My Koh Samui Experience – 2013

The beautiful island of Koh Samui is one of the largest islands off the East Coast of Thailand.

It’s located just a 30 minutes boat ride from Koh Phangan which hosts the Full Moon party and it’s the perfect place to check out before or after you party it up on Haad Rin. 
However if you’re with a group of friends just wanting to explore or heading to Koh Samui for a romantic getaway you’ll find plenty of things to do!

How to get there:

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From Phuket:
I flew from Phuket when I went to Koh Samui.
It’s about a 1 hour plane ride away and you can sometimes grab cheap deals through Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways online.d60581f12f415661269a3a31fd5e6380You can also fly straight from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Pattaya, and Krabi with those airlines to get to Koh Samui if you’re holidaying around those areas.

However, there is the option of taking a ferry straight from Phuket.
Rassada Pier is Phuket’s main departure point for ferry trips to the surrounding islands. It’s just a 10 minute drive from the city of Phuket to the ferry terminal, otherwise you can book a bus/ferry packages here and catch a bus from Phuket Town which takes you straight to the terminal.
The ferry to Koh Samui will drop you at Bangrak Pier (Also known as Big Buddha Pier) which is close to the Samui Airport.

From Bangkok:

You can fly directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport (in Bangkok) to Samui Airport. This flight takes an hour and you can book again through Bangkok Airways or Thai Airways online.

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But if you’re on a budget, take the bus!
It can save you a nights accommodation as they leave Bangkok around 6pm and arrive at the Dongsak Pier in Surat Thani the next morning. You’ll than have to take a ferry across to the island.
Buy your ferry tickets here.

I didn’t take a bus, but I’ve heard that it’s recommended to book the VIP buses compared to the local ones. Any travel agency will be able to sell you a ticket from 250 to 300 baht for the cheapest local one (on Khao San Road) to 600 baht for a VIP bus which usually has less people, is air conditioned and doesn’t stop every time someone holds their arm out on the side of the road. They do stop however for bathroom breaks and some even have toilets on board.

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Your other option is taking the over night train. The ride takes between 8 – 12 hours depending on the type of train you take. They leave from Hualamphong station and you can buy a ‘combination ticket’ which includes your transfer from the railway station to the ferry and also your boat ticket. They’re about 1,148 baht (NZD$48) for a second class cabin.

You can buy train tickets at Hualamphong station otherwise if you want to book in advance, head to http://www.thailandtrainticket.com (note that you e-mail back and forth with the company to arrange the tickets)
If you want to do the over-night train, it’s best to book 5 days in advance as they book up quickly.

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When I was in Koh Samui, my friend and I stayed right on the beach at The Chaweng Resort. (Not to be confused with another resort – Chaweng Regent Beach Resort which is much nicer)
I haven’t been since 2013 so it may have changed by now, but the reviews on TripAdvisor are still okay.
It’s situated right in the city center, has free wi-fi and two pools.


We had a really large room for just the two of us. It’s more of a family hotel than a party hotel but they do breakfast daily and as it was right on the beach I remember lounging out on the edge of the resort watching the ocean in the midst of reading my book all day. Heaven! The staff there were very attentive as well 🙂


Right across the road there was a 7-11 and also a little travel store where we went and got our laundry done (Much cheaper than getting it done at the resort) We booked a day tour at the travel place as well. We figured if the store was right across from where we were staying, it’d be harder to scam us because lots of that goes on in Thailand. They’ll take your money when you’ve ‘booked a tour’ and than suddenly have no recollection of it when you turn up.

Thankfully our tour was legit and the next day, a van came and got us from outside our resort for our day tour.
We picked up a few other people who were on the tour also and headed up to Na Muang Waterfall.

The first waterfall we saw was Na Muang 1. It flowed down into a lovely natural pool which from what I remember was really refreshing as it was so hot!
About 30 minutes by foot further uphill was Na Muang 2 which is the smaller one of the waterfall but still just as nice.

