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Entries about beach

First taste of beach-bum life; Koh Rong

semi-overcast 37 °C
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We left Kampot for Sihanoukville mid morning and immediately caught a boat to the small island Koh Rong.
We checked into our beach accommodation, which was $10 a night for a private room with a double bed! We all got a room each at that price!
The view from the guest house

The first night we met the guys at a cute little cafe which made the best quesadillas I've ever had with tiny kittens running about that just wanted cuddles! At one point I had 4 kittens fighting for the prime position on my lap! We came here everyday...
Steve getting kitty cuddles
Pile on

I chilled on the beach that night with Steve, Paul, Steffi, George, Karen and Marc, and we watched the world cup and had too many drinks!

The next day the group of us (minus Karen as she felt very ill) went on a boat trip fishing and snorkelling. I got really sea sick, which is usual for me, but perhaps due to the night before! The visibility for snorkelling wasn't great, but we managed to catch a lot of fish (I didn't catch any!! No matter how hard I tried!!) which was good because we cooked and ate all the fish we caught!
Waiting for the boat

SAM_2825.jpg SAM_2830.jpg

We watched the sun set from the boat, then returned to shore where we waited until dark before wading out off the beach to about waist deep to watch bioluminescent plankton which truly was incredible. The plankton responded to movement, so we were thrashing about in the water making it glow. And when you removed your arms/hands from the water you could see them in little dots on your skin... fascinating!

The next day George and I walked up and over the interior of the island (which had no roads) to the opposite side of the island; long beach. The walk through the jungle was very hot and humid, and at some points required clambering over rocks clinging onto ropes and vines.
After almost an hour hike we were relieved to see the beach...

I played in the sea whilst George chilled on the beach... something he can't to regret thanks to the sand flies...

We decided to take a local boat taxi back to the main village and spent that evening with Karen, Steffi and Marc, eating BBQ and playing beer pong! In the bar that night I met Wilf and Dave again! Still a small world....

We arranged to travel now as a large group of myself, Karen, George, Steve, Paul and Steffi, and we headed from Koh Rong to the capital; Phnom Penh.

I loved koh rong... it was remote and still undeveloped with a quiet atmosphere, but it still had some modern/western bars and cafes which was a nice comfort for a few days. The island was beautiful, especially long beach, but I couldn't help notice a high amount of rubbish (especially plastics) on the beaches, I didn't know if it was left by tourists or washed ashore. But still, it was a shame. The plankton off shore really did capture me though, I have since heard that this exists off the coast of Norfolk in UK too!!

Posted by Libbytes 03:21 Archived in Cambodia Tagged beach koh_rong bioluminescent_plankton Comments (0)

Living on Koh Phangan

sunny 35 °C
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I left Chumphon early with the intention of catching a train to Surat Thani and a boat to the Islands North of there, Koh Phangan. However, I missed the train and so caught a minibus instead! I arrived in Surat Thani and waited for an hour to catch the last boat to the Island. Watching the sun set over Ang Thong marine park (a collection of small protected islands) was the highlight of the journey and made the start of my adventure to Koh Phangan memorable.

I landed on the Island at 8pm and caught a tuk tuk going to Baan Tai to stop at a place I had found online, Echo Beach Backpackers. I don't really know my reasoning for choosing here (think it had something to do with there being a pool table in the bar) but I was going to find out soon that checking into this hostel was the best decision I made on my trip!
The beach of Echo Beach!

I checked in around 9pm and was immediately approached by a group who were planning on going to a local party; Eden, on one of the beaches around the island. I showered and got ready quickly to join them! We travelled by scooters to Haad Rin beach, about 20 minutes drive away, I bunked a lift off Ryan, but as there were not enough bikes for people, Marty jumped on the back too! Making it three of us on one bike the whole way from Baan Tai to Haad Rin; a long and winding road with steep inclines and descents. A crazy night so far! We arrived on the beach and each bought a bucket, literally a bucket filled with alcohol! We drank on the beach and when the time came (you can't be too late to one of these parties...) we got a boat over to a secluded bay where Eden was. The setting for the party was incredible; clambering over huge rocks and on wooden stilted walkways into a dancefloor built over the sea. But it was the people that I was with that night that made it for me... We were there until the sunrise, at which point we all jumped into the sea in our underwear! We got a boat back at 9am and slept most of the day!
A selection of lovely buckets...
Lina, Chris, Chelsea, Jacob, Me, Dave, Marty, the Eden week 1 crew!
In the boat on the way over to Eden
The venue for Eden
Party on the rocks in the morning!

