Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Travel Diary | Thailand, pt. 2 (Koh Phangan)

reading time: 3 min




Sawadee kah, everybody!

Via domestic flight, bus and the ferry from Surat Thani we travelled to one of the islands in the Gulf of Thailand: Koh Phangan, the sister island of the larger Ko Samui to the south and the smaller Ko Tao to the north

The name of the island derives from the word ngan, meaning "sand bar" in the southern dialect, for there are many sand bars offshore. Accordingly, Koh Phangan is famous for its Full Moon Party at Haad Rin Beach and as a backpacker destination. However, my boyfriend and i preferred a relaxed lie-around-on-the-beach vacation over hard drinking and partying in the moonlight.

To be honest, when we arrived i absolutely missed Chiang Mai and its vegan friendly, cheap (!) food and cleanness. Here on Koh Phanang, at least in the southern part of the island where we lived, everything was much more expensive and not at all vegan! 

I actually had a panic attack the night we arrived because I didn't feel safe and at home in our bungalow at all. And probably because i was simply exhausted from our long travel there. (And maybe also because of the cockroach that landed directly in front of me at the beach bar while we were waiting for food... i'm usually not afraid of animals, but this was too much for me and i broke into tears and had a panic attack that lasted 3 or 4 hours in the end. My poor boyfriend had to comfort me and rock me into sleep.)

The dis-/advantages of the islands:

+ windy, refreshing breezes
+ cleaner air
+ less traffic
- lots of critters
- more dirt and sand
- more expensive 

KOH PHA NGAN

- arrival -


Our bungalow at the Coco Garden Resort. Small, simple, but relatively clean. Luckily we didn't find any cockroaches in our bathroom (as opposed to our neighbours). Once i got more comfortable, i began to like our accommodation. And it was only ten meters or so to the beach! I wouldn't really recommend it - even my boyfriend agrees that there was some weird vibe about that place that wasn't as friendly and folksy as other places -, but it was alright for the price.


I will miss these super ripe mangoes and papayas! Btw: the tiny lime was "hand-picked" by me (I walked towards this one bush, said "what kind of fruit is that?" to my boyfriend, touched it and then it just tell down, lol)

Also: This flower you see everywhere in Thailand is a frangipani - in case you're wondering :)

- Srithanu -


Perhaps i should mention that the beach in our neighbourhood down in the south, where our bungalow was located, was not paradisal at all. The water was quite dreggy (probably due to algae) and not very inviting, and the beach itself was cluttered with algae and litter. Yay.

Luckily we rented a scooter (150 baht for 1 day plus 40 baht per bottle of gasoline - we needed only 2 bottles of gasoline to get across the island and back, super cheap!) and did a day trip up to the northern part of the island, which was the best decision ever! There they finally were, the white sand beaches and turquoise bays! Especially the area Srithanu was super nice and clean and had LOTS of (raw) vegan options, detox centres, yoga retreats... 



Vegan coconut ice cream with cacao nibs. So yummy.

Next time i will definitely either book an accommodation in Srithanu (maybe even at the Orion Detox centre) or at least rent a scooter and drive up there every day, haha.

Oh, by the way, we also went snorkelling up in the north at one point, which was the first time for me and super strange at the beginning, but i really enjoyed it once i had overcome my panic to not be able to breathe through the snorkel.


Of course, the obligatory beach leg photo ;) 
Remember:

How to have a beach body:

(1) Have a body.
(2) Go to the beach.

Pro tip: We recycled the empty melon peel as a bowl for our porridge (a.k.a we filled it with oats, soy milk and sliced banana). So handy if you haven't got a kitchen or any tableware with you!

- sundown -


Great places to eat vegan in Koh Phangan:

- Karma Café (the best creamy coconut ice cream! see above - but also lots of other dishes)
- basically anywhere in Srithanu
- Soul Food Café (the best big sandwich ever! so yummy and filling! and lots of juices/smoothies)

Btw: I had homemade green bread (I asked for the secret ingredients, and it's chlorella and barley) stuffed with tofu, hummus, cucumber and lettuce. So, so good! Oh and kombucha - my first time trying it. Tastes kinda like cider or federweisser, not sure my stomach took it too well though...
 
- Green Leaf Café (amazing dinner buffet every night at 7 or 8 pm for only 120 baht (3 Euro) per person! the BEST and CHEAPEST dinner ever!!!)

This was sooo good! Especially the potatoes cooked in coconut milk. I had a big bowl full of rice, bean hummus, glass noodles, some grain, the coconut potatoes, yellow curry, and raw veggies. YUM! Of course I went for seconds :) and afterwards I had a true Buddha belly, round and full and satisfied.

... click here for PART 3: Bangkok!



Maisy



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