Week 25- Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

This week my friend Veronica, who I worked with in Argentina, came to visit. She is one of my best friends so I was so excited that she would come for almost 2 weeks!! After I finished my job conference, I took a flight back to Krabi Town where I would meet up with Veronica. I had already booked a hostel and she would be there when I arrived. The hostel was pretty cool. It was called Pak-Up Hostel and the beds were comfortable and there was an outdoor bar area in the back which could be a cool hang out spot and there were free chicken kabobs every night. We got a private room for the first night which was a great idea since Veronica came in very sick. She had eaten some bad french fries in Buenos Aires and had been sick the entire plane ride and then in the hostel with a high fever. She wasn’t feeling well at all so we just chilled the first night and she slept.

Lookout point in Koh Samui

The following day she was feeling a bit better so we woke up, had breakfast, and took a long boat over to Railey Beach. I had been to Railey Beach before during yacht week and this was my favorite spot. The high limestone cliffs make it a stunning backdrop. I took Veronica around Railey and showed her all the spots including the cave with lots of penises. We tanned on the beach, went shopping, and had lunch. We couldn’t do anything like climb to the viewpoint, kayak, or rock climb because she was really weak from being sick. I think this disappointed her a bit, but we needed to just get her better. We returned back to Krabi Town via longboat at 5pm, had some dinner, and went to bed.

Old man Bhudda in Bo Phut Beach

In the morning, we woke up early to catch a bus and boat to Koh Samui. We were picked up by a small mini van at first and brought to their main bus area where they try to sell you coffee and snacks. They take your ticket, you wait for awhile, and then you hop on a larger bus to go to a town on the other side of the peninsula to grab a boat. We hopped the boat for about an hour and we got to Koh Samui in the early afternoon. Our hostel in Koh Samui was called US hostel and it was an amazing hostel. It was a bit out of town in Bo Phut beach and close the fisherman’s village instead of in the party area, but it was made out of old shipping containers and had a great vibe. The bathrooms were nice, the beds very comfortable, and they even had a pool.

Bo Phut Beach

In our room we met a British guy named Matt and the 3 of us walked into the fisherman’s village to have a look around. There were lots of cute shops and restaurants all up and down the street. The restaurants that were ocean side were very expensive, but the other side of the street wasn’t as bad. We went into a bunch of the shops to look for dresses and such. Veronica had brought a separate duffel bag just for shopping! We meandered up and down and found out that night would be a night market on the street so we headed back to the hostel to chill for awhile and then we were going to eat at the night market later. When we got back, Veronica started to get very sick again with a fever so she went to bed. Nate was also supposed to join us that day and was supposed to arrive around 5pm. 8pm rolls around and I am still waiting for him. He had a terrible all day journey to the island where he took around 5 buses and a boat that dropped him off at a local pier where he then had to walk 3 miles to get a tuk tuk. I felt so bad for him and he was definitely not in the best of moods. Since Veronica was sick and sleeping, Nate and I went down to the night market, grabbed some food, and watched a fire show on the beach.

Bar in the Fisherman’s Village

The following day, Veronica, Nate, Matt, and I decided to rent scooters and drive them around the island. Our first stop was to go into the Fisherman’s village and get some breakfast. We found this amazing restaurant and though it was a bit pricey the food was really good!! I had something like Eggs Benedict and it was such a nice change. We walked down to the beach and had a look around in the daylight and the water was so blue! We saw a cute bar that I would have liked to go to because all the seats at the bar were swings, but we never made it there.

Veronica and I at the Big Bhudda

Our second stop was a giant Bhudda that was just down the road from our hostel. It seems like Southeast Asia really likes to build giant Bhuddas. This one was one of my favorites. It was gold with a headpiece and a snake in the back of it. The stairs leading up to it were elaborate as well and at the top were amazing views of the ocean and the island. There were smaller Bhuddas around and even little monkeys worshipping the Bhudda.

Lookout point at the Big Bhudda

Our next stop was the main town of Chaweng. This is the main beach area where you will find lots of restaurants, bars, and stores. They said it was the most beautiful beach on the island, but it was small and crowded and I didn’t think it was that amazing. We stayed here for a bit and went swimming because it was really hot. The crowd on the beach was interesting with this old Rasta man walking around and he even bought Veronica a bracelet. We saw some people trying to do the flyboarding which was hilarious to watch as well.

