I arrived in Koh Phangan two days later than I planned due to the storm, but it turned out to be just right! I had a pretty cool bungalow on the beach for three nights before the retreat started. It was a great place to settle down, watch some sunsets, and get a bit of work done. The first night, I walked up the street to the night market where they had some reggae bands playing and lots of food vendors. I ordered some dinner, and soon had four young guys sitting with me enjoying the music. We had a lot of laughs over some beers and special cookies, and ended up staying till after midnight! It was a fun way to kickoff the holidays!
The next day, I was so excited to take a walk since I finally was in a place where I could! I checked out a few beaches and the town after finding breakfast at a little roadside stand. I even found a jungle phone in case of emergency!
Later, I found out that two of the girls from my retreat were staying at the same place, so I met up with Stefi, the next morning and went to a small art fair. It wasn’t much, but it was nice to meet her. That evening, I attended a inner dance at a yoga shala on the beach hosted by the girls running the retreat. It was a relaxing evening and I met Masha, who was also staying at my place. We had a late dinner after and enjoyed some laughs. Although, feeling a bit iffy about the retreat, I was glad I would be with these two awesome ladies!
We were picked up the next morning and taken around the island to Haad Yao Beach were the retreat would be held. We dropped our bags and immediately started the program. As it turned out, the entire program was rush, rush, rush, which was totally bizarre for a retreat, but that’s how it goes. I did meet some nice girls and a guy and the views from the room and around the retreat were beautiful! We stuck it out together, powered up and down a LOT of stairs, and had some nice times.
For me, the highlight was on Christmas we went to an ecstatic dance at a yoga shala in the jungle. There were a couple hundred people from around the island and I had a blast letting loose on the dance floor. Later, after the evening program, we walked up the beach and had Christmas dinner together. It was nice to hear about everyone’s holiday traditions. Also, for the closing ceremony, we wrote notes on cards for everyone and had a fire where we did a bit of kirtan and made s’mores at sunset.
The retreat ended on the 26th, and my two roommates, Larissa and Alice from Brazil (who had never met before the retreat) and I got a ride back down near the pier. We had booked rooms at the same hotel so we met up for dinner, which was nice. Finally we had time to just sit, chat, and relax. Something that had not been possible during the retreat!
The next morning, Alice had an early boat scheduled, so she left first, then a couple of hours later I got a ride to the pier. When I arrived, I found Larissa standing at the ticket counter. She had gone early with Alice, and had decided to take the boat at the same time as me to Surat Thani, and then the bus on to Krabi. We waved goodbye to Alice as she headed out in another direction, and then soon boarded our boat.
Goodbye Koh Phangan. I’m glad I met you, but we will leave it at that. I found both Koh Samui and Phangan are overrun with expats, tourists and huge parties, which is not really my vibe.
More good stuff coming soon!