After spending about 4 nights of our trip in Phuket, Mara and I the flew to Koh Samui to begin the second part (and my favourite part) of our adventure...
Koh Samui - Part 1
I absolutely LOVED Koh Samui. I really didn't want to leave this beautiful place.
Our first 3 nights were spent at a little resort called the Kirikayan Boutique Resort at the quieter end of Chaweng Beach. To begin with I'd wished that we'd stayed a little closer to the "party" end of Chaweng but it was actually quite nice and really relaxing to be at the quieter end. We didn't have a bad view from outside our little villa either.
Once again, we discovered how small the world truly is. One of Mara's best friends from Tasmania, Amy, happened to be staying only a few hundred metres down the road from us. Amy's boyfriend Greg thought we must have secretly planned for them to be staying so close to us but it was a pure and crazy coincidence. We met Amy and Greg for dinner at an Aussie themed restaurant then Mara and I continued on to our first night out in Koh Samui to a great place by the name of Ark Bar.
Before heading to Ark Bar I should also mention that we stumbled across 60 Baht cocktails (about $2) so we knocked back a couple of those and decided to get matching tattoos! After all, you only live once! (I'll let you decide if they're real or not..)
One of my work friends had recommended I check out Ark Bar and rightly so. On the way to the bar, we were persuaded in to at a little travel place to book our ferry ticket to Koh Phangan and met a local by the name of Lina. Lina was amazing and booked all of our hotel transfers and ferry tickets. She was also hilarious and we ended up having a few drinks with her and her friends later in the night.
On our way out of Ark Bar, supposed to be heading back to the hotel, we ran into some French guys and got talking to them. We stayed for a couple more drinks and proceeded to try and tell them every French word we knew. And by "try", I mean failed miserably. They couldn't even understand our pronunciation of "croissant" until we tried putting a French accent on it. Typical Australians. But I now have a friend to show me around Paris when I eventually get to go; whether we can understand each other or not!
Just to give a description of Ark Bar, it is basically a big beach party with tables where people can sit down and an area of beach where the dance floor kicks off later in the night. Just like in Patong, there are locals everywhere with lizards and monkeys and little girls trying to sell flower necklaces. I couldn't help but give in and buy a necklace when a little girl of about 3 years of age came over and started begging me and hugging me. It was heartbreaking to see so I got sucked in. Our second night at Ark Bar consisted of monkey and lizard photos (lizard photos for Mara of course, not me), dancing on the beach, watching the amazing fire show and attempting the limbo under a stick of fire.
The Full Moon Party (AMAZING)
After 3 nights in Koh Samui, we made our way by ferry to Koh Phangan for my favourite part of the entire trip; the Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach. At the exact moment we left to catch the ferry, there was a torrential downpour of rain. It was the heaviest rain I think I've ever seen. We got absolutely drenched after about 2 seconds between our car and the ferry shelter. Luckily it cleared up later that night.
When we booked our accommodation for Koh Phangan, it was already mostly sold out. We ended up booking a place that was about half hour away from Haad Rin called Kupu Kupu. It was my favourite of all of the hotels on our trip. We had a little villa once again with a really big room and a balcony overlooking the beach. It would have been quite a romantic place; had we been a couple!
We booked a taxi to take us to the party and ended up in the back of the Tuk Tuk taxi with 2 South African guys, Brad and Damien, and 2 American girls, Jamie and Lis. It was a lengthy trip there so we all chatted away about where we were from and what we do for a living etc. I came to the realisation of how easy it is to make friends while travelling.
Mara and I went our separate ways when we arrived to stock up on buckets and all things fluro (as you can see below). There is no such thing as going overboard with fluro at a Full Moon Party.
After getting our important shopping out of the way, we made our way to the beach. It didn't take long before we ran into our taxi friends and we ended up staying together for most of the night. We started a dance floor at the very end of the beach by ourselves which didn't take long at all to fill up with people. Basically, we started the coolest dance-floor of the whole party (I like to claim anyway).
I have never felt more free or alive than when I was dancing like an idiot on the beach. "Wake Me Up" became the theme song of the night again and Mara and I stopped to dance whenever we heard it It's hard to explain the euphoric feeling to someone if they haven't been themselves. I know there are so many horror stories associated with the Full Moon Party but I had the time of my life and would recommend it to anyone as long as they make an effort to be careful.
Later in the night, we lost everyone else and I found myself eating some pretty terrible pizza. We planned on staying to see the sun rise but decided to make our way back to our hotel just before daylight to watch it there. Turns out we were facing the wrong direction to actually see a sunrise. We did get to see a pretty amazing sunset though.
Highlights of the Full Moon Party
1. Dancing on the sand
2. Amazing music
3. Awesome people
4. Finding a toilet that actually had toilet paper
5. Decking ourselves out in fluro
6. Seeing people jump the fire rope
7. Discovering cheap beer at the 7-Eleven
8. Terrible pizza at 4am
Lowlights of the Full Moon Party
1. The heat.. my face paint didn't last very long
2. Losing people so easily (luckily Mara and I stayed together)
3. Finding disgusting toilets with no toilet paper that cost more than the nicer ones
4. Seeing people with burns from jumping the fire rope
5. Some not-so-pretty sights early the next morning
Our day following the Full Moon Party consisted of nothing but room service and movies. The day after that we headed back to the ferry back to Koh Samui. The line for the ferry was insane but our driver somehow managed to get us to the front of the line being we'd pre-purchased our tickets.
Koh Samui - Part 2
Without knowing anything about Thailand, all of the hotels we'd booked had been directly near a beach. I don't know how we managed this but our last hotel was in the middle of nowhere. I think by this point we must have been tired and just booked the first place we could find. The name of the place was the Mantra and the next few days consisted of us using the phrase "the f*#&ing Mantra" (apologies for the language).
I'm sure it's usually a lovely hotel and would be great for couples and families but from the get go we weren't happy with the location (which was our own fault) and after the day we arrived everything seemed to go wrong. We froze during the first night because we didn't' realise we had to request blankets for our beds; we found rubbish in our room from a previous stay; and they failed to leave us towels a couple of times. I'm sure these are probably one offs but after having such a good run everywhere else, it was quite frustrating. Still, we didn't let this ruin the last days of our holiday.
We spent most of our time lounging by the pool and made use of the cinema room for a couple of nights. On our final night in Koh Samui, we took the shuttle (yes luckily there was a shuttle) to Chaweng for a final night at Ark Bar. We started out with our 60 Baht cocktails and then spent the night dancing on the beach for the final time. Mara even participated in the fire show as a volunteer (crazy girl). We then got a feed of McDonalds and in true Thailand style, got a ride back to our hotel on the backs of scooter taxis!
After an amazing 2 weeks we then made our way back to for 1 last night on a tiny little propeller plane.
We stayed our final night in a place I couldn't pronounce the name of (I think it was French) and took an early morning taxi back to the airport. I really didn't want the holiday to end and have to come back to reality and to everything I now have to face. It was an amazing 2 weeks though and I wouldn't change any of it for the world.
I cannot wait until my next adventure!