While travelling, there are some places you look forward to more than others, and some you think that won’t be your cup of tea quite as much; there are places that will exceed your expectations, fall wildly short, and sit perfectly where you think they should. Koh Phangan is a place that I thought I could quite happily miss, and is probably the place I was least looking forward to visiting out of our whole trip. After spending a few nights there, it met my expectations perfectly. I think when I look back, it’s probably a place that I won’t really remember, and could quite happily have missed.
I say all this like we had a bad time there. We didn’t. We arrived a day later than scheduled fully expecting to lose the night’s accommodation that was booked and not used, but because we emailed the hotel, they didn’t charge us. The managers there were a lovely couple from Hull, who were kind and helpful, and were both a fountain of useful information and a laugh to see in the bar. That, and they had the cutest puppy I think I may have ever seen called Bella.
We stayed away from party central Haad Rin on the advice of our diving buddy Chris, which turned out to be a smart move. Jade unfortunately was ill for much of our time there, so being away from the noise, hustle and bustle was good for us. The half-moon festival we were planning on going to costs as much as our accommodation was going to cost for our entire stay, and so we skipped it. We later found out it was a disappointment and unbearable unless in a catatonic state, so definitely a place we did well to avoid. We discovered a nice bar that served cheapish drinks and showed a whole manner of sports. It was strange sitting watching the Australian Qualifying and Grand Prix knowing that the next time it is shown we will be there. It was nice to see some live football, even if we did sit through the rather boring Stoke v West Brom match. Seeing some of the six nations was also pretty awesome, even if it did result in a obnoxious and sexist encounter with a particularly undelightful with a selfish Irish fan.
The beaches on Koh Phangan didn’t seem as impressive as those on Koh Tao, and those that were coming next, so we decided to largely skip them. Once we walked Chinese Walking street, and once Jade had recovered, we set about enjoying our last night seeing some of the area by night before our epic journey to Phuket. We met some fellow travellers staying at our hostel, and enjoyed sitting and watching the football with them while they regaled us with some of their amusing tales from their travels.It may have resulted in a night of watching Man U win and debating whether the chicken bought from a street food stall was in fact anus, but it was a good night, and was a good way to say good bye to this string of islands.
It may not have been the best place we visit, but it certainly provided us with the downtime we needed after all the sightseeing in Bangkok, the visa-runs and teaching hours leading up to our travels, and the days spent on the boat diving.