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I'm the left bar, and I haven't found my purpose yet. Maybe I'll be gone quite soon. It was nice to know you

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Full moon party, Koh Phi Phi and first day of Chiang Mai

Alright, I'm back and got the time to tell you how our adventure continued.

Julian, whom we had met on the Kitty Raft, came to meet us on Koh Phangan. He had been to Phuket and Koh Phi Phi in the meantime. So we met him in the morning of the 24th, which was the day of the full moon party. The three of us (still) had motorbikes, and, as I said in my last post, we went to see more of Koh Phangans east side. Again, we had breakfast at the same spot as the day before. Unfortunately, we did not find another promising dirt road into the jungle, so we decided to head back the same way as before, toward paradise beach, to give Julian an expression of what it was like. We thought we'd just take a turn in a different direction than before. And we did that, but none of those tracks was ridable for long. But we did discover what seemed to be a rubber plantation and some apparently wild pineapple plants. Other than that we didn't see much we hadn't known already, but we took the time to chill a bit longer at the nicer spots.

And then came the evening. Everybody in our dorm got ready for the big event: The full moon party at "Haad Rin", a beach in the very south eastern corner of the island. So naturally, we got ready as well. And by ready, I mean drunk ;). We had a long conversation with two british guys, who were, like my brother, planning to go to Australia after Thailand, and so we exchanged stories and plans and then the conversation drifted to a few other topics as well. And then, I suppose it must have been around 10pm, we, the british guys and a group of Swedish people got into a cab (100 Baht per person) and drove to the party. Let's not get too much into detail. Officially, entrance fee is 100 Baht, which is said to be used for cleaning the beach after the party. Must be one hell of an expensive cleaning party. But, whether that is ethically acceptable or not, we just tried our luck and succeeded in sneaking in unnoticed by pretending to be looking at the menu of a restaurant, which had its terrace right next to the spot where they collected the fee. And there we were. The entire beach full of incredibly many people, most of them super drunk. Restaurants, bars, streetfood and "buckets" all around. Prices massively varying. Loud music of different genres all along the beach. Skipping over burning ropes. A horizontal bar for pull ups. I still got a massive burn mark on my ankle and singed hair on my limbs. Hehehe.

Okay, all in all, the party was good. But that's it. I wouldn't recommend planning your trip specifically so that you can be there as we did. After we came back from the party at about 3am, I still got into the ocean with a few of the Swedish girls and a guy from Belgium. And then we got into the pool that belonged to the place the that dude was staying. He paid less for that place than we did for our dorm and the pool was a lot deeper than the sea, which doesn't seem to become any deeper than half a meter for hundreds of meters...

The next day was the classic "hangover day". Although we were not really very hung over, we still enjoyed a chilled out day with Netflix, after a long time of relatively strenuous activities. I think that was also the day I introduced a page layout to this very blog section. Quite a hack ;). From now on, it'll actually be easier for me to introduce a new blog post and the page should load a lot quicker for you, since your browser will no longer have to load all the images I ever posted. So I wasn't totally unproductive :)

And it was the time for us to make a decision: Where to go next? Originally, we had planned to go to Koh Samui which is right next to Koh Phangan and somewhat bigger. But many people had told us it's not actually worth exploring, and also our time was running shorter and shorter, so we changed plans and went straight to Koh Phi Phi, instead. We booked the trip online, which was a little cheaper than with the local travel agent. But we really just did that because it was so late that the travel agent was no longer there. If you are interested in doing the same, we booked with 12Go Asia, which is one of the first things that pops up in Google's search results. Note that you do have to print the ticket though! They probably won't accept it on the phone, for whatever reason.

The ferry left the next morning at 7am. Arrival time was supposed to be 3pm, but I didn't check if we made that. What we had not noticed was that the hostel's reception did not open till 8am. But we still had to get our deposit back, which was 500 Baht each. So we had to wake everyone up. They were not very happy, and they were super slow but in the end the guy who had the keys to the money showed up and we got it. But, to be fair, it was our own fault, because there was a huge sign stating the opening hours. I just never noticed it before...

We then got into a cab and drove to the Pier. From there everything went pretty smooth, they do know how to organize travel with their so-called "Joint Tickets". Ferry to the mainland, bus across the mainland, van to the pier and another ferry to Koh Phi Phi. First thing that greeted us: A welcoming committee that wouldn't let us get off the pier without paying 20 Baht for cleaning of the beaches. Of course, only the tourists had to pay. Come on, it is not a lot of money and a good cause, no doubt. And yes, a lot of tourists probably leave a lot of rubbish at the beaches and I myself am very passionate about clean waters (being a diver). But that still sucks :/. Like or don't like how they treat tourists in that way, it is still fair to say that it could be a lot worse, so I won't complain anymore than this.

