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  • Travel Challenges
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    Koh Phangan, Thailand (August 2018)

    First island stop on our honeymoons

    Pronounced “Ko Pahng Yun”, this island is famous for its wild full moon parties or half moon parties (or any parties) at Haad Rin. We just missed the full moon party so we opted to explore the quieter sides of the island. It’s a bigger island, one where you even by motorbike, it may take you an hour to ride somewhere because of the roads. We only planned to stay for 1.5 days but we would’ve like to add on another day to check out more of the island. I’ll include a list of things recommended but we didn’t have time to do.

    Day 1 – Sunday

    • Thai Smiles flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui
    • Ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan
    • Taxi to High Life Bungalow & Check In
    • Dinner at Zots Resto @ Tantawan Resort

    Day 2 – Monday

    • Breakfast at Tantawan Resort
    • Motorbike rental at My Hut
    • Mae Haad Beach
    • Haad Khom Beach
    • Lunch at Haad Khom Bungalow Restaurant
    • Pool at High Life Bungalow
    • Dinner at High Life Bungalow

    Day 3 – Tuesday

    • Breakfast at High Life
    • Secret Beach
    • Check out and took their taxi to the pier for Koh Ta

    Getting There

    We took a Thai Smiles flight from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui. Then a ferry boat (Seatran) from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan. We booked all boat tickets online at 12go.asia. Just show ticket on your phone at the ticketing window. There was no Grab (Thai’s Uber) so we just took a shared taxi ($400 baht pp) at the end of the pier. Bunch of taxis were waiting there for passengers.. expect to ride in a shared taxi.

    Accommodations

    Since we were only there for 1.5 days, we wanted to stay near a nice beach and at a hotel that had easy beach access. We decided to stay at High Life Bunaglow in Secret Beach. The garden bungalow room was overall fine but didn’t have a safe so we had to do some creative hiding. They have safes at the front desk but you needed your own lock. The pillows at first were dingy but I requested a change and that was slightly better. Hotel staff service was inconsistent. Some people were really welcoming but others’ attitude made me feel like I was burdening them. Shrug. They also keep your food and drink tab in a booklet, where you have to write in what you got and then you pay at checkout. The food and drinks here is pretty good and the infinity pool is a sweet addition. Plus easy beach access, which we really wanted. Didn’t rent the motorbikes from here; reviews said it was sketchy. We rented one 10 min walk down the road per recommendation from one of the Tantawan Resort owners, this Belgian guy named Vincent. We ate there and met him. Great guy. Even though we weren’t staying at his hotel, he was so helpful recommending things to do around Koh Phangan and also the trusty bike rental place. Breakfast and dinner food and service was good here too. Would look into staying at Tantawan next time I’m in town.

    Things We Did

    1. Rented a Motorbike

    Our ride around the island

    As mentioned before, we rented a motorbike from a recommended place from the Tantawan owner. It is called “My Hut – Vehicle Rentals” (50/13Moo8 Seethanu Tambon Ko Pha-ngan, Amphoe Ko Pha-ngan, Chang Wat Surat Thani 84280, Thailand) Had no problems with them at all. They did hold a passport for collateral.

    2. Mae Haad Beach

    Isthmus at Mae Haad Beach

    This beach was cool because it had a sandbar where there was water on both sides (called an isthmus) and connects to Koh Ma Island. We also had our first watermelon shake here that got us addicted and ordering it at different places every chance we got.

    3. Haad Khom Beach

    Much more rocky but much less people

    Vincent told us this beach was also really nice and was more secluded. You can also hire a long tail boat to go to the beautiful but hard to reach Bottle Beach from there. We decided not to go only because it looked like a storm might pass through and we didn’t want to get stuck at bottle beach (boats will not go if tides are too wavy) but stayed here for a while and had lunch. Much quieter than Mae Haad.

    Long tail boats to take you to Bottle Beach

    We stopped by a 7-Eleven on the way back to the hotel to get some Thai snacks and water. Found kit kat ice cream! (It was mediocre. Sad.)

    4. Chilled at the infinity pool at Highlife Bungalow and read.

    The infinity pool overlooked Secret Beach

    5. Secret Beach

    Lovely beach but too bad we didn’t get to enjoy it longer. It was really cool seeing crabs hide so quickly in the sand. They go in and out of holes really fast.

    Where We Ate

    Prices were slightly higher here than Chiang Mai. In fact, Chiang Mai prices were the lowest of the whole trip so I definitely scoffed at the higher prices the rest of the trip. Anyway, our hotel and the Zots Resto food and service was good. I especially enjoyed my Indonesian fried rice at High Life. I also enjoyed my pad thai at Haad Khom Bungalow Restaurant.

    Zots Resto @ Tantawan Resort
    Fried rice | High Life Bungalow Restaurant
    Pad Thai | Haad Khom Bungalow Restaurant

    Things We Didn’t Do But I Noted Down From Research

    • Thong Sala Night Market
    • Herbal Sauna Baan Tai (Big Tree)
    • Chaloklum Beach
    • Ang Thong National Marine Park
    • Bottle Beach
    • Wai Nam Beach
    • Sramanora Waterfalls (natural mountain pool)
    • Phaeng Waterfalls
    • Thaan Prapaad
    • Thaan Sadet
    • Khao Ra Trail
    • Just for Fun Canopy Adventure
    • Kiteboarding Asia (KBA)
    • The Sanctuary
    • Salad Beach

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