Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bottle Beach

We’ve been relaxing for about a week on Koh Phangan, the island world-renowned for its Full Moon Parties (and Half Moon Parties, and probably also Three-Sixteenth Moon Parties). That happens at the south end of the island. We're tucked up at the north end at Bottle Beach, far away from the revelers, in a fairly secluded bay that you can only get to by boat. Well, there is also a road that leads here from the east, but it’s not well connected to the main road, and it’s rutted and washed out in places, loose sand and gravel in others, and extremely steep everywhere else. We hiked it to get to the next beach, and watched anxiously as a few people on motorbikes sized up the slope to go down, and those that didn’t abort entirely were basically in a slow, controlled skid all the way to the bottom.* Or you could hike the grueling, also steep trail through the jungle to the next beach to the west, Chaloklum Bay, but that takes 2 hours.** So, boat-only access.

By a boat that is enough to make one afraid of being in boats. At least on the day we took it. Our longboat bounced and crashed over the waves (memories of leaving Lazy Beach…), taking on a lot of water… It was scary. To me, anyway. Or maybe it was the cumulative exhaustion from the previous 17 hours of travel: 12-hour night-train from Bangkok, 1-hour bus to ferry pier, 3.5 hour ferry from Surat Thani, 20-minute taxi to Chaloklum, 20-minute longboat to Bottle Beach.

Ok, now that we’re here, let’s never leave.

Backpacking. It's a rough life...

Bottle Beach from the summit to the east. I opted to stay on the sand and
keep reading my book. I read two books in three days. This has happened before, ummm, never.

The steep scramble Mark faced at the top.

Hiking to Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi, along a passable section of road.

Haad Thong Nai Pan Noi

We stopped by the Yoga Studio and had lunch at their Vegan Cafe. It was so deliciously awesome.
I had planned to hike the 5k back for a yoga class one morning, but our plans were interrupted by a thunderstorm.
Also, 5k hike to a 2 hour yoga class, then a 5k hike home? or, mango shake on the beach?... yeah...

The first viewpoint on the strenuous hike over the mountain to Chaloklum Bay.

Chaloklum Bay.

Chaloklum Bay.

*Fun fact: the “Phangan Tattoo” is the nickname for the scars a tourist gets after falling off their moto. Apparently it happens a lot here.

**“Fun” fact: we did this hike, and we met some who’d already done it, and everyone said it takes about 50 minutes to an hour. What they failed to tell us was that they had parked their motos on the other side of the mountain, and so were not including the multi-km stretch to the actual town.


  1. Hi Kids, We miss those beautiful blue skies and warm breezes where you are. How beautiful!!!
    Reality here in Bethany is snow, cold, ice and watching the birds at the bird feeder fighting to get the seeds. Going through my pics and reliving those fun days such a short time ago.
    Love Mum & Dad

  2. Nice to see there are still some quiet spots in this area. I would take the Mango shake on the beach any day. Wonderful photos again.
    Chey xo

  3. Haha, were you more or less afraid of sinking than when I picked you guys up that one night at the island?
    Looks rough!
    Mark - hopefully you found some things to keep you from the "boring" beach lounging!

    1. Bigger boat, bigger waves, same amount of fear. ;)