Arrived on beautiful little island of Ko Tau after a bit of a nightmare overlay in Koh Samui! I won't go into detail but suffice to say that Ko Samui lived up to it's reputation as a bit of a back(flash)packers nightmare and my 12hrs there were about my worst so far! I was like a kid at christmas - went to bed at 9pm just so that the morning would come quickly as my boat was leaving at 8am!
But luckily a lovely 2hr trip across the andaman sea brought me to another little haven. I've spent the past 5 days here doing nothing but lazing around on the beach, enjoying good company and having fairly early nights. I'm staying in a bungalow pretty much on the beach (about 20m from front door to waters edge) which is basic but lovely! It's not as hot here as it is on phi-phi but the air-conditioning is still a must have if you can afford it ;-)
tbc .........my last dinner in ko tau beckons!!
Dinner was had (as was a trip back to bangkok but will resume where I left off)...
My first day in ko tau was very much a blissful day of doing nothing but lying on the beach. The beach is about 3km long but quite funny in that when it's high tide, the sea literally comes up to the guesthouse front decks. As the tide goes further and further out in the evenings, all the bungalows and restaurants set up chilling-out bars and tables right on the beach (where a little earlier you would have needed a snorkel to breath never mind be able to eat). I found a great little spot on the beach in the afternoon that turned into just as lovely a spot for my evening singha and dinner! Late in the afternoon I got chatting to a lovely young chilean couple who were next to me in the sea (i was lying in the water having a singha)- Luciano, Francesca and their children Amea and Lelah (forgive the spellings). It transpired that Luciano is a world renowned dj and they are based in Berlin where he travels around the world from playing in clubs (including London, Cape Town and Stockholm)and Fran is a photographer. He is half Swiss so the children (4 and 2)speak French, Spanish and German (and after a day or two it seemed they picked up English as well). We landed up having a lovely evening together and I agreed to go join them where they were staying on Thursday - a private beach in a beautiful bay!
The next morning my companion for the next 3 days arrived - Jonathan, a swedish guy I'd made friends with in phi-phi. He had been a bit of a barman at the sunflower bar (with his "salary" being paid the local childrens nursery) and we'd spent most evenings chatting about everything under the sun. He said i kept his sanity as the bar was not very well run - I was his sounding board so he decided to also come to ko tau when i left. Again the day was spent doing nothig much but lying on the beach and only leaving every now and again to get some food. It's impossible not to soak up the tranquility of the islands and reach a state of relaxation that I can't remember ever having had.
That evening we played frisbee on the beach - not just the 2 of us but with a couple of the local beach dogs! It was one thing that just amazed me; there were the most beautiful dogs on ko tau - not scraggly strays but gorgeous well looked after golden retrievers, poodles and even a husky! They were hilarious too as the sea was obviously their second home. They would run into the sea and loaf around as if they were on land. The funniest was them trying to catch fish and diving head first to the bottom with hind-legs flailing in the air - a sight not to be forgotten! Anyway, back to the beach frisbee. After an hour or so of running around on the beach (and in the sea) I felt I'd done my activity for the day and again, singha time!
On thursday morning Jonathan and I took a taxi boat to Jansen Bay to join Luciano and Fran for the day. After about a 10minute boat ride we turned into a serene aqua bay which was absolutely beautiful! The family were already on the beach so we set up camp for what turned out to be a glorious day. It didn't take long before we were in the water snorkelling - there was the most incredible marine life right on the beach and it felt like I was swimming around in my own aquarium. Unfortunately though, the mask I'd rented didn't fit my face so in addition to the little water leakage I also felt like my face was under the most efficient housewifes deluxe Hoover! As we'd swum out a fair way I tried to make do but when I missed the shark the jonathan saw I realised that I'd have to go back to shore to get it sorted. The suction on the mask was rather painful and I only realised how bad it was when I got to shore and Luciano and Fran laughed at what was a hole between my eyes when I took it off. I'd managed to bruise it a fair bit and for the next couple of days I felt like I'd been karate chopped on the top of my nose. This did now however detract at all from what a lovely time we had. After a few hours of snorkelling lazing around we had some lunch sitting on a lovely deck overlooking the bay.
The afternoon went far to quickly and before we knew it our taxi pulled up - a long wooden boat to take us back to soi ree beach! As we arrived at the beach and started paying the "driver" i realised I'd left the snorkel etc back at the bay! I was sooo annoyed with myself but the only option was to get the boat back again. I knew that L & F were however planning on coming over to soi ree to watch the sunset so there was a good chance I'd miss them! And I did - but luckily they'd left the equipment on the deck of their room - and when I eventually got back to the beach Jonathan, F & L were already having their 2nd beer!
Time to leave this story again as I have to get a parcel sent back to London before I fly to Oz tonight!! Oh the woes of travelling :-)
The last day on ko tau was spent in the main hub as we had to go to the post office - it was a lovely long walk along the beach so not exactly a task! After doing a few bits of admin and flip-flop buying we found a small private beach belonging to a hotel - I had a lovely little snooze but was rudely awoken by drops of rain!! As it was my last day in thailand (on the islands) I actually rather enjoyed the thunderstorm that started. It was a welcome relief from the searing heat I'd been in constantly for 2 weeks - again, not a complaint about the heat just a statement of blissful fact! It was a pleasant post storm stroll back to soi ree beach - stopping along the way to enjoy the company of a gorgeous lunatic golden retriever -Benny (no idea what his real name was Jonathan and Alex had decided to name him that)!
It was only fitting that my last dinner on a thai island was right on the beach with my feet in the sea sand, 2 huge king prawns and a cold Singha! To be honest the prawns weren't that tasty but it was a great concept ;-)!
Saturday morning and time to leave - Jonathan caught a boat to Ko Phangan to continue his thai travels and I boarded a huge catamaran that (rather sadly, uncomfortably and over-crowdedly) took me to Chumpom (i think) to catch a bus back to Bangkok.
Leaving the islands was hard, I didn't really feel ready to go, but the thought of doing something similar in Australia made it just about bearable. I don't think it will have quite the same feeling - there is something so special about the calm in asia - but it will be a whole seperate adventure!