The Eastern Islands: Nocturnal Activity

So the 3 of us left Bangkok and Kylo was a welcome addition, he is a diehard pool man so now we outnumbered the United fan and we have Stevie G as our Thailand mascot as you can see below. As is the customary feeling the morning after night buses, we were nackered. Fair play to Kylo though, Diarmo and I were old skool night bus travellers and we were used to them but Kylo wasn’t affected too badly by the journey… Unlike us two back in the Vietnam days. Anyway we arrived in Kho Samui and had our guesthouse booked. Caught up on sleep and went on a wander. In all honesty it wasn’t amazing. The beach was… Very similar to Gran Canaria… Shit. The town was ok but luckily the night life was pretty damn good. We headed out that night and there were numerous spots with pumping tunes and lots of talent… Actually Kylo and Diarmo have pointed out to me that the talent was poor.

In all honesty our life in kho samui was a bit like Groundhog Day. Sleep by day, have a meal around 6, get a few pre-drinks in 7/11, get into pretty engaging although slightly tipsy conversations on the stoop of our hotel room, head out and hit the town and arrive home at some point near dawn. We discovered M-150 on kho samui. It is the Thai version of Red Bull which essentially keeps you wired for hours on end. Since Kho Samui, some of us have had to give it up… So that was our lifestyle and many of the M-150 induced hilarious carry on which happened on the island has been captured by video on my iPod. These videos cannot be made available to the public… For Diarmo and Kylos sake! Unfortunately the coolest people we met on Kho Samui were in fact Irish people, we didn’t come half way across the world to mingle with our own but we did meet a fair few great people. The party on Kho Samui was pretty good but this was just a warm up for Kho Phangan.

On arrival on the island we quickly appreciated a far superior beauty to that of Kho Samui. Our accommodation was up a pretty big hill but fortunately only 10 minutes from Haad Rin beach. And from our hill top bungalow amazing views of both the sun rise and sun set could be seen. I am pretty sure we saw more sun rises than sun sets…We arrived 5 nights before the full moon party and the legend goes that the nights leading up to the full moon are better than the full moon night itself. Bullshit. As the nights went on, they did get steadily better but nothing compared to the ultimate party, the electric, enigmatic full moon. So on the nights leading up to the full moon we met our Irish buddies again and between us we must have drank half of the buckets on the island. Our days were marred by tiredness but at night we were invigorated by the music, the cheap drinks, the stars lighting up the sky and the waves crashing in the background. A common theme on the island was arriving home soaked either from a midnight swim in the sea or from an adventure into a sea of foam at one of the many foam parties.

One day Diarmo and I actually made it to the alter ego of Haad Rin beach, a quieter and isolated beach and we had a refreshing swim as the sun set in the distance. That was our busiest day on the island. The night of the full moon was pretty damn special. The crowd on the beach had easily doubled and where before only 2 or 3 bars had any life to them, the number had multiplied drastically. You could feel an elevated atmosphere on the beach that wasn’t present before. The general feeling was that this could be the party of a lifetime – let’s get fucked. Unfortunately many lost the battle with drink by midnight. We were not so stupid. We drank, we danced, we laughed, got into general mayhem. As the sun rose in the sky, we were still on top form, going down slides over and over I think! The beach finally began to empty and we left around 9 am. Diarmo had tried to steal a few beers off a few Canadians but was caught in the act… So we then saw a sign for a full moon after party… Did we really want to go home? Nah!! So we went in to the party but it was really crap, fair few people but no atmosphere. Time for bed, we walked out and as I was walking home I realised I had lost the lads. They ended up on the quiet beach playing football with a Dutch family. Ah the beautiful randomness of Kho Phangan. Diarmo and I in particular did however regret not getting out and seeing neither Kho Phangan nor kho samui. We assumed the nightlife on Kho Tao would be quieter and we would spend time doing tours, exploring and spending time on the beach. This did not happen. The party continued in Kho Tao.

Kho Tao is probably the most beautiful of the three islands, I say probably because we know the other islands as much as we know the Antarctic. Nonetheless we liked Kho Tao instantly; we found a nice guesthouse right by the beach and right beside a bar which would become our local. The sad fact is, most days we would not venture out of a 200 metre radius, hotel room to the place we ate breakfast to internet cafe to dinner restaurant to bar. But feck it we had some brilliant nights out in Lotus bar. Cushions and little tables were spread out just yards from the sea, buckets were 2 for 1 and Burmese fire playing dancers were the nightly entertainment. We had briefly met 3 very nice Irish girls on Kho Phangan and met them on our first night on Kho Tao. Rachel, Gabi and Alice, 3 legends and we spent our nights with them. What was very impressive about the girls was their ability to keep up with us; in fact there were nights where they were begging us not to go to bed at 4 am! The crowd in Kho Tao were friendly and laid back; we met lots of great people… And this continent is ridiculously small… You never know when certain Swedish girls will pop up out of nowhere. Don’t worry Ela 🙂

On the Saturday, Diarmo and I actually did something. The girls asked us to go snorkelling with them and we of course agreed, we needed an activity badly! Kylo declined, he’s afraid of fish. So we set off at 12 and sailed around the island to the best snorkelling spots. It was great to see the island from a distance riding the waves while the sun shone in the sky. The snorkelling was brilliant, we saw some amazing fish and it was great how they came right up close to you without actually touching you. However, one fish was different, much bigger and uglier than the rest and he had a target – Rachel. Diarmo and I were under water when we saw a huge fish storm up to the surface and begin circling Rachel. We shouted at her to warn her but she only returned a look of confusion wondering what we meant at all. She only realised when she got bitten… She screeched and jumped and lost a flipper in the process. Diarmo and I could barely control our laughter… We all went back to the boat and Rachel was ok, the trigger fish, as our guide informed us, cannot seriously harm people, it does entertain people as we found out. Diarmo continued laughing for a good hour! So we ventured onto the next diving spot and fair play to Rachel, she got back in the water. There the 5 of us got into a conversation about the election back home and Diarmo pointed out that this is probably the strangest place in the world where election talk is going on. Off the coast of Kho Tao, 28 degrees, wearing snorkels and exotic fish swimming around us. Yep he’s got to be right!

So we were leaving kho Tao on the Monday and Diarmo actually missed the last 2 nights out. Our sleep patterns were upside down, each of us different and Diarmo started going to sleep at 9 pm. Kylo slept mostly in the afternoon and I slept in the morning. Kho Tao had been great but we needed to resume normality. I had one last drink with the girls on Sunday night and we got our boat the next morning. The girls had their ticket to leave the island that morning too but they had grown obsessed with the Burmese fire dancers… It is nearly a week later and they’re still in Kho Tao. They are not as cool as we thought. So we said goodbye to Kylo who ventured off to Laos to go tubing and we crossed the Thai peninsula to Krabi in search of relaxation and peace after a serious 3 week island experience.

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