Koh Phangan Tour
Travelling with my two bike buddies in Thailand was the best way to enjoy our summer vacation in 2012. The hilly road to Koh Phangan in the Surat Thani region was the most unforgettable riding adventure of our lives. The endless line of beaches was a great way to whet our appetites. After packing my Trek Slash 9.9 cycle, cycling outfits, and sun block, we head off to enjoy our thrilling mountain bike tour in the land of the smiling people. We were blown away as we trailed the hilly roads of this tropical destination.
We endured a 15 hour Thai Airways flight from Ohio Cleveland Airport to reach Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. From there we boarded a Bangkok Airways flight to reach Koh Phangan. Upon arrival at the Koh Phangan Airport we were greeted with a cheery “Sawasdee” (hello in Thai word) by a group of Thai women with their hands clasped like praying followed by a gentle bow. We claimed our bike travel bags and immediately assembled our mountain bikes to get to Buri Rasa Koh Phangan Hotel, our home for the next five days of our tour in this island. Being great fans of the Muay Thai Sport, we started our tour with a short visit to the Chorenrit Muay Thai Camp and Fitness Gym. From there the trainers gamely gave us one on one lesson of discipline and training in practicing the sport. I learned so much that I am planning to go back there and study more to become a professional Muay Thai martial artist. My buddies lifted weights at the gym while I watch the intense training of two fighters in the ring. I had a great time when I tried sparring and clinching with the professional fighters. From here we watched a real fight at the Kobra Muay Thai Boxing Stadium, the owner proudly showed us around the modern amenities inside his gym and his battery of professional trainers and fighter. We truly enjoyed it!
The following day was started with a visit to a famous yoga school in Koh Phangan, the Agama Yoga. We felt relaxed at the enlightenment hall where we were taught the importance of yoga, shoulder stands and other Tantric body postures. It has relaxing yoga halls with a great view of the beach. We took pictures beside the Kali statue in the garden. The two hour yoga class and spiritual workshops at their yoga rooms was an awesome experience! Afterwards, we hit the road on our two wheeled vehicle to visit the beautiful beach named Thong Nai Pan Noi. It is a fine white sand beach but a bit secluded from all other attractions. This beach is family and kid friendly with not much water sports activities that are common in most beaches. It has nice bars, relaxing atmosphere and good selection of bungalow resorts lined under its palm covered shores. We snorkeled at the northern part of the shore and saw a good selection of tropical fishes and mollusks. There was not much crowd when we got there. We tried the burgers and bought shirts at a burger restaurant there. After our swim our tired muscles were treated with a relaxing Thai massage at the Tanaporn Massage House located within the beach. The food here is very cheap. We visited the nearby attraction and enjoyed more quiet time at the Thong Nai Phan Yai Beach. We enjoyed great Thai food at a bamboo restaurant located on this beach. It is an oasis of peace, a great time to just spend walking along the shores with a great view of the sunset.
The next day we followed bike trails to get to the Bow and Arrow Club, it is an archery school with a huge archery range. The owner guided us to the range with six targets; from there he gave instructions on how to position the bow in our shoulder and the placement of our fingers in the arrow. He explained the variety of bow equipments, arrows, and fletching used in Archery tournaments and a brief history of the sport. I learned archery is for everyone, it was fun to learn the techniques he unselfishly shared with us. After our lessons we cycled along steep hills to get to Salad Beach. This beach boasts of soft white sand and warm shallow waters. After parking our mountain bikes to a local resort inside the beach, we rented a long boat to explore this quiet and beautiful attraction. We went with a local boatman and guided us to the reef where we enjoyed snorkeling, and seeing a small variety of corals and fishes. As we head back, I marveled at this white sand beach, multi colored waters, and a bay surrounded by dense vegetation. This beach is not overcrowded which is an advantage for us as we want that privacy that is very rare in touristy places we have been too. The left side of the beach is lined with rocks and has great access points to reach the lush forest behind it. It is surrounded by restaurants, bars and massage huts. I felt like a young boy flying over the sand as we took turns riding “the swing”. This beach is a perfect place to relax, unwind and just enjoy the great views of the shore. Great time and great food!
We bike out early the following day to get to the Diamond Muay Thai Gym, where we sweat it out with ex professional Muay Thai boxers. They were eager enough to show their techniques, I had the opportunity to spar fight with one boxer and it was pretty exhausting as I keep hitting him but he did not flinch a bit. Muay Thai is indeed a great workout of mind, body, and hand and eye coordination. There was a group of cute Swedish girls on training which we met at this gym. They fight for team Diamond. After exchanging contact numbers with the girls, we head out on a long tail boat from the Haad Rin Beach to explore the Haad Yuan Beach. We decided to explore the latter because it is quieter than the very crowded Haad Rin. For 300 baht we got to explore the rest of the island from coast to coast. Haad Yuan was pretty remote and a great place to chill out but the food was a bit pricey but it was good as we got served and enjoyed big size portions which we are so used to. We enjoyed another good round of Thai massage in one of their huts while enjoying the great sunset views and a sip of fruit shake in our hand. Lovely beach, great food, and the best massage, this is the life! I won’t trade this for anything.
The highlight of our tour was to enjoy the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. It is an ultimate party where thousands of tourists and locals gather on the beach and party, drink and dine till the wee hours of the morning. The best part was we got to enjoy this rocking party with the Swedish girls we met at the gym. It is one of the best rave parties I have ever been to. It is a party not situated in just one place but in every corner of the island. It was nowhere near the rave parties we have seen and attended in Europe and America. The overflowing booze was sold cheaply, nonstop loud blazing music, meeting open minded tourists, endless revelry, all in all it was an amazing experience! Before the night got filled with drunkards and trash, we checked into private rooms with our Swedish partners on one of the resorts facing the beautiful Koh Phangan beach. It was a great way to end our tour of this paradise.
Our mountain bike odyssey in Koh Phangan, Thailand was the best way to get a feel of the whole city. We truly enjoyed ourselves and felt blessed finding our partners on this island paradise. I highly recommend a visit to this island.
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