Thailand 6/8-7/1: Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Tao

Here are some brief synopses of my travels in Thailand over the last three weeks:

Phuket:

I stayed in Phuket for 1 week. I had an excellent stay, mostly due to some amazing Airbnb hosts who showed me great local restaurants and even ran their own tours around the island. Phuket was easy to navigate with a motorbike, with good roads that allowed for plenty of exploring. I visited roughly 20 beaches during my stay, picking a section of an island to explore each day. Nightlife in Patong, on the famous Bangla street, resembled Bourbon street on steroids. Nonetheless, my first impression of Thailand was one I will never forget.

Ko Phi Phi:

I took a 2 day 1 night trip to Ko Phi Phi while staying on Phuket. The tour ended up being Russian (26/29 people were Russian, plus two Romanians, and me) which made for an interesting experience. The tour involves being taken to roughly a dozen different islands and locations around Phuket, plus a night stay on Phi Phi. The Thai tour guide, nicknamed Ali Baba, made for a great travelling companion and without him I would not have spoken a word of english all trip. At any rate, the islands we visited were undescribably beautiful (some of the best scenery in the world). The Ko Phi Phi nightlift did not disappoint, with awesome beachside fire shows, Thai boxing, and of course all the Chang you could want.

Ko Samui:

I stayed on Ko Samui twice, once for two days and again for four (I am two days into the second leg here). Samui is beautiful and large, great for exploring with a motorbike. My first day, I took a kayak about 5km out to a small adjacent island. Once I got to the island, I realized the kayak had taken on quite a bit of water on the way over due to a leaky livewell. I decided to chance the return trip, only to get about 2/3 of the way back before realizing this kayak was well on its way to the bottom of the bay. An amazingly timed speed boat was passing by, and while at first they thought I was waving at them out of the kindness of my heart, they finally realized I was screaming “help” not “hello” and plucked me and the sinking kayak out of the bay and returned us both safely to shore.

My second day, I took the motorbike down to a used book store owned by a friendly Brit named Paul. After stocking up on books, I continued south and stumbled upon a hippie owned and operated frisbee golf course. Needless to say, an afternoon of frisbee golf on the beach/in the jungle made for some good fun.

Now that I am back in Samui, I am staying in the (poorly named) fishman’s village, which is in fact a rather expensive touristy area. Nonetheless, my time here has not gone to waste.

Ko Pha Ngan:

I arrived on Ko Pha Ngan the morning of the (in)famous Full Moon Party. The island was packed with people, especially around the epicenter of the party in Haad Rin. The party did not disappoint, with roughly 12000 people crammed onto a beach, with fire dancing, and of course the famous fire jumprope. This involves two guys swinging a huge rope (which is of course on fire) around and around and letting drunk tourists try and jump rope over it. Needless to say, hilarious.

The two days I spent on the island after the party were in fact much more enjoyable. The crowds thinned out, and I was able to enjoy the Treehouse Beach Bar just down the way from my bungalow. A dangerous place that before you know it you’ve spent the whole day there. The following day, I went on an ambitious 3 hour hike through the jungle to another beach. Luckily for me, the path (if you could call it that) was occassionaly marked by spray painted arrows showing the way. The hike itself was easily the most challenging I have tried, with steep inclines and declines and treacherous footing. The beach that I arrived at was well worth the trouble, though, being extremely lovely and secluded.

Ko Tao:

I spent a total of 6 days on Ko Tao, and what a place it was. My bungalow was on the quiet end of Mae Haad beach. The two adjacent resorts had their own private beaches. If you headed the other way, Sairee beach was just a ten minute walk and much more lively. One of the days I was there, I decided a fishing trip would be a good idea. I was quickly proven wrong when the boat was parked a mere 50m offshore, a spot we would stay for the rest of the day. As we finally started moving to a new spot, a massive storm blew through, which the captain (a gent who could not have been more than a year or two older than me) insisted on navigating in his 10m long boat. This made for an interesting and bumpy 1 1/2 hours back to the pier, with no fish in hand.

 

Needless to say, it has been an exciting, adventurous, and relaxing 3 weeks.

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About

Masters student in International Relations at Texas State University.

Posted in Analysis

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