It’s been nearly three weeks since I’ve left Dubai and arrived in Asia, and it’s been quite a ride. First, we arrived in Bangkok — an overwhelming city full of people, sights, smells, scams, and experiences. Unfortunately, both Madison and myself felt quite sick for nearly half of our time there (thanks in part to a crazy night on Khao San Road), and so hardly had a chance to get out and explore. Koh Samui was a somewhat similar story. A 20 hour bus ride from Bangkok left us feeling quite gross and groggy, and some bad mango made Madison sick for a good few days. By the time we were better, the rain set in — leaving us stuck at the hotel contemplating whether or not we were skilled enough to ride a motorbike in the rain. In retrospect, I am insanely glad we didn’t, but that’s a totally different story that I will tell in a future post.
After a week in the rain on Koh Samui, we took off to the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan. Both these islands are on the east coast of Thailand, in the gulf, and the local ferry makes traveling between them really easy. While Koh Tao is the third island on that side that most people visit, we decided to skip it (I’d been there before the last time I was in Thailand) and just relax on each island for a solid week.
And so we stayed for an entire week oh Koh Phangan, in a perfect little paradise called C Villas. Just a short ten minute walk from Haad Rin beach (where the famous full moon parties happen) it was close enough to the action when we wanted it, and far enough away to get a good night’s sleep. When we first checked into the villas on December 29, the place wasn’t too crowded. The closer we got to New Year’s Eve, however, the more people packed in and filled the place, allowing us to meet some pretty cool people from all over — the States, Venezuela, Cambodia and Vietnam, to name a few.
There’s a good reason so many people chose to stay at C Villas. The property is gorgeous, with natural elements (like stone, wood, and bamboo) used in the decor and tons of greenery throughout. Flowers and palm trees line the walkways, and a gorgeous infinity pool spans the beachfront. As for the villas themselves, the decor is basic enough to keep it very affordable, but pretty enough to go on the ‘gram. Think stone walls, lots of mirrors, marble counters and a rain shower in the bathroom, and even rooftop terraces where you can tan, relax, read a book, or take photos of the view.
The only bad thing about C Villas, if I had to name one, is that it’s located on a stretch of road that’s quite dangerous. If you take a right to Haad Rin, you’re fine — you can easily walk there day or night and still feel reasonably safe. If you go left, however, towards Thong Sala, you have to walk/ride this ridiculously hilly, curvy, and steep section of road that has little to no shoulder and tons of traffic. Madison and I made the mistake of going the wrong way our first night on Koh Phangan, and needless to say we ended up hailing a taxi to help take us safely out of there.
All in all, we had an incredible time at C Villas, as well as spending both New Year’s Eve and the full moon on Koh Phangan. Honestly, I had heard so many warnings about those parties in the past that I was pretty intent on keeping my wits about me, but it turned out to be not as insane as I thought. While yes, there are TONS of people (think 40,000) and bad things do happen, my personal experience was a positive one. I would just suggest the following tips for anyone wanting to attend the full moon party:
- Do not accept drinks from anyone. Yes, free drinks are awesome, but it’s amazing how many people get drugs slipped into their drink without knowing — even by bartenders. I was told to be safe and order beer (instead of a bucket since the opening is smaller) but honestly, I couldn’t find anyone selling beer. Just buckets for days. So I ordered my own, watched it get made, and carried it directly in front of me while I sipped at it.
- Don’t go barefoot on the beach. Do shoes suck on the sand? Yes, but while I was told to wear close-toed shoes, I ended up being in flip flops and was just fine. That said, I did walk over and on top of a LOT of beer bottles (the garbage that results from these parties is SO not okay, put it in the trash people) but I didn’t get any cuts. That said, lots of other people did so just be careful.
- Don’t go in the water. I kid you not, there was a consistent wall of guys lined up along the water’s edge, peeing. Considering you have to pay 20 baht (a little less than 1 Canadian dollar) just to use a toilet, I don’t blame them, but still. Don’t go there.
- Keep your valuables where you can see/feel them. I had a wristlet that I kept looped around my arm and tucked underneath my elbow all night, but I met two girls later on who both had crossbody bags and their cash and phones had been stolen out of them when they weren’t looking. I felt pretty reassured knowing that no one could get into my bag without my feeling it.
- Maaaybe avoid the fire jump rope if you can manage it. It looks cool, until you get tangled up in a blazing hot rope of fire. And yes, I saw that happen to someone about every 30 seconds or so.
All in all, the majority of our stay on Koh Phangan was great, and the entirely of our stay at C Villas was incredible! At least, until our very last day… but that’s a story still to come.