In October I was invited to speak at TBEX Asia 2015 which this year happened to be in one of my second homes, Bangkok. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to plug back into my global travel family, catch up with some old buddies and get in some island time too. The conference was amazing and served as a reminder of what great people are in the travel industry. The title of my talk was ‘Why conversations are the most important metric in travel’, which turned out to be extra poignant at TBEX where a group of like-minded people are brought together to discuss and collaborate on different concepts and ideas in the world of travel.
After a whirlwind few days, I took a little time to head to the beach for some business, pleasure and adventure. My Bangkok Airways flight took me down to Koh Samui, and after a 20 minute boat ride, I was on Koh Phangan where I discovered plenty more than beach parties packed with unwashed backpackers. Besides my luxury villa by Bay Residence (more on that in another blog), this little island has plenty more to offer than buckets of cheap liquor every full moon.
I spent a day with some crazy kids and adventure heads, taking on The Challenge. It’s a giant obstacle course set on a massive lake inland on Koh Phangan and it’s appropriately named. The ‘Challengers’ throw themselves from one floating inflatable to the next, bouncing each other off and into the water, they scramble up climbing walls and zip line across the lake. My videos don’t quite capture the madness but you’ll get the idea, especially if you hit up their Instagram.
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Recently opened nearby on Koh Phangan is Slip N Fly, a day party spot in jungle lagoon, which features the biggest slide in Asia. It’s amazing, not just the experience and the atmosphere – it’s the perfect spot for a wicked party – but the fact that something like this exists in Thailand and that more people don’t know about it. I happened to be there at the right time as they run festivals around full and half moon, but besides the backpacker crowd, it’s packed with locals and thrill seekers. Check out these flips and tricks and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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Having crossed back over to Samui and checked into Lanna Hotel (which I’ll tell you about another time), I still had the taste for adventure so I hit the road, well, the mud track on a bad boy ATV courtesy of EuroAsia Tours who, besides tailoring European-style tours like this in Samui, Phangan and Krabi, also specialize in tropical island weddings, so if you’re considering tying the knot on the beach, check them out. The trail was great, definitely not for a beginner – there were parts that were quite challenging – but over all I had a blast. Pro tip if you try this: book a massage right after. By the time I was finished, I was completely dead – definitely in need of a shower and drink on a lounger by the exceptional pool at Lanna.
Things are happening down in the Gulf, guys, and it’s not just elephant rides and full moon parties.