The Island Hopping Tour – a personal account.
A trip to Thailand certainly isn’t complete without visiting the country’s breathtaking tropical islands. White sandy beaches, crystal clear oceans, hammocks floating amongst towering palm trees…the islands really are a place of castaway fantasies.
After partaking in Camp D, set in the enigmatic city of Bangkok, i was certainly ready to leave the hustle and bustle of Thailand city-life behind. My Camp experience was amazing, Bangkok presents a real dichotomy between futuristic city buzz and honest urban culture. However, as Camp sadly drew to a close i was admittedly ready to sit on a blanket of sand and soak up a few rays on a palm fringed beach. This is where the Island Hopping Tour became a real-life fantasy for me.
The Island Hopping Tour is advertised by Camp Thailand as an ‘optional extra’, however in my opinion it is a MUST. The tour is exclusive to Camp Thailand applicants only, so it’s likely a number of the people you meet and form great friendships with on camp will be going too (so you don’t have to say goodbye to everyone just yet!). The tour combines some of the most beautiful, breathtaking Thai Islands including Koh Nangyuan, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan and at a completely affordable price, even for us students!
Following a 16 hour coach journey to the ferry port (in which i attempted to sleep off my hangover from the crazy beach party the night before) we finally arrived at the first of our island hopping locations – Koh Nangyuan. I can honestly say this is one of the most unique locations i have ever visited! A place of pure tranquility and serenity, the locals really strive to look after this beautiful island. The glittering lagoons come in an array of blue shades, and are constantly dotted with excited snorkelers and divers. The highlight of the island by far however, was the Koh Nangyuan viewpoint (the perfect place to capture that new profile pic!). There’s a long, winding boardwalk that hovers the lagoon and deposits you at the foot of a quite daunting set of uphill steps to the viewpoint of the islands highest peak! Whilst initially pretty unnerving, the trek up to the viewpoint rock is totally worth it once you’ve experienced the view from the top! Flooded with accomplishment, i was completely bewildered by what i could see. Honestly, a postcard-picture worthy view and one that truly has to be physically seen to be believed.
Just a 15 minute speed boat ride from Koh Nangyuan, Koh Tao was immediately popular amongst everyone on the Island Hopping Tour. Despite being one of the smallest of the Thai islands, this place is flooded in quirky cocktail beach bars and winding back street local markets – the perfect place to grab family and friend souvenirs! Whilst Thailand is known for being extremely cheap, this place certainly breaks the record! The locals pour friendly spirit and the island all round is full of honest, raw Thai culture.
Being the host to the famous ‘Full Moon Party’, this vivacious, upbeat island certainly knows how to throw a boat party! Whilst the island has a huge abundance of beach bars and nightclubs, Koh Phangan cannot be described purely as a ‘party island’. Our group of Island hoppers were taken on a two night stay at ‘Bottle Beach’ resort, a secluded beach amongst the rural forestation of the island. The beach featured glittering waters in which we were free to swim and snorkel as well as the most beautiful soft and refined white sand. The resort had its own bar and restaurant, serving the most authentic thai delicacies as well as traditional Western dishes for those more fussy eaters (there’s always one!). The island of Koh Phangan was the perfect ending to an entirely perfect trip.
I would recommend the Island Hopping Tour to every participant of Camp Thailand purely for its diversity. The tour encapsulates the perfect balance of exploration, relaxation and party! There truly is something for everyone! The mind-blowing beauty and serenity of the islands is something that needs to be physically experienced, they really do live up to the photographs!
Don’t take my word for it, experience the Island Hopping Tour for yourself this summer!