The ferry from Chumphon arrives at Koh Phangan in the late afternoon. The sea is calm enough to keep tourists happy throughout the journey and the full moon party took place last night, so the boat isn't packed with revellers. Disembarking, I head to Power Beach Resort on Ban Tai beach, keeping my fingers that most of the people will already have left.
It takes just 10 minutes to get to Power Beach from Saladan pier with the free van provided by the hotel. My last visit was more than a decade ago, so it's quite a shock to see how much has changed. The road from the pier is lined with new shophouses, bars and hotels, and cars are everywhere.
The hotel is located off the main road on Ban Tai beach and a small dirt track leads to the entrance. It's not too far to walk, but when it rains heavily, the potholes fill with water, making it hard to navigate.
Power Beach seems a macho name for a set of beach bungalows but probably comes from the dilapidated gym equipment packed into a hut at the entrance.
Ban Tai beach is relatively quiet and the sea tends to be calm here but for those who prefer it, the resort has a good-sized swimming pool next to the restaurant.
My beachside bungalow is small but has two beds, one double and one single, and a balcony albeit minus a lounge chair. That problem is soon solved, as I walk to the vacant bungalow next door and carry the chair from there to my room.
Power Beach Resort has 42 rooms at prices that vary from Bt600 from a basic island hut to Bt3,700 for a round concrete bungalow with thatched roof. Nine of them have air conditioning but the fan rooms at the back near the bar are more suited to young travellers on a budget. And at just five kilometres from Had Rin, site of the main full moon party, this place tends to pack them in.
Unfortunately, the windows are tiny and opening the door as dusk falls means inviting in millions of mosquitoes. The bathroom is not very well designed either, with steep concrete steps leading down from the room. There's no hot water and nowhere to hang clothes.
The hotel is clearly targeting partygoers and as evening falls, the music from the beachside bars is turned up full blast. I can feel the bass reverberating through the bungalow floor even in the small hours.
The atmosphere is much the same in the hotel bar, where the pool table is in constant use and music plays from early morning until late at night. As I sit down for breakfast, I regret my choice of accommodation.
Two European boys, obviously still drunk from the night before, drive up noisily on a motorbike, jump into the pool, shout a lot, then drive out again. Little wonder that there are so many accidents on the island.
I decide to check out of the hotel but to stay another day on Koh Phangan. Perhaps there is still somewhere that offers a real escape.
AT A GLANCE
High Point: The location of the resort makes it a convenient base to get to and from Had Rin beach as well as the main pier of Saladan.
Low Point: Although Ban Tai beach looks tranquil enough to relax and read, constant loud music makes this well nigh impossible.
Pay for it: Room rates range from Bt600 to Bt3,700 excluding breakfast
Find it: 145/10 Moo 1, Ao Ban Tai, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani
Phone it: (077) 238 937, (081) 8680 827
Browse it: www.PowerBeachResort.com