A Travellerspoint blog

Thailand

The Full Moon Party Koh Phangnan

Pink Buckets and Neon Paint = no sleep

rain 28 °C

There is so much hype about this party and yes we have been to it before but being on our last leg of our trip Chloe wanted to go one more time to party it out.

We thought it would also be a good opportunity to grab some rays to top the tan up, actually to get a tan as we hadn't been beaching it for some time now.  Unfortunately, it rained the entire time we were there, being rainy season of course it did.  But it's still hot and if you go at the right time you can get an amazing tan on one of the many beautiful beaches. It's not all about the Full Moon there is a lot to see on the island....it really is lovely.

We made our way from Langkawi taking the ferry to Satun apx 23 ringgit, a taxi to the bus station apx 20baht, a bus to Surit Thani (5hrs) 123 baht, another taxi to the ferry 20 baht and finally the night ferry to Koh Phagnan 400 baht.  Far cheaper than going via an organised tour, ours cost about 16 quid each, the tour would have been 40 quid.  On the overnight ferry is a long line of foam mattresses pushed together as beds with your allocated number on, believe me it's very cozy...you could be sleeping next to anyone!  Not really my thing but it had to be done and I knew I wouldn't be getting any sleep so it didn't matter too much.    We spoke to a few people who were literally weeks into their trip which made me feel sooo envious.....because I knew what was ahead of them.....ahead off me.....9 days before we went home.

When we got in it started to pour down with rain and it was 6am, we hadn't booked anywhere and everywhere was shut.   Rushing through the rain we bumbed into two guys from Switzerland making their way back from a party, there's a party every night in this place.  They kindly invited to 'house' us until everything opened  but we decided to get some food instead of sleep so thanked them and ventured into the rain again.  We made our way to Mama Schnitzels....a restaurant open 24 hrs that has a menu like a book....Gordon Ramsey would have a fit if he saw the amount of dishes each restaurant offers in this place....seriously what ever you want they have it.....even during power cuts, they just flick on the generator and kitchen is open.  We struggled finishing our food because of the large portions and made our way to Haad Rin bungalows which have good rooms near to the beach at decent prices, we opted for tv and air con which was abit more but a blessing later in the stay!  1200 baht but you can get a fan room for 400.  To get this place go to the 7/11 on the corner opposite the clinic and pharmacy.....it's very central.

"Open at 10" one local told us and invited us into his bar, we had to go in because of the rain.  Our rucksacks were wet through and later the smell of our clothes.....awful....the joys of back packing!  Inside the bar were left overs from the night before....one guy asleep on a ledge and another sprawled across aload of cushions!

At about 8am we got our room and went to sleep...bliss.  The evening was to go to the beach bar Cactus which is where everyone goes, we bumbed into the Swiss guys again so it was nice to talk to someone.  Infact, I ended up spending a few evenings with them until they left, very good company so thank you guys, especially Patrick.

Now back to the full moon....practically everyone wears neon stuff, tops, shorts, paint, jewellery etc you name it, it can be painted on you in neon colours.  You've got to be careful not to get it on the bedding or else they will fine you!    I painted flowers down Chloe's arm and I was lazy so just puts pink dots on my legs....simple.    The streets are full of venders selling all sorts of food which can be out on their stall for hours.....and hours.  The party is much the same as the other nights except on the full moon .....it is packed!!!  People come over from the other islands especially.  

There is a lot of talk about drugs, fights and even deaths, luckily we didn't see anything like this....considering the amount of people there its controlled well....by the people there....this time I didn't see any police.  A guy staying near us was hit in the face and needed stitches to his cheek....he had a huge black eye!

The thing to buy are buckets....like a bucket you would make a sandcastle from, they are filled with vodka or whiskey and topped us with coke, lychee, sprite etc  all for 150 baht (3quid)  all you see around is people wearing neon and carrying pink buckets.

Being as busy as it was I lost Chloe and so I stayed in one spot .....as discussed....but she never came back for me (ummmmm) ....as unbeknown to me she was at the medical centre helping the guy get his cheek stitched up.  So I ended up chatting to a stall vender who made jewellery, very interesting but I did wonder if he was mistaking my 'chat' for 'interest' so when he asked if I wanted to go to the party with him....I lied.....yes....I told him I was tired.  My plan was to go back to my room, wait abit, then go out, but he insisted on walking me back to my room, so I was quite relieved to see Patrick knocking on our door when I got there.