Chaweng Beach

Then, we got back on the scooters and drove up the island to find a good viewpoint that was on the map. It was really stunning because you could see the whole coastline. We lost Veronica and found that she had gone all the way down to the rock below, so we went and joined her. We hung out here for a little while then hiked back up and left.

Sneakily taking a picture of Veronica
Chaweng Viewpoint

Our final spot is what the locals called the grandma and grandpa rocks (Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks). The legend has it that a boat crashed off the shore and the only people to survive were a grandma and grandpa that were trying to go the north of the island to see their children. They washed up on the beach and knew that they would never make it to their children, so they committed suicide on that beach. Now, there are rocks there shaped as a penis and vagina to commemorate them. I am happy that we went here at the end of the day because it was an amazing place to watch the sunset. We took a bunch of sunset pictures and realized that there was a bar below us on a beach that only exists during low tide.

Grandma and Grandpa rocks
Sunset near Grandma and Grandpa Rocks

We decided to go to the bar which was called The Rock Bar. It was one of the coolest bars I have ever seen in my life. It was a reggae hippie bar and they were going to have 3 live reggae bands that night. The bar was entirely made of driftwood and they had 3 large cloths in Jamaican colors handing from rocks over the beach. They lit candles that were made from beer bottles that lined the beach. You could climb up on a rock and they had cushions where you could sit and either look at the bar or at the sea. We had a couple of beers up on this rock while we watched the bands warm up and even saw a fire show. I wish we could have stayed there all night, but we were far from our hostel and had to drive the scooters back. We drove back, which is always a bit scary driving in the dark since it is really difficult to see the pot holes. We had dinner at the market and a little restaurant down the street and then headed back to bed.

Rock Bar

The following day we had decided that we were going to go to Koh Phangan. Nate decided to leave on an earlier ferry to get over there and Veronica and I stayed to catch the later ferry and have time to ourselves. We wandered back into the fisherman’s village to do a bit more shopping and eat lunch. We decided to get a massage because one of the really nice places right on the water offered us a $12 massage in a private room with a complimentary tea and water. We could not pass up this deal and I have no regrets. The room was gorgeous and we had an ocean view during the massage and the masseuses were trained. It was fantastic!!

Our massage room

We went back to the hostel, went to the ferry station, and hopped a ferry over to Koh Phangan. Koh Phangan is famous for its full moon parties on the beach. We thought it was a huge party island and though it was 3 days after the full moon party we thought there would be a lot of people there and a lot going on. Well, we were wrong. We stayed in the main town called Haad Rin where the full moon party takes place and it was a ghost town! There was almost no one there! I couldn’t believe it. We stayed at a hostel called Sea Breeze Backpackers, which was pretty good because though the actual room and building were sketchy and the beds were really hard, we had access the the neighboring resort where we could use the pool, the rooftop, and have an amazing buffet breakfast in the morning.

View from the pool at Sea Breeze Resort

Veronica, Nate, and I were the only ones in the room so that was really nice because if felt like a private room. I think we may have been the only ones in the hostel. We had a walk around and down to the beach. We looked around several of the shops and I really liked the dresses and clothes they were selling at the stores. We had dinner at one of the local restaurants (I am now addicted to Massaman Curry) and then went back to the hostel to shower and get ready to go out that night. We all ended up taking a bit of a nap and Veronica was still feeling a bit under the weather and decided to just stay in for the night. So, Nate and I went out to walk around and try to find the party. There was almost no one on the streets! We bought a couple of beers from 7-11 and then just walked around until we ran into a couple of other people. We asked what they were up to that night and they said they were trying to get a small party going at their hostel and so we joined them. Everyone was really nice and it was fun to talk.

Watching the sunset from the rooftop at Sea Breeze Resort

Then, we all decided to go down to the beach and see if anything was going on. There was a small party going on the beach which probably ended up with maybe 50 people maximum. They had some games going and even a kid that could be no older than 10 doing a fire show. It was a bizarre mix of things happening. They played musical chairs, there was a limbo that was on fire, and even had a long jumprope they set on fire. I did to the fire jumprope and I was really proud of myself! I met a lot of people that night and we all danced on the beach all night. Around 3 or 4 in the morning the party shut down and we walked along the beach and decided to take a little night swim that was pretty cold. Nate decided that we needed food so we stopped at a restaurant that was still open for some food which tasted amazing in the moment. While we were eating it started to pour down rain and the streets started to flood. We had to wait out the storm a bit and then walked back to the hostel in the rain. It was such a fun night!

