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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 9 Digest from Koh Samui, the boat and Koh Pha ngan, Thailand

For the earlier daily travel digests from my South East Asia Backpacking trip, look here.

The day started early for us as we had a boat to catch at 9:30 AM. We were ready by 8 AM, but when we came out on to the streets for breakfast, we found that all the shops on the island were closed. Apparently all of them stay open till late in the night to cater to the folks who come late for dinner from the parties. And since they are open till late in the night, nearly all of them open only at 11 in the morning. Thankfully for us, we found a deli shop who served foot long sandwiches. We decided to have breakfast at this shop in spite of the high prices as we were very hungry.

At 9 AM sharp, a share taxi arrived at our hotel to take us to the pier. The share taxi picked some more people and dropped us all at the pier. At the pier, we got our tickets and stickers and boarded the small Haad Rin boat that could seat about 50-60 people. I got myself a spot on the sunnier deck while my friend got himself a spot in the windier front side. As the boat chugged away slowly, I could admire the beauty of the island, its blue waters and the colorful boats sailing on it. The island looked massive and so green as we passed along its length slowly. I wished I could live in one of those cliff side hotels that looked so exotic from the boat, but then I realized that I did not like this island much.

In an hour or so, we arrived at Koh Pha ngan’s Haad Rin beach and after passing by all the taxi and hotel guys, we reached the main Haad Rin area. As we walked around the area, we checked our three hostels, but found all of them to be expensive. It was very surprising that they were quoting high prices because all of the hostels were running empty. As we could not pay that high, we walked quite a distance in the humid weather before we found the Lazy house hostel who offered us a dormitory bed for 250 THB per head which was half of what others were asking. We took it and found that even this hostel was running empty and upon asking found out that most of Haad Rin as running empty as all the folks had left after the full moon party and that they would expect tourists to arrive 3 days before the half moon party. We settled into the hostel, freshened up and then walked towards the Haad Rin market area to have lunch. The best part of the lunch here was the tender coconut water as it felt like heaven in that sultry weather. After lunch, we explored a bit of the Haad Rin beach before we decided that the heat was a bit too much for us to handle. While we relaxed back at out hostel, we started reading more about Ko Pha ngan, we found out that there was a great trek nearby that provided great views of the Haad Rin beach and the surrounding ocean. As soon as it was 4 pm, we decided to grab a small bite and started our trek towards the view point.

We would show the map to the locals and get directions to the trail and once we found the trail, we started walking uphill. The trek was nice and green, but the humidity was still high. We walked for more than 30 minutes but could not located the view point. We asked a couple of locals, but they had no clue of where the view point was too. We decided to turn back as we thought that we might have missed a turn somewhere. And when we did retrace our steps, we found out a steep way that led up somewhere. It was slippery, but we found a rope that could be used as a support to climb. But, unfortunately for us, it started raining and we sensibly decided not to climb any further as the trail would get worse and dangerous in the rain. As we made our way back to the market area, the rain increased in intensity and we were all drenched. But, I really liked the rain as it provided much needed relief from the heat and the exhaustion from the trek.

By the time we reached the hostel, the rain had stopped. After a much needed shower, I began exploring the market area of Haad Rin, had one of the famous banana pancakes of Thailand and kept exploring while my friend decided to check out the various seafood that were put on display in front of the restaurants. We finally settled into a restaurant, had a hearty dinner, explored the market area some more and then finally booking ourselves on a tour to Angthong Marine National Park the next day.



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