So short! I felt that our stay in Phuket was gone in the blink of an eye. And with Phuket it’s the Andaman Sea that we were about to leave. It’s not the end of our Thaislands hopping though: Gulf of Thailand, here we come! Our destination for tonight: Ko Phangan, a small island known to be a big party hub for its monthly Full Moon Parties.
This morning we woke up early again (this is becoming a pattern) to be ready for our 7:30am taxi to Phuket International Airport which Mimi booked online last night. After we settled our bills at the hotel’s front desk (our two nights stay with two meals at Le Meridien ended up costing us a lot more than our three nights with all meals on Ko Jum!), our driver showed up. Despite being pretty tired from our short night of sleep, we did not close our eyes in the cab. The ride itself was pretty long and uneventful but allowed us to travel through the inner parts of the island where I presume more Thai people live, with a less heavy tourism presence.
As we expected, the airport was pretty busy with tourists. Our check-in was pretty quick however and we also cleared through security in no time: though the line was fairly long, they are much less stringent than back in the States. We boarded our plane on time, around 9:45am. If memory serves it was an ATR 72 with probably about 40 passengers inside. Here’s our plane taking off from the unique runway the airport has.
Since we were in a smaller plane, our cruising altitude was also much lower than a larger commercial jet. And since the sky was also very clear underneath us, we got to see many beautiful islands, on both sides of the mainland. About midway during out flight, we received a small snack (for me, it was much welcome since I had not put any food in my mouth since the previous all you can eat breakfast buffet incident). Kudos to Bangkok Airways for feeding their passengers on a 40 minutes domestic flight. Here is a short video of our landing in Ko Samui airport.
Ko Samui airport is small as you would expect but quite green and pretty. It even has an aquarium in the men’s bathroom!
While we were waiting for our checked-in bags, another plane very similar to ours landed. Took a shot to serve as a reference for next short domestic flights to come.
We got our luggage, changed some more US dollars to Thai Bahts and jumped in the bus that would take us to Maenam pier where our high speed Catamaran boat to Ko Phangan would take us. Since we had an hour to kill, we grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant that was packed with tourists. We boarded on the ferry which left shortly after. The ride itself was really fast, perhaps about 45 minutes. Here is Ko Samui getting smaller from the boat.
As we arrived in Ko Phangan, we spotted a number of kite surfers enjoying the perfect weather and wind on the island. It’s a bit hard to see them on the picture but believe me, they were there!
We got back our rolling luggage only to discover that they were a bit wet. Great. Next to us, another guy (who I believe was French from his accent speaking in English) was visibly more upset. He was yelling at the crew, saying that his entire luggage was soaked despite them ensuring him this would not happen and asking to be reimbursed. This guy was not having it and he made sure everyone on the pier knew about it!
We walked a little bit under the burning sun to the place where taxis wait for passengers and got in the first Songthaew we spotted. 100 THB per person to our hotel, let’s go.
The driver waited for additional passengers to show up until we were at full capacity. For both Mimi and I, this was our first time traveling in such a vehicle so of course we took a video of it! I hope the guy driving the motorbike in the video won’t sue us when our blog becomes a reference for Southeast Asia travel!
The ride overall wasn’t as shaky as it may look. Mostly we were tired of the heat and humidity of the air that day. We got dropped at our hotel, First Villa Resort. In terms of overall comfort and amenities, this hotel was somewhere in between the Season Bungalows in Ko Jum and Le Meridien in Phuket, though closer to the former. Following the now established yolomimo.com tradition, we shot a video of us discovering the room.
Later in the afternoon, I took a fairly long nap while Mimi worked on the blog (still trying to catch up!). We then walked along the beach before the sunset and had more yummy Thai food (and fresh coconuts) at the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. Another day of travels involving multiple modes of transportation, so we decided to take it easy for the evening and go to bed early so we could explore the island the next morning.