Jethro: Next island along is the smallest of the three, and if it was a theme park it would be called scuba-diving-land. A hundred and fifty competing dive shops pack an island you can walk around in just a few hours. Even the schoolkids here wear a uniform with underwater scenes on it. Did 4 dives over 2 days, coral reefs and all kindsa fishies, was excellent. Beats Cyprus for the marine biodiversity here, but Cyprus’s Zenobia is still my favourite dive ever. And I realise how much I took cyprus’ underwater visibility for granted. Despite the crowds of boats, we had it nice and quiet underwater. The first boat had 2 Budda points, where you’ll get thrown overboard by the crew if you stand on them. The second day was raining and the boat hit big waves on the way back, people were thrown to the floor, kit was sliding across the deck, and the crew were bailing out water with little plastic buckets. It was brilliant. Thankfully the water was 30°+ so it was lovely (warmer than the air) when the waves hit you.
Peach: Coconut Monkey is a really cool seaside cafe, with a chilled out beachy vibe. While Jethro was going deep underwater for a different kind of view I discovered this awesome little cafe and made myself comfortable on a floor cushion with a coconut, banana, and peanut butter smoothie (heaven in a jar).
Jethro: we went back to koh phangan after, because the wind was meant to be picking up for some kiteboarding! I wanted to kite at mui ne (Vietnam) but there was no wind so we skipped it. And when we arrived at koh samui the first time there was no wind either and I was worried I’d never get to get out. So we had extended our stay on the islands waiting for some forecasted wind. Getting the ferry between islands was a bit funny as it got stuck In the docks and all passengers (a couple hundred) got asked to go stand at the front of the boat to lift the stern so we could motor out.
We got back to koh phangan and into some beach accommodation by the kite school, but wind kept dropping off or gusting with storms. Eventually I managed to get a single disappointing session in, with a massive 19 meter kite to try and catch the weak breeze. The forecasted wind never materialised, and by this point we were able to stay on the island a few more days and catch the infamous Full Moon Party.
20,000 people descend on the beach, with fire shows everywhere and everyone going mental until sunrise, at which point half the remainders are dancing still and half are snoozing on the beach. It’s pretty mental, but a bit disappointing as it was just a big pissup and not really anything special. People come halfway around the world for this party (or rather, this week of parties) and it was just a bit regular/normal. The fire shows were however excellent, one memorable one was the flaming skipping rope. The party hostel we pre drunk in was silly but fun, everyone UV painting each other (Peach had a queue of people waiting for her painting skills) and dancing on the beer pong tables.
The morning of the full moon, we had big plans for an early hike. Peach was always waking up too early anyway, and we wanted to avoid the heat of the day, sleep in Aircon for the whole afternoon and then be awake all night. Up at 6:30 we zoomed on the moped to the north coast and followed a route I found on a blog. It was a lovely hike, but by the time it reached 8:00 it was too hot and we had to turn back. Lesson learnt: don’t even try to be athletic on a hot island. We still slept all afternoon though!
One of my favourite things about these islands is the abundance of cheeky monkeys. The babies are super cute and playful, and the adults lazy and human like. We had stopped on our moped to watch a group of 30 odd of them, when a guy who had gone quite close slipped. In keeping his balance he made a pretty sudden movement and instant screaming chaos erupted. As one, the monkeys converged on us, hissing and screaming and ooh ooh oohing. We ran away to the mopeds and escaped, it was genuinely scary!
I finally got my hair cut, I had put it off for ages as I hate going. I found a tiny thai lady who was set-up in her front living room, she didn’t speak English but went to town. She couldn’t quite reach my head so I had to half lie down in the seat so she could reach. I thought she was doing a good job until she ruthlessly cut off all my sideburn bits. Peach found this much funnier than I did d:
After the full moon moon party we waited an extra recovery day and then headed back to be mainland, towards a national park called Khao Sok. It was time for jungle and lakes!