I struggled quite a lot writing this blog. Should I or shouldn’t I let people in on the secret that is Koh Phayam? On the one hand I didn’t want to write about Bangkok – everyone knows about Bangkok and Koh Phayam is so beautiful that it should be shared. On the other hand, if word spreads too far and too many tourists go…well, it just wouldn’t be what it is today – your own personal slice of paradise.
After Vietnam Amy and I travelled to Thailand and stayed in Bangkok for a few days. Loved the place but after a while I began to crave a bit of peace and quiet…and a nice beach. SDo we got an overnight bus to Ranong and boarded a boat to Koh Phayam, a little island that we’d heard someone mention.
Two hours later the boat floated up to the island and I literally got goosebumps. You can keep your St Lucia and your Maldives – this place looks like it’s straight out of a bounty advert. Palm trees, white sand, blue waters and lots of sunshine.
No cars are allowed on Koh Phayam. It isn’t a big island and the tiny roads are only big enough to accommodate mopeds. You can either hire a moped or get on the back of one for a few baht – definitely an experience you need to try with three pieces of luggage, not!
Amy and I went to the opposite end of the island from the pier and it was there that we found Vijit Bungalows. Due to it being low season, we managed to get a beachfront bungalow for 400 baht a night – £8. With just two other bungalows occupied we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. We kayaked, we relaxed in hammocks and at night we had beach campfires with the local Thai people before going for a midnight swim to see the phospherence in the sea. Life couldn’t get much better.
After a couple of days relaxing like this we hired mopeds along with a couple we met along the way. Now, I’ve never driven a moped before so my new friend Laura gave me a crash course – crash being the operative word. A few bruises later and I was able to stroll into the moped shop, hire one and drive it away with relative ease.
Driving the moped was a huge amount of fun, I highly recommend it! Also, it allowed us to visit more of the island – we went looking for monkeys in the jungle and found our way to a beach that specialised in rasta bars and surfing.
I’ve never in my life had the urge to surf. I’ve always been a little bit wary of the sea, having watched Jaws one too many times. But in a place like this, how could I resist? Two days I spent surfing and let me tell you a couple of things – one, it’s a lot more difficult than it looks and two, the reason surfers wear wetsuits is to avoid board rash, ouch! I did manage to stand on the surfboard though – for about 5 seconds before the wave got the better of me!
One of the highlights of Koh Phayam was going to Oscar’s Bar. Run by a cockney bloke called Richard who’s lived in Koh Phayam for 30 years, this bar/restaurant is one of a kind. Amy, our new friends Laura and Gaz and myself all became part of the wierd and wonderful family that frequented Oscar’s bar. You’ll never find such an ecclectic mix of people…to find out just how ecclectic, well, you’ll just have to go see for yourself!
Although we’d only planned on two days in Koh Phayam we ended up staying for a week. Others who have visited for a few days have ended up staying forever. Maybe next time I visit, I’ll be one of those lucky few who never have to leave!