Koh Phangan – diving sail rock and beach bumming

Koh Phangan is another popular island in the Gulf of Thailand, deserving of its beloved reputation for its beautiful beaches, wonderful scuba diving, and all night full or half moon beach parties. We were willing participants to all three of these activities which added up to be quite an exciting and yet still relaxing week in Koh Phangan.

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We quickly grew comfortable with a daily schedule while on Koh Phangan that was solely based around relaxing and taking it easy. Each morning began with a lazy breakfast followed by packing a beach bag and heading to one of the various surrounding beaches. Once we were settled into our spot on the sand we would read or write while soaking up the sun until our stomachs told us it was lunch.

A few beers with lunch at the nearest waterfront restaurant would then be followed by a much needed afternoon snorkel to cool down. After we were all snorkled out we would return to our bungalow for a shower and hangout in our hammocks until dinner. It was an enjoyable schedule that repeated itself almost every day on Koh Phangan.

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The island is fairly large and after one failed attempt at walking to the next beach over in the midday heat, we rented a moto. Zipping over the hills and around the windy roads was a lot of fun and much more efficient. With the aid of our moto we were able to see multiple beaches and snorkeling spots that were too far to walk to.

We stayed at the far north end of the island, Haad Salad, which is quite far from the main area of Thongsala village. For the few days that we had the moto for we made a point of riding all the way to town, about 20 minutes, to eat dinner at the night market that is crowded with stall after stall of various foods and snacks.

Each time we visited the night market we filled our bellies with pad thai, springs rolls, corn on the cob, sushi, pizza, fruit shakes, tofu skewers, and doughnuts (and this is just the vegetarian options). It was delicious and I really enjoyed eating a little of everything for my meal.

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We spent one of our days diving the well known dive site called Sail Rock. About an hours boat ride from Koh Phangan a large boulder seems to be floating on the oceans surface, but below that boulder is a huge pinnacle that is thriving with marine life. We saw enourmous groupers near the bottom of the pinnacle and were engulfed in a large school of smaller fish when we swam away from the rocks.

Among the usual tropical marine life we also saw white eyed moray eels wriggling along the rocks, nudibranchs, and boxer shrimp. Both dives were around Sail Rock and once during each dive we went through the ‘chimney’ – a wide vertical tunnel about 15 feet long. The diving was amazing and definitely lived up to its high reputation.

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Our stay in Koh Phangan was extended by a couple days because of the approaching full moon party. The world famous all nighter full moon party is a must do on the list of experiences in Thailand so we donned our bright colours and neon paint for an evening of dancing on the beach. After a post-party recovery day we carried on to our next destination, Krabi, as we made our way to the islands on the west coast of Thailand’s peninsula.

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