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Between Na Muang 1 and 2 we explored the Na Muang Safari Park, which had elephant rides as well as a monkey show and other entertainment. First off we did some elephant riding (Which unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of on my computer) then we went to the waterfall and had a swim!

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An old picture of me back in 2013

Well I did, and a few other tourists did. If you’re ever overseas as a young white girl, Asians love you! I’m not sure why, but when I’ve gone to Thailand and Bali I’ve had so many Asian families come up and take photos with me. For example when I went to the waterfall and had a swim, my friend and I and an older couple were the only Europeans there so we had many many ‘family photos’ taken together from other tourists. It’s all a bit of a laugh and you do feel very flattered because they gush over your “beautiful white skin and blue eyes”

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I can’t quite remember the order in which we did stuff, but we did go and see some tigers!

We also went and saw the Mummy Monk at Wat Khunaram.
It’s a bit of an unusual sight but defiantly worth a look to understand the Thai beliefs and culture. Most Buddhist Thais are very comfortable thinking that the end of their life is the natural order of how things are and view death as an opportunity to be reborn into a better place.
This monk pictured above is called Luong Pordaeng who died in 1973 in a seated meditative position, and ever since – his body has been on display in an upright glass case at the temple. It’s crazy because years later, his body isn’t really decaying. There are other mummy monks on Samui and throughout Thailand, but Loung Pordang is among the most highly revered. As this is a sacred place, you have to dress conservatively by wearing trousers or skirts that cover the knee. Entry is free, but you can make a donation which we did.

Looking back, I do feel very sorry for these Monkeys and I’m not sure if I’d do it again.
We went and watched monkeys run up coconut trees and throw coconuts down for us to drink. All the while on a long rope that their handler attached to them. The monkeys looked very well fed so I do hope they were at least a little bit happy 😦 even if they were chained to a long rope.

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After the monkey show, we went and saw some more temples and then were driven to one of the tourist highlights – the famous rocks on Samui’s South Coast.
Hin Ta and Hin Yai are their names – also known as the Grandpa (Ta) and Grandma (Yai) that look like genitalia. Seriously…

The views from the rocks are really nice however!
You can see all across the sea to the nearby islands and a small white-sand beach which you can’t swim in but you can dip your feet in.
The clear waters here are so clear that pretty fishes and other marine life can often be seen from the surface. As it’s one of Koh Samui’s most popular attractions, every taxi driver will know how to get here, or you can arrange to stop here when booking a tour of the island.

We finished off our tour with a lovely early dinner on a beach somewhere (I wish I remembered where!) and then we were dropped off back at our hotel.

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Note: The guy who was taking us on this day tour was friendly at the beginning of the trip and then ended up making me really uncomfortable. Thai men are very flirty but this guy went a little overboard. There was even a point in the tour where we went to an aquarium which was dark inside and he walked past and touched my ass. Very unprofessional! He kept saying the whole time he was going to take me out on a date and very obviously took photos of me on his personal phone for half the trip. Looking back, my friend and I should have been much firmer with him and told him it wasn’t okay to do things like that. But us being a bit younger, we just tried laughing it off and avoiding him half of the time. Apart from that, the whole tour was wonderful 🙂 (The below picture is of me and the tour guide + my very forced smile)
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We saw most things in Samui, but didn’t get to see the Big Buddha which is actually one of their top attractions.
It’s on the Northern Coast of Samui and probably their most well known landmark.
Inside the surrounding temple are lots of different shrines and other smaller ornate Buddhas. There is also a small market selling a wide range of lucky charms and other souvenirs to check out if you’re ever in Koh Samui!

Koh Samui Advice:

When you decide on where to stay, do your research!
In the Northeast Corner of the island which is closest to the airport is Chaweng Beach (Where we stayed) and it’s the biggest and most lively place on the island. There’s lots of places to shop and party but it gets quite crowded in the high season and noisy when it comes to the early hours.

