Koh Phangan

We got out of bed at 9am and had breakfast, then arranged for a ferry to Koh Phangan with the lady in charge of the bungalows. At that point we discovered there is a one hour time difference between Singapore and Thailand, and we had been up since 8am! And we thought 9 was early.

By noon we were at the pier, waiting for our ferry.

Finally, we boarded the catamaran ferry. The pier was a bit dodgy, as it only had a railing on one side and it didn’t look so stable. Not to mention the uneven boards and a number of tripping obstacles…

Once on board, we left our bags downstairs and went to sit on the outside deck up top where there was a bit of sun and fresh air.

The ride was crazy. I don’t think I’ve been on a such a rocky boat ride my entire life, other than a few times in the rowboat at Bowen, but it’s different being tossed around in a rowboat. We all had to hold on to stuff to avoid falling over (and we were sitting down). On the other side of the outside deck, just 2 metres from us, loads of water was coming up over the deck and drenching everyone, so it was soon empty.

After some time, we noticed a guy in a boat waving at us. I thought he was just a local waving hello, as he would know the ferry would be packed with tourists.

Turns out he wasn’t waving, he was making an “engine cut” motion, like when you pull on the cord of a gas mower and it won’t start. The ferry captain slowed the boat and steered toward the little boat.

As we got closer, I could hear the guy say in English, “the engine is cut” and so the ferry got closer and threw him a lifesaver on a rope.

They slowly pulled him in to the side of the boat and helped him up a ladder onto the lower deck.

Turns out he had been out there with no engine power for 20 hours! I only saw him on board once after that, drinking something and smoking a cigarette the crew had given him.

Well, after our little rescue mission, the crew tied his boat to the back of the ferry with the rope, and towed it in for him. We got to Koh Phangan 40 minutes later.

We caught a cab (the bed of a pickup) to a set of bungalows on the other side of the island that had been recommended to us. It was a nice ride, with fresh air, and the road was surprisingly good for most of the way.

We stayed two nights at the Bay View Bungalows in Hat Yao on the northwest side of the island.

Nice places, though a bit pricey at $12 per bungalow. That worked out to $7.50 each night for each of us, and my budget is $20 including accomodation and transportation. I’m looking forward to Cambodia and Vietnam where we’re more likely to get $3-4 a night places as we did last year in Northern Thailand and Laos.

Tuesday night we went down to the beachside bar run by our bungalow owners. During the day the whole area is under half a foot of water, but by nighttime the waves are safely below the small retaining wall.

We met some cool people there, and spent a lot of time chilling with two very friendly Americans we met. Andy and Sheila, who JUST GOT MARRIED and are on their honeymoon, from Santa Monica. Not only were they cool, but I think Andy looks like Spencer Keys (UBC president) and acts like him a bit too.

I tried and tried to take a photo of one of the many bats that were flying around the bar, but they were too darn fast. However, Sheila borrowed my camera and got several great shots. This one is the best – it was really close up.

Hat Yao is a nice relaxing bay, but we decided to head to the south part of the island for the next couple of nights before we head to the mainland.