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Koh Pangan

After the stress of shooting the Bangkok protests I headed down to Surat Thani to photograph a Monkey Training College there, planning to only be away from Bangkok for a couple of nights.

I finished the job at lunchtime, but really didn't feel like heading back to Bangkok and the big city so I made a snap decision to head out to the islands if there was an afternoon ferry going to Koh Pangan. I made my way into Surat Thani itself, had a pizza for lunch, and the women in the restaurant told me there was a bus that went to the afternoon ferry at 14:30. One of them even took me to it on the back of her scooter with my enormous backpack! It was one of those sudden decisions and it felt good.

The ferry left at 16:00, gliding away from the dock into the smooth blue gulf as the sun gradually sank on the port side. I called a couple of guesthouses on the east coast, thinking I'd head to somewhere chilled, but they warned me that it would cost a fortune to get there by taxi by the time the ferry arrived so I opted to spend a night in Coco Huts near Hat Rin instead.

In the pickup taxi were a bunch of Canadians and a Scottish guy called Woodie, and the Canadians asked him what currency we used in Scotland and we both started laughing! It turned out that he'd lived in Dundee for a few years, we started chatting, and he was living on the island and working in one of the bars.

The next day I left my room just to buy sandals, but ran into Leila in 7-11 and ended up going off for an extended trip around the island. Back in Hat Rin, I took advantage of Woodie's offer of some cheap drinks and sat at Cactus Bar chatting with him and watching the firedancers on more than a few nights.

The last days I moved to Lighthouse Bungalows, a collection of huts built on stilts above the rocks at the very south of the island, looking across towards Koh Samui. The following morning, I decided it was time to go and check out Koh Tao and maybe return to Koh Pangan for my birthday. I packed my bag, caught a minibus to the ferry and walked ashore onto the much smaller neighbouring island in the late afternoon.

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