The Big Adventure: Full Moon Fail and a piece of paradise

What backpacker ventures all the way to Thailand, reach Koh Phangan on the exact night of the Full Moon Party, and fail to make it down for the night? Me. That’s who.
Pathetic I know, but a combination of money-conciousness and travel sickness tablets that turn out to be sleeping pills resulted in a mildly unconscious afternoon and therefore a very quiet, lazy evening drinking on a beach. Another flaw in our full moon plan was that I had somehow managed to book us into a hostel on the furthest point on the island from party beach, Haad Rin. We did however find a little corner of paradise on the North East of Phangan called Thong Nai Pan Noi.

Thong Nai Pan is one of the least developed areas on the island. This however, makes it insanely expensive to get to, rounding up at about 400 Baht pp each way. (Now I know this is only roughly £10, but when you consider that you can get from the island of Koh Lanta, across the Malaysian Border and onto the island of Penang for 800B each then you get kind to be a stingy tight-ass – once in the Thai budget mind-set it’s painful to break!)

The area is split into two beaches – Noi and Yai. Noi is roughly half of the size of Yai - Yai meaning  “large” in Thai - that are about a 15 minute walk away from each other (by walk I mean hike up a very steep road with man-eating spiders). There are some stunning waterfalls around the area, but again, all require a steep walk along the main roads and through the forests. Well worth it though. 
Phangan is a very mountainous island and roads tend to be steep and dangerous. Before we arrived we were warned about the accidents that happened and the ‘Phangan Tattoo’ – the ripped raw scars motorcyclists end up with after riding drunkenly through the jungle paths!

We stayed at a cheap hostel consisting of small bamboo bungalows with simple fans and horrendously uncomfortable foam beds. Sandee Bungalows was nonetheless, cheap and cheerful – made more so by the swinging hammock and the playful kittens that ran through the gardens all day! It did lack any form of Wi-Fi connection but we were able to buy drinks at a hotel on the beach and use theirs when we got desperate.

The door to nowhere...

Sandee Bungalows Courtesy  of Trip Advisor

Privacy issues?

Just Chillin'
Sandee Bungalows Courtesy  of Trip Advisor
Sandee Bungalows Courtesy  of Trip Advisor

The beach on Noi was peaceful, lined with sunbeds but not overdone.  More resorts than hostels, Noi was definitely the more upmarket destination, despite our room costing a grand old £9 in peak season Full Moon nights. The waves were wildly fun and the sunsets were stunning. Across the hill on Yai cheap backpacker bars and family hotels lined the shore as Jet Skis jumped around the bay. Amazingly the minor change in direction meant Yai’s waves were almost non-existent.

One of the most exciting things about Phangan was the FOOD. Having spent a week on overdeveloped and touristy Samui we were ready to dive into some real Thai cuisines. Being a Thai Island every single restaurant was dependent on tourists – but their food was Thai Divine.

I will talk more about the beauty of SE Asian dinners later on, but for Phangan I must tell you about Handsome. Handsome is a lovely man, he’ll give you a ‘Bloody Cold Beer’ and do your Laundry that will be ‘Clean for 10 years’. Handsome ‘Love you long time’,  Apparently ‘Handsome Beer make you Drunk for 10 year!’…Good luck handsome.

HANDSOME BURGERS - Courtesy of Trip Advisor
Courtesy of Trip Advisor
We never met Handsome. His face was plastered over the village and the shack/restaurant, as well as on souvenir t-shirts and mugs. But he didn’t actually seem to exist. Instead we assumed it was his mother, or perhaps wife? I don’t know, but the Burgers were ‘Bloody good love you long time’ burgers. Handsome Burgers are certainly that: Handsome.

Phangan was a little piece of Paradise. It set us up for what we searched for in each place throughout our adventure: seclusion, peace, beauty and amazing food.  Unlike what we had pictured, it took us by surprise. But we will be returning to our little corner, and we will be dropping by Handsome when we get there.        

(Again, I apologise but these pictures are an amalgamation of my own and those from Trip Advisor/Google – I have credited where possible! )

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