We had bought a bus ticket to get us back to Bangkok, that was going to leave at 6 am. Our plan was that we would make it to Bangkok in time to catch the overnight train to Surat Thani, and then catch a ferry to Koh Phangan the next morning. Kelsey had brought a trusty little alarm clock from Winnipeg, but sadly it got left behind weeks ago. We supplemented this with a pink, plastic, analog alarm clock that came with no English instructions. We never fully trusted it, but did figure it out eventually. Sadly, it proved its unreliability by freezing at 3:20am, when it was supposed to go off at 5:30am. This meant that we missed our bus and had to buy a new ticket. We should have been able to still catch the overnight train but we were not surprised that the bus was an hour late, and thus meant we had to sleep in Bangkok and catch the train the following evening. We spent the evening on Koh San Road, bought a few shirts, and slept in a very hard bed (and extremely loud room). The next evening we finally caught the train, made friends with an English guy and unsuccessfully tried to catch up on sleep on the train.
We had been on an overnight train before and both thought it was much more comfortable than the sleeper bus which is why we opted to pay more for the overnight train vs. taking another overnight bus. Unfortunately we were placed in seats/beds right next to the door between train cars which made it a VERY loud night! Katie was sleeping on the bottom bunk and got up to shut the door several times throughout the night. It was also a very chilly ride and there were people constantly walking around. The best part was when we stopped shortly after 4:30am and a woman was yelling out random things in Thai for about 10 minutes straight.
Extremely groggy, but glad to be off the train. We boarded a bus to take us to the pier where we would catch the ferry to Koh Phangan. The bus and ferry ride were, thankfully, somewhat uneventful but it was exciting to sit with our feet dangling off the boat and watch the crystal blue waters as we approached the islands.
Upon arriving at Koh Phangan, we were bombarded with the usual flock of people wanting us to stay at their hotel. Once again, we were convinced by one of the first beggers and went with her to Coral Bungalows, which proved to be a fine hotel (minus having to pay for toilet paper!). That night we headed out to the beach, which was covered in bars featuring dramatic fire dancers (much better than those in Winnipeg!). We also met a group of guys from New Zealand who we would hang out with for the next few days.
The next morning, said New Zealanders picked us up on their rented motorbikes and drove us around the island (this had been something we wanted to do but were too chicken to rent them ourselves). We scooted around, found some lunch, and then went back to the hotel for a nap. We met up with them, along with another two travelers from Denmark for dinner. That night was spent much the same as the last. We both braved the fire skipping rope and escaped with only some char markings on Kelsey’s ankle.
Our last day on Koh Phangan was spent relaxing on the beach, even though the weather was not great. We managed to take all the classic beach vacation pictures… jumping, sand-writing, etc. We left the next morning for a smaller island, Koh Toa where we plan to do our open-water scuba diving certification course.