Lamai

If you want to stay out of the noise, head down to Lamai which is better suited for families and still has good dining and shopping options.

If you’re on a budget, apparently Maenam is the place to be. More suited towards backpackers and couples, it’s a lot quieter after dark but still has all the options of activities like kite-surfing and football-golfing during the day.

When To Go:

The hottest time of the year is between March and April. With temperatures reaching 30 degrees plus!

From September – November the island see’s a lot of rain. Don’t worry though, like a lot of Thailand it’s more in short bursts than all day down-pours. Not the best time to come if you plan on going diving though as visibility isn’t that good because of rougher seas and wind.

From December – February it’s peak season which means higher hotel prices but slightly cooler temperatures.

The main shopping places are in Chaweng, Lamai and Nathon with Nathon usually having the cheapest deals

Full Moon Party – Thailand

The Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan is probably the best party I’ve been to so far!


The idea of the party all started awhile back when a group of tourists found that to see the Full Moon at it’s best was in Koh Phanghan – so they arranged a party there on the beach of Haad Ri. Now it’s one of the biggest parties of the world with people from all over the country travelling to party it up! I did exactly that back in March 2013 with my friend Michelle.

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We booked our accommodation before we arrived as it gets pretty booked up around Full Moon time on the Island. Don’t ever just turn up and expect to get some accommodation. Pretty much everything is booked out months in advance and the closer it gets to the parties, the more expensive it gets!
There’s a party pretty much every month so if you can arrange your travels around attending it, then be sure to do so!

Buri Beach Resort – Our resort for Full Moon Party

Christmas/New Years – You’ll be unlucky if you even book a couple of months in advance. My partner is going this year (2015) with his mates and they struggled to find some accommodation for New Years even though they started looking in April!
They also hike the prices up to an atrocious amount around New Years. What you’d usually pay for $40 a night at a hotel, you can be expected to pay upwards of $100 NZD at the same hotel. They also have a minimum number of nights you can stay at a hotel/resort/hostel.

How to get there:
To get to the Island, it’s about 30 minutes from Koh Samui by boat.

If you’re coming from Bangkok, you can get a 1 hour plane ride with Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways to Koh Samui and then get a boat from there.
There’s no airport on Koh Phangan so everyone takes the ferry. Round trip tickets cost about 600 Baht (NZD $24) and drop you off at the main pier of Koh Phangan.

During the party the ferries depart Koh Samui every hour over to Haad Rin. It’s useful if you can’t find accommodation on Koh Phangan so decide to stay in Koh Samui instead. We stayed on Koh Phangan but didn’t get back to our hotel until 8.30am in the morning so it was basically just a place to keep our stuff!
I think we stayed on Koh Phangan for about 3 nights. The first night we stayed, there was a ‘pre-full moon party’ which we went to. It’s a bit quieter than the actual Full Moon Party so we just went to the bars along the beach of Haad Rin to familiarize ourselves with everything and drunk a bit of alcohol.

On the actual day of the full moon party, everyone starts drinking in the afternoon (You don’t want to start too early incase you don’t make it!) and then everyone heads over to Haad Rin around 8-9pm. If you’re not staying close to the beach, just take a Tuk Tuk! We met 4 other guys staying at the same hotel as us so they took the tuk tuk with us. No need to book, just walk down the street and there’s bound to be a few!

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You can walk around and drink, so be sure to buy some alcohol from your hotel beforehand. (It’s alot safer)
We all bought buckets from our hotel and took them to the party with us. If you don’t know what a bucket is, you’ll sure find out when in Thailand. – Basically a ton of alcohol mixed with juice/soda/energy drinks in a bucket with lots of straws.
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They’re everywhere on Haad Rin. You can also buy them on the street and most hotels sell them as well.
If you go to buy a bucket and the place you’re getting it from looks a bit dodgy, don’t buy it!
I’ve heard that a lot of the spirits they sell on the street aren’t the safest to drink. (They buy the Smirnoff bottles but put their own unknown alcohol in it) So just be wary.
Also, if you buy alcohol away from the beach – it ends up being a lot cheaper than at the beach where the party is held. Just like at a festival back home, you pay double the amount when you’re inside.

