I am a lot of things. But at my very core, I am a beach bum. My earliest memories include sitting in the sand eating cheerios and my dad dipping my toes in the frigid water. As I sit in the office each day, I dream of burying my toes in the sand while the burning heat of the sun hits my skin. So naturally, during my vacation last week, I migrated south for some fun in the sun. Brittney agreed to tag along at the promise of cocktails and shady palm trees, so we packed our bags and took off.
First stop: Bangkok.
It was Brittney’s first time in Thailand’s capital city, but she’s coming back with her family in September, so we were able to skip the sightseeing and get right to relaxing.
We hit a few coffee shops, got lost in the Chatuchak Weekend Market, ate coconut ice cream and even got imported beer flights at a craft brewery. After a night of partying and making friends at Bodega Hostel in Sukhumvit, we jetted off to Surat Thani to get our island-hopping on.
This bustling island is one of the biggest in the Gulf of Thailand and is popular with honeymooners, families and backpackers alike. We dropped anchor at 2W Beach Hostel in Bangrak and spent three days beach-hopping, shopping and pigging out to our little hearts’ desires.
We were a bit disappointed to find that many restaurants and bars weren’t selling alcohol at the time, due to the Thai celebration of Buddhist lent. However, it encouraged us to do some sightseeing and exploring instead. We even took a day trip out to Angthong National Marine Park, an archipelago of 42 tiny islands with enormous limestone cliffs and beautiful white sand beaches.
After a day of hiking and kayaking, we replenished our bodies with some at Greenlight Cafe in Fisherman’s Village. Part of Elysia Boutique Resort, this cafe serves up delicious healthy meals using mostly local organic ingredients. It also had a great vibe, with a coffee bar, reading nook and outdoor pool.
In a bittersweet twist of fate, it rained the entire next day, so we returned to Greenlight and I treated myself to a day of yoga and coffee and snuggled up with a book for most of the afternoon.
It’s probably good that we had some time to relax beforehand because we came to Koh Phangan for one reason and one reason only: the infamous Full Moon Party.
Occurring ever month on the night of (you guessed it) the full moon, the Full Moon Party is an all-night celebration on Haad Rin beach. International DJs play electronic music at every bar along the strip while tourists indulge in alcohol buckets and “shroom shakes.”
Don’t worry (Mom), we did not partake in anything that would have gotten us arrested and thrown in Thai prison, but we did dance the night away with new friends from all over the world and watch drunk idiots try to jump through obstacles lit on fire.
I was one of the few still standing as the sun finally began to peek over the horizon, and immediately after it came up, rain began pouring down over the crowd.
But if you thought a little rain was gonna break up the party, think again. The music played on and the dancing continued as people slowly started trickling out. Some, like me, were heading home to recover, while others were making their way to the after parties.
That’s right — after parties.
After parties are held all over the island, starting at 7 a.m. and lasting until 10 p.m. How anyone could survive more than a few days on this island I don’t know. We had to catch our ferry back to the mainland at noon, so I pulled myself together, picked up breakfast for Brittney and myself and we dragged our sleepy, hungover butts to the pier.
We had agreed to help out with an English camp on Saturday and Sunday, so we caught a flight back to Bangkok on Friday evening. The camp involved interviewing and advising Thai students who have applied for an American high school exchange program. We quickly snapped back into “teacher mode” and had a great time getting to know the students and other American coaches.
Our last stop before heading back to Lampang was at the grocery store in Bangkok. I’m not even exaggerating when I tell you this was one of the highlights of our trip because I BOUGHT CHEESE.
I wish it were possible to express to you how exciting this was for me. Real cheese, along with avocados and chocolate (3 of my favorite things in the world), is very difficult to come across in Northern Thailand. So we obviously had to bring some back with us.
I filled my basket with feta and mozzarella, Italian prosciutto, Lindt chocolate, organic peanut butter and avocados, packed them like precious babies in my carry-on and jetted off back to Lampang.
By the time we got home, Brittney and I were both poor, sun burnt, exhausted and hungover, but it was so worth it. #noregrets