Bar of the beach in Haad Rin

The following morning was a bit rough though. We had to get up and hike up the hill to get breakfast, but I couldn’t eat much. Up there we did find a talking bird though and it was so cool. It would repeat certain phrases that you said and we had a lot of fun with it. It was also hilarious because the bird would not repeat anything Nate said and he was trying over and over and then the bird out of nowhere just said bye bye to him and Veronica and I started laughing so hard we cried. We were like oh rejected by the bird! (This could be a story that was funnier if you there.)

Veronica and I at Amsterdam Bar

That day Nate decided to check out the north part of the island to see if there was anything more happening up there and Veronica and I moved to a bungalow a bit out of town to see if we could find more comfortable beds. That day we spent shopping in all of the stores and I bought 4 dresses because they were gorgeous and I have never seen those styles in the US for so cheap. For lunch, we had pizza at a restaurant called Same Same and it was amazing! We returned to the hostel and took a shower and then went to a bar on the north part of the island called Amsterdam Bar. It was a neat bar that had a balcony that overlooked the water and then sunset and everyone sat on cushions and these small tables. Nate met us there and we had a couple of drinks and watched the sunset.

After, we went to a town nearby for dinner. We found a hamburger place that was really delicious! Usually the burgers in Southeast Asia have been terrible, but these were US style burgers and had so much flavor. Veronica even ordered another because they were that good! We took a tuk tuk back to our bungalow and then went to bed again on terribly hard beds. I would say the accommodation in Koh Phangan has been the worst I have encountered this trip. I am glad we didn’t come for full moon because we would have paid triple or quadruple the price and all of my shopping would have been much more expensive. Also, during full moon they have 3 to 5 day minimum stays.

Kind of a creepy picture a random guy took of us at Amsterdam Bar

Veronica and I were going to get up and take a ferry to Koh Tao the following day, but when we woke up we were very tired and it was rainy. Since we were only going to spend one day in Koh Tao, we decided it wasn’t worth it to go. We would have just had to turn around the following day to get back to Koh Samui to take a flight up to Chiang Mai. Veronica wanted to see the north as well and Bangkok, so we needed to leave the islands ASAP or she wouldn’t be able to do that. We took a ferry back to Koh Samui, which was a really rough ride. The storm had kicked up the waters and the crossing was really rough. One girl was so scared she was holding onto a post and crying a bit.

We stayed at a hostel called Casa Luna because it was right next to the ferry station and our old hostel was all booked out. It was a great choice because it had an amazing vibe and we met some awesome people at the hostel. We met a British girl named Jenny who was so cool! She had had a really rough year in her life and had such an amazing outlook on the world and I was so impressed by her. The 3 of us went out downtown to Chaweng and found this cheap local restaurant. Veronica and Jenny shared a seafood deal where they got a huge plate of seafood and I had some curry. They had a cheap drink deal where cocktails were only $2.50. The first time was hilarious because we all ordered cocktails that were more or less the same color. Our waiter puts the cocktails down and we asked which was which and he said he didn’t know. Then told us it was ok but they were all same same but different which is the most popular english saying in Thailand and we all cracked up. So, we are sitting there passing around the cocktails and even the waiter is trying they to see which was which. The rest of the dinner I just drank long island iced tea to avoid the confusion. We stayed there a bit longer since it was raining.

Veronica did my hair for out night out!

We decided to brave the rain and then just ran through the rain to get to the club. At the restaurant we had met two other people from Ireland who were traveling together and we all went. That was such a fun group. We got there and everyone loved to dance and everyone was such an individual that just didn’t care. There were two different dance floors with different types of music and we just danced the night away. It was so fun!

The next morning, we woke up early to catch a tuk tuk to the airport. We had a flight to Chiang Mai that left early and we wanted to get there early to take advantage of the fact the Bangkok Airways gives our free food and drinks before the flight. We were both really tired that morning and had a very low key flight up north.

So far it has been great to have Veronica here with me! I have missed her so much and it was so fun to travel with her again!

One thought on “Week 25- Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

  1. Mini Lincoln reunion of two!!

    I was just talking to Vero about her trip. Thailand is sooo relaxing sometimes. We love BA but really miss SE Asia, especially seeing all your pictures.


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