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Me looking really nice and sweaty in my over-sized I ❤ Phangan top

Be prepared also to sweat your ass off. I barely wore anything and I had to tie my hair up because it was just way too hot. The humidity really gets to you so be sure to drink plenty of water even though you’re drinking alcohol. Being hydrated will make you last longer throughout the night.
We all know however, that drinking lots has a massive effect on your bladder. I wasn’t an ocean-pee-er at the beginning of the party but by the end I was.
Michelle and I lined up for the most disgusting toilets on Haad Rin beach and had to pay for them as well!
There was basically just a lady at the front collecting 15 Baht from everyone (60c) and then letting us through to use the bathrooms.
These bathrooms were all blocked up and the floors were disgusting, it was dark, there were insects and the floor boards were lifting up with what I imagine to be other people’s waste. YUCK
Otherwise you can use the bathrooms in all the bars but you still have to pay. Even though they’re sliiiightly nicer.

In the end I just peed in the sea along with hundreds of other people. Defiantly don’t go swimming if you don’t need to. It’s warm for a reason…fb_img_1452551677905.jpg
UV Tattoos are lots of fun at Full Moon too. I hear you can just go buy some paint from the 7-11 and do it yourself but the guys that paint it on you do some seriously cool stuff so give it a try!
Don’t spend lots of money on it though. You’re going to sweat half of it off during the night.
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The dreaded fire jump rope. DON’T DO IT!
You’ll see them all along the beach, people skipping over the jump rope of fire and jumping through hoops of flames. When you’re drunk it looks like a lot of fun and you feel invincible but when you get burnt, the last thing you want to do is go to the hospital and get bandages/antibiotics/creams etc… and be in pain for the rest of your trip. It happened to someone we met and he had to take antibiotics for the rest of his trip so his burns wouldn’t get infected.

What other tips can I give for the full moon party…

  • Wear Shoes – honestly, there’s so much crap littering the beach you really don’t want to stand on anything. Even if all you have is jandals (Flip-flops), wear them!
  • Take as little as possible. Don’t take your phone, you’ll most likely loose it and be gutted for the rest of your trip. Take a cheap camera to capture all your memories and some baht for all the drinks you’re going to buy.
  • Be safe – Have a meeting place (like a certain table outside a bar, or a tree somewhere) if you loose all your friends.  Believe me, you’ll make new friends even if you loose yours.

Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
If you don’t travel often Full Moon is a once in a lifetime experience. You’re on a beach at night time with 10,000 other people all there for the same reason. To have an epic night!
Don’t be a dick and start fights/spike peoples drinks. There’s lots of drugs at the Full Moon Party and if you didn’t know, drugs are ILLEAL in Thailand. Undercover cops will try and sell you drugs at the Full Moon Party just so they can arrest you and you can pay upwards of NZD $1500 just for them to let you off.
If you’re still up at dawn, there’s ‘The After Party’ that you can go to, located on the beach-side in the village of Ban Tai. Several road signs indicated the way 🙂

The best time to go to the Full Moon Party is Any time!
From February to October, the temperature is of an average of 32 to 38 degrees, but from July till September it rains quite a bit. (Only for short periods of time though)
The climate is tropical so very humid all year round.

Before or after the Full Moon Party, there’s heaps of other stuff to do on the Koh Samui & Koh Phangan Islands so you can make the most of your trip. Apparently Koh Samui is the new ‘in’ place for tourists. It used to be Phuket which is just FULL of tourists, but now Koh Samui is rumored to be taking over.

I’ll write another post at some stage about the highlights of Koh Samui & Phangan 🙂

Let me know of your experiences of The Full Moon party if you’ve been!