We woke up around 7am and quickly got out of our room. We wanted to be out early to avoid the heat and strong sun of the late morning / early afternoon. Following Bobo’s recommendations, we had done some research yesterday and found a hike that wasn’t long and had a great vista point. We did not even get breakfast that day (I know, it’s unlike us!).
By 7:30am, we were riding our rented bikes on the main road. I personally found biking in Ko Phangan quite pleasant and very safe though we were almost the only people to ride non-motorized bikes. Mimi refused to rent motorbikes and in retrospect, I think she was right. From the main road, it took us about 20 minutes to get to the smaller steep road that leads to Wat Kow Tahm (Mountain Cave Monastery), a temple / international meditation center.
We locked our bike on a small dirt road leading to a private residence and then started hiking. On the path we saw plenty of coconut trees and large boulders.
Later, we got to a Buddha statue announcing that the temple was getting close.
We kept climbing for about 10 more minutes until we got to the temple proper.
There was nobody around us. We only bumped into people further down that seemed to be guests at the meditation center. I got to take this nice video of the temple at the top.
We then looked for the vista point proper. Even though the temple was pretty high, there was no view from its surroundings. We eventually got onto the right path to the vista point and stopped a few minutes to take pictures.
Walked back down to our bikes and decided to go check out the largest Yang Na Yai tree on the island – also a recommendation from Bobo – since it was not too far. We used smaller roads that had a lot less traffic to get there and despite getting lost once, it was an easy and quick ride. When we arrived next to the tree we were immediately impressed by its size. They were not lying, it really must be the largest tree on this island! Don’t we both look tiny next to it?
We decided to walk around a little bit. The area where the tree is located has a lot more local people living and we were curious to see their houses. We saw a few people that smiled at us, we smiled back. One family had a monkey pet in a cage. Later, we learned that these monkeys are not pets but rather hard workers trained to pick coconuts in the trees (like in this video). Unsurprisingly, the monkeys are much faster than humans at the job.
It was about 10am now and the sun started hitting stronger, signaling us that it was time to head back. We returned our bikes and grabbed a large lunch at our hotel’s restaurant. After lunch we felt tired from our morning activities and decided to go back to our room to take a nap and work on our blog (mostly the former).
We emerged around 6pm and decided to go for a swim in the ocean (our first one since we got to Ko Phangan). To be completely honest, the beach in front of our hotel did not look that appealing to us, especially coming from the perfect white sand beach with crystal clear water in Phuket. But we had to at least give it a try. It was as we expected: a bit disappointing with nobody else around us, relatively opaque water and muddy sand. In its defense, the weather was stormy that evening.
We did however get beautiful shots of the sunset over Baan Tai beach, with the sun peeking out through the clouds.
Later we got to the hotel’s swimming pool but did not end up staying long. Mimi particularly loved the elephant fountains.
We came back to our room, showered and headed for our last dinner in Ko Phangan. After dinner I booked some additional flights and did some research for hotels in Burma. We also asked Bobo to arrange a cab for us for the next morning since we’d have to catch the ferry to Ko Tao pretty early.