The days are melting into one another. I have made it to Koh Tao, a beautiful, social, and chill island in the south of Thailand that I kind of don’t want to leave.
The welcoming sea breeze, so warm and comforting, is reminiscent of the coziness you get from a quality hug. Every evening, I sit on the sea view balcony just off my hostel room and watch the sunset over the beach that’s a stones throw away.
It’s been a fun journey to get here. When I first got to the Thai islands, I made my way east to Railay beach. After the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, I felt exceedingly happy to be sitting in a long boat surrounded by teal coloured water and jungled islands with limestone cliffs. It was a beautiful and chill introduction to beach life.
I met up with a previous coworker of mine who coincidentally happened to be on a 3 week vacation with her childhood friend. We stayed in a little resort where bungalows were $18CDN per night. A splurge for a backpacker budget, but worth it for one night.
Unfortunately, the rainy season means big storms roll in to the coasts, especially the west coast of Thailand. The east coast is a more protected gulf than the west, so after a night in Railay, we made our way eastbound and down, where we heard the islands were sunnier and the weather was less … wet.
We started in Koh Samui, staying near Chaweng beach at a guesthouse (hotel) for $500THB/night. Bit pricey, but the Cheeky Monkey hostel we were eyeing up was full. Koh Samui was a busy island filled with little shops, scooters, and large loudspeaker trucks driving around the area blasting advertisements for massages and Muy Thai fights. I was surprised by the “touristiness” of it all, as it was more intense than I expected. As a westerner, I guess you think ‘Asia’ and associate it with “off the beaten path”, but this path was really well-beaten. I didn’t really like it, to be honest.
Regardless, it was warm and pretty. A favourite part of my time there was a chill day at Chaweng beach, with a Thai massage and a nice evening watching live reggae music.
After two nights on Koh Samui we ventured on slightly north to Koh Phangan via a 25 minute speed ferry. I arrived, checked in at Cats in Space hostel (definitely recommend it, clean, quiet, fun, and kitten included!) and then joined the girls for a day scooter trip to the north part of the island. We took in some beautiful beaches, delicous fruit lunches, and bathwater warm swims in the ocean. I was blown away by Thong Nai Pan beach, and would recommend it to anyone going to Koh Phangan. One of my highlights for sure.
Koh Phangan is also the island known for the full moon party, where thousands of people gather to party (with vodka buckets and neon paint) on a beach. I had missed the timing for that, so I instead got tickets for the half-moon party. There always seems to be a moon party on the island, though the full-moon is the only public one and bar far the biggest. (I’m secretly glad I did the half-moon, which is significantly smaller and less chaotic.)
The half-moon party was a really memorable and fun night – I danced my face off until well past dawn at three different stages. Haven’t done that in a long while, and it was worth it.
After Koh Phangan, we made a final journey north to Koh Tao. My favourite island by far, the vibes are friendly, the island is cute, and the beaches glorious for tanning and snorkeling. Beach and chill, that’s my new motto.