Look out for cheap flights to Bangkok which starts at about 10,000 INR from Chennai to Bangkok. From Bangkok you could directly fly to Koh Samui through Bangkok Airways, but since its a private airport, fares are usually high. You could alternatively fly to Surat Thani from Bangkok, which has direct connections from the airport to the pier and to Koh Phangan/Ko Samui.You could take the train from Bangkok (Hualamphong Station) to Chumphon or Surat Thani, and head to the respective piers in those cities to catch a ferry to Koh Phangan . Alternatively you could fly to Bangkok, and book a Lomprayah Bus + Ferry ticket directly from Bangkok to Koh Phangan
After a heavy lunch of Pad Thai and noodles, Vikram and I were closer to a ‘siesta-mood’, while Abhi decided to walk further up the little hill to explore the top of the national park. The sounds of the crickets, dotted the green landscape, as we slowly walked stretching our necks, looking at the tall trees. We bid farewell to Abhi, as we set aside our time by the base of the waterfall. The Than Sadej national park has a viewpoint right at the top of the hill called the Dom Sila viewpoint, on the Khao Sa range, which is the highest mountain in Koh Phangan.
As Abhi stretched himself to complete the steep climb, he found lesser people accompanying him, and while he made it to the top, he found a Belarus girl at the top who was cooling her body in the little pool at the top, while enjoying the sunset. Dont they say that it’s lonely at the top? She introduced herself and spoke about how beautiful the sun’s light illuminated the green fringes of the forest cover in the national park.
The beauty of the evening sun is the way it can add warmth in a chill place, and the glow of diffused light that peers in through the forests. Abhi decided to capture a moment where the Belarus girl with long legs, was sitting on a rock facing the sun. The rocks, were of the size of medium boulders, and had distinctly drier areas and extremely wet areas. Before it was too dark, she and Abhi decided to trek down. Since there was no communication from Abhi, as there was no signal, we too waited for a long while, before deciding that we would meet at a nearby fuel station, as were getting close to running out of petrol.
On our way back, we ended up stopping over at a Muay Thai centre in Koh Phangan near Baan Tai, which had a competiton in a couple of days,and it had a couple of boxers practicing. Boxing is the closest sport, we could liken it to, but it was a little more than boxing as you could use your elbows, knees and shin too. It’s got an interesting lore behind it where a lot of Siamese People (Thailand’s older name) were taken as refugees and prisoners by the Burmese, and one Siamese boxer had to defeat 9 of Burma’s best boxers, to laud the Burmese King’s appreciation in the form of freedom from slavery and 2 Burmese wives. Sport used for freedom from slavery/taxation is a theme we folks in India have already seen in a movie titled ‘Lagaan’, but that seemed like fiction as opposed to historical.
We drove, looking at the moon taking a fully rounded shape, as we passed the hills. Haad Rin usually is jam packed for the full moon party, which was a day away, but most of the vehicles driving into town were probably the people staying in Haad Rin who had gone out to explore the town. The town has a couple of hills that needs a 2 wheeler on a heavy throttle to go up, and god forbid if your vehicle stops there it could be dangerous at that point, trying to pull a pillion rider. We went inside town, and wanted to book our return leg of the journey to Bangkok, so we met a travel agent, and booked our tickets. It is advised to get a travel agent to book your tickets, since the website that Thailand has for its railway was a little complex to figure out trains and book them. The travel agent booked us a couple of days later on a ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao, where we would go and celebrate the first day of Songkaran. We were then bound on another ferry that afternoon from Koh Tao to the port city of Chumphon from where we could catch the train going to Bangkok.
Once the tickets were booked, we had one less headache, and we headed back to our hostel to regale our co-travellers with tales of how beautiful we found the drive to Paradise and Phaeng Waterfalls. A few people started to gather outside our hostel in trying to ‘practice’ for the full moon party night by buying buckets, listening to music and building endurance in lasting till 6 am on the sun-rise part of Haad Rin Beach.
We went around walking listening to various songs in South American music, and spent our time at the beach, before we downed cute little cup cakes all night sitting on the beach.
To see what we did in between taking pictures, do watch our documentary #TheBeachTrail2017
This is Part of a series called #TheBeachTrail2017 which is published as a special exclusive series on WordKraft. Kartik Kannan is a Travel writer and photographer who writes at Katchutravels