I had dreams of beautiful Koh Phi Phi and low-key Koh Lanta before this trip, but with rainy season upon us, we had to stick to the Gulf side, where the islands are well-protected from monsoons. So which would it be: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao?
Believe it or not, we had been pretty stressed out with moving around a lot and visa applications and endless research, so all we wanted was to sit on the beach.
We feared the over-development and commercialism of Samui were against anything we wanted out of this one-week stretch in the islands, so we opted first, for five days in chilled out Koh Phangan in an area away from the island’s legendary Full Moon Party. We just didn’t really want to do the whole 18-year-olds-raging-with-neon-paint thing. (I’ve done that already; it was called Studying Abroad in Australia.)
In the planning stages, we spent days upon days trying to find the right accommodation in a sea of a hundred nondescript hotels. For Koh Phangan, we hit the jackpot with Thongtapan Resort.
It’s the last budget option on Thong Nai Pan Noi, a beautiful white-sand beach lining a clear blue bay now dotted with five-stars left and right. It was an awesome place to stay — super friendly Burmese staff, just the right number of people on the beach (mostly families) and a lovely village within a few minutes’ walk. Not sure why people say you don’t get that same signature Thai friendliness on the islands; the people in the village were incredibly sweet and chatty.
It was here that we perfected life as a beach bum in 7 simple steps. It’s also the best way to describe our five days.
1. Take naps on the sand. Many, if possible.
2. Forgo day trips on longtail boats. (Why leave paradise?)
3. For exercise, handstands in the water will do. To really break a sweat, kayak.
4. Make friends with the bartender. (Hi, Coco!)
6. At least one beer, soft drink and/or ice cream cone must be consumed per day.
7. Sunscreen! That Thai sun is a fierce beast.
We fell in love with the little village next to the beach…
Great hamburgers at Handsome Sandwiches, a hilarious shop with Handsome…everything. Those burgers were the most perfect midday beach meal.
…and great fruit shakes at Bamboo Hut Restaurant…
…and something called “The Earthquake” made of five scoops of ice cream…
…and the coolest bar with the friendliest owner, who, after hearing my cough, went next door to get lemongrass and made me a fresh cup of tea — free of charge.