So I did the best thing and went off to the party with Patrick and found Chloe.  It was a crazy evening as we decided to go sit on our porch instead of going to the after party, which starts at about 6 am.  In the end everyone left and it was me....wide awake and Chloe sound asleep.  Later I was woken to moaning.....Chloe....in pain...unfortunately she had a slice of pizza from one of the stalls and now she was paying for it, she was so sick and had stomach cramps for the following two days/nights which meant I was stuck in the room being nurse, which is where the TV came into play.  Not what either of us had in mind.

We had to stay an extra day because she was ill, I went to the chemist and they told me many had been in for the same meds....clearly the street food at 3/4/5/6 am....which is put out at 7pm.  So a revisit to Koh Tao was cancelled and now we were making our way to Bangkok for the grand finalle which is going to be grand ....as we are going to stay in a 5 star hotel by the river just for some plush.  But first we have to do an overnight train and a ferry.......I'm thinking we will look like riff raff going into the lovely hotel....it's times like this I wish I had my heels, perfume, hair dryer, clothes.......my stuff, but there's going to be plenty of time for that in a few days time......yikes.....where has the time gone?

Tips for the full moon:  don't wear anything you really like...it'll get ruined by the paint.

Watch your money.... 1000 baht looks like 100 baht in the dark

Careful with the buckets, they are quite strong

Look upto the sky, when we were there there was a perfect ring around the moon....never seen anything like it.

Don't swim in the sea at the party....it's more wee than sea!

Have fun!

Heres a link to the ferry times to help with transfers to Koh Tao, Surit Thani and Koh Samui

http://www.koh-phangan.tv/ferry/kohphanganferrytimetables.html

Posted by Vicky Bailey 17:46 Archived in Thailand Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beach travel ferry langkawi journey mother_daughter blog buckets world_trip full_moon_party surit_thani chloe_bailey Comments (0)

Perfect Pai

Pai

It took days to get here from Labuan Bajo which included a boat trip, 2 flights, 3 days on a train and an afternoon in a minibus. After all this I was seriously hoping Pai would live up to the hype.

The minibus ride from Chiang Mai is something else, sat bolt upright for 3.5hrs cause the chairs don't reclined you are shoved left to right as the 'grand prix' wannabee driver spins the bus around hundreds of bends. But for £3 ....who's complaining!

We arrived and there's an unspoken relaxed atmosphere here, you feel it immediately! We started the room search and there was accommodation opposite the bus station for 100 bht, that's £2 per room....seriously! Unfortunately looking at the padded bed it was clear if I slept on that I would be disabled the following day, so the hunt continued. We ended up in the centre with hot water ensuite and twin beds with excellent wifi....£6pn.

The awesome thing about Pai, for us, is the food. You would not believe the culinary delights on offer here not only in the cafe/ restaurants but also on the streets. In the streets after sunset the stall holders set up, some have microwaves, blenders, waffle makers, bbqs...all sorts of stuff and its all cheap! My favourite are the lassee and smoothie stall....banana and mango lassee for £1. Then there's the burritos stall....vegetarian too.....£1.20 not yet tried the grilled banana and omelette stall.....oh and there's s baked potato and grilled mushroom stall. Ummmmmm! The food here is to die for....having spent 5 weeks starving in Indonesia....this is a vegetarians heaven!

We hired a scooter to look around and visit a few of the many waterfalls. Pai is surrounded by huge rolling green mountainous terrain which against the bluest of skies, with a touch of white fluffy cloud here and there, it all looks so idealic and postcardy.....its breathtaking.

The night life is pretty good too, not crazy techno blab everywhere but a more relaxed vibe where you can sit around an open fire and talk or put the world to right. It's all about relaxing here!

We met the most tempermental or maybe mental girl, who was actually a boy. Her name is Sarah and apparently she runs a guesthouse. She can be really nice and then turn into an aggressive monster in a nano second, you really have to be careful around her. I witnessed her flirting around a guy playing pool and the suddenly she threw the cue down and was shouting " we're supposed to be a team" I think he took her shot. Later we were waiting to play pool and she went mad again telling me she was going to punch the girl playing...."no you're not....that's my daughter" I told her. "Ok..I hit you then!" Needless to say she didn't hit anyone, she likes to throw a tantrum.

Another lovely thing about Pai are the dogs that roam around from big shaggy benjies to a dalmation. They are soo cute and are always checking out what you've bought from the stalls hoping for abit.

We walked upto Darling guesthouse to watch the sunset and were followed by ten dogs, turned out one was female and must have been in season cause the rest were males and wouldn't leave her alone. Later she was rescued by a guy on a bike, she just jumped onto the scooter.

