The 5 BEST PARTY ISLANDS in SOUTH-EAST-ASIA

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Looking for the best places to party in South-East Asia?  Well, I’m here to help.  I’ve spent a good time traveling, backpacking, and partying around this corner of the world, and this place definitely has some top-notch places to have some drinks, dance all night, and meet new people.  This post is specifically about the best party islands in South-East Asia.  If you’re making your way to any of these incredible islands, you (and your liver) better be ready for a damn good time!


 

Check out my other blog post about:

The 15 Best Party Places to Party In South-East Asia


 

1.  Koh Phangan, Thailand

When it comes to partying in South-East Asia, you can’t miss out on the craziness of Koh Phangan.  Yes, it is home to the notorious Full Moon Party, but there are actually so many better parties on the island.  I like to refer to this as the “Ibiza of South-East Asia”, because every night of the week, there is a different party, at a different venue on the island.  Although there have been some issues with the cancellations of parties, I really doubt that will actually ever happen.  If you’re making your way to Koh Phangan anytime soon, make sure you check out a website called the Phanganist.com.  They go over all the parties, hostel information, and other useful tips for visiting Koh Phangan.

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Parties On The Island To Check Out Other Than The Full Moon Party  

  • Merkaba Beach Club — A really cool Ibiza style club with a pool, and amazing underground house music.  Check the FB page for upcoming party dates.  I actually went here one night instead of the FMP!  Located just a short drive away from Haad Rin Beach.
  • Maya — A beautiful and colorful venue in the jungle.  The type of music varies for each party, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
  • Guy’s Bar / Eden — An absolute must attend during your visit to Koh Phangan.  Tucked away in the deep part of the jungle, these are two of the best places to party on the island.  Known for it’s long hours, it’s the party that doesn’t stop.  It’s hard to get to, where you have to take a jungle taxi or boat to get to, but it’s well worth it!
  • The Jungle Experience — Normally happens before and after each Full Moon.  A bit expensive for the entry charge at 400 baht, but it’s a solid party with amazing music.  You’ll meet a ton of people, and see some pretty interesting characters dressed up in crazy body paint.
  • Sandcastle — A small club venue located in Haad Rin that is the best place to party during the Full Moon Party.  It’s not located directly on the beach, but definitely cruise here for a couple drinks.
  • Backyard Afterparty — If you go to the FMP and don’t see the sunrise, consider yourself a failure.  As well, part of the Koh Phangan experience is going to an afterparty.  Go to BACKYARD.  It’s amazing.

2.  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

The Gili Islands are my absolute favorite place to visit in all of South-East Asia.  The beaches are beautiful, the sunrises / sunsets are magical, and you’re guaranteed to meet a ton of amazing new friends.  Gili Trawangan is the most developed island, and is known as the “party island”.  Every night there’s a few different parties to check out, and solid music to listen to.  You’ll most likely encounter people on various illicit substances like magic mushrooms or ecstasy, because there is no police on the Gili Islands.  It’s strange, people are put into jail on Bali for smoking weed, but anything goes once you cross over to the beautiful party paradise of Gili Trawangan.  According to this Gili Islands website:

“Currently the schedule is Monday night for the famous Blue Marlin rave party, Wednesday nights at the beachfront ‘Shipwrecked Bar’ is the ‘Tir na Nog’ Irish bar party, with a mix of funky house music, Friday night is at Rudys Bar, & Reggae music most nights at Sama Sama bar.”

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If you’re lucky, you will show up when there is the Gili Trawangan Full Moon Party at Space bar.  It’s a damn good time!

THE ONE ABSOLUTE MUST EXPERIENCE ON GILI TRAWANGAN IS THE BOOZE CRUISE.  It’s honestly one of the most fun experiences I’ve had while traveling.  It’s on an amazing boat with great music playing, and a solid trip time cruising around paradise.

