After volunteering at SaeLao, I made my way back to Bangkok to be reunited with Murphy, my best friend from home! (YAY!) Murph and I spent two weeks together in South Thailand, spending a few days in Bangkok, followed by Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangnan.
Basically all we did in Bangkok was shop and drink like desperate housewives. It was great.
We took a 14 hour overnight train to Surat Thani followed by a 1 hour bus, 30 minute ferry and 30 minute taxi ride to get us to our hotel in Koh Samui. SO WORTH IT. I decided it was time for some luxe livin’ so Murph and I treated ourselves to a stay at Mantra Boutique Resort, a five-star paradise up in the hills of Koh Samui, overlooking Bo Phut beach. It was stunning, and we had the best time catching up and enjoying the good life for the two nights we were there. The weather was absolutely amazing on the day we arrived, but turned stormy the next day. That didn’t stop us from sipping cocktails by the pool though.
The ferry ride from Koh Samui to Koh Tao was beyond a joke. The weather was horrible, and so the sea was super choppy. When we were about 20 minutes away from Koh Tao, we pulled up next to another boat and were told that we had to get on that one instead. So our whole boat full of about 150 people, had to jump from one boat to another. As the boat rocked up and down, we had to time our step on to the new boat perfectly, or else we would lose our footing and fall into the water. I had 30kg strapped to my body and Murph was carrying a rather large suitcase so needless to say this exercise was both extremely difficult and also terrifying.
We spent three nights in Koh Tao and it didn’t stop raining the entire time. Except, of course, the day we left! So disappointing! So no diving, no snorkelling, no beach time, nothing! Since we couldn’t have any fun in the sun we thought we’d at least have a wild night at the Koh Tao Pub Crawl. We got to the meeting place right on time at 7 o’clock but they were sold out! Nobody told us to go early! Argh so annoying! Poo you Koh Tao.
Next stop, Koh Phangnan. With more cheap alcohol and MDMA than you can poke a chopstick at, this party paradise is a favourite of lads on tour and home of the famous Full Moon Party. Upon arriving at our hostel in Koh Phangnan I was reunited with Amelia, Chloe and Alice from The UK (YAY!). We immediately got into the Koh Phangnan spirit with a game of Kings Cup before heading out to a pool party at Coral Bungalows, one of the resorts on the island. This pool party was nothing short of insane. There was at least 1000 other people there, a massive bar with incredibly cheap buckets of alcohol and a huge (probably disease-ridden) pool that was literally full of people. I have never seen anything like it. It was some Project X level shit.
The next day, Murph and I decided to do what all stupid backpackers do, hire a motorbike. Now, I’ve ridden a motorbike before. I was confidently zooming around Chiang Mai and Pai on one for a week, but I’d never ridden with someone on the back.
You guessed it, we crashed.
The road from Baan Tai Beach (where we stayed) to Haad Rin beach (where all the shops and restaurants are) is made up of unbelievably steep inclines and declines. The roads are very narrow, and overrun with speeding, horn-honking taxis. While riding up one particularly steep hill, our bike decided to give up on us. It started to slow down. I panicked. I slammed on the brakes and Murph and I jumped off the bike. Taxis were speeding past, literally inches away from us. People on motorbikes were honking their horns and zooming around us.
In my panicked state, I accidentally revved the accelerator as I tried to wheel the bike to the side of the road. The bike flew out of my grip and straight into a ditch.
I stood stock-still staring at the scratched-up bike with my hand over my mouth. I was in complete shock. The front and sides were covered in scuff marks and scratched. One of the side mirrors had cracked. The seat was broken and no longer clicked into place. I thought I was going to vomit. The bike was too heavy for us to lift out of the ditch so we stood shaking on the side of the road until some good samaritans stopped to help us.
We waited there for at least half an hour wondering what the hell to do. Did I mention it had started POURING rain? There was no way either of us were getting back on the bike, so how were we going to get ourselves back to the hostel? And how were we going to get the bike back to the hostel?! And how much money are we going to have to pay to repair this now messed up motorbike???!!!?!
You can imagine the state I was in at this point.
Eventually some guys turned up, and we begged them to drive our motorbike back to our hostel for us while we took a taxi. These guys could have just taken off on our bike never to be seen again. THANK GOD they didn’t. What absolute HEROES. I honestly have no idea what we would have done without them.
In the end, we paid $100 for the damages on our bike. It could have been a lot worse. We are incredibly lucky to have come out of it completely unhurt, albeit extremely shaken up and scarred for life.
As that day progressed, I was not feeling good. I had no appetite, a fever, chills, felt extremely weak, fatigued and had muscle aches. I spent pretty much the entire afternoon sleeping. That night was the Jungle Experience Party, which some people say is even better than the Full Moon Party. Given my condition, I decided to skip it. I thought maybe my body was having some sort of weird stress reaction the the motorbike incident, but when I went to bed at 8pm and didn’t wake up the next day until lunch-time, I knew something was definitely wrong with me. That’s when Alice decided to drop the bomb that there had been a lot of dengue fever going around. Sure enough, after a quick Google, I discovered my symptoms were an exact match for dengue. Nothing like a life-threatening mosquito-borne tropical disease to kill the vibe on the day of the Full Moon Party.
Despite feeling absolutely horrible, I couldn’t possibly miss out on the promised night of all nights, so I donned my ridiculous fluorescent singlet and some face paint and tried to psych myself up for what was supposed to be the best night of my life (okay, no). In an effort to prolong my lifespan, I decided not to drink at all because it would only thin my blood and let the dengue kill me faster. So as probably the only sober person out of the 20 000 that attended the July Full Moon Party, you can imagine the amount of fun I was having. HINT: NONE AT ALL. I felt like I was on death’s door, and at 2am (8 hours earlier than when the average person leaves) I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I got a taxi back to the hostel.
THIS SUCKS. I cannot believe I missed out on the biggest party in South East Asia because I was ill. Of all the times I could have gotten sick over the last 8 months, it had to be now.
We spent the next night on the 14 hour train back to Bangkok. By this point I had developed a rash all over my body. Death by dengue was imminent. We went to the hospital the following morning only for the doctor to tell me I had a viral infection, and it was far enough along now that there was no point in even giving me any antibiotics. GREAT. I laid cooped up in my hotel room in Bangkok for the next three days, too sick to even see Murph off at the airport. It was so horrible, but hey, I didn’t die. So all’s well that ends well.