So Pai thank you for a great time and please don't open any chains like MacDOnald's, Starbucks, pizza hut etc.it will ruin your beautiful town.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 04:17 Archived in Thailand Tagged waterfalls mountains food travel green scenery scooters community pai journey mother_daughter blog world_trip chaing_mai chloe_bailey dalmation_dog Comments (0)

Krabi

Squirrels and Railay Beach

sunny 30 °C

After the disaster in ...that place beginning with P I don't want to mention, Christine and Gee recommended Krabi as they had been there already and knew it was a good place to go. So a whistle stop booking procedure and picked up to leave 45 mins later....how organised were we! The trip over was lovely ...very relaxing ferry ride into a small dock and being seasoned boaters now we managed to bag the front deck of the boat. Christine and Gee sat against a door though and wondered why it was rattling, then a man came out....! We had the best seats on the boat so we sat back with the sun shining down on us and the water was like a mirror....best journey yet. Unfortunately when we arrived we had to do the accommodation search and again it was a nightmare, we just couldn't find anywhere so in the end I went into the tourist information and they suggested a place which had vacancies. We got there and managed to bargain up a deal with the price and on seeing the size of the room we were relieved. Our room had a dodgy shower the whole time until our last night, it had six small jets of water that dripped out....it was pitiful! It rained nearly every night in Krabi and it poured, think it followed us from P town. We were in a restaurant....no 1 on trip advisor....and there wasn't enought tables inside so one table had a chair where the roof didnt cover a lady customer so she opened up her umbrella and ate her dinner, she just got on with it...no moaning or complaining, that was refreshing and I have learnt already that us English are professional complainers. Yes we are...it's true! For example i order poach eggs and toast for breakfast and scrambled eggs come out with toast, so what do I do? Nothing....I sit and eat what's infront of me, this wouldn't happen in England though, in England it would be sent back "I didn't order this, I wanted poached eggs!". See you soon learn over here that it doesn't really matter....don't they say eggs are eggs? No? Well something like that anyway. You know what I mean, we are spoilt...we order and want and expect. We need to appreciate that we have breakfast, I won't be complaining or expecting so much......we will see anyway.

We hired mopeds again and this time they were the business....the best ones yet and brand new! Really funky with skulls, mouths and flowers on....Scoopys if I recall. We buzzed around looking at all the sights and one day we ended up at the Buddah at Tigers Cave which had a staggering 1234 extremely steep steps to the top. This was really hard work and after the first 100 I knew it was going to be a struggle especially with the heat. Each step was like a breeze block ladder and the air was thick with the heat - this was really really hard and the sweat (been told that ladies don't sweat they have angel tears) was pouring! Going up took concentration to keep the breathing in tune and the looks on the faces of people coming down showed that it can be done. When we eventually got to the top some 45 minutes later the views were amazing plus there was a big gold buddah sat there (another buddah). I took loads of snaps and then promptly deleted them by mistake ......yes Chloe it was me ....I pressed the wrong button, panicked and took the battery out to stop it and luckily saved the rest of the photos, so it wasn't the camera....it was me! Sorry!

There is nothing like buzzing around on the mopeds with the sun beating down on you and the breeze against your face.....missing the Vespa! We met a young lad called Andreas and Gee invited him to dine with us one evening.....yes he turned up....course he did....four lovely ladies as company! The funniest bit was when we took his picture Gee asked if she could sit next to him so she could tell her mates she got off with him......bless him he looked petrified. We swapped emails as we were going to Bangkok at the same time so when I emailed him to update him he went on about Chloe's hair and how beautiful it was.....I think he though we were all after him!!!

Finally on the last day we went to Railay Beach which is beautiful and I wish we had stayed there but hey ....you can't research everything! We sat for lunch in the beach restaurant when I felt a tap on my head.....no not a sink tap....then it happened again, I looked up to see two squirrels sat on a branch....the tapping on my head was poo....nice aye......s**t on from a great height. Guess it has to be extra luck for that to happen! If you don't know what squirrel poo looks like....next time you have a chocolate peanut make sure it's out of an M&Ms bag!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 18:02 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach railay squirrel poo. krabi. Comments (1)

