It has been a while since my last entry, so I have challenged myself to write at least 2 new blogs today - i have 30 minutes, and a lot of eager eyes on my back waiting for my valuble computer to become vacant!
Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao have been 2 islands of great contrast. The main point of our time on Koh Pha Ngan was to attend the notorious full moon party in Hat Rin; Koh Tao was our smaller, quieter, recovery island that was to follow! However, to say Koh Pha Ngan was all about the full moon party would be unfair - for a start we were lucky enough to find a quiet, and remote series of beach bungalows, far away from the noise of the town centre, and wonderfully located on the beach front - literally 10 meters from the sea. (As the pictures show, it really was picture postcard stuff).
Whilst there are lots of concerns about the effects of tourism in these parts, and although there are always developments and building sites to be seen, I still managed to find parts of Pha Ngan that remained accesible, but not over accessed! We did this by hiring mopeds to bomb around the islands hit and miss road network, and despite Jammo's late accident, we managed to see what Pha Ngan had to offer besides the beaches and bars of Hat Rin. A waterfall and national park provided good entertainment - the 5 of us, Me and Jammo, joined by Phil, Wai and Andy (Friends of Jammo's from uni), climbed up the root coverd hill to the top, only to find the falls were dry! We pushed on to the view point, which did provide breathtaking views of the whole island, but then discovered our route down was less than easy - rock climbing comes close as a description, but rock falling may be more appropriate!
Back in Hat Rin, and the full moon party soon came around! For Jammo it was a real battle of wills - now looking like a mummy - and in pain from his accident, we had both set our hearts on reaching the sunrise on the otherside. We had got some practice in 2 nights previously, drinking buckets on the beach! A bucket consisted of a few mixers and a small bottle of spirits. X number of buckets later we all found our way home - seperatley, and to this day no one is quite sure how we did it. On our return we were greeted by a small black and yellow snake in our room, not one of Keiths favorite things to say the least..... ! Once Jammo and I had cleared, and checked the room and all of our stuff - ("Is this Clear?", "CLEAR", "VERIFY!!") - we slept a deep sleep - although to this day im still convinced the snake spent the night with us!
Anyway - back at the full moon and it was just after 2am, England had drawn with FYROM and Keith and I had become sepreated from Jammo and the boys........ 4am and Keith decided to go home, but i was not going to be beaten! On a fools errand i began to walk the 2km beach full of 10,000 party goers on a hunt for just one man, the tallest man i know, the tallest mummified man i knew. Luckily for me, i had not had a lot to drink as i knew that getting to 6am would mean a lot of red bull - and whilst i was thinking of getting another one i walker into the back of a very sweaty mummy and the night resumed!
We did make the dawn, and it was well worth the effort - Faithless "Insomnia" ironically welcoming the sun as it popped up over the horizon!
Chicken burger for breakfast, and then the afterparty began on the top of the hill - booming over the beaches - so i really could not get no sleep!! Which was a pity......!
On Koh Tao we found a totally different speed and way of life from Hat Rin - to say Koh Pha Ngan would be unfair, and it is possibly unfair to tar Hat Rin with the party brush, we did visit at the same time as the biggest party in Asia!
The laid back beach bars of Koh Tao provided us with a nice mellow way of recovering from our full moon exersions, nice candle lit bars playing chilled music, the occasional dog fight occuring infront of you for entertainment and the gentle noise of the sea lapping up against the shore just infront of your feet.
For me, Tao was always going to be about one thing, and that was getting under that water and diving! The training was fun, if not challenging, I swallowed a lot of salt water as we bobbed about in the surf on our knees underwater - surrounded by a lot of fish! After a brief dive that followed our safety training, we did a second one at a different site. Despite the well documented and talked about event of my air supply running our 14 meters down, which is true, i still had an amazing time, despite being helped out by a very angry Swiss instructor who got me to the choppy surface with a strong current! "DON'T EVER LET GO OF THE F####### ROPE!!!!" Diving rocks - and I can't wait to get back in the water in Aus - hopefully with some air this time!