Edit Blog Post
Published: August 4th 2008
A QUIET BEACH ON KOH SAMET
A LITTLE COVE JUST OVER THE CLIFF SOUTH FROM TUB TIM BEACH
im now in the southern Thai city of Hat Yai, having arrived here saturday afternoon with my friend ekk. we got here by boat and bus from the island of koh muk, off the coast of Trang province, in south-western thailand.
soon after my last blog i left bangkok for koh samet, a tiny but very popular island off the thai eastern seaboard. the reason for that was that a friend we had met on koh samui in june, had invited us to spend some time there. we arrived on the bus from bangkok (only about 3 hours), to the port of ban phe, where we met him. we then took the boat together to the island. we ended up staying on ao phai beach, which is pretty central for most things. the second day we were there, we bumped into a swedish guy, peter, who we had met in phuket back in december. he had a thai guy in tow called tum. we ended up spending most of the time eating drinking and swimming and sitting on nearby very gay tub tim beach with peter and tum.
koh samet is a very gay island, especially popular with groups
of gay thai men from bangkok it seems....
after a few good days on koh samet, we left and went back to the mainland. stayed a couple of nights in Ban Phe. the best about staying at my friend's home there, was that we could go food shopping at the dirt cheap local tesco, and then go back and cook some good old british fare of roast pork, boiled potatoes, brocolli and carrots, something i am missing....!
we spent just 3 nights in bangkok, doing the usual rounds and catching up with friends there. we then took the train south to surat thani. we spent one night in krabi town, taking a bus there from surat thani. we arrived in the very heavy rain, which continued for the whole 24 hours we were there. we thought we would see a lot more rain, this being the rainy season, however the next rain was over 10 days later in hat yai! from krabi town we took a local bus to neu khlong, then another to the small port of leam kruat. this is the place where local boats leave for small and quiet island of koh jum. from november
to may the express boats from krabi to koh lanta stop en route off koh jum, but due to unpredictable seas the rest of the year, they dont run. so this was now the only way to get there. once on the island we took a motorbike taxi to woodland lodge, a small resort on the west coast, one of only 3 out if the island's 20 resorts that remain open at this time of year (ie during the indian ocean /andaman sea south west supposedly "monsoon" season).
when we first arrived, the beach was in full storm mode, overcast skies, with very high waves and a strong contstant wind. this was quite refeshing, however by the time we left 4 days later the weather was back to the thailand usual of hot, sunny and still calm seas. the resort was ok, however electricity was rationed to only between 6pm and 10pm every night, which meant no fan or no air con to aid sleep, leading to some very hot and sweaty nights. the 1st two nights we left the hut door open to let the strong sea breezes in (as the bamboo hut had a mosquito net over
the bed). however after this breeze disappeared after the 2nd night, it became unbearable. also once the wind dropped, the various thai biting insects in the vicinity took a strong liking to our bungalow, and we both woke up on the last morning covered in bites (i think some were bed bugs as well.....). the food was good, if a little pricey and the staff friendly. we spent the time exploring the island on foot and motorcycle. saw a few scorpions, snakes, lots of friendly local thai muslims, plus plenty of flotsam and jetsam on the beaches. the phi phi islands are not far offshore, so a lot of discarded flip flops and plastic bottles seem to get carried onto koh jum's beautiful, wild, unspoilt and long beaches...
a lot of locals had the ubiquitous tsunami stories to tell and photos to show, but no one thankfully died on koh jum, as someone got a warning from phi phi, so everybody could flee before the wave hit.
ekk had promised he had given up the fags, but he was soon back to his old ways of scrounging cigarettes off resort staff and locals, whenever my back was turned,
SIGNS IN KOH JUM INTERIOR
IT IS NOT JUST BEACHES, ABOUT 3000 PEOPLE LIVE IN KOH KUM, MAINLY EARNING A LIVING FROM RUBBER TREES.....
much to my chagrin!!
