We had been forewarned about staying in Haad-Rin as we were told 'you won't get any sleep' but we decided to throw caution to the wind and did anyway, besides we didn't come here to 'sleep', we came to party, can sleep some other time. For the rest of the first day I read my book in the hostel after a quick tour of town and Welsh went for a beach walk and ended up nearly dying (of exhaustion) from a game of football. In the evening we met the 'lads' from football and played drinking games till we lost the quiz, even with horrendous cheating. Welsh bought me a cider as I had decided 400baht (£8) was far too expensive for it, even if it was Stowford. Welsh went to a pool party whereas I went to the beach, broke my flip flops and threw them in the sea. None the less an enjoyable evening of introduction to the island.
I shall call the second day the adventure day. We hired a moped for all of £3 for the day. We drove it over hills and far away to secluded but due to the weather miserable beaches. Took in a rather dull waterfall and drove back to town, after struggling to make it up a hill. This evening, being the evening before the 'big one' we had a quiet one, the danes from the night before and the scouser who looked EXACTLY like Manwell from Fawlty Towers had heard of a secret bar you had to take a boat too. Thinking this was a good idea, we took quite possibly the most dangerous longtail boat ride ever through rough sea's with absolutely no regard for the waves. It paid off though as the bar was awesomely chilled, quiet and with some people dancing to trance. Another slightly less risque boat ride home and we were prepped.
A completely lazy day of curry for breakfast(lunch) and a casual atmosphere. we saw them setting up the beach and we found our 'party' attire, ie a stupid vest. We returned to the hostel to get painted and in doing so met most of our dorm mates properly (we had of course met them before) where a sense of kinship developed as we took turns to paint each other various colours -cept for the spacehead Americans. We all got suitably attired and headed out to partayyyyyyyyyy. Due to a Lunar Eclipse the moon turned red and disappeared slowly throughout the night. Like previously mentioned at the party we all lost each other, and each persons story is theres to tell. I once lost found the Drum n Bass stage and enjoyed that for a long time before wandering the beach where I was given free stuff.
It is very much like Glastonbury on a beach.
The next night we had another 'quiet' one with our new friends, you know it's not going to be quiet when you buy a bucket to go with dinner(which was a curry where of course we ordered far too much). This night we didn't lose everyone and it wasn't as packed down the beach, everyone else either asleep or dead to the world save a few hardliners. This night was almost better just because we were altogether.
|Full Moon a day later|
|welsh, Loes and Helen|
|Full Mooned up with the Irish|
If people coming to Thailand are looking for the paradise found in the beach then they need stop looking, I should keep this secret to myself but as none of those ‘looking’ will read this here I may as well spill. Firstly, it is not Thailands commercial beach party vibe, that is exactly what Richard was trying to avoid and one can see why, read the aforementioned reason above. So the secret where is the paradise of utopia? If it is beaches then that is easy. The location of this paradise is the San Blas islands of the coast of Panama.
They are an archipelago of islands that are small with sandy beaches and clear waters to swim in. The locals live in wooden huts and fish for Langoustines, crabs and fish. There is one main island that has amenities and a bakery. There are no ‘bars’ on the islands, no discos and definitely no annoying trance music. When the backpackers disembark the yachts arrived they have sailed in on they eat the locally caught lobsters ($1 each) and rice. For ‘partying’ this involves drinking rum and sitting around a fire playing drums, in essence a true hippy experience. This occurs because there is no electricity.
The Panamanian government has also taken steps to protect the indigenous population and its culture, banning large scale tourism and resorts from the islands, in essence protecting uniqueness and brilliance of the islands. What little trade the backpackers do bring will go a long way to these people without destroying their way of life. Creating a harmony rarely found elsewhere. An I’ll end it there cause now I do sound like a damn hippy, so if you ever get the chance to go, take it, crystal clear waters make for awesome snorkelling too.
|Sunset in Paradise|
"You should be a Sailor". Im inclined to agree, sometimes I enjoy the getting there more than where were going and don't want it to end. Anyway after the Voyage of the Vom(sorry everyone) we chilled in Koh Tao in our Bungalow where we mused about where to go and played cards, while I dealt with the effects of the party before having dinner on the beach. We then headed for Krabi after two nights to head for Koh Phi Phi. I like Krabi although it is just a stop off, the hotel is nice and does a killer Mango Lassi.
|Suffering before Voyage of the Vom|
|Sunset in Koh Tao|
|Koh Tao Beach|
Second tales of stupdity, this happened all of which in about 10 minutes apart. A guy in a dorm struggled to explain to his friend what initials were. Now firstly a) its pretty easy and b) who doesn't know what they are? In the second quick incident, a girl claimed to have spent £450 on injections, probably a pragmatic thing to do if your doctor says so, but NO who told her this? A fortune teller from Mali said "im worried you don't have enough vaccinations and might get ill". Now I'm immune to most travel things (lots of jabs) and i don't think I've spent anywhere near £450 in getting them all. Anyway, it's not really the cost that bothers, its the reasoning.
Moving on to brighter happier pastures, Rai Leh. This is a climbers paradise. Karsts jut out of the water right on the beach where you can climb from as well as creating amazing scenery. However not being a climber I had little reason to go here. In fact not being a climber or a diver I have little to do for activities... We sat on the beach and watched the climbers which was incredibly relaxing. I liked the people here, not only was it 5000 times less crowded here most people were here to climb rather than get drunk. Welshman helped fix a light fitting in a beach bar, I decided it was a too many cooks job and took my camera back to the bungalow. When I returned it was not working and my Maglite has also decided to break. Anyway for our (Welshs) hard work we were rewarded with a bamboo hit. The light eventually worked and we continued our beach bar pub crawl (hardly a crawl or excessive as there are only about four) and went to bed after I 'lost' the key only to find it again this morning.
|Aon Ton Sai(Rai Lei)|
|Sun going down on Rai Leh|
|Climbing the Karst|
I could have stayed in Rai Leh for a long time but fearing I would get bored and having just learnt I actually can rent a boat in Phuket (like the first place so far) I decided to ignore the fact Phuket is probably the worst of all the party places (so i've heard) - expensive etc etc the fact that I can sail has swung this so I am back in Krabi (for the 3rd time) to connect to Phuket. Things are looking up, Ko Lanta should be nice and relaxing for christmas and then it is off to Cambodia.
Photo's of Rai Leh now up and welsh is still feeling sick.