A B-Side Walk in Koh Phangan

Sometimes you need to slow down. Your travel partner needs to relax by the pool, get a massage, why not.  It’s only a half day anyway, as your ferry to the mainland is due in the afternoon. And, what the hell,  you too need to revert to your usual self as a solo traveler –  that’s moving slowly but never quite being still.

Of course, it would make sense to rent the bike another day and zip around quickly in the search of more beaches and coves to tick off the list. But it is still pretty impressive how much you can take in in a couple of hours’ walk, and how contemplative it all gets at that pace, so close yet so far from the bustling family resort at breakfast.

Breakfast. The hordes of French and Scandinavian kids wolfing the pancakes. Makes you wonder what they get to eat back home, or when, or under what judgmental stares.

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But you walk and you take those detours you wouldn’t normally take, and you get to resorts (sic) where you wonder who the hell stays.  It’s quiet run-down almost derelict yet still beautiful. You ask how much for the room and they say 600 baht. Seafront – I could take that and read and write and drink fruit juices all day – then a shot or two of Sangsom because what’s a sunset without booze.  

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I’d been told about Phangan. And no, not in reference to the Full Moon Party. An older French couple I met in Siquijor (Philippines) said that the North of the island was the closer it got to paradise. Quiet, beautiful, safe for the kids. But of course that was years ago, perhaps when those resorts were spick and span not derelict.  I can sort of see it, despite the changes and the inescapable social media making hordes overcrowd the same spots.  

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Haad Tien West. Granted – not especially pretty.

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So you keep walking, cause somewhere sometime you read that you had to check out Haad Yao. Not only that – you’d read great reviews about a bar called Top Secret bar where they have sunset cum meditation. And it sure looks good, but you decide to keep walking and skip that all enticing noon beer. (Why I wonder why?)

Because you know you’ll be back, most definitely.  

 

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Haad yao is pretty enough. It’s long, and feels like the level of development is just right, except for a condo-monster overlooking the Northern tip. What’s the need, you wonder.

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Overdevelopment – the curse of our time?

The weather’s getting better and so you decide to keep walking toward Secret beach, that must on the West of the island.

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A nice place, for sure. Far from the beauty of the Northern beaches at Chakloklum and Coral Beach, but hey, pleasant enough. And with a swanky restaurant with glorious views, the sort of place you’d take your sweetheart and offer you endless love and life-time commitment.

On a clear day, that is.

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Koh Raham, a joint with panoramic views.

The walk back to Salad bay had its irony. You decide to skip the beaches and take the main road instead. Silly choice, as the main road has plentiful ups and downs. Ups in the heat, with songthaews and tuk-tuk drivers yelling, taxi! 

It would have made sense to take one – in general.

But not on that kind of day.

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