we left koh muk and headed back to neu klong, from there we got in a bus to trang city. spent a lovely cool night in an air-conditioned luxury 500 baht room, before heading the next morning to koh muk. the seemingly helpful lady in the trang office of charlie resort, the main resort on koh muk, told us the local boat left for koh muk at 12:30pm, however when we arrived at the port we found out it left at 11am! (as posted clearly on the timetable at the pier). the office lady truly didn't know the time of departure, or else she did, but was in collusion with local longtail boat owners who can take you to koh muk for 600baht per boat, as opposed to 60baht per person for the just missed local boat....! needless to say a longtail boat man soon turned up, maybe tipped off by her, who knows? he sped us there in 20 mins for 600baht, then we took a motorbike taxi over to charlie beach resort, where we were planning on staying.
the room we viewed at charlie's was ok, right on the beach, but was
slightly overpriced at 1000baht a night for the low seaon, especially with no air con or hot shower, and after 10pm, no fan either! of the 80 or so bungalows at the resort only one other was occupied, so you would think they would be keen for some trade..... i was indeed prepared to take the room if they would discount the 1st night to 600baht, to compensate for the boat fiasco earlier, but the staff at the desk wouldnt budge. the male was in fact quite obnoxious, so much so we decided to take our trade elsewhere to the nearby "rubber tree bungalows". no sea view, but much friendlier, only 500baht in a brand new bungalow, with hot shower!! electricity was from 5pm to midnight and from 8am to 11am, so not as tight as koh jum, but still left 8 pretty uncomfortable airless hours in the night trying in vain to sleep!!!
we kayaked one day over to the emerald cave, which is just over 30 minutes north of 'had farang", (the beach where we were staying), on the precipitous west coast of koh muk. i had been here with my mother on a day trip from
A FAMOUS KOH JUM SUNSET
THE ONLY ONE WE SAW, THE PREVIOUS 3 NIGHTS THERE WAS NO SUN, JUST CLOUDS...
koh lanta in february. ekk didnt know what to expect though, and was surprised, both by the dark swim and what was to be seen at the end of it! took my camera this time, it got a bit damp in a supposedly water tight bag, but it has survived! when we arrived there were other 3 craft arriving at the same time, one speedboat full of well healed western tourists from the expensive Pimalai Resort on koh lanta. another was a longtail boat, which i think was also from koh lanta. the 3rd was a large express tour boat rammed full with about 50 rowdy thai school teenagers from the mainland. we tied the double kayak to a buoy outside the cave, before swimming inside. needless to say it wasn't very peaceful at first, but by the time we left the cave' s beach, ekk and i had it to ourselves... after the cave we took a detour by kayak to a small untouched beach just to the north. spent some time there before heading back to our resort, the way back seemed even tougher than going on my comparatively weak arms. ekk did most of the work!
back at the beach we joined the only other 4 tourists on the island, for dinner at one of the 2 cheap restaurants on the island, hill top restaurant. very friendly owner, a thai lady called Song, who ekk helped in the kitchen. the other place, mookies, was just as friendly and did very good farang food, though was more expensive than hill top. we spread our trade between the two, studiously avoiding the overpriced, characterless, and reportedly dire, "restaurant" at charlie resort, you should avoid too!!
so after 3 days on koh muk we managed to get the local boat back to the mainland, and then on to trang city. from there we took a bus to hat yai for supposedly 110baht each, though we only got given tickets on the bus worth 120baht in total for both of us (you work it out!) hat yai is a big city with some of the best shopping in thailand outside bangkok. a lot of malaysians come here for holidays and weekends, for cheap shopping and cheap sex mainly. there is also a large chinese presence here. it also has rained a lot here, after being very "lucky" over the
past 10 days with the hot sun and calm seas. ekk left on the overnight train back to hua hin last night, as he has to go back to work, and also attend the local temple, as its now one month since his sister was cremated there... he was still suffering from the insect bit souvenirs from koh jum, still so am i, but he seemed to have got them the worst.
my thai visa expires tommorrow, so better go and buy a ticket out of here......to malaysia and singapore.
Tot: 0.456s; Tpl: 0.037s; cc: 11; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0105s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb