On our island search we were looking to spend the last remaining days (where did those 4 months go?) of our trip somewhere quiet, away from the tourist bustle. This being Thailand though you might think this perhaps a ridiculous idea, especially also as our coffers were greatly depleted and so didn't afford an exclusive stay somewhere. After extensive Travelfish and Wikitravel consultations we decided on Koh Kood.
Sun, sea and not too many tourists yet. Koh Kood is the smaller neighbour of the massively overdeveloped Koh Chang. The development is starting with more resorts popping up along the coastline but a hilly interior and not many roads have kept the hoards at bay. That doesn't however mean there aren't any tourists, as we found out when we tried to book accommodation in peak season! Eventually we managed to split our island stay over two accommodation options.
Mangrove Resort offered tiny very basic chalets away from the beach. Situated on the Klong Chao river we had free use of their kayaks and spent three happy days exploring upriver and out at sea.
Just a note about the sea - clear blue waters, 30 degree water temperature (which was a little warm for my accustomed Atlantic-ocean liking) and a white beach with coconut palms! Was this real?
For the remainder of our stay we had booked ourselves into Siam Beach Resort which was situated in the most beautiful bay further south on the island. Little wooden A-frame chalets were built almost directly on the beach surrounded by palm trees. But what were the blue monstrosities sitting behind them?
With the tourist flow increasing, the owners had obviously decided to meet the market demands and build more bungalows. However, this must have been done in a hurry as everything looked unfinished and building rubbish had been left outside. Perhaps the paint shop had also offered a deal with the bungalows all having been painted a bright blue.
On check-in we discovered that to our great sadness the flat-roofed blue monsters would be our accommodation. Should we stay or try to find somewhere else? In the end we chose to stay as we had already booked ourselves onto a dive course with Koh Kood divers who were located in the same bay. I think we were also tired of moving around. If you saw past the garish exterior, unfinished interior and the rubbish, you could focus solely on the beautiful beach.
We had given ourselves a day (Christmas) to relax before starting on a PADI diving course. Christmas was spent very untraditionally with cocktails and Pad Thai on the beach.
The next four days consisted of theory learning and putting it straight into practice as we went diving in the bay. The coral had been affected by warming of the waters some time ago but was slowly growing back. Nevertheless we saw an amazing array of beautiful fish.
We also discovered some other quiet chalets further down the bay which were not part of the resort and came with their very own lizard. Of course we had to move.
After qualifying for the Open Water Dive certificate we were taken out on the dive boat for our first two 'fun' dives. Descending into the blue without being able to see the bottom was quite an experience. No turtles made an appearance but we were surrounded by schools of barracudas and fusiliers and we saw colourful parrotfish, longfined bannerfish, moray eels, sea cucumbers and arrays of different coral on the reef. We even spotted the highly poisonous lion fish.
Happy and glad at having seen so many beautiful things but also saddened by the imminent end of our trip we welcomed in the new year with a braai on the bay with our new friends from the dive centre.
On the first of January we left Koh Kood, travelling back to Bangkok by boat and bus. A mere 12 hours saw us back in the capital for our last night.