3.  Koh Rong, Cambodia

“Nothing Can Go Wrong on Koh Rong” is the motto of this Cambodian paradise.  What is awesome about this place is that it can be exactly whatever you want it to be.  If you want to relax, do nothing, and forget about all your worries; that’s definitely possible.  But for those looking for a good time, Koh Rong has a lively and active party scene.  If there was one place to get to soon in South-East Asia, I would recommend Koh Rong.  Things are changing quickly on the island, but it currently still has it’s authentic charm.  Partying on Koh Rong is simply, all you have to do is walk up and down the main street, and follow the crowd.

Sunset on Long Beach, Koh Rong

Sunset on Long Beach, Koh Rong

When I was there, I spent a good amount of time at Vagabonds.  Definitely swing by there for a drink or two, and then see what else is going on.  The main stretch on Koh Rong isn’t large at all, so it won’t be too hard to find where the party people are at.  As well as the above two islands, Koh Rong does offer it’s own version of the Full Moon Party.  There’s no body paint or neon tanks, but there’s a party tucked away in the jungle with amazing underground house music.

No matter whether you want to party or not, just make sure you get to Koh Rong.  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in all of South-East Asia!

4.  Boracay, The Philippines

When most people are backpacking through South-East Asia, they tend to skip the Philippines.  I’m not quite exactly sure why, because it’s easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  Boracay, specifically, is stunning.  With that being said, people have often complained of the over-commercialism, and how it’s “too touristy” these days.  Yeah, there’s a McDonald’s and a Starbucks, but it’s still amazingly beautiful, and has amazing nightlife.

For starters, you have to experience The Boracay Pub Crawl.  It’s an absolute blast, and really does “Turn Strangers Into Friends!”

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After that, you need to check and see if there is a party at Area 51:  Top Secret Party Facility.  It’s an amazing venue away from the main action, but there are only parties twice a month for the full moon and half moon parties.  If this place isn’t open during your visit, then check out what EPIC Nightclub.    

There’s tons of other bars and nightclubs in Boracay to discover; it really just depends on what you are into and where the night takes you.  The main stretch along white beach is pretty long, and there’s heaps of options!

      

5.  Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Similar to Boracay, Koh Phi Phi is often criticized for being beautiful, but ruined by being over-developed and too much tourism.  If you haven’t been, make no mistake; Koh Phi Phi is one crazy party island.  There is tons of amazing things to do on Phi Phi, and definitely a lot of great places to party.

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Favorite Places to Party

  • Slinky’s Beach Bar — This is the place to be when the night comes to an end.  Loud house music, laughing gas balloons, dancing on stages; this place is wild.
  • Ibiza Beach Bar — This starts out as a really chill lounge bar during the sunset and couple hours after, but things start to pick up towards the end of the night.
  • Stones Bar — Located right next to Ibiza Beach Bar, another great option to chill, play pool, and start your night.
  • Banana Bar — Happy hour from 4:20-6:20, Movie’s play every night at 7:00 P.M, then after the movie the party starts with beer pong, loud music, and tons of people.
  • Stockholm Syndrome —  A great place to beer pong, meet people, and party before making your way to the beach.

 

Well, there you have it.  These are the 5 best party islands in South-East Asia.  I’ve had amazing times on all of them, and I’m sure I’ll find myself at each of them again sometime in the future.  If you have any questions about these islands, feel free to shoot me a message.  I’m more than happy to help you out!

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3 Reasons Why I’ll Never Go Back to Koh Phangan for New Years Eve

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Don’t let the title mislead you; I actually love Koh Phangan. 

The parties, the music, the beaches, the backpackers; this island is truly spectacular.  Many people criticize Koh Phangan as being purely an island of debauchery, and that the full-moon party is too touristy and commercialized.  Whatever.  I’ve had some of my favorite nights of my Asia travels during my time on Koh Phangan, and I’ve met some of the coolest people.  (If you’re reading this, you know who you are).  With no better options, and an urge to experience the infamous New Years Full Moon Celebrations, I made plans to go to Koh Phangan.  I had been on Koh Tao for 8/9 days, and was ready for a change.  I got off the ferry, headed to the hostel, and began to prepare for the night.  A.K.A — neon colors, body paint, and pre-gaming.  I’m not going to lie, I had such an amazing night.  From partying along the beach for a few hours, and then heading up to Merkaba for some proper techno; it was a solid time celebrating the coming of 2015  .  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  If you had such an amazing time, why wouldn’t you go back to KP for New Years Again?  Well, let me explain.

