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Published: March 3rd 2012
I thought I would break our adventures in Koh Phangan into two blogs because we were on the island for almost a month and in that time there was bound to be lots going on to talk about. Well actually we ended up doing nothing more than lie on the beach and snorkel with only the odd day out on the bike, so you will be pleased that Part 2 is relatively short.
We decided to try another beach location, Srithanu, for a few days; mainly to get a chalet right on the soft white sandy beach. Chalet sounds quite posh doesn’t it, but the beachside huts at Laem Son 1 weren’t at all. They looked very quaint from the outside all wood, distressed pale blue paint, hanging shells and the clincher, hammocks, but on the inside they were quite shabby and ours had quite a damp problem. However, where in the world are you going to get accommodation right on a gorgeous beach for 500 bht (approx. £10) per night. Not many places that I know of. So putting up with the inside was the price we were willing to pay for the location outside.
or creatures from the deep
soon realised, however, that on moving there I had developed a disease/addiction: Hammockitus. Cure: Leave in the hammock for as long as the patient wishes, keep fluids replenished by serving her fruit cocktails whenever she wishes until eventually she gets bored.
On days when the sun didn’t shine very much we luxuriated in the hammocks thinking how dammed lucky we were. On sunny days we tried to cool off in the sea, but then realised the main downside to this beautiful looking beach; the sea was so shallow you almost had to walk out for a mile to get deeper than your knees. Consequently the sea stayed very warm, so was not very refreshing and difficult to swim in. Never mind there were still the hammocks. One benefit of the location, however, was the proximity of the village and a large number of reasonably priced restaurants which we could get to by walking 5 minutes along the beach.
Just to make everyone at home slightly happier we haven’t had all good weather and it wasn’t too great towards the end of our stay at Laem Son, when one evening we had an unbelievable thunder storm. With every
I love these, they are really comical
clap of thunder the hut rattled and shook and it felt as though the very heavens were pressing down on us. We stayed at Laem Son for about a week until we decided we had had enough of not being able to cool off in the sea and snorkel on a reef and even the lure of the hammock couldn’t stop us from heading back up to Mae Haad. We decided that being able to snorkel was more important than swinging in a hammock (disease cured).
After transporting rucksacks back to Mae Haad on the back of the bike the first thing we did was don our masks and snorkels and head out to the reef. The storm had left the water a little cloudy so we would have to leave it for a few days to get a good view but we were very glad to be back. So the next couple of weeks at Mae Haad followed a nice little routine; sunbathing on the beach for as long as we could stay out, snorkelling, some form of exercise during the day and off on the bike to one of the local eateries to get some cheap
This one was really big
grub for dinner. Not a bad way to spend the days.
Chris had also found the local driving range, so on days when it was a bit overcast he would head off to whack a few golf balls around and with the cost of 120 balls for £1 he was more than a happy chap. It was quite funny as the golf range was actually a paddy field by winter and where the ranges in England have expensive, armour covered ball collecting trucks, here they have that common cheap commodity, Burmese teenagers, who are sent out to retrieve the thousands of balls, even while more are still being launched down the range. The Thai golfers seem to think this new target golf was great fun, Chris declined as a charge of accidental murder could put a serious dampner on the holiday. He even was asked to provide golfing advice to one of the locals – should have charged him for his services!
Whilst lying on the beach one day we did hear that the top beach on the island was Malibu Beach with Mae Haad coming in second. A beach better than our favourite, well we had to
This Puffer fish had the scariest expression
check that out. The beach was, I grant, beautiful with a large expanse of that, oh so soft, white sand and fringed with palm trees with hammocks strung between them (ooohhhh hammocks). With the tide being exceptionally low at the time it didn’t look too great for swimming though and, all importantly for us, no reef. If you are a total sunbathing beach baby and not fussed about what’s under the sea we could see how this one would come out tops. Obviously everyone has different tastes and wants, but for us No. 1 is still Mae Haad.
We have been back to Mae Haad now 3 or 4 times and it still enchants us. Island View Cabana is good enough for what we want. We don’t shell out for the large beach front chalets, so three rows back suits us fine, and the food at the restaurant is OK, although the waiters and waitresses are keen especially if you spend time talking to them as they all seem to want to improve their English. The owner is a bit grumpy and not very helpful at all, but luckily we don’t get into conversations with him if we can
Okay maybe not!
help it. It is also a way away from the nearest town and good selection of eateries, so bike transport is essential. What we have come back for, and will probably come back again to see, is the reef. We were lucky that there were a few days when the tide was particularly low and the water was crystal clear, which meant we could get up close and persona l to its hidden treasures. Floating above what is simply a wonderland, that we can never be truly a part of but just intruders in, is the most wonderful and breathtaking of experiences. All the life of the reef is there for you to see; birth, death and everything in-between and there were a couple of times I could have done with Sir David to explain what was going on as I was lucky enough to witness some strange and wonderful fish behaviour. The crystal clear waters enabled us to catch a glimpse of life in that most beautiful and dangerous of places. With the low tide we even got a good look at the deeper coral and the larger, and somewhat more menacing looking fish, that hide in its
helped this one hiding from some fish
depths. Photographs can never truly capture its magnificence, but hopefully they will serve as a reminder of Mother Nature’s beautiful underwater garden.
It was, therefore, with a certain amount of regret that, after a thoroughly enjoyable month on the island of revellers, we finally made our way back to the mainland and up to the town of royalty; Hua Hin.
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