12/4/15 - 24/4/15 35 °C
On Sunday I took an 8.00am minibus from Khao San to Ko Samet in search of a nice quite beach. Half way there the heavens opened and torrential ran fell for an hour or so which meant that by the time we reached Ban Pho many of the roads were under several inches of water. Nevertheless, I managed to get to the ferry in a relative state of dryness and set off for Ko Samet, half an hour away. On arrival at the small port I saw an information office and on enquiring where I could find a room was told that there was very little available and the cheapest price was 1500 baht. As this exceeded my daily budget by more than 300 baht I was horrified and just a little disillusioned. I was supposed to be living like a king on a shoestring budget after all. However, I eventually managed to bargain a room for 800 baht which was still very expensive for what it was. Having dumped my stuff I set out to explore the village and the local beach but this was not the sort of place I had travelled thousands of miles for. Totally dominated by the tourist trade the only nothing missing was candyfloss and kiss-me-quick hats and as for the beach - packed with hundreds of holiday makers enjoying the festival week.
The following morning I jumped aboard one of the open backed pick up trucks which serve for taxis and found myself at Ao Wai beach, a rather nice resort where I was quoted 1400 baht for a room. This was non-negotiable so I resolved to bite the bullet and checked in for a couple of nights which turned into 5 as I quickly realised what a paradise this was. Plenty of space on the beach, great food at the restaurant and a very comfortable room a mere 20 metres from the sea. BLISS! The days passed slowly punctuated by dips in the warmly welcoming sea and the occasional stroll from one end of the beach to the other.
Ao Wai Beach, Ko Samet
My room with the yellow roof
Sadly my budget could not sustain the damage for too long and with reluctance I packed my bag and headed for Koh Chang a further three hours along the coast. The thickly forested island proved to be beautiful but Lonely Beach
- a haven for backpackers and party goers where the music played till three or four in the morning- wasn't quite my cup of tea and so after two nights lying awake listening to the thud, thud, thud of drum and bass I headed south to Bai Lan. Here I found a beautiful hut to stay in and a beach about 400 metres long and almost completely deserted.
This is too good to be true, I thought, and it was. The sea was shallow and almost still but rather than warm it was bath water hot and rather than being an escape from the scorching sun was unpleasant and unrefreshing. Another move was in order and I ended up at White Sand Beach where a mile long strip of white sand offered the peace and quiet I'd been longing for at a just about affordable price.
One thing that was very noticeable here, though was the large number of fat, ugly men with beautiful Thai girls that were young enough to be their granddaughters. Sadly depressing!
My few days on the beach have been deeply relaxing but it's time to move on again. Many thanks to those of you who have commented on my blog. It's great to get your comments and news. If you haven't subscribed, please do, it's free and I'd love to hear from you.