On their Long Drive Home, Mike and Jess venture out on two wheels to view the questionably named ‘Grandfather and Grandmother’ rocks in Ko Samui, the legendary Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, and consider the 20-hour bus journey to come on their last day in Thailand.[Not a valid template]
We left Patong and Phuket in the early hours of the morning, heading twoards Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. After a rather wet week we were more than pleased to discover that the east coast of the Thai mainland hadn’t been affected by the rain, and once our bus got to the ferry terminal at Surat Thani, it was just a quick 45 minutes to Koh Samui where we were able to barter passage to our hotel on the other side of the island.
Ko Samui – or simply Samui to the locals – is just under 300-square kilometres in size, making it Thailand’s second largest island after Phuket. As well as an abundance of white sandy beaches, coral reefs and beautiful crystal clear waters, it also has one of the best sunsets we have seen during the entire trip. There is something about an island sunset with the colours reflecting off the rippling water that always affects us so deeply.
Along the south side of Lamai beach, hidden behind a beautiful rock pool is a boutique hotel called Beluga (like the whale). I’m not entirely sure what a boutique hotel is – nor do I think we’ve stayed in one during our epic road trip – but they all have pink lettering in their logo and white furniture outside. Fortunately the view and delicious appetisers more than made up for the Russian-esque colour choices.
Along Lamai beach is a place called Bikini Bar, which sounds a little more provocative that it actually is. Here they sell Jamaican style chicken and ribs, so the pair of us got stuck right in and didn’t look up until the sun had gone down. When we did, we very much enjoyed watching the fire performances: I know it might seem a little clichéd to watch someone twirling fire poi whilst we sat on a beach, but these guys really were fantastic. They even kept the fire show going indoors when a brief storm swept the beach, which must be against regulations of some sort, surely?!
With enough caffeine in us to wake the dead, the following morning we rented scooters and headed towards Samui, where there is a giant golden Buddha. The glitter and shiny tiles do make for an interesting monument to Samui and Thailand’s Buddhist roots, but the most beautiful natural scenery surrounds it, and it’s hard not to want to look past the giant gold dude and soak in some of the aquas, turquoises and greens instead.[Not a valid template]
For our last night we visited a place of natural beauty on the island, known to the locals as ‘Grandfather and Grandmother’ rocks: there are certain, let’s say ‘clues’, as it which is the male rock and which is the female rock which I won’t go into here. We also happened across a fantastic bar restaurant called The Rocks – made entirely out of driftwood – was situated in the bay. Cue another night sampling the local cuisine.
After a few days rest and relaxation in Samui, we really felt we needed some chaos, and there are few better places in the world to do this than in Koh Phangan. The island – as we found from on-board our mopeds – is surrounded by beautiful, warm shallow waters, that are perfect for snorkeling. It also contains a number of sandbanks that stretch almost 50 metres into the bay. At the south-westernly point of the island we came across the small town of Thongsala, where we opted for a few chocolate treats and fruity smoothies on one of the numerous beaches.
Koh Phangan’s main attraction though is the Full Moon Party, an all-night beach do that started in Haad Rin on the island of Ko Pha Ngan in 1985 as a little disco on the beach, but has since escalated into a monthly event drawing in between 15,000 to 30,000 people for each full moon of the year. Before we knew it we were in the middle of a small clearing in a tropical forest on the island of Phangan, covered in neon strobe lighting and dancing to trance music. Turns out there is a dress code for these events: the girls generally opted for colourful flowers, whilst the lads tended to just throw paint at one another. Both effects looked just as mesmerising under the black lights.
We awoke the next morning – having celebrated life in a way that only 20,000 painted up travellers on a tropical island in Thailand can do – and decided a day at the pool was in order. That, plus quite a lot of tonic water.
Tomorrow will be a big day: a 20-hour bus journey to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
– Find out how you can contribute to this charitable journey by clicking HERE, and find out where Mike and Jess are today by clicking HERE