We spent a glorious 8 days on Koh Phangan before heading back to Bangkok, and then homeward bound to Qingdao, China. Our time spent on this island was some of the best we experience on our whole month-long journey from the north to the south of Thailand! As a little recap for those who love following our adventures and travel pictures – and for the sake of our own reminiscence – we’d like to show you a few of the ways that we found peace and relaxation on Koh Phangan.
There’s no mistaking the fact that Koh Phangan is known world-wide for it’s insane full moon parties. The truth is that these aren’t the only parties on this gorgeous island. In fact, while we were there we saw sign post after sign post advertising parties for almost every of the month. Most of them centred around the various phases of the moon. One night we found ourselves a little too close to one of these parties, and the loud repetitive trance music kept momma-to-be up until well after 4am. Daddy slept through it all – lucky son of a gun – but as my body adjusts to becoming a mother, my sleep has become lighter and lighter.
So here’s a look 10 things we enjoyed doing on this island since we were not able to party, drink cocktail buckets, rent motorbikes, ride elephants, or jump off waterfalls…
The white sands of Haad Rin
Beach-chilling. There’s nothing better than an afternoon of lying in the sun – getting up only to take a dip in the ocean, or get some refreshments. We were not surprised by how many people gathered on this particular beach everyday – most of them young – since this beach is the one where the famous full moon parties take place. There are therefore numerous resorts and hostel within a short distance of the shore. The sand is white and soft here, and the views are perfect!
Fruit Smoothies. We may not have been able to drink cocktails, but Thailand sure knows how to do delicious fresh fruit smoothies. After almost a month of traveling, we had tried a vast array of combinations, and for the most part, settled on our favourites. Right outside of Charm Beach Resort was a family-run food stall selling amazing smoothies for only 30 Baht each – this became our daily morning treat.
Walks on the beach. When we moved from Charm Beach to Thaniza Beachfront Resort, we found ourselves just a 20-minute beach walk from the Haad Rin pier. Why take a songthaew to have lunch when you can take a stroll along the beach, and look at the crystal blue water!? We therefore took two long beach walks everyday, sometimes even late at night under the light of the moon, and each of them – day or night – was magical!
Schweppes sparkling lime soda
Ice cold refreshments. Just because I wasn’t drinking, doesn’t mean that Justin had to have an alcohol-free vacation. He often ordered an ice cold beer or two to enjoy with our meals. Thai beers are pretty good – Singha is his favourite (Chang not so much!). Above is our favourite refreshment (besides smoothies) on this trip to Thailand – Schweppes sparkling lime soda. It wasn’t always available but when it was, we would each get a can of it! It was so refreshing and tasty!
Thai Pork basil
Street-side lunch. We are pretty budget-travellers – probably due to the fact that we like extended trips covering multiple countries or cities. This means that many days we have to get inventive and find food that is affordable, but still tasty and healthy. While staying at Charm Beach Resort, we discovered that eating at the resort’s restaurant 3-4 times a day would blow our budget. Fortunately we found some family-run restaurants nearby, and ate with the locals. This of course mean that the food was cheap, tasty, and served with a smile – You gotta love Thai food service! Lunch at a place like this would only cost us a total of about 70 Baht ($2).
Above, Vegetable “No Name” (deep fried shredded veggies in batter)
And below, Chicken Pananag Curry.
Swimming. An island break wouldn’t be the same without a few good dips in the ocean. Our first resort on Koh Phanang had a very shallow beach, but if we walked further out into the ocean we could swim in the clear water – with lots of little fishes all around our feet.
Reading and Writing. With all the downtime that we had on our hands, we enjoying many hours of doing nothing at all. Justin and I liked to read in the hammocks, play games, write postcards, send emails, and do blog posts. A holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without hours and hours of time spent like this!
Perfect views. It’s hard not to just sit and enjoy the magnificent views available on this island – the beach, the mountains, the gardens, and the changing skies. No better entertainment than simply admiring the beauty that surrounds you while you are on an island in Thailand!
Street Explorations. The streets in the Haad Rin area are narrow and filled with many things to see. We enjoyed the authentic Thai island feel here, something that we felt was missing from Koh Samui, and we loved walking around looking at the stores, bars and whatever else we could find. Some of the restaurants played movies on large screens, so if you passed by one that looked good, you could grab a spot on a comfy couch, get some food or drinks, and chill for an hour or two while feeling quite at home. You could even doze off if you wanted – no one would bother you in the slightest – Awesome idea!
Breathtaking Sunsets. One of our favourite parts of any beach vacation is the gorgeous sunsets. The one that you see above was absolutely incredible – this picture doesn’t even do it justice – and we caught it just in time one evening after strolling around Haad Rin for a couple of hours. I was in seventh heaven when I saw how pink the sky was.
Watching the sun set from a grass hill next to the beach.
Quiet days on an island in Thailand – This island is magical.
It’s just our kind of thing!
It’s just our kind of thing!