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Published: February 10th 2019
The start of Noppharat Thara beach
So in the interest of not getting stuck in a rut, beach-wise, yesterday I decided to walk to the other side of the town, along Noppharat Thara beach and keep going until I found somewhere to sit on sand that wasn’t completely covered at high tide. The first part is very narrow and only has hard sand. This took a long time, as from J Hotel it is 2 1/2 miles. I stopped for breakfast on the way and bought supplies in 7-11. Then I walked along the path next to the sea, past the Holiday Inn. Way, way past. Noppharat Thara beach is truly a trek. I was dismayed to see a septuagenarian pawing a schoolgirl, or not long past, on a bench. There is more of this now, older men holidaying solo here. I hate seeing it. It’s one of the reasons in the past I particularly liked it here.
The road got less touristy and more locally flavoured the nearer to the end I got. There was a night market called Landmark and a bus stop next to it. At the very end, where the beach bends round and is wide enough to sit on, there’s a
Silty, shallow, not good for swimming here.
park and although it was 10am school seemed to be out, or at least on a long break. Maybe because it was Saturday. There were women setting up food stalls and all the signs on the shops were in Thai. I bought a fresh orange juice smoothie for 40b (the delicious little green and orange ones, it took her ages to squeeze enough). There was shade along the beach under the trees but a lot of people hanging around and I didn’t feel like leaving my bag unattended. Also it was low tide and the sea was really shallow and silty, so I carried on right to the end, where there is a river and Noppharat Pier. There are some trees with shade to sit on and a few farangs but it wasn’t really peaceful with boats up and down all the time, and so after a few hours I gave up and walked back, bumping into my buddies Martin and Lewis on the way. Stalkers! Along the path there were loads of Thai families having elaborate picnics, sitting on mats on the floor and saying hello to me.
When I got back to the town I booked onto
a Hong Island tour for today, completely forgetting I’d decided to just take the taxi boat there. Mistake! It was 1200b, after a spot of haggling, including lunch and the 300b national park fee. So this morning I was picked up at 8.45 in the back of a songthaew, with 3 Polish people and a Chinese family. We were driving a long way, in fact back to the place I went kayaking last week, right next door. They didn’t tell me that when I booked. At least the speedboat was comfortable enough, there were about 25 of us. It was only 10 mins to the first stop, Pakbia Island. There was no space for the boat to back in up to the beach but it faced its fear and did it anyway, pushing the others aside as it squeezed in. There was a roped off swimming area on one side and murky sea on the other. The best thing was it had a restroom. 40 mins was about 30 too long.
The second stop was a bit longer and would have been pretty except that 80% of the beach was taken up by boats. The beach on the other
First stop on the tour. Dead coral, depressing.
side was horrible, stony, not nice sea and an ominous blue pipe running along from the restrooms. So back to the 20% beach, which did have some yellow and black stripy fish at least. They were feeling a bit feisty after someone had fed them to get a good picture. I got nipped and shot out. The best thing at this stop was that lunch was served early, at 11.30, and having had cold pizza for breakfast I was starving! Lunch was good, and served on reusable plates with proper cutlery. Polystyrene isn’t allowed on the island. There was green Thai chicken curry, chicken with basil, rice, chicken drumsticks. If you didn’t like chicken there was just rice! And fruit and biscuits for dessert. It was really tasty.
Then we motored through the lagoon but didn’t stop, although some people were swimming about in it. The water was also not very clear, in fact this was the case everywhere, even on the Hong Island beaches. This was our last stop, and really beautiful but there were sooooo many people on tours. The boat dropped us at the end of a pontoon made of small blocks. It was very wobbly
and we all staggered along looking like we’d had a bottle of vodka each. I walked to the far end of the second beach where the guide said the snorkelimg was best. It wasn’t. The visibility was awful, I couldn’t see a thing, not one fish, and I suspect if it had been clear the coral would have been in bad condition. There was shade under lovely bright green-leafed trees so I read for a while. Too many people to relax though. It would be nice to be there without all the hordes. We had over 2 hours there, then back onto the boat, return trip to town, arriving just after 3.30. The guys on the boat were lovely. They didn’t get much of a tip as the majority were Chinese, not a nation of tippers.
So I wouldn’t really recommend this trip. The taxi boat would mean you had time there when it wasn’t as crowded. There is a small restaurant come snack shop and restrooms. You can walk through a nature trail. I didn’t see any monitor lizards (but my buddies did another day) or monkeys. You can get a private longtail boat for 2500b but you
still have to do the 30 min journey by road first. I quite enjoyed it, seeing Thai life as you whizz along, away from the tourist hub.
Tomorrow: regular beach and cookery class in the evening.
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