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Various people from NYE

#1  Everything on the island cost 2 or 3 times as it normally does.  

In 2014, I traveled to Koh Phangan for the full moon parties in both January and February.  I had heard that all the hostels and hotels get booked up early for NYE, and they are a little pricier, but it was just out of control.  I feel like I could open up a hostel in KP just for NYE and make enough money to last the full year at the prices places were charging.  I’m talking $51 per bed in a shared dormitory with mediocre facilities with a minimum stay of 4-7 nights.  As well, I noticed that all the prices for motorbikes, food, alcohol, taxis, laundry, and a few other things had gone up.  I know it’s high season in Thailand, but it almost felt like a tourist trap.  Thank God for 7-11 Toasties and Hong Thong whiskey.  Even the ferry prices from Chumphon and Surat Thani to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui were raised much higher than the standard prices.

#2 Koh Phangan has much better parties basically every night of the week. 

There’s a reason thousands of backpackers flock to Koh Phangan for the full moon party.  This is the “Ibiza” of South-East Asia.  Every night of the week, there’s something to do.  It can get a little intense.  It’s like, c’mon.  Give me a day off.  But the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) hits me hard, and I always end up going out.  Just look at the party schedule below.  From the Jungle Party Experience, Half Moon, Black Moon, Loi Lay, Maya, Merkaba, Guys Bar, Eden, and of course the full moon parties.

#3  There’s just too many people

I know this sounds weird, as it’s a giant party, and you think, the more people the better right?  Well for me, this was not the case.    It’s packed, crazy, and crowded everywhere you go.  Back during the full moon parties in January and February it was not nearly as packed, but just as much fun.  There’a always people to meet, but too many people just gets frustrating.  As well, this also caused some serious annoyances when it came to the ferries.  There was always a delay, so many backpacks, and it just took a lot of time.

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I’m writing this a bit late (due to computer problems) as it’s been a couple weeks since I was on KP, but I did have one crazy experience.  But would I go back for Koh Phangan?  No.  It’s easily one of my favorite places to party and let loose in South-East Asia, but it is honestly like that pretty much year round.  Take my advice.  If you’re spending NYE in Thailand, celebrate in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.  They both have a ton of stuff going on, and won’t rob you of a ton of money.  (Then after NYE, you could cruise down to KP for the January or February Full Moon).

The Best Year Of My Life: 2014 – A Year In Review

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Looking back on 2014 brings me nothing but amazing and life-changing memories.  I don’t even know how to express how much year this has influenced my life, but I will always look at 2014 as the year when I got it all “somewhat figured out”.  I’m only 25 (for one more month at least), but I can honestly say that I have a general idea of what I want out of life.  Travel is my passion.  Travel is my future.  Whether that be working on a cruise ship to fund more travels, opening up my own hostel, teaching english, or becoming a popular travel blogger (doubtful).  I’ve got big plans in 2015, and I can’t wait to explore more of the world.  But for now, enjoy my little recap of what I was up to for the past year.  7.5 Months in Asia, 2 months back home in CA, and 2.5 months in Europe.  Enjoy!

January

Started out the year in Bangkok.  Got an apartment to call a “home-base” while I began my online classes.  I definitely thought I’d actually be living in Bangkok more permanently, but then discovered that with some time management, I could travel and study simultaneously.

Dave the Buddhist #bangkok

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Traveled to the islands for the first time.  Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui.  All amazing in their own ways.  Was able to go scuba diving for my first time, as well as experienced my first full-moon party, which was quite an experience.

