Since I got back to Thailand, things have been a bit of a whirl – whoever said you could just lie around and relax in a tropical island paradise didn’t have my life, that’s for sure!
I came back to Koh Phangan in high season, which due to the timing of my visit here last year I hadn’t really experienced before. The island was so busy, people everywhere. I can’t lie, I had a moment or two of ‘do you know who I am’ as I pushed my way past the hordes of sunburnt tourists on the ferry from Samui. And the yoga school was full to bursting – apparently they had their biggest ever Level 1 class (the introductory intensive first month course), with over 100 people. And all of those people needed somewhere to live! The full moon crowd aren’t usually such an issue – the four days around full moon are always busy, but they don’t take the kind of houses I am looking for, where you can rent by the month. I’ve managed to find places to stay, but there’s been a lot of movement for me this last 2 months or so (especially given I did another week in Dubai on my way from England to Thailand).
1. Nameless bungalow
I started in a guest-house, one which was trying to shut down – apparently they’d told Agoda who I booked through that they couldn’t take any more bookings, and Agoda had sent mine through anyway. So I got a rather underprepared woman who checked me in to a room that was definitely a little unloved. The less said about this venue the better.
That wasn’t such a fun stay, but after a few days of some sweaty scootering around – one of the best ways to find a place here is to ring the numbers posted on the many ‘house for rent’ signs around the island – I thankfully found a sub-let from a yoga student going off island for a few weeks.
2. Bijou Bungalow
That was a gorgeous little house with a platform underneath where I could work away – it was so nice being outside to work, and also spending some time working at home rather than heading to cafes all the time. This was especially important as, in conjunction with my current health advisor, I’d agreed to give up coffee for a month, which put a stop to having coffee, fruit, yoghurt and muesli at my favourite place for a while (yes, I could have gone and not had the coffee, but have you ever smelled coffee?!).
I had a little kitchen in this place too, but I had a bit of an ant infestation, and so I gave up cooking anything but some scrambled eggs for breakfast each day, not wanting to encourage them any further! This house, belonging to a yogi who had lived on the island for five years also had a lot of equipment, including great speakers which I could plug my various technology into and have great sound, AND a television with a USB port. This started me finally watching the Game of Thrones series, which I’d had on the computer for a while, but hadn’t got round to watching. I’ve read the books, so as one always is in these situations, was cautious about the tv series, but – I love it. Highly recommended (although as I seem to be the last person in the world to get round to watching it, you’ve probably all already seen it!).
3. Sea-view sublet
The next place I managed to get was another shorter sub-let, also from a yogi. This was a smaller, but more modern place, and the big draw for this one was the amazing view of the sea. I haven’t made much time for the sea since I’ve been here – it just doesn’t pull me in, partly because of the hassle/sand factor, partly because of a little fear of unseen dangerous sea creatures, and partly because of wearing glasses. Anyway, the house was lovely, with an airy feel. And the view was really inspiring. The only drawback…? 104 steps up. Yes, I did raise my fitness levels in the 10 days!
4. The Resort Experience
For the next place, I had to fill a gap of 4 nights between the last sublet and going to Chiang Mai (more on that below). So I decided to go a little more high-end and headed to a resort with a bungalow on the beach (for information, this ‘more expensive’ place was £25 a night, and the houses I’ve had this time range from £250-300 a month). Now I did manage to go in the ocean a couple of times. And it was wonderful! Each day I would go for a walk on the beach, paddling in the shallow water, my toes digging into golden sands. I felt blessed. I am doing an 8-week online course at the moment, which has quite a lot of content, and I could listen to the modules whilst walking, which was great – relaxing while working, what a great combination! I also had a hammock, which I made sure I used at least once a day. I love hammocks…
The resort was more aimed at the holiday-crowd rather than the yogis I hang out with, so that was different – it shows you how sheltered I am at the moment when I was shocked that people were smoking in the outdoor restaurant!
5. Chiang Mai return
After the resort, I was off to Chiang Mai for a few days, paid for by a client (it’s 1500km) to get a visa for China, where I am supposed to be delivering a training course in a couple of weeks. You can only get a Chinese visa in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, and I don’t really like Bangkok, so…
I had a lovely time in Chiang Mai, catching up with old friends, meeting a new friend (Amy Scoot from Nomadtopia) enjoying being back in my old haunts, and yes I did stay in the same lovely place, and went to my two favourite restaurants who I am pleased to report I love just as much, ImmAim Vegetarian Cafe and Free Bird!
6. Traditional Thai Bungalow
After 5 days there, it was back to Koh Phangan, where I headed straight to yet another new house – but one, I’m pleased to say, I will be in for at least a month. This is a lovely Thai style bungalow, which is very spacious, and has a great balcony to work on. No sea view, but it’s only a walk away from the beach to paddle in the water if I fancy it. I’ve been here two nights so far and I feel a lot more relaxed, like I can expand into the space and not worry about packing up and moving on again too soon.
What are my plans? Hard to say. I’m currently doing Level 6 of the yoga (don’t worry, there are 24, I’m not going to run out any time soon!), and still enjoying it hugely, and making progress in physical and mental health. I feel calmer and more relaxed. Work is up and down, but I continue to work on my own projects and ideas – watch this space yet again in coming months for more on that.
I feel good. I feel relaxed. I feel happy. How many people can say that?