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Koh Phangan, Thailand – Day 3

January 24, 2023

I woke up many times through the night looking for the cockroach from my bed island. Never saw it. When I finally got up I saw it dead on the floor next to my bed. I grabbed the ashtray from the patio and put it on top of the cockroach.

In case it springs back to life

Today I decided to drive to the northern tip of the island and hike to Bottle Beach. The drive there was excellent. Almost no traffic and perfect weather. I parked my scooter at the end of the road and walked down to the Bottle Beach trailhead.

There were multiple trails but no signs indicating which trail was which. This was my first sign that this hike might be tricky. I pulled up the Bottle Beach Coastal trail on AllTrails and decided to stick with that one. The trail lacked markers so I had to follow AllTrails much more than I usually do. Early on a cobweb across the trail ended up in my face letting me know I was the first person to hike this trail today, maybe longer.

Early views from the Bottle Beach Coastal trail


A little over a third of the way I could hear monkeys! They were jumping and climbing around in the trees above my head. I took a couple videos then watched them for a few minutes. I felt a bit like I was in the Wizard of Oz. The longer I was there though the less concerned I was that the monkeys would be aggressive towards me. It was a fun little surprise!

When I got about halfway through the trail, the trail disappeared. I tried to follow it via AllTrails, but the jungle was really thick and I met a tricky bouldering section that increased the difficulty. I tried several different routes to cross the steep sloped rocks but none were very successful. To make matters worse, I could hear the water taxis passing by, constantly reminding me I could have just taken a taxi to the beach for 150 baht ($4.57). 

After losing my sunglasses, scratching up my arms and legs, and triple checking that this trail was categorized as easy, I finally found a successful route. I crossed the treacherous rock section about 300 feet above the waves crashing on the same rocks far below. The rest of the hike came through the jungle, where I continued cursing the trail, arguing with no one that this was not an easy hike!

Drenched in sweat with blisters forming on my feet, I made it to the beach. The 1.78 mile trail took me 3 hours! Not easy!

Finally! Bottle Beach

Bottle Beach

Upon making it to Bottle Beach I shed my clothes and got in the water. This is the first time in my life I wished the water was colder. I washed my shirt and draped it over a nearby rope. Then I walked to the nearest restaurant and ordered a coconut, large water, fruit, and toast.

As I ate my late breakfast I saw a woman come out of the jungle where I came from. She put her stuff down on the beach right where I did, draped her clothes over the rope, got in the water, then came to the restaurant for a coconut. Exactly the same things I did in exactly the same order.

I later asked if she hiked the trail, and she confirmed she did. We both cursed the trail and said it was much harder than advertised. Jenya hails from Berlin, Germany. She’s between jobs right now so she took a two week trip to Thailand. She goes back to Germany in two days.

We spent the afternoon basking in the sun on the beach. I searched two “shops” (hutches with a smattering of toiletries and chips) for sunglasses without success. Bottle Beach is nice but there is a lot of trash piled in a few areas. Thailand has a plastic problem and some of these areas really show it.

Posing in the sarong Amy brought me from Bali

Around 4pm we took the long boat water taxi to Haad Khom (150 baht), which is close to where we parked our scooters. Haad Khom looked like a very nice beach. If I have the time, I’ll come back.

We trekked up a big hill with two other Germans that were in our taxi to get to the parking lot. From there I rode back, picking up a new pair of sunglasses at one of the many 7 Elevens. I showered and went to Pom Pui for dinner, but they were closed, so I went to the Belgian Beer Bistro again. This time I ordered the salmon and fresh juice. Yum.

After dinner I rode back to my hotel for the first time in the dark. Not my preference but not bad either. Getting more confident each day.

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