Welcome to Haad Rin

Is it already time to leave Bangkok? We have done so much it feels like we have been here a week, not just 3 days. Cherry got us a local priced taxi. 250B to DMK airport, made the 10 min tuktuk ride last night for 200B feel expensive. Ah well, tourist tax. 

We arrived with plenty of time to get breakfast, Aimi chose ramen. Shortly after, the new food pushed last nights spicy food out and my butt was not happy. An imodium and an iced coffee later and I was much happier. Especially after snoozing for the whole flight to avoid thinking too much about the tiny seats.

The transfer to the bus was easy. They have this process down to a fine art now. Sticker on our chests and bag with where we are going, and called over and put on the right bus.

Sitting behind us was a well dressed and tanned girl called Christina. Czech by birth, but been living in Bali for years and recently Thailand too, shes bringing together a sort of Czech centric holiday resort. Most countries first adopt the use of English as a tourist language, but she said a lot of Czech people don’t know any so struggle to get around when travelling. She was very full of life and keen to help us plan our trip to Bali, recommending beaches and places to go, which was great!

We were shoved off the bus at the ferry terminal and reintroduced to the heat, before seeking coolness in a coffee shop. Still not used to it. We people watched some spanish girls begging the other backpackers for baht to get over to the island. They got lucky and found someone to “donate” to their cause. But seeing as their cause was to come to the full moon party, I didn’t feel obligated to help out. 

The boat ride was so much longer than I remember, but it gave us time to watch most of Harry Potter 5. Only towards the end, when the waves picked up did I start to feel queasy and need to step outside. Needless to say, sickness tablets were one of the first purchases I made when I found a pharmacy. I’ll need them for diving next week.

Once off the ferry, I tried to round up a group of travellers to get a taxi to Haad Rin. But they had all price fixed it at 150B per person no matter how many people we found. Oh well, tourist tax. The taxis out here are basically pick up trucks with a cage and benches in the back, covered by a tin roof. We rattled and bumped our way around the mountain roads along the coast to Haad Rin chatting with the other occupants. We met a group of 4 from Dorset, and a small French girl called Matilde, all here for the party. The French girl has been living in Singapore and now Bangkok since October, working for a logistics company. She was completely sold on Asia life and couldn’t think of returning to Europe. 

Our hostel here is called Eclipse and we were shown to a windowless room with a huge mural on one wall. Seeing as we plan to go diving next week, having a gigantic shark leering over your bed is nightmarish!

Once settled in, we went for a stroll around the town. It’s changed a lot in the 5 years since I was last here. We suspect Covid has killed off a lot of the hostels that were a little outside the prime locations. It was sad to see that Dancing Elephant was one that died, along with House of Hummas. In fact that whole street is now being re-deployed as locals living space and the party zone has been restricted to just 3-4 streets. Which I suppose is sort of a good thing to contain the madness. 

However, the madness was somewhat lacking this evening. Along the beach was really civilised. There were mats and beanbags and low tables with romantic lighting everywhere. Neon signs for selfies and organised fire poi displays were just out of the water facing the assembled audience and waiters brought drinks, laughing gas and weed whenever people asked for them. Apart from the loud techno, disco, dance and trance music pumping out of everywhere, it was really calm compared to what I was expecting. Still, this is the day before, the day before the full moon party. We will see what happens tomorrow.