Canadian winters. You love them, hate them or sit somewhere in between. The in-between would be me. They can be beautiful but chilly. And usually, all I crave is constant sunshine with very warm temperatures, preferably while standing on the sand with ocean waters lapping at my feet.
So earlier this year when an opportunity to travel to a tropical destination landed on my lap, it didn’t take long to decide! “I am doing this!” I said to myself. A friend would be in Thailand, so what a great reason to go. And it had been years since I had travelled to Thailand, so it would be great to ‘see’ it and experience a tropical destination again. PLUS, what a great test to see if I could work remotely while travelling!
So I booked it. 2 weeks on the island of Koh Phangan, just off of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, south of Bangkok. Air with Eva from Vancouver, via Taiwan to Bangkok, then Thai Airways to Koh Samui, and ferry to Koh Phangan.
I had planned on working, yoga, beach time, touring, eating delicious Thai food and chilling. I think I accomplished this pretty well! Here are some photos from my trip along with a little recap of my adventure.
And I booked all my hotels online at agoda.com (a popular site for SE Asia) & I booked my air with a travel agent.
Follow along on my adventure…
The Beach Village – http://www.beachvillagethailand.com
Here is where I stayed for 10 nights! Basic, beautifully located, somewhat rustic for a 3-star and beds
Southway Coffee Bar (can be found on Trip Advisor)
A friendly little family-run place with delicious fresh fruit smoothies (very popular in Thailand)
This was where I would start my day with air conditioning!
Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar – www.fishermansphangan.com
I took myself here a few times for the food! They had a great wine list too, I was just too hot to have any.
Located on the beach, a modern restaurant with a beach lounge.
The food was soo good! And I enjoyed
my first (ever) fresh coconut – which is a saviour in the hot, humid weather!
A little more expensive than downtown Thong Sala, but still highly worth it!
Beach Coconut Bowls – https://beachcoconuts.business.site
This was such a good find! And I only found them because their social media is strong. They followed me once
I tagged a photo with #kohphangan, so I followed them back and discovered where they were.
They make fresh smoothie bowls from fresh fruits and healthy additions in locally made coconut bowls.
And they made fresh-pressed juices which are not as common on the island.
They also have a cookbook out! Follow them on social media.
Super great people running this place! You’ll find them on Trip Advisor as well.
Serenity Beach Restaurant – https://www.serenity-beach.org
What a find this was! I drove by on my scooter and caught a glimpse of the view, I had to return.
This picture was my lunch view. A French chef now living locally runs the restaurant. Delicious food
and good wine list (what a surprise!). Also on Trip Advisor & Facebook
The Phangan Thai Cooking Class – https://the-phangan-thai-cooking-class.business.site
An absolute must when you are here. Chef Oy is a cute woman runs the courses. We started by taking bikes to the local market to get ingredients, then returned to cook and eat what was made.
An amazing experience and not that expensive.
Note: no air conditioning, just fans, so best to go when it’s not the height of the hot season.
Bluerama – www.bluerama.com
A great location for food, drinks, a calm atmosphere with great music and a spectacular view!
North of Thong Sala, perched up a hill, very modern with a great drinks list, menu and infinity pool.
Entrance fee is 60 Baht which goes towards your bill, it’s a no brainer.
Divine Comedie Boutique Resort – http://www.divinecomedyhotel.com
I stayed at this beautiful and quaint resort for just 3 nights, it had modern decor and soft beds – thankfully! Each suite has a rooftop deck, and you feel tucked away from the busy main road.
Next time, I would stay here the entire time. Good wifi, a restaurant with Burmese cuisine, infinity pool and a little bar.
I would also recommend:
Bubba’s Coffee house (can be found on Trip Advisor) – offering North American comfort foods, fresh and locally made, good coffee as well.
Visit the small shop Pink Pineapple in Thong Sala – all-natural self-care products and island home decor.
Visiting the little village of Haad Rin to shop or enjoy the beach, but warning, 1 week before the full moon it gets quite busy as young travellers arrive for the full moon parites!
Also, take the longtail boat from Haad Rin to Haad Yuan Beach to the Bamboo Hut Restaurant for Thai Food.
Visiting the night market on the weekend in Thong Sala
Visiting the food market outside of the Big C supermarket (freshly made green papaya salad!).
And if you are there in April, do take part in the Songkran Festival – it brings locals and visitors out to celebrate the
Thai New Year with street water fights. I’ll admit it was pretty fun!
Visit Haad Than Sadet Beach – about 30 minutes north on the scooter,
just one restaurant but lots of space to enjoy the beautiful beach.
Leaving Koh Phangan for Koh Samui was a beautiful and short ride on the ferry. But also a shock.
KP is a rustic and quaint style of island, where KS is busy with tourists, more cars, more everything.
I stayed right in Fisherman’s Village – which is a touch too touristy, but it did have everything I needed
for my 2 night stay before flying home to Canada.
Eden Bungalows – https://www.edenbungalows.com
Comfortable, quiet, central and quaint (totally my style).
On-site restaurant with really good local Thai cuisine & the friendliest staff.
A cute little pool and right on the main street so it was easy to get around.
Cocotam’s – https://cocotams.business.site
A great find along the beach, a popular bar at sunset as well. And who doesn’t like a beach swing?!
This is where I discovered the Pineapple and mint fruit smoothie, ahhh sooo amazing!
Fisherman’s House Cafe & Hotel – https://fishermans-house.hotelinsamui.com/en/
Located off the beaten path in busy Fisherman’s Village, this is an absolute must.
They offer breakfast to dinner, creative cocktails, a basic street view but modern decor
and hands down amazing food to make up for it! Follow them on social media.
I would also recommend visiting Chi Samui – www.chisamui.com a resort just outside of Fisherman’s Village,
go there for dinner, evening jazz, and the view.
Travel tips: I was told the tropical heat is cruel to your shoes, its the truth. So the best flip flops I was able to find through research was Havaianas (the plastic they use is heat resistant and won’t melt); pack light as you will wear light clothing daily; rayon, cotton and linen are the preferred fabrics for hot, humid weather; ladies – make-up won’t be needed, it melts! Get ready to sweat all the time, you’ll eventually be okay with it, but you MUST hydrate – buy 1-litre bottles of water to drink and to brush your teeth (water is not potable) and travel with NUUN rehydration tablets to add to your water. Rent a scooter, they range from $2-4 cad/day – no insurance, so just drive responsibly, but it’s a convenient and common way to travel. There are buses on the island as well.
I hope you enjoyed my trip, it’s a great place to visit.
Easy to navigate, everyone is very friendly and you will enjoy incredible value, delicious foods and even more amazing views!
Until next time, happy travels! ~ D