Scuba diving in the gulf of Thailand…CHECK #bucketlist #kohtao

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February

On the first of the month I began a short 12 day trip to Cambodia, beginning with an amazing couple days in Siem Reap exploring the Angkor Wat temples, and the famous sunrise photo.

Woke up at 5 a.m this morning to catch this famous sunrise #angkorwat #cambodia

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After Siem Reap I made a quick day stop in Phnomh Penh, but continued my journey to visit a couple friends in Sihanoukville.  Serendipity and Otres Beaches were both amazing, and I fell in love with Cambodia.  It was a short stay, but incredible.

Orange things in #Cambodia

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After my short trip to Cambodia, I hopped on a plane back to Bangkok to meet up with my friends on Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party (round two), as well as celebrating my birthday on the 14th.  My 25th birthday was still one of the highlights of the year for me.  My 26th is coming up in one month from now, and I have no idea how I’m going to top last years.

Throwback to sunrise after the full moon party #thailand

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After an epic birthday party in Koh Phangan, I decided it was time to head on over to the magical island of Koh Phi Phi.  I was only planning on spending a few days around Phi Phi, but got stuck there for a week or so.  I mean, how could I leave paradise?

Sunset boat ride back to Phi Phi #thailand

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Watching the sunrise after spending the night on Maya Bay, the filming location of the famous Leonardo Dicaprio movie “The Beach”.  Easily one of my highlights of the year.

What I woke up to this morning #mayabay #thailand

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March

This was easily the craziest and most fun-filled month of the year.  This was my last full-month in south-east Asia, and I lived it up to the fullest.  I began the month with an amazing trip to Hanoi and The Vietnam Backpacker’s Hostel Castaway Island tour to Halong Bay, which didn’t have the best weather, but met some amazing people, and had one wild trip.

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After an amazing / chaotic time in Vietnam, I headed on down to Bali, with a 24 hour layover in Singapore.  I really liked Singapore, and wish I had a bit more time there.  I ended up heading back to Singapore in October, so I got my fix.  It’s a beautiful city, but way too pricey for south-east Asia.

Spiral #bridge #singapore

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Once I landed in Bali, I had no idea what I was in for.  I had done zero research on what to do, and flew there just for 6 days to meet up with my travel crew.  They were posted up on the Gili Islands, so I cruised over and met them there.  I had an incredible day on Gili Air, and was easily one of my favorite days of the year.  Saw one of the best sunsets of my entire life.  It’s moments like these I’ll never forget.  The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was a big highlight of my first backpacking trip in Asia.

The best day of my life #giliair #indonesia

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After a very brief stay in Indonesia, I headed up to Kuala Lumpur for Future Music Festival Asia.  It was a blast, but unfortunately the last day of the festival got cancelled.  The first two days were epic though, and had a blast exploring the city.  Ironically enough, I did not like the city too much during my first visit, and now I’m writing this post from KL, and love this city!

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After Kuala Lumpur, my travel crew Cathy and Ashley and I started island hopping around Malaysia.  We traveled to the beautiful Perhentian Islands, Penang, and Langkawi.  All of these places are amazing.  I think more backpackers need to visit Malaysia during their trips.  For some reason, this country does not get as much attention as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.

I'm on my way to heaven… #aboveandbeyond #perhentianislands #malaysia

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Travel. Just do it. #Nike #langkawi #malaysia

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April

With just a couple last days in Bangkok, (which ended up being pretty crazy), my first trip to South-East Asia had come to an end.  I flew home for a family wedding.  Congratulations to my beautiful sister Stephanie and my new brother-in-law Bryce.  Their legal last name is actually Jones, which is funny, because I’ve been going by Jones since high school!

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Oh, but wait.  What else happens in California in April…?  Hmmm….COACHELLA.  For years, I had been missing out on the best festival in States, Coachella, because I had been living abroad in Italy.  Not in 2014.  Coachella absolutely lived up to the hype, and I had the most epic weekend with a solid group of people.

