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  • Jan15

    Day 37 - Right Place, Wrong Time

    January 15 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    After another decent sleep we went down to reception at 9am for a much needed breakfast before our scooter arrived at 9.30. The timing couldn’t have been better, because as soon as the scooter arrived and I was required to complete the paperwork & go & check the scooter for damage etc, our breakfast of eggs on toast were going the other way to our table. By the time I returned to breakfast, Jackie had finished her poached eggs & my scrambled eggs were just lukewarm. Not the start I had been hoping for!

    Our trip commenced by heading south to (not so) Secret Beach followed by Yao Beach. The tide was high so we couldn’t see the beaches at their best, but we decided they didn’t match up to our Salad Beach. On their plus side, they certainly had more eating options within walking distance of the beaches.

    We stopped fleetingly at several other beaches, including Ao Chao pao, before driving through the busy centre of Thong Sala. After stopping at a pharmacy for a couple of bits, we stopped at a 7-11 store for some snacks for our room. I bought several packets of Dewberry jammy dodgers at just 10 Baht each. Just saying!

    The roads on Ko Phangan are very hilly & steep with lots of potholes, which makes riding a scooter extremely treacherous, particularly when at the bottom of each slope you have to drive through what can only be described as a sandpit. Understandably there are frequent scooter accidents resulting in the loss of skin on limbs which is known as a ‘Ko Phangan tattoo’. We have seen plenty of evidence of this with many people walking around with bandaged limbs, including one poor sod who had all 4 limbs & his chin bandaged! For these reasons, it is the law to wear a crash helmet & I had read that it is strictly enforced by the local police.

    The roads from Thong Sala to the south of the island were the trickiest to navigate, due to large cracks & potholes in the road, but we arrived safely at Hat Rin Nok Beach, better known as the famous Full Moon Party Beach. The next Full Moon Party is scheduled for two days time on Monday 17th January. We parked up & walked most of the length of the beach. Despite being deemed to be a beautiful beach it didn’t particularly do much for either of us. The beach front resorts were a mixture of nice to damn right awful & the town behind it was run down & soulless.

    We didn’t stay long & instead rode back to Ban Tai, just south of Thong Sala, then headed into the mountainous jungly heart of the island. This provided an exhilarating ride which took us to Than Sadet-Ko Pha-Ngan National Park, where we were forced to pay 100 Baht each entry fee. The road took us down to Hat Sadet Beach, which is highly rated in my guidebook. The beach was very pleasing on the eye with large boulders at either end & large waves crashing on to the beach. On the downside, the beach faced east & the tall palm trees behind the beach were shading it from the sun. After a quick beer in the beach restaurant, we sat on the beach for 30 minutes in a small sunny spot & snacked.

    As were were helmeting up back at the scooter, two wild boar sauntered past, but true to form they had virtually disappeared before I could lay my hands on the camera.

    We rode back up the road & parked up to walk a 100 metres to a waterfall. Halfway along the rocky path, we decided to stop because we could see in the distance that the waterfall didn’t look that impressive & there were Thai families & kids playing in & around it. Instead I leapt from rock to rock over a couple of raging torrents (streams) to get a better photo of it, when to my amazement a stark naked western man & woman emerged from the water where the kids were playing & started drying off on the rocks. I’m not a prude but that was seriously taking the piss in a country where even topless sunbathing is seriously frowned upon.

    We continued up the east coast to Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach, then to Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach, which was decidedly more upmarket. We parked our scooter up alongside Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas & walked to the beach. As we did so I became aware of a security guard blatantly watching our every move. We walked up & down the beach & declared it the best beach we had visited today, but it also suffered with the afternoon sun disappearing behind the palm trees. I later checked the starting cost to stay in a room at Anantara with a sea view which turned out to be £494 per night.

    Still under the scrutiny of the security guard, we left the beach & headed home. We passed an afternoon rave in the jungle north of Thong Sala, then we stopped at a Lotus (Tesco) store to buy masks & snorkels but 30 minutes later emerged with enough wine & Hong Thong to sink a battleship. We passed another pool party rave with lots of bright red, pissed-up kids & we made up our mind there & then that we wouldn’t bother with the Full Moon Party.

    Heading home we chanced upon a Police roadblock & they were stopping everyone, presumably to fine them for not having a crash helmet or a face mask or both. At least 8 people had been detained at the side of the road, but after we had stopped we were waved on. It felt good & justified us wearing our uncomfortable helmets all day.

    We rode to KC Kitchens, a roadside restaurant we had spotted when we first returned arrived on Ko Phangan, because it was heaving with diners mid-afternoon. It was rough & ready, but the food was fantastic & plenty of it. I had a pineapple curry with chicken & rice, whilst Jackie ordered a crispy pork dish. We had also ordered a starter of spring rolls which arrived after the main course & we struggled, but managed to eat.

    After being out & about for around 11 hours, the evening ended with a much needed shower, several large glasses of passable white wine & 2 more episodes of Afterlife.

    Song of the Day: Right Place, Wrong Time by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
    Karma Police by Radiohead.
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