The boat ride from Koh Tao was about an hour and a half getting in to Koh Phangan so I had a feeling in my gut that any awaiting hotel transfer had long gone. After a frantic search in the heat we discovered that I was indeed right and that we would now have to forge our own way out to the remote paradise that is Bottle Beach. We managed to find a taxi to take us to Chaloklum Bay and when we got there they told us that we had a water taxi coming to meet us soon. We waited around for awhile but no boat showed so instead we met a lovely couple from Israel and arranged to just hire a boat from down the beach together. Once in the water taxi I finally let myself relax and look forward to returning to my favourite place in Thailand. Two years ago I visited Bottle Beach during my Beach Travellers 24 Day Land Of Smiles Tour and I fell instantly in love with the little secluded beach. When we pulled up on to the beach I felt like I had come home. We would be spending the next four nights at the Bottle Beach 1 Resort and as fate would have it I would even be staying in the exact same cabin as my last visit. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and hitting the pool.
For our first full day on Bottle Beach we decided to take things easy and just alternated swimming in the ocean, swimming in the pool, and eating at the restaurant. We had planned to do the lookout hike that evening but after a somewhat close encounter with a giant garbage dump lizard and a hoard of mosquitos (not to mention the setting sun) I decided that we should maybe postpone the hike till the next morning. That night we settled in for an early night watching Olympus Has Fallen, which we rented on DVD from the hotel gift shop.
We got up bright and early the next morning to grab a quick breakfast before heading off to do the lookout hike. I made the same mistake as the last time I did the hike and booted it up the first very steep part of the hike way too quickly leaving myself feeling kind of like I was dying. I almost gave up at this point but Braden talked me into continuing on and made sure that we went at a much slower pace for the rest of the way up. The last time that I had done the hike I couldn’t get myself to go all the way out to the end of the viewpoint as the walk out is along a narrow rock ridge that has a very large drop on either side and I am super afraid of heights. I had told Braden that I had really regretted not making it out to the end so he did his best to help get me out there, and boy was it worth it (see the pics bellow). We took our time coming down but by the time we got back to the resort we had just enough energy to fall right in to the pool. That evening I booked us in for our first massages in Thailand, which were done in a little hut right by the ocean. While we were getting our massages, the resort’s cat decided he wanted in on Braden’s massage and kept sitting in between his legs (despite being pulled out several times much to my amusement). We had another lovely dinner at our resort and then hit the hay.
For our final day we had decided that we should maybe get out and do something more adventurous so we signed up with Ocean Safari tours to do a full day trip of activities around the island. We had to get up super early to catch our taxi boat over to Chaloklum Bay where we were supposed to get picked up by the tour company. We ended up waiting for about an hour for our pick up as the driver was brand new and had gotten super lost. Us and another couple from Germany plus one Thai guy who was in training were our only group members for the day. Our first stop was to a Muai Tai Gym for a mini demonstration of the Thai boxing style. Next we hit up an elaborate Chinese Temple that had a beautiful view overlooking Chaloklum Bay. Now the reason we had chosen this tour was because we were supposed to end the day at Bottle Beach which would have been perfect for us since we wouldn’t then need to make our own way home. Of course not everything works as planned and our next and not last stop for the day was to go snorkelling followed by a rest on Bottle Beach, so much for a free trip home. After a little rest and refresh at our Resort we headed back out and into the jungle for some elephant riding. I couldn’t let Braden come all the way to South East Asia and not get him on an elephant so I let him ride the whole time on the actual elephant while I sat in the chair on its back and our rider walked and took a billion pictures of us with our camera. We had some time to kill while the German couple went zip-lining so we tried our hand at some archery (leaving my poor arm rather bruised from not remembering how to properly hold the bow). Next up we went on a little mini hike to a “waterfall” which is in quotations because there wasn’t much of one since it was dry season still. After that we split up from the Germans and went off to go ocean kayaking with a guide who pretty much just handed us the kayak and told us to head for the island in front of us. Let me put it this way, kayaking to an island and back after a full day of activities is definitely not what I would call tons of fun. We managed to survive the kayaking and even made it back to Bottle Beach without too much trouble. That night we packed and prepared to bid farewell to Bottle Beach and Koh Phangan.
Our next day was our longest travel day yet consisting of a water taxi, regular taxi, ferry, bus, a 5 hour wait in the most boring airport, sketchy airport food, and finally our plane to Bangkok.