It didn’t take much for us to fall in love with the beautiful island of Koh Phangan. It was the perfect place to chill, chow and chat. It was also perfectly suited to our budget.
To get to the island we booked a combined Lomprayah ticket, including taxi and ferry, from the reception at our resort for B500pp (ferry price at pier B300pp). We rose early, packed up our gear and jumped on the 6.30am minibus to the Lomprayah pier.
Whilst waiting to board the ferry we met a German lady who told us about Koh Nang Yuan, a small island close to Koh Tao, belonging to the owner of Lomprayah. The island, with a single resort, is known for its serene atmosphere and boasts some impressive snorkelling and diving spots.
Now, many of you might have heard the saying “hindsight is a B*#ch”. At first, this saying seemed somewhat cynical, but with each and every scam we are quickly coming to realize that it is in fact true. Not more than 10 minutes after steeping foot on Phangan we were scammed by another taxi driver.
We should have known the moment he demanded we pay the B160 taxi fare upfront. However, we had previously misjudged the distance we needed to travel on Samui. Not wanting to repeat the mistake, and unable to find a map, we naively believed the man when he said, “Walking, one hour … many kilometers”. It turned out our resort was a mere 100m walk along the beach; the closest resort of ALL the resorts on the island. He simply drove us 10 minutes up the road to a random resort. When we explained that this was the wrong place, he smiled cheekily and slyly said, “My mistake”, jumped back in the front seat and drove us all the way back to Lime & Soda, our resort, just minutes from the pier. I did find a map in his car and frustratedly pointed out to him that we could have walked and that he had lied to us. Looking ‘caught out’, mumbling to himself he got back into his minibus and without any apology drove away. In hindsight, we should have NEVER paid a taxi driver upfront.
It’s so easy to get frustrated and quickly become bitter, but it helps to think if they have to lie to get extra money then maybe they need it more than we do. In the long run it doesn’t hurt us as much as it damages our pride.
Lime & Soda was fantastic! The staff were so incredibly friendly and the atmosphere so peaceful and relaxing. After being greeted with welcoming drinks, we dumped our bags in our cute chalet and headed straight for the pool. Unfortunately, the sea in front of the resort is too shallow to swim in, but the refreshingly cool pool makes up for it. For B300pp a night for an airconditioned basic double room, we highly recommend staying at Lime & Soda.
At the pool we met a Canadian couple, who had been traveling for five months already, and two lovely girls, one from Germany and the other from Wales. They made our stay so much more enjoyable!
That evening we all headed up to Amsterdam cafe (which definitely lives up to its name), on top of the hill, to watch the sunset. Sitting on the edge of the pool (B100 to swim), sipping fruit cocktails, we were blessed with the most spectacular sunset I think we had all ever seen. Not so keen to join in on the party, we all took a Songthaew down to the Phangan night food market. Suffice to say, this became our local eating spot each night (only 15 minutes walk from Lime & Soda), offering curries to kebabs, pad thai and spring rolls, fried chicken, seafood, fruit shakes, waffles and pancakes. The best market food yet at cheapest prices. To give you an idea: Satisfied (B30), Full (B60), Giant Food Baby (B110).
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing in the pool, chatting for hours about life in our different countries, our travel experiences and everything else in between.
Today was our “Orion” tour to Angthong National Marine Park, which we booked for B1800pp at Lime & Soda. Four words … WELL WORTH EVERY BAHT!
After taking the transfer to the pier we almost weren’t allowed on the boat as Mike had left our ticket behind. Luckily, a simple phone call to our resort was enough for them to allow us on board, where we were offered tea, coffee, and donuts.
The tour began with a 45-minute boat ride to an incredibly beautiful snorkeling spot at an island on the edge of the marine park. My first time snorkeling and I was in love! It was so beautiful! Unfortunately, Mike cut his leg on the reef and was finding the sting uncomfortable so he didn’t enjoy it as much.
Back on the boat an impressive buffet lunch had been prepared for us, including fresh fruit and soft drinks which were available thoughout the trip.
Next, we kayaked in the rain from one bay to another alongside overhanging cliff faces. Mike will tell you he did all the work but he’s lying, I just stopped to take in the scenery every now and then!
The coolness of the rain was much needed as we conquered the steps of the Emerald Lake view point. The view of the tranquil green lake was breathtaking!
A short long-tail boat back to the Orion and off we went to our next destination, a hike, on another island, to a 500m high viewpoint of Angthong National Marine Park. We were pre-warned that this hike would be difficult, may include steep rock climbing at points, and not for the faint hearted. Note: Hiking shoes are necessary.
Well, it wasn’t an exaggeration. The trail was steep and slippery, lined with sharp rocks and only navigable by ropes some of the way. However, we thoroughly enjoyed it and the view was well worth the climb; although a little hard to capture when you’re out of breath and drenched in perspiration. A quick swim, another delicious meal on board (second lunch) and sadly it was time to head back to Koh Phangan.
Our Orion experience was incredible and such good value. We highly recommend it!
DAY 3 &4:
Our last couple of days on Phangan have been paradise for us. Although we would have liked to have seen more of the island, we were drunk on relaxation.
A lovely quaint cafe called Nira’s Pattiserie provided us with just the perfect place to catch up on social media, eat lunch and fulfill my dessert cravings. It was also here that we met an inspiring German woman who lives on Phangan with her young daughter. She makes and sells jams to support the animal shelter she runs for the many stray animals on the island. For those of you who love animals as much as she does, she would greatly appreciate your support. You can learn more about her cause on her Facebook page: Phangan Animals Lovers.
Relaxing on the beach, dips in the pool, volleyball with our German friends and locals, street shopping, and finally drinking beers on the porch of our Canadian friends’ chalet whilst playing cards till midnight was the perfect end to our time on Phangan.
Koh Phangan is commonly known for its parties: the full moon, half moon and black moon party. But we know it as our paradise!