Beauty of #coachella

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May

This was a pretty slow month, as I was trying to figure out travel plans.  If you remember, I had a trip to South America planned, that had to be cancelled because I had two groups of friends bail on the trip last minute.  The highlight of May was easily my road trip to San Francisco with my buddy Kevin.  I hadn’t been up North since college, and it was a great drive on PCH, and a solid time chillin NorCal style.

Foggy days in #sanfran #goldengatebridge

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Driving on PCH from SF – LA was quite a journey. Long drive, but completely worth it! #carmel #bigsur #california #coast #roadtrip

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June

After my plans of traveling to South America were cancelled, I decided to head back to my favorite city in the world– BARCELONA.  Found myself an apartment with some great Catalan guys, and began my summer classes and Barcelona shenanigans.

Look who I found in #barcelona #florencereunion #lionsfountain #unclejimmys #funkychicken

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One of my favorite things to do every Sunday was head to Piknic Electronik up on Montuic.  Amazing day party with lcoals, tourists, and expats.  Easily one of the best parts about living in Barcelona over the summer.

Piknic Electronik #barcelona

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July

Continuing an awesome summer in Barcelona.  From L’Atlandida, Sundays at the Picknic, beach days, and club nights.

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Tourist photo. #sagradafamilia #barcelona

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And I Finally made it to Montserrat, which was one of the best day trips I’ve ever taken.  I couldn’t believe how many times I had visited Barcelona / lived in the city, and never visited Montserrat.

Day trip for some Hiking in #montserrat

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August

After an epic 8 day “goodbye party”, it was time for me to leave Barcelona, and begin my travels.  The first stop was Milan and Trieste in Northern Italy.  I had never been to either of these cities, and really enjoyed my time.

Well that's pretty neat #milan #italy

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After revisiting Italy, I made my way over to a country I had been dying to visit; Slovenia.  This country is absolutely amazing, and I fell in love with Lake Bled.  I made the joke that if I ever wanted to relax somewhere for a few months to write a novel, I would choose Lake Bled.  It’s relatively affordable, and Slovenians are incredibly nice.

I could stay here awhile #lakebled #slovenia #jonesaroundtheworld

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After a short visit to Slovenia, I got picked up by two of my good Dutch friends, and we made our way to Croatia for SONUS Music Festival.  This was definitely one of the craziest music festivals I’ve ever attended (and I’ve been to quite a few).  Shoutout to Joost and Stijn for an awesome week of camping, drinking, and non-stop amazing techno.

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September

After an amazing summer in Europe, I was dying to get back to Asia.  So I jumped right in — and began my backpacking trip in Sri Lanka.  This country by far exceed my expectations, and I had such an amazing time.  From exploring Colombo, Kandy, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Trincomalee, and Arugam Bay.  I wish I had more time there, but it would have cost too much money to change my ticket.  Shoutout to all the amazing people I met in Sri Lanka!  This was also the month I started my travel blog!  The birth of Jones Around The World!

"I like that boulder. That is a nice boulder." #Shrek #sigariyarock #SriLanka

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Walking. #srilanka

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Jones Around The World. #backpacker #travelblogger

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I also spent half of September in Kuala Lumpur, and this was actually one of the first blog posts I ever wrote.  Thanks to my friends I met in Langkawi, I had a free place to stay at an amazing condo, and met some incredible people.  It was this visit that made me want to move here.

To infinity pools…and beyond #Buzzlightyeartotherescue #infinitypools #TravelBlogger #Backpacker #Globetrotter #KualaLumpur #Malaysia

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October

Honestly, if I had to pick a favorite month of the year, I would have to say it was October.  I spent the majority of the month traveling through Bali and The Gili Islands.  Like traveling always does, I met the best people in Bali, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them.  There’s so many pictures to choose from, so I’ll try to limit to just a few.

