The final update, then, as I spend my last full day in Thailand. We have come back to Koh Samui this morning, and checked back in to the Tawee Guest house we were first in when I arrived. It feels like The Ritz compared to the last few places we’ve been – the last, in Koh Pha Ngan, was even more… shall we say, ‘rustic’, than the previous ones! Up on the side of a hill that required 57 stairs to get to (even more fun with a backpack and rucksack weighing you down!), the view had potential to be good. However, unlike Adam, who had a nice clear view of the sea, I had two great trees in front of my shack meaning I could see sod all. Shower barely worked, the fluorescent light in the main room flickered and strobed like some kind of rave disco but never actually lighted up completely, and on more than one occasion there was a lizard in the room. Still – cheap!

Couple of days ago we took a trip over from Koh Tao to a little island called Nang Yuan (I might need to check the spelling of that) – nice little island with great views (once you’ve done the now obligatory climb) and a nice strip of beach with deckchairs and such like. It’s tourist-geared, costing 100Baht to enter and closing at 5pm – however, at 5, the taxi boat that was taking us back got about 500 yards into the sea before the engine started to have difficulty and eventually cut out. We limped back to the island and then kind of sat in the boat for an hour or so whilst the guy attempted to fix it. You could almost feel the ten people in the boat willing with all their might for the boat to start each time the guy tried it. Eventually it did, and we got back before it got dark – but only just.

So onto Koh Pha Ngan from there, and the main reason for being there was the Half Moon Party on the 9th. Koh Pha Ngan is famous for its Full Moon parties, which basically take place on the beach on the night of the full moon (shockingly enough), and generally go on until the sun rises and beyond. Seemingly, people travel far and wide to attend these, so the expectation was that the Half Moon one might be the same. It was different in the sense of being in the jungle (the mighty jungle) instead of the beach, and having a fee to get in, and a fee to use the toilets, and generally very commercially-geared, but it was a very good night out all the same. The staple of these events is, I have discovered, “the bucket”, which, as its name implies, is simply a smallish (probably 2 or 3 litre) bucket of alcohol and mixer for about a fiver. Great idea, as it helps disguise the fact that you are actually knocking back a whole small bottle of whiskey… Despite copious amounts last night, I am remarkably fine today, which I think I might owe to the late night kebab visit before going to bed.

So that’s it. Heading out for a quite one tonight and then up early tomorrow ready to fly back home.

Under the sea…

Quite a bit to fill you in on since the last proper update, then. We caught the high-speed ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Tao last week, and firstly made our way to our first point of accommodation – a secluded set of bungalows owned and run by a woman called, genuinely, Ping Pong. To describe the place as “out in the sticks” would perhaps be an understatement – it took a 30 minute bumpy, off-road taxi ride in the back of a pick-up truck to get there! It was, however, on the coast, and the isolated nature of it proved quite a contrast from the comparative hustle and bustle of Samui. Here, the three of us shared a room, and – armed with the information that you could see sharks if you went out at 7am – the following morning got up to do some snorkelling.

At this point, I should have probably worked out that I’m not cut out for water activities, as my snorkelling was fairly disasterous – generally a repeating circle of a little bit of underwater swimming, followed by getting some water in the snorkelling, followed by a general coughing and spluttering and giving up. Therefore, I did not get to see any sharks, but Adam did, and given that he lived to tell the tale it’s probably safe to confirm that they were, indeed, harmless.

From Casa-del-out-in-the-sticks, we then moved across to the other side of the island, and checked into some bungalows. To be honest, even most estate agents would struggle to find something nice to say about them, with no hot water; cold water that runs out / switches off at, like, 11pm; my bed sinks in the middle because it’s evidently broken and is propped up at the foot-end by bricks; and you have to provide your own loo roll. Yet at 300Baht (5GBP) per night I perhaps shouldn’t complain. Night life is decent enough here and, as for the entire holiday, the food has been fantastic (and cheap), but the main attraction of Koh Tao is diving, so that’s what we did today.

As I mentioned before, I should probably have worked out that I’m not cut out for water activities – however, I didn’t, and so off we went on our scuba adventure. After squeezing myself into a wet-suit (which can’t have looked good) and loading up with the rest of the equipment, we went out into the sea but I just could not get used to breathing normally underwater and I ended up in a sort of panic each time we went under. Eventually I had to give up and go back to the boat, as I just could not get myself to not feel abnormal under the water, and it was not at all pleasant. I wanted to love diving, but – like snorkelling – apparently not for me! Still, I’m pleased I gave it a go, and it is cheaper here than probably anywhere else in the world so I guess I should take that as some consellation.

So, I guess I’m not a natural child of the water. Also, having met two separate young English couples over the past few days who have been out here taking a holiday before going to University for the first time, I’m also starting to feel a little old! Time, I think, for some alcohol…

Don’t know when the next update will be – possibly the weekend, possibly before – who knows! I’ve uploaded some new photos in the meantime.