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After a few days on Samui, we boarded a ferry bound for Koh Pha Ngan (where we found out that Koh is pronounced Ko like the start of cough, not Ko like Co-op!). Arriving in Thong Sala, we taken aback by the amount of young (proper?) travellers apparently in search of the infamous full moon party. Wanting to avoid the masses and crazy parties in equal measure, we hoped our mini van was going in the opposite direction! As luck would have it, after thirty minutes driving through beautiful and dense jungled hills/mountains, we were rewarded with a stunning vista.

Our new abode was a little wooden Thai shack right on Thong Nai Pan Yai beach, literally 20 steps to the sea – heaven!

Built on wooden stilts, the house had a rustic charm complete with creaky floorboards that you could see the ground below through, romantic mossie nets, cute balconies and an outdoor bamboo shower (which, on the last day, delivered a frog with the water!!).

Our friend, Crabby the frog!

After chatting to local fisherman, we decided to hire a long tail boat for a day’s snorkelling around the north of the island – Lola and Albie’s first snorkelling experience!

We saw so many beautifully coloured fish and corals, it was stunning! Not so sure about the elongated sucker fish that wouldn’t get off my tummy though!!

On other days, we hired a kayak to explore our bay…

…collected shells to make collages…

Climbed rocks and made swings…

…made friends with birds..!

…built sand sculptures…

…walked…and talked…

But most of all we thoroughly enjoyed talking to Oat, who worked at Siam Beach Bar. He taught Lola and Albie about the King and the current period of mourning in Thailand, and also about life as a monk (because he didn’t go to school but learnt from monks). We learnt so much from him, thank you Oat!

Five days was probably too short, but we only have a 30-day Thai visa and there’s still so much to see! Back on the mainland, we traversed the country by minivan towards the Andaman coast, stopping en route at a village homestay…next post!