06.01.2013 - 06.01.2013 32 °C
We had to wake early again today to get the ferry to Koh Phayam. We woke at 7, went next door to our guesthouse for breakfast at the very friendly Sunny Side Up, then made our way to the ferry port. The journey to the port was ridiculous; we caught a songthaew (the pickup with benches in the back) from just outside our guesthouse. We told the driver where we wanted to go, after ten minutes we passed our guesthouse again, we had gone in a huge circle, then he went to the bus station which is in the opposite direction, and when he was finally on the correct road he went through the back streets. It seemed like he was trying to make the journey last as long as possible to charge us but when we did finally reach the port we only had to pay 50 baht so we think he was just looking for more customers.
The truck dropped us off on a main road and pointed to a dirt path which we walked down. There were no signs and Chelsea was looking confused so a nice lady asked if she needed help and pointed us in the right direction. We paid for the slow boat which was 150 Baht and leaves at 9:30am and 2:30pm but there is also the option of a speed boat which costs 350 Baht and leaves 3 times a day. We then sat down and after about 5 minutes we were ushered into another pickup. Our bags were slung in the back with the other travellers; there was no more room so we sat in the front. Chelsea was constantly looking out of the back window, fretting that her bag would fall out of the pickup. The truck took us to another port, a working port where the smell of fish hung in the air. We had to wait in the baking sun, and the smell, until the boat we were catching was packed with supplies for the island. Everything from meat, water and eggs was loaded onto the boat in storage areas and around and under the passenger seats.
The boat was slow, smooth and quiet and it took two hours to reach Ko Phayam. The views from the boat were lovely, calm seas and little islands with the occasional fishing boat. When we arrived it was a relief to get off as the boat was quite warm and the smell of fuel was giving Liam headache. We got off the boat and walked down the pier through a ‘Welcome to Koh Phayam’ sign and there were no busy resorts or masses of people and touts, just a group of local children playing football on the beach.
There are no cars on the island and the only way to get around, apart from walking, is to rent a bike or a motorcycle taxi. We imagined these to be kind of like motorbikes with a side car for you to sit in. We were wrong. The driver puts your rucksack between his legs and you get on the back of the motorbike, so we got one each, which cost 70 Baht each. There are no real roads just concrete paths big enough for two bikes. There is very little on this island we passed a few shops and guesthouses but most of the inner island is dense jungle and beach, it is very peaceful.
When we finally arrived at our guesthouse (which included driving down a dirt path while clinging on to the afore mentioned bikes) we were in for a shock. We had booked a bamboo bungalow with Hornbill Huts for 300 Baht a night and we knew that they would likely be open to the elements. The whole bungalow is made of wood and bamboo with a steel roof and it is on stilts with ladders up to a nice big balcony which is about the same size as your ‘indoor’ space. There is a door and three pairs of shutter windows. The roof is not really attached to the walls, there are gaps all around and in the bathroom (a toilet with no flush system, a cold shower and a sink) there is around a three foot gap between the wall and roof. Luckily a mosquito net covers the bed so we should not get eaten alive. We were a little taken back at first by the bungalow but we have settled in. It is really cute and really private and the openness of it means that is always cool. Hornbill Huts is a friendly and welcoming place. They have a restaurant, bikes, canoes, and snorkelling equipment to rent, a library, Wi-Fi (sometimes) and generated electricity after 6pm. They have a group of very friendly dogs that lay in the shade all day and Dee and her husband are really helpful. The bungalows are right on the beach, ours is about ten steps away from the sand.
By far the best thing about Koh Phayam is that there is no one else around. On the boat here there were only a couple of dozen people, there a several bungalows owned by our resort but only a handful scattered down the 3k beach we are on. We had a beer in the bar after we checked in then walked the full length of the beach to see what else there was. We practically had the beach to ourselves the whole time. There are a few bars and restaurants attached to other resorts that we can visit, plus activities like diving, snorkelling and surfing, as the sea is a little rougher here
After we walked the beach we came back to our hut and Liam let Chelsea cut his hair as he was in need of a trim. He as escaped without any bald patches and Chelsea has actually done a decent job. Although she should not think of changing her career.
We then went out for tea, our resort has a lovely raised deck with tables smack on the beach where we sat, ate our meal and shared a couple of beers watching the sun go down. The insects come out in force after dark; we are glad we stocked up on repellent and coils before we left the mainland but the waiter comes and puts a coil under every table. The sunset from the deck was amazing, by far the best we have seen so far as the sky was so clear, and the whole sky was alight with reds and oranges. We did not think however, to take our torch out with us. The way back to the hut was terrifying, we could not see more than three feet and we had no idea where were going. Our hut is painted bright yellow and we still missed it. When we did get back we were careful not turn on any lights to attract the bugs and climbed into our mosquito net.
We will have to let you know tomorrow how we sleep, and hopefully nothing will try and share the room with us. From our hut all we can hear are the waves of the sea and the noise of the jungle.