Flight Centre consultant Holly Keeble started her Round the World trip in Thailand. After getting used to the heat and crazy traffic in Bangkok she was soon mesmerised by the beaches of Ko Phangan and Ko Phi Phi.
I was about to set off for a 1 year trip with 3 of my best friends, starting with Thailand and ending in Australia. Fear and excitement literally pumping through my veins.
The first thing that hit me after stepping off an 11 hour flight at Bangkok airport was the heat. Sounds obvious, but not to me! I was trying to avoid the doorway, and hopping around hopelessly, when my friends asked ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Trying to avoid the heater or whatever it is’, I answered… As you can imagine they just laughed in my face. You soon get used to the temperature though!
The second thing that hit me about Bangkok, was the traffic. Wandering down a main road trying to cross it is like playing a game of chicken with the speedy Thai men!
After spending a few days on the hectic Khao San road we decided to take a 15 hour overland journey to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. This involved 5 methods of transport. 5 I hear you say? Yes 5…tuk tuk, taxi, coach, boat and the most random truck I’ve ever been on. (You can fly from Bangkok to Ko Samui and take a boat from there if you have less time and a bigger budget.)
When we reached our destination the Koh Phangan beaches took my breath away. I’m pretty sure I’ve never felt softer sand, or warmer water. Walking down to the sea was like stepping into a bath. Koh Phangan is very well known for its Full Moon Parties – a party on Haad Rin beach under a full moon. There is nothing like the smell of fire from the fire dancers, the taste of the local beer Chang, waking up covered in glow paint and having the knowledge of what ‘chok dee’ means in English. (Cheers, if you’re asking!).
An alternative to the Full Moon Party on the beach would be the pool party that takes place at Coral Bungalows. Lots of Mekong (Thai spirit), dancing on tables and swimming in a pool. My advice – don’t take anything electrical!
Now for the part I have been dying to write about. My favourite place in Thailand – Koh Phi Phi. Only to be reached by ferry or private boat. There are no roads on Koh Phi Phi and the only vehicles are bicycles, wheelbarrows and the occasional mini motorbike with sidecar. Everywhere on the island is just a 15 minute walk away so you can’t get lost! A small island, that although is a great spot for tourists, has managed to not lose any original culture, and still runs like a small Thai village. Velvet Dojo is the place for a lush cocktail, Reggae Bar for some Thai boxing, and the beach for some late night partying.
I think the best thing about Koh Phi Phi, is the boat ride that you can get across to ‘The Beach’. Yes we’ve all seen the film based around a paradise beach where Leo gets his top off. I guess I don’t need to say much more? You’ve seen the film! And if you haven’t, buy the book first!
Another highlight of Koh Phi Phi is the viewpoint. I’m not sure exactly how many steps it is to the top and looking up at it in the scorching sun does not seem appealing. But grab some water, your trainers and get hiking, because the top of it has a view right across the island and the ocean. The sweat dripping down your back can soon be washed away by a dip in that fab ocean you have been gazing at.
To hear more of Holly’s tips on Thailand, to find out what else she did on her Round the World adventure and to book your own trip . Holly is based at our Flight Centre Store at 367 Upper Richmond Road West, East Sheen, London – pop in and say hi if you are in the area!