Sawasdee ca from Koh Phangan!
And happy New Year!
Absolutely unreal is the best way to describe this week of the trip. I wanted to get to Koh Phangan for New Year’s Eve because the small island is home to the Full Moon Party, each month held for full moon. They throw a similar party for NYE and call it Countdown, but it’s madness all the same.
I was happy to be meeting back up with a few friends that I had met in Myanmar, and together we booked a bungalow. Next door, there was a bar and restaurant where a small group of travelers convened and we became family over the next few days. And it all started because one of the group, Darren, was hanging out at Chok’s place and when people would walk by on the street, he’d holler a hello and invite them in. Everyone who took him up on it folded into our group. If you’re too stuck up to join a bunch of people inviting you to come hang out, we don’t want you anyway.
The island itself is just unreal in its beauty. Massive rolling hills, waterfalls, mountains extending out to beautiful beaches. We stayed on the North side of the island, away from all the partiers and craziness (and commuted in on NYE), which meant we got as much calm and peace as we wanted on a beach practically to ourselves.
As a group, we rallied to help Chok put together a BBQ at his bar on NYE. We laughed as a group of “illegal immigrants” worked to get the BBQ up and running, each taking on something, whether it was running to get fireworks, helping set up, creating and handing out fliers or writing up chalkboards (you can guess which I ended up with). We had the BBQ, got to know each other and got painted up to head to the other beach for the party. There was so much traffic that we arrived and found a spot with a view with about 15 seconds left in the countdown. Fireworks went off and the music went up.
I have never seen a party like this in my life. Everyone was happy and nice and mostly courteous. Everyone was painted and/or wearing neon. Everyone was dancing.
While it could be called a party island, it is so beautiful and peaceful. We spent the next days hiking a waterfall and jumping in and out of the ocean.
The week ended for myself and two others in Bangkok, where we all flew out. Luckily I left the island to travel to Bangkok with Erika and Tobi, because as our truck took us to the ferry, the whole group was out seeing us off. I didn’t see a single dry eye in the group.
We went to the famous Khao Son Road to eat bugs at night and explored the city in the day. Another round of goodbyes came two days later, and more tears were shed.
I’m so grateful for 2015. I’m incredibly thankful for how it ended. And I can’t wait for 2016.