Koh Phangan, I’d heard so much about you.
Your endless, perfect beaches and parties have lured countless tourists for years. From Black Moon to Half Moon, to the inevitable Full Moon, there appear to be moon-themed parties 24/7.
And now I’ve experienced you for myself, I’ve come away with so many new acquaintances, and memories that will last forever.
There were parties and waterfalls, and parties and beaches, and even more parties. The nightlife of Koh Phangan is certainly something else.
There are also great restaurants and bars, and great spots to take the bike for a quiet ride during the day. The scenery is stunning and there’s even, believe it or not, a waterslide park and obstacle course. All of this on a tiny island with a population of roughly 11,000.
In Koh Phangan there are sushi restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Korean barbecue and fish restaurants.
The most densely populated area is Haad Rin where the Full Moon Party takes place. There are several hostels brimming with backpackers eager to party.
I stayed at Echo Beach Backpackers hostel in Ban Tai and it was a 10 out of 10 experience. I played about 20 games of pool, and there were tons of drinking games and activities to keep everybody entertained.
This place was perfect for me, but there are many attractive, cheap bungalows if you are looking for a more reserved experience.
Then it was off to the northern mountains and Chiang Mai, the second most populated city in Thailand after Bangkok.
It is known for its rich ancient history of temples and spirituality, and its many elephant sanctuaries. I was lucky enough to attend a half day elephant sanctuary visit, which included feeding, washing and playing with the elephants in mud.
There is much criticism and controversy surrounding the mistreatment of the animals in these sanctuaries, but some of them pride themselves on their ethical standards and practices.
My half day, including pickup from the hotel, cost 1700 baht – about $70 Australian dollars. I thought it money well spent and think it’s something anyone fond of elephants should do when visiting the area.
Thailand has some of the best food in the world; it goes far goes beyond the old classics like pad thai and green chicken curry. There are a lot of night markets which serve a range of treats from fried chicken to cockroaches.
I found the local, cheap traditional food to be the best, but there are many restaurants catering to western travellers wanting a more refined dining experience.
Koh Phangan made for another amazing adventure in Thailand, the world’s backpacker’s paradise.I met so many great people, drank many a Thai beer and shared countless hilarious and exciting moments.
Truly a great place to visit if you want to relax and experience a hell of a good time.