Ligaya in East Thailand

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is famous, or is that infamous for the parties held on the night of the full moon. The main party is on Had Rin beach, the south easternmost beach at the bottom right of the picture above. In the high season more than 15,000 people come. Because we were there in July, which is low season, only three or four thousand people showed up!

We anchored in the next bay to the north, which was away from the debauchery on the beach, and a little quieter.

I did the anchor watch while some went to the party, and the next day I had an interesting walk into the jungle. My track is shown in blue above.

The bay to the north of Had Rin was very peaceful. There was one fairly big resort, but mostly there were low-key small developments nestling among the rocks.
Mostly we had the bay to ourselves, but occasionally a few fishing boats would come in in the evening, and raft together for a few hours. Usually they were gone again by the morning.
Near the start of my jungle walk I found three guys building some small houses beside the track. They were using nothing but bamboo and coconut fronds, apart from the small concrete pillars which served as foundations.

Before the track into the jungle started to climb, I found a guy harvesting coconuts from some very tall trees. They must have been at least 30 meters high. He had two trained monkeys on very long ropes. They were throwing down all the ripe coconuts and leaving the small ones.

When a monkey had finished with one tree, the man told it to go to the next - this was the clever bit. The monkey picked a long frond and went about half way along, and then bounced like on a diving board. At just the right moment it jumped for the next tree and started throwing down the nuts from there - amazing to watch.

The track climbed quite steeply up the mountain. I got up to about four hundred meters before getting short of time, energy and water. It was very hot and very humid.

The views across the island show how little of it has been touched by development, but I did notice that within about a hundred meters or so of each track, pretty much the only trees are coconut trees. It looks to me like all the hardwood trees that are within easy reach of the tracks have been cut, and replaced by coconut trees that look to be growing like weeds.

On the lower parts of the trail there was a scattering of houses. I was a little surprised though to come upon a motorbike repair shop. There are many of these in Thailand, as in Indonesia - obviously a good trade to be in, but I was not expecting to find one in the depths of the jungle.
Some 90 percent of the population of Thailand are Buddhists. Although there are few of the grandiose temples like we saw in Bali, there are plenty of little shrines. In Bali, they give food offerings two and three times a day, much to the delight of the rat population, but here, the offerings seem to be mainly of drinks. Also, here, the majority of these small shrines have small ladders leading up to them. You can judge the size of the ladder here by comparing it to the offered water bottles and can of Coke.

Like in Indonesia and Malaysia, there are many very small gasoline stations, catering to the thirst of the ever-present motor bikes.

There are some that sell the fuel in used drink bottles, but a few, like this one, are a little more sophisticated. Here the fuel is pumped manually from a 54 gallon drum into a sight glass. From there, it is gravity fed to the waiting tank on the bike.

In Na Thon and in Chaweng I saw "real" gasoline stations, but these little "retail" stations obviously serve the local communities.

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