Koh Phi Phi from the viewpoint
This was taken from the second viewpoint. Entrance fee is 30 Baht, but it's worth it!
Sunset at Slinky Beach
Every single sunset on Phi Phi was amazing. This particular one was photographed from Slinky Beach
Nui Bay
It was hard to take a good picture, because of the blazing sun. This is the best I got. It shows Nui Bay
Koh Phi Phi is amazing. As simple as that. The water is very clear, even at the pier. The shape of the island is awesome. The "center" is actually a town build on a beach, with the sea on both sides. It connects two landmasses. One of them is made up of immense Rocks that stand out of the water almost perpendicularly, covered with jungle. I have not found a way to actually walk on to that part of the island. The other side is not quite as steep and you can go hiking, for example to the Phi Phi village or to one of its three viewpoints. Although possessing marijuana is illegal and you can even get a death penalty in Thailand, for example for trafficking it, it is everywhere on the island. There is (at least this) one bar on the right hand side of slinky beach, which I'm not gonna name here (just note that it has a big illuminated sign that you can't miss: Only look at it) where you can get it, and lots and lots of people who are going to approach you and ask you if you're interested. The law seems to be a very local thing in Thailand. You can go on all sorts of trips around the island, from the 500 Baht snorkel boat to the much more expensive all you can drink party boat. There's lots to see. Note that Maya Beach where large parts of the famous movie "The Beach" were shot is not open to tourists anymore, at least during low season. Shark Point at the south-eastern part of the island is famous for snorkeling and accessible on foot as well. Monkey bay, the first beach around the corner on the left hand side of the island (if you start at Slinky Beach) is accessible by kayak. Nui Bay, a beautiful and secluded beach on the right hand side of the island is accessible via some (very) small tracks and via kayak. It's definitely worth a visit! Unfortunately, I got sick by the evening of our first (full) day on the island, had one day down time on the second and am recovering since then. We decided not to do any of the tours offered, but explored the island ourselves, partly hiking, partly by kayak. We also had two evenings with some nice sandwiches (a reference to "How I met your mother"), one at a bar, one by the beach.

We would have loved to visit two more islands down south: Koh Muk (sometimes Koh Mook) and Koh Lipe. But there are no direct ferries to these places during low season, which would have made the trip a very long one and also it would have been a bit expensive. So, already having seen a lot of islands and a lot of beaches, we decided to save the time and money for another trip and booked passage to Chiang Mai for the next day instead. The best offer we got was at a travel agency (not the Internet!) on the island. 2700 Baht (72€, 83US$) for the ferry, transfer to the airport and the flight. Not too bad I'd say. We left Koh Phi Phi at 1.30pm and arrived in Chiang Mai around 9pm. Now we're staying at Linda's Guesthouse, a place you won't find on any booking portals and that therefore survives by word of mouth recommendations only. We heard about it from our grand uncle. So far it's very nice and very affordable, with the two of us staying in a private room (with a queensize bed ;D) with AC and bathroom for 350 Baht per day (total). You should know that most of the people who stay here are Germans. That is not intended, but still a fact, probably because the owner is German and the nature of their booking process. But everyone is welcome. Today, we've been exploring the city with another German guy who's staying here. It is not quite as nice as I expected :/. But hey, let's see what the next days are going to bring. We are going hiking! We booked the tour right here and are curious to see secluded mountain villages, a lot of jungle and probably even more mosquitoes for the next two days and one night.

Censored Porn
This is what you get when you try to access "youporn.com". The text says the following: "This site contains inappropriate content and information. Suspended by the Digital Ministry for Economic and Social Affairs"
Let's end this post with a fun fact: A friend just told me that you can not access any porn sites by directly typing the URL into your browser. It seems to be blocked by the government! I find that really funny! Even more so because if you just search for the site via Google and then use that link, you'll still be able to get everything you need. Not exactly the peak of big brother tech, right?!

For your convenience I'll also embed a few more videos here, which I have recently uploaded to Youtube. Enjoy!

This video shows a little hermit crab at the beginning and then you'll see what it looks like to dive through a massive school of fish. Afterwards, you'll see some of Koh Tao's dive site "South West (Pinnacle?!)"

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

And here the same school of fish again, if you want to see more...

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

If you're about to get your Open Water certification on Koh Tao, you'll visit some easy dive sites with a lot of sand at first. That will make it easier to perform those skills you'll have to practice. In this video you'll see what it may look like at these sites

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

In many places with a lot of tourism and/or excessive fishing with boats anchoring everywhere, the reef gets damaged. On Koh Tao, like in some other places, people are trying to repair that damage by building artificial reefs. This is what these look like at the moment.

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

This fish is a baby. It is going to stay in precisely this spot for a couple of more weeks or even months before it will start exploring deeper waters. Unfortunately, I can not remember its name right now.

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

In this video, I got curious about an almost white lionfish. When I approached it, that lionfish got curious about me as well and swam right in front of my face. I'll admit, I got a little uneasy about the venomous stings on its back...

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

Another potentially deadly sea dweller: The Blue Spotted Stingray. But it usually doesn't bather him when you take a look, even when you're pretty close. One particularly bold fish proves that in this video!

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

They are not the typical "Nemos", but they are anemone fish. Watch them stick their head out of their anemone-home ;)

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

A lot is going on, in the ocean. Even in the apparently dead sandy spots in between the reefs. I have no idea why they are doing it, but shrimps and fish seem to have teamed up for some kind of underwater construction project. Watch them at work!

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

OK, enough about Koh Tao now. This was filmed snorkeling at "Shark Point" on Koh Phi Phi. Lots of fish around there, but no sharks. I don't seem to be lucky enough during this holiday...

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

And now it is enough with water. You may have already seen us riding the dirt road on Koh Phangan. This is a small bit of the subsequent hike down to the beach, if you're interested

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube

And then here we got the very final bit of the way down to the Lost Paradise Waterfall. "Waterfall" is a very big word or what it turned out to be though...

You can also watch this video directly on Youtube