The ex-pat who runs our hostel in Koh Phangan calls himself “Yukee”. He is from California, so I’m sure his name is actually Steve or Tim but he says his name is Yukee. Anyways, Yukee told us that his favorite hike is to a viewpoint on route to the secluded beach of Haad Yuan. A crew of six hostel bros and I decided to make the trek.
We made our way to the start of the trail with backpacks full of water bottles, beer, and rum. The heat on these islands is absurd partly due to the exceedingly high levels of humidity. During the hike up this mountain, I had never sweat more in my entire life. We really could not drink water fast enough. The trail, indicated by plastic bottles stuck to branches, was a very steep path through a thick jungle.
After an hour and a half of uphill hiking, we somehow found our way to the viewpoint. This was not a platform made for tourists. It was simply a large rock that jutted off the mountain. There was barely enough room for us all to stand on the rock, and I definitely got a bit too close to the edge when I took the picture at the top of this post. As soon as we reached the spot and the view came into focus, we were all ecstatic. The hike up was harder than any I have ever done, and the view from the top was more beautiful than any I have ever seen. It just didn’t look real. I felt like I was looking at a movie set for Jurassic Park. Neither words nor pictures can adequately describe what we saw.
If you look closely in the photo above, you can see a small beach to the right of center. After crushing a few beers and drinking some rum, we began our descent on that beach, called Haad Yuan. The hike down was not as physically draining, but it was much more strategically challenging. The path was steep and slippery. Each of us fell and slid down a number of times, but we felt no pain due to the combination of alcohol and adrenaline. After another forty five minutes, we reached a place that can only be described in a clichè as paradise. The beach was quiet, small, secluded, and pristine. We dropped our bags and ran into the warm water. I had never been more relaxed and euphoric in my entire life.
One of the small boats pictured above ended up taking our group back to the main beach to finish our day.
Koh Samui was a solid place to start the Asia adventure because it gave us the ability to get our feet wet in this strange country. Koh Phangan is smaller and less developed. Its natural beauty is almost untouched. Through blood and lots of sweat, I am quickly becoming attached to this island.