Haad Khom

Trip Start Jan 23, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

We overslept and missed the taxi to Big Buddha Pier by 10 minutes so we had to make our own way there instead. The bay had an array of tour operators offering the trip to Koh Pha Ngan at a wide variety of prices. The cheapest left at 1pm, eventually reaching the island mid afternoon.

Koh Pha Ngan is home to the Full Moon Party which started back in '88 for someones birthday party. Ever since people have celebrated the tradition, they now have Half-Moon and Black-Moon, all throughout the month. The parties attract anything from 8000 to 30000 clubbers. Unfortunately or fortunately we had just missed the last Full Moon, and having studied the free glossy brochures of the island during the 1 hour windy ferry trip we had made our minds up, we were heading for the isolated beach of Haad Khom in the north of the island.

From arrival the taxi could only take us as far as Chaloklum as the road then turned into 4WD territory. We had to hike the final 2km up and down the mountainous dirt track. Sweating desperately we finally stumbled across the sign for the Coral Bay Bungalows and after a brief inspection of the other options on the beach we decided to sleep there for the night.

Haad Khom was the perfect isolated paradise that we had read about in the brochure, with only 4 small resorts, a hand full of people, even the sea taxis didn't stop here anymore! Just what we had been searching for.

We were enjoying the sun and spent most of the days relaxing in hammocks, reading, swimming or playing cards. However the nights were a whole different story. Our cramped, basic hut started to show its true lights, with cockroaches and other insects as lodgers. It also has a strong musky smell.... maybe our rucksack? Either way we weren't getting much sleep, not to mention the intimidating scratching noises from the roof!

On our 5th night in Haad Khom we were ready to move on and we planning to go to Malaysia, we had endured as much sleepless nights as we could handle. Our plans went to pot when we bumped into Devina, 27 from Manchester whilst we were eating dinner at the Ocean View next door. After describing our accommodation to her she suggested that we stay there for the night just to get some rest. So we ended up sleeping at the Ocean View and paying for both resorts, thankfully they cost less than 3 pounds a night, and it was worth it, we slept all night long!

After a good nights sleep we found the energy to hike to Bottle Bay, which according to our guide book was a mere 90 minutes trek through the jungle. The trek was not clearly marked and we found the off plastic bottle pointing out the way.

After 2 hours we took a wrong turn and went left at the plastic bag, this led us down to an old deserted resort hidden away at the foot of the mountain. Hoping that Bottle Bay was located just behind the huge cluster of rocks in front of us, we proceeded to climb them. Determined not to turn back we continued for another 2 hours before we could actually see Bottle Bay in the distance. It was not an easy climb, on occasions we had to swim, in turn through deep rock pools and then throw each other our bags from rock to rock. We passed 6ft Monitor Lizards, many crabs and had encounters with bats as we attempted to crawl through some caves. We are not sure how we made it, especially with only a few minor scratches for our efforts, but we did! We were more than ready for our first glass of water of the day! We relaxed in Bottle Bay for a few hours and had some lunch before taking the express sea taxi back home via Chaloklum.

Our bungalow at Ocean View was right on the beach with just a few palm trees separating us from the water. Our room was about 3 times the size of that in Coral Bay, and this time we only had a large friendly Gecko for company. Bovy, a well educated Thai girl owned the resort with her 4 very friendly staff. The food was amazing and so fresh, probably the best we have had since being away, as was the hospitality.

We spent 3 days dining with Devina before she headed north to Bangkok. Nearing the end of our stay in Thailand we decided to purchase a guide book for Malaysia. Having already circled the island on a motorbike we knew the cheapest copy was in Thong Pan Noi, not the easiest place to reach. We decided to hire a kayak and paddle the 15km around the rock faced coastline passing Bottle Bay on the way. This time we were fully armed with water and sun cream. The trip took a full day, 6 hours there and back. It was hard going but relaxing at the same time. Half way there our second paddle snapped so we had to take in turns for the remainder of the journey. On the return leg Steve dropped Jo off at a small rock which peaked out of the water about 200 metres off the coast. After a quick picture shoot he did threaten to leave her there, but remembering her Grandmas stern words prior to the trip he wisely chose to pick her back up!

We had our final dinner at Ocean View, a mixture of all our favourites. This included "Chicken No-Name" which is different every where in Thailand, hence why it has no name! Bovy arranged our transport direct from Koh Pha Ngan to Penang. She dropped us off at the ferry terminal as our first leg was on the 10pm overnight ferry back to mainland Thailand. Another long journey awaited us.... to be continued!
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