After some struggles back in Vietnam, I decided to go to Thailand to train Muay-Thai. I did it for one and half year back in Czech Republic while I was studying but since I started traveling, I stopped. I still miss the drill thought. I found out that there are some gyms on Koh Samui island that are one of the best ones in Thailand and are not as expensive as those in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Also staying on an island sounded interesting and I wanted to see the southern Thailand, because I already visited the north (Chiang Mai and Pai).
Just after my arrival I took a train next to the Lumphini park and I spend several hours sleeping on the grass there. I felt like I am getting sick. After this nice relax I walked down to the main train station and from there I took a 3rd class train to Surat Thani from where the ferry to Koh Samui go to. When I arrived to Surat Thani, there was a man asking the tourist where they go and I told him I am going to Koh Samui. This man was fair. He sold me a ticket for the same price that I would buy it for online. In 2 hours I was already on the boat to Koh Samui.
There were several taxis waiting next to the pier in Koh Samui and it was also possible to rent a motorbike. The taxi was crazy expensive and the when I took a closer look at the agreement for renting a scooter, I was about to vomit when I saw the prices for repairs. After staying in Vietnam and buying parts for myself, I knew the prices already and it was not just that I am in a different country now. Paying three times more is not a good deal. The basic price for renting a scooter was also doubled in comparison to the mainland. So I was just walking around and asking about the cheapest way to get to Chaweng where I booked my hostel. I found out that the best way is to wait for a local red bus. I took me to Chaweng for 100 THB (5 USD). Normally I would try to walk, but by that time, I was getting more and more sick and I just needed someone to take me there. It is about 25 km. In one hour, there were some red local buses next to the pier and one took me in. I was sitting there alone all the way down to Chaweng. I didn’t like Chaweng from the beginning. Plenty of tourists, offers every 10 meters, people shouting at you and very loud cars advertising some Muay-Thai fights. I was walking down the street to the hostel for about 30 minutes and I was happy to arrive and just fell down to my bed.
The cheapest food I found was for 70 THB and it was a very small portion. I was used to spend 40 THB (1.5 USD) for a nice portion of noodles. You just have to know that this place is something else.
I knew that I cannot start the Muay-Thai training in my current state, so I decided to stick around for a few days, take hostel photos, write reviews and earn some money like that. The other day I moved to another hostel, but after next night I didn’t want to stay in Chaweng. I just packed my backpack and walked for 10 kilometers to Choeng Mon. It was a much much better place for me. Way more quiet. Nice quiet beach and prices a little bit lower.
I checked in to Backpackers Eurohostel and this place became my home for a week. I really liked it there. It was modern, there was a small garden behind the house with a swimming pool, there was a big common room with a ping-pong table and nice people around.
I quickly became friends with people staying there for quite a long time (digital nomads) and we played ping-pong a lot. It took me some time, but I think that I can say I became quite a good player. From time to time I went to the beach. Apart from that, I was just resting. I wasn’t getting any better just by myself, so I decided to go to the pharmacy and to buy some antibiotics.
In Thailand you don’t need any prescription. You will just go there and buy it. I took it for a week, but I still wasn’t ok after that. I realized that doing Muay-Thai is out of question.
One day there was a new guy sitting in the common room. It was Tom, a digital nomad from Australia that I met back in Pai. It was very nice to see him again. We have plenty things in common and he told me that there is this meditation retreat starting in about 10 days and I decided to go. It sounded like a good idea. I always wanted to try and after staying in Vietnam, I needed to clear my head and quiet environment around.
In the meantime, I met Melanie – a French teacher and singer. The way she moved and talked. She told me that she and her friend are going to Koh Phangan and she invited me to meet her there. I wanted to go there as well and now I also had a motivation to go as soon as possible. They left the same day and I wrote Melanie than I am going there early in the morning the next day.
I was taking some photos on my way to the pier and when I arrived, I just walked down to the hostel that I booked and crashed on the bed. I was feeling pretty sick. By that time I realized that chasing a girl is not a good idea right now.
For the next few days I stayed on the south of Koh Phangan moving from a place to place every day, taking photos and writing reviews. Koh Phangan is very chilled when the Full-Moon party is not on. The accommodation price is also very different when you arrive in between the parties. You can stay in a hostel for as low as 70 THB. In here I finally reached my goal for the first time – I was able to earn more during just by staying in hostels and writing reviews and spending for the accommodation and food. 10 USD is enough if you know how to use it.
I stayed in The Phanganist, The Phangan Arena, The Party Nomad, Goodtime Backpackers, Cosy Bungalows, Seahug hostel and Blessing Backpackers. You can read my full reviews at hostelz.com, I will just write about those hostels briefly.
The Phanganist is a hostel that has the best marketing. They run a blog with information about Koh Phangan, they do tours around the island and the hostel itself is quite modern, with a pool, bar, motorbike rental etc. There is a small beach nearby, but there are much better ones around. It is more of a party hostel, so in the night you should wear earplugs.
The Phangan Arena is in my opinion the best one for what they can offer and for the price. They make amazing food for a competitive price, they have a pool, a gym, a football field, plenty of rooms, playstation room, free-to-use computers, darts, etc. I would stay here if I wouldn’t make a plan writing reviews around the island.
The Party Nomad is right next to The Phangan Arena and it can be pretty loud in the night. It offers much better room than The Phangan Arena and from time to time they also make pizza for guests. The owner is very friendly and helpful.
Goodtime Backpackers. Ooohh. Beach right next to the hostel. Trees, a treehouse, biggest shop on Koh Phangan 5 minutes away. Very chilled place. I was playing with local dogs over there. Also a beautiful swimming pool. Usually it is much more expensive, I booked for only about 100 THB.
Cosy Bungalows is quite nice as well. They don’t have so many shared room, but when I checked into mine, there was this guy called Martin. Ehm? Martin? Where are you from? Slovakia! It was great to be able to use my native language for some time again. He exchanged plenty of experience and he particularly helped me by deciding about how to get to Malaysia.
Seahug hostel – don’t go. Just don’t. You will walk through a restaurant, than through a hallway full of bed sheets and filled with a smell of a washing powder. The room is very small and the shower also. They advertised a view, but there is none.
In Blessing Backpackers I met the nicest owners. I was there all alone in the hostel and the owner made a food for me, I played a guitar for his kids and in the evening we made a small party. I was playing in front of the hostel and attracting people to come in. It was fun.
I forgot to mention that I was still on antibiotics and I promised myself that during my time in Thailand, I won’t drink or smoke. I was getting used to enjoy my time without these again. This way I was also preparing for the meditation retreat. For that I needed some long-sleeved t-shirt and trousers. In past few months I was travelling with only 2 t-shirts and one pair of shorts, no underwear, no socks. I always washed it for the night and the next day it was ready. I was experimenting how far I can go with it. Fashion? Who needs it? 😀 If you go to buy some clothes, you can get a nice price if you play it well here. You go to one shop, that to another and another and trust me – they already know about you and where you went. If you continue like this, the price is getting lower. I think that both the t-shirt and trousers I bought for 180 THB in the end. Pure black, pure cotton.
I was leaving Koh Phangan the next day to go to the meditation retreat. Doing that was a great experience, staying with only myself, nothing to entertain me externally, no talking, no dancing, no singing. Just breathe and meditate, that was the focus. I’ll write about it in the next post.