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Rea View Searching for warmth and calm

Thailand Once Again - Squeaky Sand and Hammocks 'a Hangin'

THAILAND | Friday, 22 February 2008 | Views [996]

Ahhhh, what joy to pitch a tent for $1 each on the white sands of southern Thailand, so beautiful and quiet, it draws us into island life once again.  Hours melt into days, as they do in places that you find hard to leave.  Unlike Koh Rok, where giant monitor lizards are the garbage bears of Asia, here it is the monkeys.  Laura catches a lucky glimpse of a dusky Langur (?) in the trees, whilst I pay attention to my daily beer. Next day rewards us with roosting owls, monkeys in the jungle and flocks of hornbills!

After two days sleeping on the sand with no foamy, we decide to give our backs a rest and rent a bungalow.  Wow!  How can they make mattresses harder than the ground, I don't know, but the National Parks of Thailand are full of them!  Very nice island, Turatao, but others beckon us, so it's off to Ko Lipe and Ao Dang. 

Egads!  Although we pass tantalizing empty beaches on deserted islands encircled by emerald waters, we end up at Ko Lipe which is nearly strangled by bungalows and longtail boats in the bay!  With the squeakiest white sand our toes have ever sunk into, needless to say tourists flock here for it.  With no rooms available on the island, we head to the Rasta Bar where we find tents for $3 a night! What luck, and there's a live jammin' party all night!  Mook and others are totally welcoming and within hours it seems we're part of the family.  Like all the beach rastas, their smiles and peaceful characters are so wonderful to be amongst.  I (Bruce) end up banging the rasta drums with the band for five hours whilst continuously consuming beers, while Laura befriends the bar crowd!  There's a hotel being built 5 feet behind our tent, slowly pushing Mook's Rasta Bar out to sea and it seems a little sad, but Mook, in true Rasta fashion, says, no worries, no problem, he'll just move along and all will be well.

Note to all who arrive to the same scene as we did in Lipe.  Just head to the north of the island, where the beaches are quiet and peaceful.

Next day, we charter a longtail for $3 for the 1/2 hour journey to Ao Dang.  Here, we find our undersea friends again whilst snorkelling off the beaches.  But this national park beach is anything but quiet and secluded as we imagined, and each day it fills with more and more tents.  The Thais, like the Chinese, seem to travel in large groups, which makes it tough to get a room, so after three days in a rustic, cute, but smelly room, and a nasty tick bite for Laura, we're off to the inland town of Trang.

Nice town and all the rumours of a friendly place come true.  Very friendly Thais that seem not jaded by tourism, as in most of Thailand.  Who can blame the Thais, with millions of westerners expecting to be accommodated!  We really enjoy the few days we spend in Trang but...those islands...they keep calling us.  So, we book a bamboo beach bungalow on the somewhat remote island of Ko Kraden for our last week on the beach.

Ko Kraden.   Ahhhhhh....after expounding to Laura for years about the crystal clear waters and peaceful white sands of the Cook Islands, I finally find a rival.  Stylish and superbly cute little bungalows, set twenty feet back from the wave washed white sands, puts us into a trance.  Having secured hammocks, we now nestle into them and swing above the beach and play in the water.  Great corals and fishes line the edge of the reef, and smiling friendly staff feed us well.  It's really close to perfect.  There's supposed to be crabs that sound like chickens here, but we don't hear them.  Five days later, and it's time to head home.  From Trang to Krabi, from Krabi to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Macau.  I suppose it's time.  We think we're ready for home.  Though we know the first two weeks back are frought with culture shock and we'll mourn the loss of our beach life.  3 months now of 33 degree weather.  Three days of rain.  Bliss. 

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