The last holiday we will have for a loooong time!
Two bus journey took us 412KM over two days to the port town of Ranong. You could smell Ranong before you got there as it is a big fish selling town where they ship all their catch all over Thailand.
Ranong was where we were to catch the slow boat to our chosen Island Ko Phayam, but when we got to the port we could see it heading to the island in the distance. No fear though, we were to get the sppedboat that would be leaving in a couple hours time. Although it was twice the cost per person it would only take 30minutes in comparison to the slow boats 2 and a half hours!
We learnt of Ko Phayam from a middle-ages european couple we met in the North-West province of Mae Hong Son. They had explained that it was one of Thailand's last unknown and unspoilt treasure islands. We had under-estimated their description...
Arriving on the island close to sunset we took a motorbike taxi across the other side of the island. No cars were aloud on this island, and there were no road, more like cycle paths. With no congestion we could sense we were going to thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere on this island.
We jumped off the bike onto a fairly large beach that stretched along for a good mile or two. Our task now was to walk along and try and find room at one of the various resorts running parrallel. The main entrance to all these resorts was the beach, behind them all was just empty woodland. There were no smart, rich complexes here. Only bamboo/wooden huts, with a bed and a fan. Very basic living was what was on offer here, electricity was run by a generator and was switched on only from 6pm until 10pm, so a stuffy and sweaty night was on the menu here.
After a quite uncomfortable nights sleep we decided we would venture to another part of the island to find accomodation. We had heard of a beach that was supposedly nicer, and the resorts were more modern with 24hour electricity! Now we usually go for basic rustic living... but come on it was our last holiday and we had the money to treat ourselves for once :)
So our home for the next 2 nights was on a very secluded beach, in a modern resort owned by a Russian/Israeli man who was very strange indeed! Though he may have had a few screws loose he did cook up some magnificent meals (European/Russian/Israeli and Asian) which we had to cut down on because the price tag came along with the meals.
During our stay here we had the unfortunate experience of walking across 4 stray puppies on the side of the road with no mother to be seen. They were tiny and must have been anly a couple weeks old. It was hard leaving them knowing they would die without help. We would give them water and try and pick the fleas out of their fur, but really we would only prolong their agony.
What made this Island amazing also was the cashew nuts!! They had cashew nuts everywhere and this was because they actually grew them on this island. Cashew tree's were everywhere and we took advantage of these very fresh and cheap big bags of nuts. They were so creamy and milky, I don't think they were roasted which made them even more authentic tasting. They would also make a diagonal cut into the trip which was ooze out this white goo into a small bucket. We learnt that this was infact to make rubber and latex! We had also seen lots of this in Malaysia months ago but never knew what their purpose was.
Our third and final accommodation was next door to the Isreali/Russian man. For an incredibly cheap 200baht (£4 a night) we went back to basics but still had the priveledge or 24hour internet to enable our fan to cool us in the night. This time it was owned by a tattoo'd northerner who also shared our views on the Israeli/Russian man being a bit odd! The funny thing about our room was that where the wall meets the ceiling was a gap about half a foot high. Every now and then during dusk or the night, something would catch our eye... It was a BAT!!! I was amazed at how quickly it would fly into our room, take a sharp 180 degree turn at lightening speed and fly back out. It wouldn't even skim any of the woodwork of our room, and was able to miss the string attached to each corner of our mosquito net and the walls of the room to keep it up, an incredible skill considering it is blind!
This Island was definately an amazing and relaxing way to end our year long trip. We had truelly spoilt ourselves and taken advantage of the relaxation, sun, sand and crystal clear waters as we knew all systems would be go when we were home with visiting family and getting back to work.
All that was left to do now was to get back to Bangkok and shop till we drop!!!