2009 took us back to Thailand, this time to play with ferries and longtail boats with the trendy backpackers.
We spent our first night in Krabi Town getting mingling with the locals doing their weekly shop of household goods in the night market, followed by a little stroll round some of the local watering holes on offer to the penny pinching tourists anticipating the excitement of a ferry trip in the morning
Our night pretty much started and ended in the same bar/dive shop, primarily due to the power of advertising enticing me to indulge in 2 for 1 cocktails, a superb offer even by Thai standard. Unfortunately for me my need for free poured Thai spirits meant that I didn’t quite get the memo that said “2-4-1 til 8pm”. 4 hours and a new pair of fins from the dive shop later we were emptying my handbag searching for last Baht to pay our extortionate bar bill.
We headed out to the islands from Krabi ferry port, perched on the sundeck of a packed ferry laden down with young backpackers searching for their own Leonardo DiCaprio inspired beaches. Within minutes of anchors up, a few locals were doing the small circuit offering hotels/huts on Koh Lanta, adorned with our magic ticket (yellow sticker) they knew where we were going, so with a secret wink and bow we were left alone to enjoy the ride. Passing beautiful uninhabited islands the ferry started to slow , the crew shouted “Koh Jum”, the young folk who wandered what the hell was going on and why did they not know about this stop, we staggered through the knots of tanned legs to get to the back of the boat. With a smug little grin on our faces we grabbed our bags and left the ferry, as here, in the middle of the Straits of Malacca my longtail boat to paradise awaited.
Approaching a jungle covered island, with nothing but pure white sands visible, I could tell that this was going to be my happy place before I had even jumped from the boat and waded through the crystal clear waters to the shores of Koh Jum.
Koh Jum is a sedate island consisting of one small village and about 15m of surfaced road so the next 5 days were filled with lazing in hammocks, making Singha towers from emptied beer cans and watching the amazing sunsets. One evening my peace and serenity was shattered.Snoozing away I get woken by a bright light shining through the window, then another and another. Feeling rather disorientated by the Singha and the heat crazy thoughts started to race through my mind, then the voices started. Trying to waken a snoring Lee with a gentle nudge was as usual a mission in itself, I later found out that he thought he was being rocked to sleep. Then the tapping started, that was it pirates had landed and they were removing the walls to the hut to steal my passport and handbag (remember this for later tales), I was going to be kidnapped and forced into a life of wearing sarongs and sandals for the rest of my life (shit happens). A sharp punch to the torso and the words “rubber cutters” are muttered from a sleepy lump next me. It turns out our hut was surrounded by rubber trees and they tap the bark in the night to get the best out of the trees, something that I am still adamant to this day that it would have been nice to share with me when we arrived.
Our time to leave this tiny piece of paradise soon came, checking out was the reverse of checking in, this time bobbing patiently on the sea waiting for the passing ferry to take us back to Krabi. We decided to spend our last few days in the resort of Ao Nang which is nowhere near the commercial chaos of Phuket but great for people watching non the less. As standard we found a bar showing the rugby that we had missed during our island stay, a tailors that would make 5 shirts within 12 hours complete with the initials LPA emblazoned on the pocket and plenty of sunburnt holiday makers in love with their Thailand experience of having a Mcdonalds meal that wasn’t available in the UK.
I would say that the by the end of this trip my love of Thailand had deepened but I feel I would be misleading you. My love for this immense country deepened by day 2, who needs Chanel perfume and Moet Chandon when you can have eau d’ 2 stroke and an ice cold Singha.
Thank your for lending me your eyes, I hope you enjoyed it.