Koh Lanta

Mopeds and beaches

sunny 30 °C

Koh Lanta.....suggested by Asheigh we met in Goa....a quiet place with plenty of beaches. Easy enough to get to being just another ferry ride away from us for just over an hour. The journey wasnt too bad and now we were travelling with Christine and Gee. It's interesting to see what sort of luggage people bring, we have seen men with the biggest ruck sacks in them world, the men's knees buckling under them with the strain on their backs whilst their wife/girlfriend wanders bagless besides them. What do these people put int these bags? Honestly some of them a so big and it is nearly always the men. I would have thought all they would need would be a few pairs of shorts and a couple of tshirts...i think they carry ironing boards....computers, sinks etc! We have only small bags literally 11kg and that's bad enoughh lugging that around especially when you have to pick it up and put it on. So Christine and Gee had their luggage....two big suitcases and hand bags, now to be fair they didn't intend on moving around so much and theirs were not the biggest of cases by along shot. We had a lot of practise getting ready for the trip in packing and unpacking, knowing what we needed to take and what we didn't. I left so much stuff at home that I wanted to bring but wouldn't be able simply because it would make the ruck sack too heavy.....I still regret not packing my white dress though :/

Christine and Gee said they soon found out what they actually needed to bring but a lot of the time when there were awkward moments getting the cases on and off ferries, or up and down stairs....a young muscley bare chested Thai boy would just pick up the case as if it were a bag of sugar and throw it on is shoulder heading off towards our rooms "Cor....you're strong!" you would hear Gee say. But there were times when you cold cringe as they launch cases and rucksacks from the boat to the dock. Anyway well done girls on moving around with your bags!

Koh Lanta is a long thin island about 6 km wide and 30 km long with a decent road going right the way round....you can't get lost apparently but we managed it.....this time thanks to Chloe. We hired mopeds each from our resort....yes a resort....lovely little beach bungalows right next to the beach with its own beach bar and restaurant. The mopeds were about £3 for 24 hrs so we got on and decided to explore and single file on the road with our helmets and shades on off we went. Our own little bikers club poodling along at apx 25mph...ok...maybe max was 35. Its a lovely island very quiet with the potential to be a really busy island. There are soo man beaches which are practically empty, one each called long beach.....you can work out why it's called that, was like our own private sands...no one was there!

We zoomed round for a while and decided to head back, now as I've said before my internal sat nav can be it bit dodgy at times but today it was working (how can you get lost on a ring road?). I said to Chloe "is this the turning" meaning that I really thought it was the one we needed to get back to the resort "no" was the reply so being the leader of bike club I carried on and everyone followed me.....for miles! We got to a bit junction and had to admit we had missed the turning so back we went. We were nearly at the resort 5 more minutes and we would have been and my bike ran out of petrol. Not a problem I doubled up with Chloe and we got back.....in the dark now and it was dark because there's not been an investment in street lighting there. I told the manager about the bike being tired the last thing I wanted to do was sort that bike out "I'll get it tomorrow". I told him. This didn't seem to placent him....he wanted it now.....I did think well it's not going to get stolen....we're on island with only one ferry out a day! But still I got on the back of his bike and off we went to find it....miles and miles later "I think we may have gone past it" I said sheepishly "sorry". He was very good and probably though stupid English woman....I can't help it if my sat nav doesnt work! Eventually we found it ...five mins from the resort where I had left it funnily enough!

Our time on Lanta was mainly out on the mopeds zooming around looking at all the beaches. It is a beautiful place and I really hope it doesn't get dragged into the commercialised holiday spot that cn be around. Lanta is basic and relaxed.....keep it that way.

We found out there was a waterfall and decided to cut out the middle man, go there on our mopeds and have a look. New made it and there were elephants available to trek on and were told a 20 min walk to the waterfall. Actually the man we asked how far it was to go refused to tell us because we didnt park our bikes in his car park! We decided to do the walk how bad could it be? When we got to the river more like a stream we carried on for a bit longer but gave up in the end and turned back....I mean we all had on flip flops and had to wade through water, climb over trees, climb up steep mud mounds and down them ....it was a right old obstacle course!

It was an early morning start for the next leg......and we were going to regret this one!

Posted by Vicky Bailey 23:20 Archived in Thailand Tagged beaches sea koh journey mother_daughter blog lanta world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (0)

Phuket- Phuget it!

