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Traveling from the United States to Koh Phangan

14 Jul

Written by Veronica Nagorna.

Traveling is an incredibly rewarding experience. However, jumping from plane to plane, enduring long layovers and red eye flights can be exhausting, especially when traveling far distances. Here is my journey from New York City to Koh Phangan and some tips I’ve learned to make the journey a bit more comfortable.   

As I enter the giant, infamous airport that all New Yorkers love (and hate), known as JFK, a 30+ hour journey awaits me. I am traveling across the world, to the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand.

Although this is not the typical travel destination for your average American, it has become far more popular over the past few years. With beautiful islands, temples and a rich culture, the daunting two day long journey suddenly doesn’t seem too bad.  

The first stop is Doha, Qatar which is a 12 hour plane ride away. Booking an overnight flight is best, as most of the time on the plane is spent sleeping or watching as many movies as you can. Doha’s Hamad International Airport is incredibly big and can easily be explored during my four hour layover. Marked by a giant 20-ton bronze lamp bear statue in its center, the airport is filled with restaurants, candy shops, lounges. I even stopped by an area where a World Cup game was being played.

Next stop is an overnight, seven hour plane ride to Bangkok, the biggest city in Thailand. Although so far everything has been going smoothly, this is not always the case. As my plane to Bangkok was delayed, upon arrival, I had a mere 20 minutes to get through security and immigration and make it onto a plane to Koh Samui. Luckily, by running fast through the Bangkok airport I managed to make it to the plane on time, with only seconds to spare.

One hour long plane ride later and I am in Koh Samui, an island in the south of Thailand. Koh Samui is the hub for many ferries that are available to take travelers from one island to another. From a pier in Koh Samui, I took a quick 30 minute ferry and finally arrived in Koh Phangan. Although it had taken me a long time to finally reach my destination, I couldn’t be happier to finally have arrived. After taking a long, well needed nap I was ready to continue my adventure.

Here are some of my tips to make these long trips more comfortable:

-Better early than late! Make sure to get to the airport, pier, train station, etc, early. Give yourself plenty of time so you don’t miss any planes, trains or ferries. It may be annoying to have to wait around, but better early than completely missing a form of transportation.

-Pack snacks! Oftentimes airplane meals are not the tastiest so having a granola bar or two with you can be a life saver.

-Book overnight flights for the long trips. That way you can sleep and make the plane ride feel a bit shorter

-Write everything you need to do and know out on a piece of paper. This will help you keep track of time and help keep you organized.

Traveling across the world may be tiring and lengthy, but the long nights, stressful situations and discomfort is all part of the journey that leads to a great destination!

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