Our trip around the islands doesn’t follow any logical order as we booked an amazing hotel for the first night really cheap [without planning the itinerary]. It was on the middle island – Ko Pha Ngan, so that’s where we started.
Around 8am our overnight train reached Surat Thani, and as soon as we got out of the station some woman asked for our boat tickets and pointed to our shuttle bus shouting ‘Hurry, hurry’. On the bus our tickets were exchanged for stickers – different colours for different islands – an easy way for the boat operators to guide this mass of tourists wherever they want them to go, like a flock of sheep. Just not sure what the hurry was for, as everybody sat on the bus waiting for a good 30 minutes before it finally started moving. About an hour later we were on the boat: hot burning sun, wind and a lovely view. It took a lot of nagging to convince Vidmantas to hide in the shade, so that we wouldn’t turn lobster-red on the first day.
The boat stopped at Koh Samui first and a bit later arrived at Ko Pha Ngan. We headed to the village straight away to search for food, and when we were full and happy we caught a songthaew to Haad Rin. It’s sooo fun when you’re flying at something that feels like 80km/h with the wind messing up with your hair, palm trees flying by, and when you’re going up the steep curvy roads you have to hold on tight as it feels like you’re going to slide down the bench-type seat and fall out!
We arrived at our hotel full of excitement. A friendly receptionist greeted us, offered some cold pineapple juice and showed us to our room. WHAT A ROOM! Not even a room, it was a house. A very modern tree house: wooden floor, flowers scattered on the bed, couchette overlooking the balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors, pretty wicker baskets for everything from snacks to toiletries… And the view: we were high up on the hill, surrounded by palm trees, with our balcony overlooking the rocky seaside. What a welcome to the islands. And the funniest thing is – the price for one night here was the same as the Bangkok hotel we stayed in, with the outdated room in the middle of a busy district where as soon as you step outside you’re surrounded by rubbish, noise and giant cockroaches.
After a while of enjoying the view we decided to walk to the village and find something to eat. We walked down the hill, trying to remember which way we came with the taxi, until we walked into a forest, and then we stopped. The sound in the trees, which was getting louder and louder, was indescribable. It felt as if we were surrounded by millions of tropical insects hiding in the trees making that uncomfortable sound and it was getting dark. Then we thought that it could be the electric current running through the wires as we heard it creaking near the pier earlier that day, but it was nowhere near as loud as this. We started walking forward but it was still pretty scary. We reached some village with barely any lights on and nobody outside.
We walked further behind the huts and saw a beach. What a beautiful beach… Suddenly it wasn’t all that scary anymore. We stayed there for a while, took a few pictures and decided to walk back as we couldn’t remember driving through this village with the taxi. Besides, it was getting really dark, mosquitos started biting us and there were bats flying around… As we rushed back we saw where we took the wrong turn. Haad Rin village was the opposite way!
Safe and sound we had a meal at our hotel’s sky bar and walked back to our room. We took our pillows and laid down on the terrace watching the stars, thinking how happy we were =) And then we saw a lightning. And another one. It looked so beautiful… After a while we came inside and watched the storm from our bed until we fell asleep.
More photos on our Flickr page here.