The following days rolled together with the group of us visiting local beaches, snorkelling, playing pool and partying more. We visited 'Secret Beach' a beautiful little bay fringed by rocks and coral with amazing snorkelling by the rocks.
Chelsea, Chris, Dave and I, with Marty at the front

Slowly, and one-by-one, the group left the island, but it was constantly renewed by new people arriving. I also got to know a few people living and working on the island, since Echo seemed to be a hub for local people to come to relax and socialise during the day, either around the pool table or in the air conditioned cinema room...

Jess, Michael, Ryan and I visited Koh Ma, a tiny island in the far North-West of the island connected to the mainland by a think strip of sand. Motorbiking across the island here was amazing, surrounded by beautiful scenery. We took a brief stop off along the way to play archery!
Ryan, Michael and Jess

One of the reasons Koh Phangan is well known as a island for tourism is due to it's monthly full moon parties. However, there are countless other parties on beaches and in the jungle throughout the rest of the month. Of these, the most popular are the half moon parties in the Jungle. My first experience of this was incredible, once again, because of the people I was with; Vince from the bar at Echo, Justine the new Frenchie, Ryan who also casually worked at Echo and Rob and Beth who live on the island and hang at Echo. There were thousands of people at the main stage of the party, however I preferred the music at a smaller Tech-House stage (as did everyone else at Echo) and so this is where we stayed
The music during the night started going a bit boring at around 5am and so we went back to Echo for an after party.
Beth, Justine, Myself and Deamon (with Zack in the corner... poor Zack!)
Resident DJ Vince entertained us all

My favourite party that I went to on the island was Maya, a relatively small event compared to half/full moon, with fire performers and usually great DJs. This party was weekly, so I did end up going to a few :)
Fire dancers starring Sarah, one of the Echo crew
Zack, Justine, Myself and Hugo
Taken by the resident photographer!

The few days I had planned to stay on the island quickly turned into a few weeks, and my flight home which I had booked for 26th August was looming.... I caved in, not feeling ready to stop my adventure, and feeling in love with the beautiful island and people, I rearranged my flight to the end of October and planned to stay on Koh Phangan for the rest of my thai visa. To couple with this, Mark; the owner of Echo, offered me a free bed at Echo in exchange for helping out a bit over full moon which was coming up. It was a pleasure to be part of the workings of such an amazing hostel and I spent the 4 days over full moon helping out where I could.

After the full moon period and once the island had settled down again, I decided to try something I had never done before and rented a scooter of my own.... It actually was very easy to ride and I loved the freedom of being able to do what I wanted and go wherever I could. I spent the whole day driving around the island before meeting some of the Echo lot down at the beach in the afternoon for sunset.
Ryan, Tom, Jen and Michael

The next few days rolled into one as I began to really relax and get used to staying in one place after travelling for such a long time. Koh Phangan began to feel like home... The beautiful natural surroundings were hard to ignore, but most of all it was the people that I met at Echo that welcomed me so genuinely and openly. In fact there is a whole different atmosphere on the island, more relaxed and more of a sense of community that I felt almost instantly when I arrived. And let's not forget the great parties on the island... it really does have everything. So I fell in love, like so many people do, I lost my heart to Koh Phangan. I hope it won't be too long before I find myself back there.

Posted by Libbytes 04:58 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach party koh_phangan Comments (0)

Partying in the Perhentians

sunny 32 °C
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I slept so well that night in the little hut on stilts that I woke up late, but still decided to get a bus over to Kuala Besut to grab a boat to the Perhentians. Awi offered to take me to the bus station in KT and on the way took me via his house to meet his family and grab some roti for breakfast.

The bus to Kuala Besut was relatively quick but dropped me quite a way from the harbour to get boats to the Perhentians so I jumped on the back of a motorbike taxi, who after a short journey, literally drove me to the edge of the harbour, through all the shops and ticket offices!

