Tag Archives: sun

Fluro – Ko Phanang

You would be a questionable traveller if you have never heard of South-East Asia’s biggest party on the beach, the Full Moon Party. Tens of thousands of wide-eyed travellers, young and old, make the long stretch of journey to Kho Phangan island every month to rave on a beach under the light of the full moon. Our Full Moon experience was the first in 38 years to clash with Christmas Day, which apparently boosted the numbers to an exponential capacity.

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Our ride to the beach, in the back of a ute.

From a business side, our group noticed how well the community had adapted to the event which has been spreading through word of mouth since 1985. Every hotel in the area offers a transfer to the party and every hotel receptionist greets you with a “you’re here for the party”. Although, that’s expected when you’re with a group of eight guys. Closer to the vicinity of the Party itself are clinics specialising in dealing with overdoses on illicit substances and hospital clinics specialising in treating burns. An eye opener for anyone on their way to the festival.

For reference to anyone confused, the Full Moon Party is in Haad Rin, the south-eastern most tip of Kho Phangan, when booking accommodation it is a good idea to keep this in mind, specifically for the return trip for a full night of partying until sunrise – a 10 minute drive is better than an hour.

FullSizeRender-16For our group, we booked a cheap resort as we didn’t mind the 40-minute travel time to the party and also wanted to enjoy the amazing beaches, specifically at the Long Bay Resort. The water and kayaking is amazing at the resort. As a libeling couple we paddled one of the kayaks around the coastline. The management staff were nice enough to let us use for free as they were not being used.

Prior to our departure, and a custom for Full Mooners is to don the war paint of fluorescent glow paste and bright shirts. Anything you wouldn’t wear in public back at home is suitable for this party and there are a plethora of stores that stock a range of tie die fluro dresses, shirts, shorts and bikini outfits.

Securing transport is easy as there are shuttles that leave every 20-or-so minutes. For us, we had one of the hotel staff drive all of us in his ute, so we had an open cab ride through the whole island. For one of the world’s biggest parties I was impressed with the lack of queues or tight crowds – everything was very streamlined with no waiting. The entry price was the price of two coffees, 200 baht (US $5.50), and bucket drinks (a small bottle of smirnoff vodka and two red bulls) were the same price. Needless to say, I have never paid so little at festivals in Australia.

The whole beach has its own genre zones, with the Cactus Bar and Drop-in Bar being the most popular for its music and fire shows. There are also areas specifically catered to trance, deep-house, tech and drum and bass. Further up on the northern part of the beach is a bar perched up on a cliff that overlooks the beach and is the best place to watch the sunrise. It serves the special Full Moon milkshakes which are a delicacy at the event so a lot of the patrons here are a little happier than everyone else.

This bar is also a very romantic place and traveling couples often perch themselves up here to enjoy the sight of the festivities and enjoy the sunrise, of which the host beach derives its name from, Sunrise Beach.

Rocky ride – Ko Phangan

I still find it amazing to this day that on such a far island stretching into the pacific there can still be such a cluster of communities and life. Today’s experience was Koh Phangan.

Stretched out into the far fetched islands in Thailand, Koh Phangan is one of the further of the tourist destinations. I was travelling from Phuket so it was a quick flight over to Koh Samui, a ferry over to Koh Phangan and a bus to Long Bay Resort (pictured).

The flight is the quickest leg of the journey, and quite possibly the easiest, given flying in South-East Asia isn’t always that peaceful. After landing in the airport our group of eight had to broker with the ferry and bus agents for a good deal to our rest spot. We made our way from the airport to the ferry terminal via a 15-minute shuttle.

We were greeted at the terminal by a young traveller being escorted off the ferry with staff carrying an intravenous bag of saline, she was obviously a casualty of the Full Moon Party and perhaps had too good of a time.

The ferry ride itself takes the good part of an hour so we, as good-natured Australians do, decided to fill the time with beer and music. It’s times like these that I would like to introduce an essential item for any traveller, which is a portable speaker, and preferably a fully-charged battery pack. I have caused too much excitement in my travels with a portable speaker and a subsequent let-down at not having any power for it.

As expected, the water between the two islands is not calm. As a matter of fact there can be times where the ferry will replicate scenes of the Perfect Storm. The staff like to show off in these instances by maintaining their perfect balance on the deck of the ferry despite people falling around them trying to get to the toilet, or the bar. Depending on how many drinks you consume during the ferry ride, the walk to the toilet can prove to be quite challenging under these conditions. Note: drink responsibly, otherwise you might end up with an intravenous bag as well.

One short trek in Springbrook National Park – Australia QLD

In a shorter journey, we travelled only 40 minutes, rather than the usual eight to 30 hour flight, to get to our destination in a tropical rainforest. Lamington National Park is host to a number of amazing sights perched along the ridge line bordering from the middle of Queensland right down to New South Wales. It is one of the longest mountain ranges in Australia’s eastern seaboard, and also one of the most visited.¬†FullSizeRender-7.jpg

Our journey was specifically to see the great Purling Brook Falls and walk the circuit which goes down to the bottom of the falls. On the other side of the mountain range, another 30 minute loop drive, is natural bridge, an amazing waterfall through a cave formed by molten lava.

The Falls, our first stop, are a short walk form the car park so the sight is easily reachable by anyone. The lookout has been perfectly perched on the side of the mountain range facing the valley and the waterfalls and makes for amazing photo opportunities. Further down the track, and for the more physically inclined, is several flights of steps that traverse down the side of the mountain through the rainforest. The track splits at the belly of the falls where we took the chance to walk underneath the waterfall and enjoy the fresh cooling water before making our way further FullSizeRender-4down the track following the streams.

The walk is well worth the effort as it is one of those untouched parts of the world so enjoyable for people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city environment.

The Ministry recommends taking the track down past the bottom of the falls for a further two

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kilometre track which ends at an open water rock pool. It is a perfect spot to stop for a swim. Take a lot of Bushman’s insect repellant on this track as the leeches are in prime numbers on the way down.

River run – Malaysia

The Ministry took a 40 minute cab ride from Kuala Lumpur city to a small jungle lodge called Alang Sedayu to see the Pisang falls and rainforest track in one of the world’s oldest and well-preserved ecosystems.

We met up with our tour guide, Tim, who spoke really good english for a local. I doubted the authenticity of his name, which was more likely a sales name than anything. Tim’s pre-walk warnings consisted of the dangers of cobras, tigers, ticks and the definite invasion of leeches, a great note to start an excellent day trip on.

The walk was light and very easy, made so for the commercial side of marketing to the average tourist. Tim was well rehearsed in jokes and intermittent stops along the way, usually interrupting a walk with the line “this one time..”. One of the Ministry’s party on

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Left to right: Tim (guide), a travel writer, Fiji.

the rainforest walk was Fiji, an Indian freelance travel agent who, if he wasn’t making several-thousand trip deals on the phone per day, was also talking about his own adventures through Indian jungle tours. They both met at an agreement on the rule of the modern-day jungle which is:

 

“if you are being chased by a tiger, indicate left with your hand and run right”.

The rainforest walk is a loop track that passes under a highway (you’re not that far out of the wild) by a large walk-through tunnel. In the rainy season (October to March) this area can get quite flooded. The Ministry recommends you don’t go immediately after this season unless you want to know how 100 leeches feel.

The tour guides are great on the walk and the level of preparation required for such an activity is none. However make sure you wear boating shoes or ones that you don’t mind getting wet as there is a lot of walking through water. The tour guide themselves wear crocs shoes, they’re surprisingly very suitable for this kind of trail.