Published: May 12th 2006March 29th 2006
Breathtaking sunset over the strait of Malacca
These pictures are from time spent on the Andaman coast. We went all the way south to the Malaysian border and spent a week or so between the islands of Koh Tarutao national park which includes the islands in the pictures but not Koh Lipe as it has become a place where sea gypsy's live and now fishermen. It is still part of the same group of islands and very quiet like the rest. We hired a longtail boat and spent a day swimming and snorkeling between 5 of the many islands. The snorkeling quickly provided some of the best marine life I have ever seen - incredible colours and shapes and so many different species of fish and coral.
We went in search of waterfalls and found rocks to jump off. walked the length of a very errie beach on Tarutao, with no one on it and no sign of life except a lone lady scarecrow made of old ship rope and buoys. Weird!
Tarutao is an interesting island with an interesting history. It used to house both a thai political prison and another for more serious crimes (the island selected for its inhospitable conditions: malaria, salt water
crocodiles, sharks and unpleasantly hot/humid climate) there are still the remains of the buildings on some deserted stretches inland from the beach. It also sits in the straits of malacca which played host to many a sea battle after the prison inmates and guards mutineed and turned to piracy when supplies were cut off to the island during WWII, a small British army force put an end to this in 1946.
From Koh Lipe we travelled north to Krabi town, where we found the most incredible night market. Sampled every kind of food there was on offer, well almost! These pancakes were delicious. Thin crispy pancake base topped with melted marshmallow and coconut shavings and also bizarely seafood shavings too!! Still, tasted pretty good and watching the lady making them was almost mesmerising!
Next stop - Koh Phi Phi. James visited this very popluar and very busy island just before the tsunami, and for me this was my first visit. Incredible place if not a bit overcrowded. Great diving, saw tigersharks, seahorses, blue spotted ray and baracuda and generally huge schools of fish, being hunted by one another so all moving in big mutating forms, darting this way
sunset and beefcake
and that. The diving off this coastline is so much more dazzling and incredible than in the gulf of thailand. Much clearer and many more fish and varied species. We both loved it.
Went and explored Phi Phi Ley, and maya bay, of course. Hired a longtail boat with James and a friend from work back home, Dan who is taking a break from the fast life for 2 weeks. Lovely to see him again, just a shame that it wasnt for longer. Snorkled in maya bay and made the mistake of swimming into shore, very tiring and much further than you imagine it to be. Still, needed to be done!
Left Phi Phi in with a feeling of slight sadness because neither of us wanted to leave at all. It is a beautiful place, the thing that spoils it most is probably the volume of people and very sadly, there no longer seems to be any cheap accomodation. We spent the best part of an hour trying to find somewhere to stay that was cheaper than 500 baht. In the end gave up and settled for that. Owners just didnt want to barter over the room rate
damn librarians, shaun and estelle! james wasn't keen!
because they know that they can get higher rates these days. Great for luxury but no good for a budget traveller, still 4 days was long enough to do what we wanted while not breaking the bank.
Would do it again in a flash, hope we have time at the end to go back there.
There are more photos below