09.01.2013 - 09.01.2013 32 °C
This morning we got up early to return the badminton rackets to the Burmese cafe in the little village but when we got there it was closed as they were hungover from last nights concert. We were planning on having breakfast there so we went into a small place next door. The lovely Thai lady was really happy she had some customers and fussed over us. After 20 miuntes the place was getting busy and she was on her own. She kept apologising and everyone said it was no problem. She brought us our food and drinks (she couldn't find any of her knives so Chelsea got a fork and spoon to butter her toast) and she was so nice we think we might go back for breakfast another day. We noticed that there were some bicycles for rent in the village so rented some for 60 baht each for the day. We followed the road north where the concrete ended and was replaced by a dirt path. This was ok at first but it soon started to climb and go through some quite rough terrain where we often had to get off and walk.
We ended up at a village near the sea called Moken Village that was just a collection of houses and some fishing boats. There were lots of children laid in the shade and only a few people who smiled at us. One way was a dead end with peoples houses and the other just went to a river with a scary raft and rope system to cross so we thought we had gone the wrong way. We climbed back up the hill and Chelsea walked upto a house and asked two men the way. None spoke English but they looked at our map and pointed the direction back down the hill. One man set off in front and motioned for us to follow. He took us back to the village and to the scary raft and started to pull it. The raft was basically 4 empty barrels with some wood on top. He signaled the water depth was thigh high and said 'ok' and Liam said no. It was too late to turn back. He put our bikes on the raft and signaled that we should help push and pull the raft. All the children from the village came to help push but it took a lot of effort as the ground was very muddy and so the raft (as well as our feet and flip flops) sunk. We got the raft in the water and Chelsea sat on it while the man and Liam waded it through the water. About half way the water was too shallow so Chelsea got off and we all had to wade through the muddy mangrove water and push the raft up the other side.... it was beyond unpleasent and crocodiles kept running through our minds. When we got to the otherside we were really muddy up to our knees but the man carried on walking, motioning us to follow him. He led us to a road through the mangroves and to a small cafe where pointed to some coffee and water. We were both realy thirsty and hot and had some water but the lady wouldn't let us pay. We were a little bit scared of the man at first but he helped us loads and even offered Liam his cigarette/joint which he politely declined.
We set of riding on the newly found concrete road and Liam realised his chain had come off in all the raft commotion. We tried to get it back on but it was in an enclosed case that was screwed in so we had to push our bikes. We came to some bungalow resorts and Chelsea spotted a man with some motorcycles which she thought might help with the chain. She asked the man if he knew anywhere that could help with the bike and showed him the chain as he didnt speak English and he just got out a tool kit and fixed it himself. He was really kind as we would have been stuck on the other side of the island with no bike without him and we decided to give him some money to say thank you.
We rode down the road to Khao-Kwai beach and parked up our bikes at one of the low key bungalow reorts. We were really dirty and hot and got changed into our swimware. We swam in the sea for ages to cool and clean off and the sea at this end of the island is crystal clear. It is the clearest water we have seen on our trip so far. There were some rocks and seawead but we found a patch without any and swam until we thought we should start making our way back. We walked up through a resort and had a much needed drink on their veranda on the beach, Chelsea had a lemon juice and Liam a beer and we set off back.
The journey back was really hard. There were a lot of hills and we somehow missed the crossroads to get home and ended up right down at the port. We rode back up and called at the shop on the way home for some beer for later. When we got home we were totally done in! We had cold showers and got ready to go out. The island is a lot more hilly than we expected and there are lots of different areas of vegiation. Sometimes it was really long grass up to our waists, other times it was woods and then it was mangroves and beach. There are no big resorts, just small shops and small collections of bungalows to stay in around the coast. It is a real paradise island what we expect Thailand was like before the big tourist boom. You can relax here no one hassles you, there are no touts and we have experienced the true friendlyness of the people of this island who have been happy to help us whenever we have bumbled ourselves into a problem.
We did some blog writing at our bar when the wifi and electricity comes on at 6pm and then once we were really hungry went to the place next door called Friends for some tea. We both chose a Thai curry called masaman which was delicous. They cook it from scratch on order so we had to wait a long time but we played backgamon (as best we could making up some of our own rules) and had a beer and the wait was worth it.
It was quite late when we got back so we sat on our veranda on our beach mat with some tealights and mosquito coils and had some beers. We bought some ice from Friends bar but our beers were still warmish as it melted too fast. We sat as long as we could stand the bugs and when Chelsea found a cockroach in her medical kit it was the last straw and we went into the net. We are not built for these open huts in the dark....