The Thai islands have a wonderful charm. Having come from places that can, at times, be difficult to travel to and around, it was a delight to find the whole process was easy & good value for money.
We left Bangkok after meeting Holly & Sophia and making our bus by the skin of our teeth ! It was amazing to see them, we were all so excited to get going & experience the Thai islands having heard so much about them from other friends & family who had travelled there.
As soon as the ferry left the port at Surrathani we slowly approached paradise. Turquoise blue water so clear you can see the fish swimming is fringed by white sparkling sand that is powdery to the touch. The landscape is stunning - lush and rugged making you feel like you have stepped out of reality and into a dream Jurassic world. The boat was packed full of people rushing to the Island to make the infamous ‘Full Moon Party’ , a fleeting stop on their adventures around Thailand.
Anyone that comes here cannot deny that the presence of Western tourists somewhat hampers the experience, and many times conversations drift into the past with travellers nostalgically day dreaming about what it would have been like to travel here 20 years ago when The Full Moon party was an eclectic little known rave and you had to muddle through a sentence in fractured Thai for lack of knowledge of English.
However, we found that by researching a little it was fairly simple to find spots that were secluded and could offer their own little chunk of exclusivity.
The first island we travelled to was Koh Pagnan, most famous for its monthly Full Moon party and little known for its stunning scenery. We stayed in the North of the island at a quiet resort called Starlight. It was peaceful, tranquil and practically deserted which gave us the perfect place to relax in the sunshine and catch up with Drew, Holly & Sophia who had flown out to meet us. There were plenty of restaurants and bars on the beach where we would while away evenings eating delicious Thai food and watching fire shows. We of course attended the monthly Full Moon party which was a bucket fuelled frenzy of drum and bass music, raving and splashing in the sea as we watched the sunrise.
After the madness of KPN we travelled to Koh Tao, a tiny island famous for Scuba diving & cheap PADI courses. We thought we would get some time to chill out, but found this island had more of a party atmosphere than the last & lost days in a haze of alcohol, music, beaches & bar crawls. The island was again really beautiful & i will definitely return there to do my diving course when i am over in this part of the world again.
The last Island we visited was Koh Samui. Being one of the more built up Islands, it was clear to see the demographic of people who visited there was an older crowd. We hired a jeep & explored the Islands Waterfalls and temples which were really beautiful. Again, we stayed out of the main Tourist area at a quieter, less busy beach that was wonderful to swim & relax at. After days of exploring the island the came time for us to say goodbye to Holly & Drew and continue on down to Malaysia. It was really strange knowing the next time we would see them would be at home in a mere few weeks time, a paradox of dread & excitement.
You can easily see how people get trapped on the Islands, days slip by in the blink of an eye as you find your self watching the sun setting over paradise once again. We have met lots of people who had travel plans of grandeur who have traded them in to spend their whole time away relaxing , partying and meeting the droves of Tourists who flock here increasingly each year.
With destinations exotic, intriguing and far more Cultural so nearby ( Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam…) i find it hard to see the appeal . It was fun for the couple of weeks we were there and i truly loved every second of it, but you lose that sense of achievement and broadening that travel gives you when you are somewhere that every menu features Fish and Chips and the closest you can get to the Culture is watching a Ladyboy cabaret show.
The past fortnight has been a haze of sparkling blue sea, glistening white sand, neon raves, pub crawls, mopeds, jeeps , waterfalls & temples. It hasn’t been the most culturally diverse or awakening part of our trip but it has been a hell of a lot of fun! We have saved Koh Phi Phi for the end of our trip to savour a last piece of heaven before returning home to the UK, hopefully we will get to camp on Maya beach where the film The Beach was set & swim with Firefies in the rain… What a beautiful dream!