sunny 29 °C

Having been to a few Thai places now I have got to recognise the abundance of cages hanging outside people's homes and shops homing only one small singing bird. Initially I thought they were a sign of good luck or maybe a sign of prosperity, ok, that's not true, initially I thought it cruel and wanted to let each bird out to fly free into the tropics. I then correct myself and consider if the owners think they are actually doing some good by looking after their birds? Well....I have found out first hand, in Koh Tao I spoke to a local man and asked him about his bird in his cage (the cages are all very pretty is large golden hooks to hang them and yes the birds sing beautifully and in the evening they are covered and taken down and into the building). Charlee told me that he loved his bird but was still mourning the loss of his previous bird that died 6 months ago, he continued to tell me that the previous bird (he hadn't given them names ...merely bird) had only one wing and he had it for a very long time. Charlee then went into his shop and came out with a coffee jar full of cotton wall and unscrewed the lid. I was wondering what he was doing but I thought....go with it.....he gently put his hand in and scooped out a very dead bird with one wing....a six month old dead bird. You wouldn't have thought so though...it looked like it was asleep a but the sad part of all of this was the loss in Charlees eyes and for me this confirmed.....they love their birds and they look after them although some bet on whose bird sings the loudest with the largest bet being thousands.mmyoure supposed to have a licence to own one too but hey this is Thailand! I think they would be mortified if any one said it was cruel. I have since found out the type of bird....a Red whiskered Bulbul that sings when it is agitated...even though the song is beautiful, so is it cruel?

We were looking forward to some vibrance after a few days chilling out and all of us had been told about awesome Phuket....'it's great'. 'I love it there'. 'we go there every year'. Loads of recommendations so we were very excited and knew we wouldn't be disappointed especially as we picked the busiest place Patong. I didn't even mind packing and getting up for the 630 am transfer..... see I was excited!

The journey was painless - sitting on the deck of the boat in the hot sun again with a lovely warm breeze. Arriving into Phuket Town we got on board into our mini bus to take us to Patong, so far so good! Then a strange thing.....radio one in then mini bus.....odd....reminded me abit like Tenerife or some typically sea side infested town. We arrived at our hotel and were pleasantly surprised how nice it was for the bargain price we paid...air con, tv, mini bar etc.

We decided to go out in the evening and then spend the following day on the beach, so we glammed up and off we went. A few steps down the road and the thunder started to rumble....then it POURED with rain and I mean poured! There was more water than my shower and it showed no signs of stopping. We jumped in a tuk tuk and was taken to town and dropped outside a restaurant. But the rain kept coming and we refused to get out not wanting to ruin our dresses and hair. Eventually the restaurant brought out brollies for us giving our tuk tuk driver a lucky escape from our new shelter! We had a lovely meal in Savoey Restaurant albeit a fish restaurant it was good veggie food however it was still raining....now the streets were starting to flood and that's no good when you're wandering round in flip flops.

The heat is still on so the cool rain isn't too much of a bind only it is a killer for the hair! We walked to the main strip where there was bar after bar and you know shopping precincts well they have them too but they are not shops but bars and clubs all with go-go girls up on the bars dancing. Oh and I forgot to mention the old men lusting after them walking around with their eyes at above bar level. Walking down the street past tout after tout asking if we wanted to go to a sex show and still the rain came down. We sat in one bar and a very drunken Indian man stopped to have a good look at us and then came into the bar and persisted into trying to buy us a drink, we completely declined his offer, he had taken a liking to Gee even though he was far from her type....semi concious is far from anyones thpe i imagine! If they ring a bell in the pub it means someone has paid a price for all to have a free shot and we were there when this happened.....two OAPs had rung the bell! When I went to the toilet I saw the bar girl stood with two guys with their hands down her top having a good grope, after they put a few notes down there for her. It was awful and I've been to some places but this has to be the worst. We decided enough was enough and went back to the hotel ready to meet early for breakfast to discuss the plan....should we stay or should we go? I already knew we would be cutting our losses and going......to be honest there wasn't any other option but to get out and go to one of the other beautiful islands here. Had we been spoilt with the other beaches?....Now we were missing Phi Phi.

We met for breakfast and has a brief conversation and decided to leave, a unanimus vote and within minutes our boat ticket was booked so we had only 45 mins to get back, get packet and get going! It was a surprise how quickly we did this and then I had the task of trying to get our money back....a very hard task which I failed at to cut the story short...a hotel manager hanging up on me telling me to call Agoda (a booking company).

We boarded our mini bus and left with big smiles on our faces.....off to Krabi.....I know shame about the name but I have it from Christine and Gee that it's a lovely place.

End of the Phuket story......don't tell me....you should have walked around and seen some more.....well that's maybe but driving past the completely packed beach which reminded me of home made me feel so much better to leave. AND I have seen some beautiful places in Thailand and Phuket is a very poor reflection on the place so if you are one that goes there year after year you are missing out so much....go see real Thailand....it is amazing.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 03:32 Archived in Thailand Tagged beaches phuket journey mother_daughter blog world_trip back_packing chloe_bailey flash_packing Comments (2)

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