|Another island I paid a visit to 11 years ago, the inevitable comparisons over time at Ko Pha Ngan are much worse. This island is famous for its full-moon parties, an idea now copied on many beaches throughout the world but Ko Pha Ngan was the venue for the first and still by far the biggest. First time round I stayed in a bamboo hut on sunrise beach at Had Rin where there were numerous cheap bamboo huts, half a dozen wood built restaurants and a very sleepy post office where I was warned that the service was very slow and unreliable. Now Had Rin is a concrete town beyond recognition with goodness knows how many bars and restaurants, and the rest of the once-inaccessable interior has opened up thanks to paved roads to its four corners. Just to show how much has changed Tesco's are here and there is a huge mock tudor British pub to provide some respite for the homesick Brit. The rest of the island has numerous resorts of varying quality around it edges and it was into the Haad Gruad resort that we fell into.
I thought Haad Gruad wasn't bad, but Ilona was less impressed. We hired a scooter on day 2 and set out with the intention of making it to Bottle Beach which all those years ago was the new discovered beach on everyone's lips, one I unfortunately never visited due to time constraints. The official line is that this beach is still only accessible by boat, however the grapevine assured us that we could get there by road so our mission for the day was to find out if this was true. Thankfully it was however the final track down to the beach was steep and our scooter found it hard work. Bottle Beach was the best beach we saw on the island, but I had a somewhat empty feeling having wished I had visited it all those years ago.
I left Ko Pha Ngan somewhat disappointed, I know everyone says it this but this island was soooo much better in the good old days....