The morning after we arrived I headed off towards Thong Sala on foot, eventually getting picked up by a songthaew along the way. The THB 150 fare was non-negotiable, but since I hadn’t come across another going my way in the preceding 15 minutes, I decided to hop on. The other three passengers with me were glamorous Russian 20-somethings with their massive roll-along suitcases and designer bags in tow. Such impracticality would have been unheard of 10 years ago. Koh Pha Ngan is definitely not just the haunt of the backpacking crowd these days.
Upon arrival in Thong Sala I headed to a sports bar called The Hub which had multiple recommendations as an honest place from which to hire motorbikes. Tales abound of hapless tourists being scammed out of piles of cash for “damage” to the bikes while their passport is held as ransom. Not so at this place, if Tripadvisor is to be believed. A few thousand Baht and my passport lighter, I was issued with the keys to two Honda Mopeds. We got them back to the house, fitted the kids out with helmets and went out for a test-drive. They love being on them. Happily they stay still, and it’s no harder driving with one of them aboard. The main roads are decent and easy to drive on, and I generally max out at 25mph so I’m not exactly speeding along. A calm pootle along the road with the beach-fringed sea on one side and palm groves on the other. It’s so beautiful, and brings back memories of happy times on this island years ago. Truly, it’s the best way to get around Koh Pha Ngan and I’d recommend it to anyone. Obviously don’t be an idiot – get yourself an automatic moped with a wimpy little engine, wear a helmet, drive sober, go slow. At THB 200/day/bike it is vastly cheaper and more convenient than using taxis. And a hell of a lot more fun, even at just 25mph.
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