Had a perfect day in #paradise #bali #Indonesia #TravelBlogger #Wanderlust #Globetrotter #JonesAroundTheWorld

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I'm the king of the cruise #GiliT #boozecruise #Indonesia

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Bali life is the good life. #potatohead #beachclub #seminyak #Indonesia

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Beanbags and beers for the sunset #seminyak #bali #indonesia #TravelBlogger #wanderlust #Globetrotter #nomadlife

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I like swimming.

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Thanks to everyone I met in Indonesia.  The times we’ve shared will never be forgotten.  I flew to Singapore for a couple days, then back to Kuala Lumpur for Halloween, which was an absolute blast.

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November

Another solid month traveling mostly through Langkawi, southern Thailand, and back to Kuala Lumpur for some rest and relaxation.  Langkawi is still one of my favorite islands in Asia.

We went chasing waterfalls.

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Head in the clouds.

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Pantai Cenang- Langkawi — I have 1 wife, and two sons: "Wifi", "sunrise", and "sunset"…

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After my time in Langkawi, I journeyed up to Krabi, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi, and Koh Lanta.  I had some really great nights here, but was plagued with some bad weather during most of it.  None the less, the beauty of these islands is breathtaking, and it was great to visit some new places, as well as revisit Koh Phi Phi.

Not the best weather day, but couldn't resist going for a swim

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Not many places to hike on Koh Phi Phi, but the walk up to the viewpoint is good enough for me.

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December

Oh, the last and final month of 2014 — and boy was it a good one.  I started December out in Cambodia, and had the best time.  Started in Phnomh Penh for a couple days,  and then worked my way down to Kep & Kampot.  The Majority of my time was spent in SIhanoukville and Koh Rong (which I think is one of the most beautiful places in the world).  For anyone reading this who has not been to Koh Rong, Go SOON!  Tourism is going to take over quick, and this paradise will not be the same in a few years.

Sunset in Kampot

Gotta love Cambodian sunsets…every night a different painting, and tonight's was especially great.

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Relaxing on Long Beach, Koh Rong.

Winter is coming….but not for me.

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Enjoying my time in Otres Beach, Sihanoukville

Fresh coconut and a book on this sunny afternoon. Beach life sure is great.

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After a crazy time in Cambodia, it was time to head to Koh Chang to meet up with my friend Cathy.  Althogh, this took two attempts as I missed one of the busses due to bartending until 4 A.M the night before!  Koh Chang was absolutely beautiful, and I would defintiely recommend backpackers to make a stop there at the Thai/ Cambodian border.  It’s a much better border to cross at as well!  I also got to meet up with two of my Dutch buddies from Eindhoven (De Gekste)!

2 Americans, 2 Dutchmen, 1 Boat, 5 islands, 3 bottles of whiskey, and tons of fish. That was one epic snorkeling trip

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New island. New beach. Looking forward to the next few days in Koh Chang

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After Koh Chang, Cathy and I headed to Koh Samet for a bit of recovery from the damage we did to our bodies in Koh Chang, as well as to rest up for the next adventure; Wonderfruit Music Festival.  This was Thailand’s first major music festival, and I had such a solid weekend.  Amazing people, incredible music, and an overall great festival experience.

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

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After Wonderfruit festival, Cathy and I headed to Koh Tao for Christmas.  I spent a total of 8 or 9 days there, and it was a pretty great time.  It was quite strange though, because the weather was actually pretty terrible.  But it always cleard up at night.  The food was good, the parties were good, and met some amazing people there as well.

On December 31st, I decided it was time to journey over to Koh Phangan for the New Years Ever celebrations.  I’ll be writing a seperate blog post about that crazy experience.  IMG_2340


 

Well, there ya have it.  The past 12 months of my life summed up in one blog post.  It truly has been the best year of my life.  I want to take this moment to thank each and every person I’ve met while traveling around the world.  You guys are what making traveling so amazing.  I honestly don’t have too much plans as of now for 2015, but I have a hard time thinking it can top 2014, but I’m damn sure I’m gonna try.

Thanks for reading!