Ko Phangan // Thailand

 

We spent the last three weeks resting and relaxing on Ko Phangan in Thailand, and it was glorious! We started out with a plan to stay one week, and then we stayed three. Our days typically went as follows... I would wake up in our comfy beach bunalow at Blue Ocean Garden and hop on over to a yogurt and muesli breakfast seaside. Then I would catch the 10:00-11:30 yoga class with Sunny in the beachside yoga platform on Blue Ocean Garden's grounds. While yoga-ing it up, Adam would roll out of bed and grab his breakfast just before the cutoff at 11:00. Then we would meet up afterwards to lounge on the beach chairs with a book or laptop. I was studiously dedicated to at least 30 minutes of Danish lessons via Duolingo each day, and Adam was re-watching lectures from one of the courses he took during his Masters degree. I also made my way through four beach-chair-worthy books and additionally spent quite some time contemplating what to do with a couple of the chapters from my dissertation that remain unpublished. Adam, on the other hand, listened to many, many hours of podcasts about brewing sour beers and managed to finalize the publication of some of his lingering dissertation chapters. Cheers to that!

Once lunch time rolled around, we would order a salad from the beach bar or walk into town to one of the many options in Village Green. Sometimes we would hit up the amazing beach just south of Blue Ocean Garden on the way to town or on the way back home. I wasn't really able to get a picture of this beach with my Canon (I always opted for swimming in the water rather than sitting on the beach with my camera... obvious choice), but if you are ever on Ko Phangan, you should most definitely hit up this little spot. The water was so clear and refreshing and shallow and calm... it felt like a giant swimming pool!

 

Once evening rolled around, we would watch the sunset on clear evenings and then grab dinner. Eventually we would head back to our bungalow and indulge in an episode or two of Sons of Anarchy on the trusty laptop screen. I would fall asleep around midnight or so... and Adam would stay up watching League of Legends or reading Reddit for another two or three hours. And there ya have it... a day in the life of Abbie and Adam on Ko Phangan!

[Guide-like thoughts and anecdotes for future Ko Phangan visitors]

Where to stay. We booked a garden-view bungalow at Blue Ocean Garden for one week to start ... and then we stayed three. We adored how small and cozy the resort felt. We were in the mood for something really laidback, and Blue Ocean Garden definitely delivered on that front. If you are the kind of person that prefers a couple of beach chairs with a friendy bar tender in jeans over a fancy pool and three staff members in shiny uniforms standing on guard to serve you, then this is the place for you! Plus, there's yoga with Sunny!

Where to eat. You absolutely must visit Da at Jumpahom... even if it means renting a car for the day to get there. Da runs this restaurant in a quaint little hut on the side of the road. She buys the groceries each morning from the local market, greets customers and takes their orders, tends the bar, and cooks the food in the back... all by herself. And if you are lucky enough to catch her during a non-busy meal, you'll likely spend several hours together hanging out and chatting it up. If you want to actually get to know a local while visiting a Thai island, this is your chance!! Da is refreshingly outgoing and an exceptional cook and bartender! I highly recommend her green curry with pinneapple and green papaya and her lemon and peppermint tea, and if you are in the mood for a cocktail, try adding rum to the lemon and peppermint tea! Besides Jumpahom, we also thoroughly enjoyed Eat Co and Taboon in Village Green.

What to do. Option 1: Yoga with Sunny (see above). She is adorable, and you will inevitably leave class with a big, fat smile on your face. Option 2: Get a massage on the beach. Adam and I got our first massages ever... side by side in a little beach hut stripped down to our undies. We were both having an enjoyable time unwinding, up until Adam remembered the giant hole in the boxer briefs he wore that day. His masseuse got quite a show, and we got quite a laugh! Option 3: Watch the locals scavenge for sea urchins. Option 4: Go kayaking. Option 5: Rent a 4WD car for a day and drive to Than Sadet, which is a nice beach on the southeast side of the island. Option 6: Arrange a tour of Ang Thong Marine Park. Option 7: Hit up a full moon party if you are into that kind of thing (we skipped it).

What NOT to do. Rent a scooter. I saw way too many tourists dumping bikes and walking around with bandages and burns!