the journey being flung round like rag dolls having to hold on for dear life, with Jay getting greener by the minute with sea sickness!  Travel tip: ALWAYS make sure a life jacket is provided by any boat you get on, as two travellers on our boat, who booked last, made the journey without them as the speed boat only had six.  Also, remember it’s so important to waterproof the inside of backpacks, as the monsoon rain and boat rides often leave passengers completely soaked, and bags soggy.  We have used vacuum packs to store all our belongings in as a sure way to keep them waterproofed, along with using a large black bin bag cut and opened out to line the inside of the backpack, as extra protection from getting wet.

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It took us over 2 hours (which felt like an eternity in the heat), to find accommodation on the island, due to the looming full moon party which attracts thousands of backpackers each month.  Travel tip: book ahead if you want to secure a decent room at a reasonable price.  We’ve been charged double the normal rate for a very basic room at ‘Drop In Resort,’ which is far back off the beach up a hill, and is in generally poor condition and in need of a renovation.

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Despite the negative start on the island, our first night visiting Haad Rin beach on the look out for some dinner definitely came as a pleasant surprise and quickly changed our outlook on Ko Pha Ngan, to be one of mixed views.  At around 6pm the beach, which remained pretty chilled out during the day, started to pick up in energy and came to life, with cozy beach BBQ’s, bean bag chill out areas and music.  We sat for a while tucking into fresh calamari and Thai Yellow Curry, before ordering a shisha, relaxing back on a bean bag underneath the starry sky, and reminiscing of our adventures in Thailand so far.
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In the distance down the far end of the beach, captivating lights swirled around in all sorts of dazzling shapes and patterns; intrigued as to what they were we decided to go and investigate.  Arriving at the beach bar we were amazed to see fire jugglers and skipping enthusiasts showcasing their talents for the backpackers lounging round the bar to see.  We perched up on a stool, ordered a singha and watched in awe as the performers did their tricks in time to the music.
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The evening so far had been really nice, but amazement quickly turned to shock when the Thai men skipping with a large thick rope, pulled out a lighter, set the rope alight and began encouraging tourists to join in and skip with them.  First up were two western girls, giggling and eager to have a go, both as intoxicated as each other.  Perhaps some may think we were spoil sports not joining in, but it really worried and angered us that the workers manning the rope increased the spin quicker and quicker, so the poor girls had no option to opt out before getting burnt, but were made to skip faster and faster until the burning rope caught their legs and they both came crashing down onto the flames.  They both shot up after hitting the floor, one girl having her trousers set alight, and both of them having their arms and legs burnt.  At this point we decided to leave so as to not witness any other naive travellers injure themselves.
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The following day, we ventured out of our accommodation bright and early for a morning stroll along the beach, expecting the place to be tranquil as it has been every morning since we’ve arrived.  Down at the pier we were surprised to see hoards of travellers spilling off boats, all in a frenzy dragging their backpacks and cases off the boats in a rush to find any available accommodation.  At the water’s edge Thai workers were already in the midst of constructing their stalls, hanging reels of lights off anything they could lay their hands on, in proximity to a power supply.  Huge speakers were being carried across the beach and stacked on top of each other, whilst colourful building tape was used to mark and section off areas of the sand.  The island appeared frantic, it seemed to be rushing in a desperate attempt to prepare for it’s Full Moon party later that night.

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