The boat over to Perhentian Kecil (the smaller of the 2 inhabited islands) was beautiful in the early evening heat. I arrived at the island and walked inland to a relatively cheap hostel. There are no roads on Perhentian Kecil, and there's only really one paved footpath which goes over the hills of the spine of the island from the southern to the northern beaches. My hostel was up in the hills, set off the beach and by the time I reached it with my backpack on I was hot, sweaty and dehydrated... I dumped my bag, donned my bikini and headed back down to the beach.

On the boat
Driving past Perhentian Besar

On the beach I got chatting to a few people, one of which was a girl; Isabelle. We arranged to meet at the beach again that evening for food and drinks. After food together we started chatting to a bigger group of people and eventually pushed our tables together. Lots of drinking began and we ended the night dancing on the beach in one of the 3 bars that play music and serve alcohol.

Me, Isabell, Tom, Alice, Sam, Zeppa
Lots of drinks and dancing

The following day I spent slightly hungover chilling on the beach, I met some more people at a little bamboo bar on the beach - it literally was just a bar, with some stools, no other structure. I met Luke, Maddie and Cher who had been on the island for a long time - all working at this little bar.
The beach is beautiful

I went drinking and dancing again that night! It was hard not to, the island has limited electricity and my hostel up in the hills was deserted at night. There was not much else to do past 8pm than go dancing!

The following day some old friends I had met back in Kuala Lumpur joined me, Claire and Rich, and I moved my accommodation to join then in a little private hut at Panorama guest house. This place was much better, being closer to the beach, I no longer had to do the treacherous walk up in the jungle in the pitch black at night! I also met up with the people I met the first night, Sam, Alice and Tom and we went snorkelling on long beach which was amazing, there was so many fish and corals to see. That night.... more partying.... although I took it easy and it was Claire that ended up with a hangover the next day!

The next day was my 26th Birthday! I spent the morning chilling and swimming on the beach before meeting my pals for pizza and drinks. The night ended once again in one the local bars... becoming a routine?!
Birthday drinks with Claire
Getting to know the locals!

Fortunately, despite it being my birthday, I was not so hungover the next day, so decided to go snorkelling again. I hired a little boat and driver to take me out to some different spots than where I had been before. We went over to Perhentian Besar where I saw massive sea turtles grazing on the sea grass in the shallows, a spot where we saw barracudas, and some other great reefs where I saw so many clown fish and other fish - I wished I had an underwater camera!
On my boat with a girl I met on the beach
Ready to feed the fish with bread

Upon returning to Kecil I met some more people on the beach, Caroline from the Phillipines and Daisy and Steph from Australia. We met up that night with Rich and Claire, and a few other new faces Dom and Mike. We were up late watching fire shows, drinking and dancing!
Chilling on the beach
The fire shows were difficult to film
Caroline and Dom dancing

The next day I was invited out with the guys I had met at the beach bar; Luke, Maddie and Cher, who were going our with their Malaysian employer Eppy on his boat! He drove us on his little boat over to the Rawa islands to the North of the island and we went snorkelling and fishing, making a little BBQ on the beach to eat our catch!
On Rawa islands
We stayed until sunset
Got to get myself in some pics!

I met the same guys as the previous night and we did the same again, fire show, drinks and crazy dancing! I didn't know what was happening to me, at no other point in this trip had I drunk so much, I'd been out dancing and drinking 6 nights in a row! This really was the island for partying!

The next day I was seriously hungover and stayed at a roti canai cafe almost all day sleeping in their hammock on the beach and eating far too much roti... It was Claire and Rich's last night on the island and our last day together, so I hung out with them and we had pizza again that night to celebrate an amazing time on the island.

In the evening I got dancing and chatting to a guy called Jer from Ireland, and we hit it off straight away. I mentioned that I'd love to go to Indonesia next - Bali and Lombok and he said he wanted to go with me, so we exchanged numbers and planned to meet up in KL a few days later to travel Indonesia!

After 1 week on the island I was ready to leave, not least because i had run out of money on an island with no ATM! 7 nights back to back drinking was also starting to catch up on me and I had been to every beach on the island. I was ready for a change, but I was sad to leave such a beautiful place. After travelling Malaysia almost completely on my own, it was nice to meet so many other travellers, I made a lot of friends here and caught up with some 'old' ones. It was a great week of partying and one I will never forget. It almost felt like a little holiday amongst all the travelling!

Posted by Libbytes 09:36 Archived in Malaysia Tagged beach perhentian_kecil Comments (0)

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