22.11.2008 29 °C
I spent a quiet week in Ko Pha Ngan, an island famous for its full moon parties. It was a last minute decision when I was all prepared to go to Ko Tao - the weather forecasts were showing rain and thunderstorms for all week, so I thought it might be more fun to join Marcel and Stefano who were heading for Ko Pha Ngan.
It took us a 12-hour overnight bus journey, almost three hours waiting in the middle of nowhere, another bus journey and 2,5 hour ferry trip to reach Ko Pha Ngan. The boys were happily sleeping on Valium while I stayed up almost the whole journey, no doubt annoying my neighbour with my reading light.
We stayed in fabulous bungalows near the port town of Thong Sala. I only paid 150 baht per night and felt like I was in a hotel room! There were also some adorable dogs living there. A big one who looked so kind and wise and humble, and two puppies who were just like little hyeenas! I got hopelessly attached to them.
During our stay there was a Half Moon Festival held on the island. Turned out that there isn't just Full Moon Parties, you can also celebrate the Half Moon, Black Moon, Shiva Moon and whatnot... Which I wasn't aware of cause I wasn't planning to go anyway. Half Moon Festival is a party held one week before and one week after the Full Moon Party. I'm certainly no rave girl and wasn't into anything like that at all, but when in Ko Pha Ngan... I decided to give it a go and went there together with the boys and some people they knew, a local tattoo artist and his friends, a mix of Thai people and foreigners.
The party was in jungle and had a festival feel to it with lots of food stalls and bars around. The first two hours I thought it was quite fun, but I can't say it was my idea of a good party. I've never been one for the whole electronic music, psychedelic lights and masses of people off their heads thing. I was home quite early, just in time when the heavy rain started yet again.
It was difficult to get a good picture there, but it was pretty much like this.
Those days in Ko Pha Ngan were long and lazy with constant possibility of rain and thunderstorm. When it wasn't raining, it was impossibly hot and humid, making all our belongings damp in the bungalows. We had a routine of sleeping late, going to town for our meals (always the same food market as the restaurants were too expensive) and watching movies with better or worse quality. I spent a lot of time reading books and catching up on my notes. Stefano rented a small motorbike and we were travelling on it all three of us, but I also walked a lot between Thong Sala and our bungalows. After all, it gave me something to do and it was a nice 20-minute walk to get there. I seemed to be the only one who didn't mind the walk, and was even trying to earn some money by doing the 7-11 runs... Despite my best efforts I never made a penny this style.
I expected Ko Pha Ngan to be this crazy party island - that is why I didn't want to go there in the first place - and was surprised to find it so dead. The bars and restaurants were empty and there were no people around. Even Haad Rin, the most popular backpackers' area, was quiet. Apparently more people start coming in couple of weeks' time. I thought that shopping in Haad Rin was quite good, I found lots of cute little shops even though they were on the pricey side. I had one good day of shopping there by myself and ended up spending way more than I had allowed myself to!
Because of the rain - or the laziness of the guys! - we didn't go around much. It's a shame cause I feel like I spent a week on the island without seeing anything particularly beautiful. I didn't see the most popular sights like the Chinese temple and some supposedly nice waterfalls. So due to all this I wasn't too impressed with the place. I was being tight with money and didn't want to pay for the driver only for myself or take part in organized trip. I'm sure the island has a lot to offer, and maybe one day I will visit again with better luck.